According to a new report from Stephen Totilo at Axios, so many developers have left Ubisoft over the last year and a half that it’s been termed “the great exodus” and “the cut artery,” phrases with connotations of liberation for the workers and serious injury or death for the corporation. The world is in turmoil, and part of that has been expressed through a phenomenon called “The Great Resignation,” where lots of people are leaving jobs where they don’t feel they or their work are adequately valued. The tech and gaming industries have been mired in controversy these past several years, and it’s culminated in multiple walkouts at places like Riot and Activision Blizzard.
With over 20,000 employees, Ubisoft and its subsidiary studios house one of gaming’s largest workforces. According to Totilo, this exodus includes at least five of the top 25-credited people from Far Cry 6—the marquee conflict playground released earlier this year-and 12 of the top 50 from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla—the period piece character action game released in 2020. According to developers still at the gaming conglomerate, this has led to projects slowing and stalling.
The causes of this wave of resignations vary, but are largely what you would expect: “low pay, an abundance of competitive opportunities, frustration at the company’s creative direction, and unease at Ubisoft’s handling of a workplace misconduct scandal that flared in mid-2020.” Ubisoft employees published an open letter this summer demanding accountability for cultural problems. At least one employee (the 13th associated with AC Valhalla) has returned, and at least one former employee said they would consider it. Another said that Ubisoft’s wide range of internal problems makes them an easy target for headhunters, especially with the proliferation of new studios in Montreal.
Anika Grant, Ubisoft head of people ops, told Axios that, “Our attrition today is a few percentage points above where it typically is, but it’s still within industry norms.” The LinkedIn-reported attrition rate of 12% is higher than EA (9%), Take-Two (8%), and Epic Games (7%) but lower than Activision Blizzard (16%).
Ubisoft recently announced plans to reboot the Splinter-Cell franchise, and have posted dozens of job listings for their Toronto studio.