Ubisoft is facing turbulent times financially and in-house, and CEO Yves Guillemot was forced to reckon with recent comments he made shifting the blame to the staff.
After cancelling three unannounced games and delaying the release date of Skull and Bones for a sixth time, Guillemot told employees “the ball is in your court” to help get the $3 billion company back on track.
The changes at Ubisoft were scrapped up to “major challenges” in the industry, the underperformance of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023, and an upcoming “restructuring” for the publisher. On Wednesday, a new report from Kotaku revealed that Ubisoft had a company-wide Q&A to address the news of the restructuring. There, the CEO apologized for his previous comments.
“I heard your feedback and I’m sorry this was perceived that way,” Guillemot said, according to sources present. “When saying ‘the ball is in your court’ to deliver our lineup on time and at the expected level of quality, I wanted to convey the idea that more than ever I need your talent and energy to make it happen. This is a collective journey that starts of course with myself and with the leadership team to create the conditions for all of us to succeed together.”
Guillemot also remained vague about the potential for layoffs. “It’s not about doing more with less, but finding ways to do things differently across the company,” Guillemot said.
According to Kotaku’s report, some developers within the company still feel that management is out of touch with the lower-level staff. The Q&A, which lasted an hour, also did not address the recent call for strike at the company’s Paris studio. Solidaires Informatique, Ubisoft Paris’ tech union, asked the employees to go on strike in response to Guillemot’s previous comments. The strike will reportedly last a half-day on January 27.
Ubisoft’s particularly poor 2022 included no marquee blockbuster releases. Several projects were delayed, trapped in development hell or simply failed to find a substantial audience.
Carson Burton is a freelance news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter at @carsonsburton.