While publisher/developer Ubisoft was keen to showcase the games its been working on during the Ubisoft Forward broadcast, what wasn’t part of the presentation was any mention of the company’s still-lingering problems with institutionalized sexual harassment, which has seen to date a total of seven managers ousted from the company. Instead, Ubisoft released a separate video statement from CEO Yves Guillemot regarding the matter.
“I am truly sorry to everyone who was hurt,” said Guillemot in the address. “We have taken significant steps to remove or sanction those who violated our values and code of conduct, and we are working hard to improve our systems and processes. We are also focused on improving diversity and inclusivity at all levels of the company.”
As an example of this commitment, Ubisoft will be investing an additional $1M over the next five years in the company’s graduate program with a focus on creating opportunities to under-represented groups as well as start a new edition of its Womxn Develop at Ubisoft mentorship program as it attempts to “attract and develop diverse new talent for our studios around the world.” The program will launch next Monday, September 14th in San Francisco, Kyiv, and Toronto, and will be expanded to Ubisoft’s other studios, starting with Paris in January.
“We are at the start of a long journey,” said Guillemot. “Real change will take time. but I am determined to do everything in my power to ensure everyone at Ubisoft feels welcome, respected, and safe, and to rebuild the trust our teams, fans, and players have in us.”
Guillemot also addressed a trailer released at the end of August for Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad, which used a raised fist icon for the game’s enemy faction that bore an extremely close visual similarity to the Black Lives Matter movement’s icon. While Ubisoft promised in a separate statement to remove the imagery shortly after blowback for the trailer, Guillemot further talked about the matter. “This kind of oversight cannot happen. We are putting in place safeguards to prevent it in the future,” he assured.
As for why this four minute-long address wasn’t included in the full broadcast, Ubisoft blames “timing constraints” but promised to make it part of the VOD in the future — a promise that, as of this writing, has yet to be met.