We realize that Activision-Blizzard’s horrifying sexual misconduct and discrimination lawsuit stole all the headlines last night and will probably dominate the news cycle for a while, but it’s just not the only video game company beleaguered by damning allegations of abuse right now. The Ubisoft sexual harassment scandal has been brewing since 2020, leading to the ouster of more than half a dozen execs and senior staff across different studios, gutting its employee retention, and even launching a lawsuit to hold Ubisoft accountable.
So it stands to reason that its games have suffered – including Skull and Bones, which has literally been delayed four times. And apparently, Ubisoft Singapore, the outfit responsible for the game, is even more dysfunctional than the branches that’ve already been called out. Kotaku released a report yesterday that digs into the studio’s sorry history. The investigation reveals allegations that Ubsioft hasn’t exactly kept its end of the deal with the Singaporean government; it was apparently engaged in a deal to open a studio there in exchange for government subsidies and training of local developers who would eventually take over the studio.
But according to Kotaku’s sources, that didn’t actually happen; local staffers were grossly underpaid and underpromoted in company that had “the feel of a colonial outpost in a country with a history of domination by European powers.” Workers reported bullying, sexual harassment, and racism under the leadership of Hugues Ricour, who was removed from the studio and sent back to corporate HQ after Ubisoft was forced to clean house. HR for the studio seems particularly culpable, as specific incidents of harassment and incidents with Ricour himself were blown off and dragged out.
Ubisoft did issue a statement to Kotaku, and amazingly it didn’t deflect its cultural failures onto the attorneys for the victims. Huh. The statement says the studio won’t tolerate discrimination and asserts that 40% of expert and senior roles are “Singaporean or permanent residents.”
“Our objective is to continue to increase Singaporean leadership through various programs including a dedicated management learning path to accelerate the development of new leaders. Compensation is determined by role, responsibility, market practices and performance. Over the course of the past year, Ubisoft has implemented significant and meaningful changes that seek to ensure a safe and inclusive work environment for all.”