Solidaires Informatique, the French game workers union that has been working with employees at Ubisoft Paris since the developer’s widespread sexual harassment claims came to light in 2020, is once more calling out Ubisoft Paris with fresh allegations of mismanagement and employee crunch as the studio worked on last November’s Just Dance 2023.
These revelations were provided to the union by Ubisoft Paris employees and leverage several severe accusations including paid overtime that slowly evolved from compulsory to mandatory, a promise that the studio would hire more staff that was not kept, and long shifts for many developers especially in the QA department.
Employees reporting through Solidaires Informatique also claimed that management of the game was handled poorly, with bosses pushing unreasonable demands like a change in game engine just 11 months before launch, ideas “that had to be considered at all costs,” and late strategic decisions.
In addition, Ubisoft HQ was reportedly putting the screws to the studio as it wanted Just Dance 2023 to be Ubisoft’s first big live service game – one source claims that HQ said, “Just Dance must be under Christmas trees.” Work on the title is said to have caused 10% of Ubisoft Paris workers to burn out.
Meanwhile, Ubisoft tried to explain that a recently announced AI writing tool called Ghostwriter isn’t meant to replace game writers. “Ghostwriter [is] alleviating one of the video game writer’s most laborious tasks: writing barks,” reads part of a blog post from Ubisoft content writing assistant Roxane Barth. “Ghostwriter effectively generates first drafts of barks – phrases or sounds made by NPCs during a triggered event – which gives scriptwriters more time to polish the narrative elsewhere.”