There have been numerous reports on Ubisoft’s work environment and harassment within the company. And it seems like its Singapore division is no exception, as employees describe it as “one of the worst Ubisoft studios in terms of culture.”
Kotaku released its report on July 21, based on interviews with more than 20 current and former Ubisoft Singapore employees.
Key points from the investigation
- Ubisoft Singapore started as a co-development division, which later helped create Immortals: Fenyx Rising and some games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. However, it is mostly known for the never-ending rollercoaster development of Skull & Bones.
- The division was founded in 2008 after Ubisoft received subsidies from the Singapore government, which hoped that the company would train local employees and help them get leading roles at the studio.
- Although Ubisoft took the subsidies, local junior developers never rose to any prominent roles. One employee even said that the arrangement with the Singapore government could give the company the “feel of a colonial outpost in a country with a history of domination by European powers.”
- According to employees, the issues in the Singapore office are similar to these in other divisions of Ubisoft. The list includes bullying, sexual harassment, and racial pay disparities.
- One former developer said that toxic leaders were the main problem, while most of the middle-management were “absolutely lovely, talented people.”
- Hugues Ricour, former managing director at Ubisoft Singapore, was named among those “toxic leaders.” One employee said this about his management: “The head was rotten, so the body was incapable of functioning properly.”
- Ricour was removed from his role in Singapore last fall after being accused of harassment. However, he ended up becoming production intelligence director at the company’s headquarters in Paris.
- Ubisoft Singapore managed to improve some of its internal processes after Ricour was removed. However, employees say that there are still plenty of issues.
- According to the report, there is a “French ceiling” at Ubisoft Singapore. It means that people who don’t speak French barely have any chance to get a promotion. It is especially true for employees from Southeast Asia and female workers.
- Some local developers had to live with their parents because they were paid poorly. According to the report, the gap between domestic staff and expats could be between $5,000 and $10,000 a year.
- There are also reports on sexual harassment at Ubisoft Singapore. According to Kotaku, most of these cases are brushed under the rug. One woman recalled being harassed by her coworker and reporting the issue to HR. However, it took nine months and one appeal to just send him to another building.
The full report on Ubisoft Singapore can be read here.
After Kotaku published the article, Ubisoft released an official statement. “40% of expert and senior expert 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,” a spokesperson said, also adding that the company doesn’t tolerate harassment and discrimination.