Following numerous complaints, Ubisoft has laid out its plans to amend the company's culture and foster a diverse and accepting environment. The complaints put forward included accusations of widespread discrimination, abuse, and harassment in 2020.
Last week, chief people officer Anika Grant and vice president for global diversity, inclusion, and accessibility Raashi Sikka broke down how they hope to address these issues in a blog post.
The first step in the process is a global self-identification program. As part of this program, employees worldwide will be invited to provide information, including race, gender identity, and disability, on a voluntary and confidential basis.
The company also has a new initiative, Project Rise, in the works. This five-year strategy is designed to foster representation for underrepresented groups “to ensure that Ubisoft better reflects the diversity of our players.” Although details are scant at the moment, the project will help foster a diverse and accepting environment through internal and external talent development and improvements to recruiting.
The post also highlighted steps that Ubisoft has already taken to address concerns.
“We launched Advancing Inclusion this year, our flagship diversity and inclusion training program for two key cohorts – top leadership and HR leadership. It’s an in-depth program with opportunities to learn key concepts, put theory into practice, and learn together and from each other,” said Sikka.
“Our team has been working alongside many of our dev teams on a variety of projects to continue to embed more inclusion and representation internally and in our games. Recently, we rolled out a pilot workshop in partnership with production for a dev team where we explored the often thin line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation that teams are navigating. We’re excited to continue to build on this and roll out this workshop and many others more broadly in the months to come.“
Sikka also highlighted the increasingly high profile of women within the company, with 42 per cent of the executive committee and 45 per cent of board members being women. In addition, over a third of the new hires over the past year have been women.
Too little, too late?
Despite this, some within the company claim that more effort is needed. A Better Ubisoft – a group made up of both former and current employees – recognize that while the company has made some positive changes, these changes aren’t reflected across every Ubisoft studio.
The group also claim that, while some abusers were either fired or allowed to retire, others remain within the company, with some being reassigned or even promoted. In an interview with Assassin’s Creed fan site AC Sisterhood, an employee using the pseudonym Cyril stated:
“Firing harassers is good, but harassers are not creating the whole toxic culture by themselves, they are the symptoms of this culture. Ubisoft has done nothing yet that matters to change this culture. Ubisoft still places its confidence in managers who have proven that they may still be part of the issue. The overall system is still very vertical, with HQ taking [baffling] decisions and employees being hurt by stray bullets.”
As such, while it’s clear that Ubisoft is trying to address the issues raised, it seems that some within the company aren’t convinced that the steps they’re taking are the correct ones, or that the company is moving quickly enough to address their concerns.
Last week, Tencent invested heavily in Ubisoft parent company Guillemot Bros, acquiring a 49.9 per cent stake in the company. We listed Tencent as number 8 on our list of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.