The night of the Ubisoft Forward event on September 10th 2020 a short video appeared on social media. This video made statements which seemed to be made in order to be hidden and to appease people who want to know more about what steps have been taken to address the serious problems surrounding Ubisoft staff members.
To avoid being mentioning the specifics and being triggering within this post I will mention briefly that there were several members of staff who were known to be a problem within Ubisoft, and some who weren’t known widely but in whisper networks, who got outed a few months ago as the industry was raising awareness of the sexual abuse and harassment that have occurred.
Ubisoft chose to produce this short video that didn’t really say much overall and this was only shown on social media prior to the event. The reasoning is due to time constraints this could not be shown during the livestream.
However I am disappointed in their reasoning. This reason does not pass as it isn’t a timing issue but rather a business choice. They had a pre-show, the actual Forward event and then a post-show. During the parts I watched from the pre-show and onwards there was plenty of opportunity to show something. Something to acknowledge that something is being done, that the victims have not been forgotten. That the culture within Ubisoft will change and stop protecting people who went untouched by allegations for years. In this show there was time to do a call for job applications to work for Ubisoft and time to highlight various streamers and their “wow moments”. Perhaps one of these could be shortened to make room for a 4 minute video. It could have also been planned in as this will have been in the works for a good length of time.
I appreciate that they want to highlight the work of the staff and show their games off during the Forward event. These people deserve to have their work shown and to talk about their games. However, this issue has been widely known since June and internally for far longer. There were so many people watching from the pre-show onwards. Getting these people to see this video would have been so important. They have also made the same claim that they could not make a statement during the previous Ubisoft event.
Calling people to apply for jobs at Ubisoft when they try to bury a video that basically says “look we haven’t forgotten about all these things” especially after their further controversy over their use of imagery within a game is frustrating.
Ubisoft please, you should show that you are changing, that the culture will not continue, that your people matter. Highlight the work your current staff do but also acknowledge the issues that exist and have existed that you should be dealing with.
The games industry as a whole needs to do better. Ubisoft I enjoy your games. I love Just Dance. I love Assassin’s Creed. I’ve had great times with Steep. Watch Dogs 2 has ended up being a very special game to me. I play other games from your franchises and I am grateful for all of these. I enjoy what you create and what the people who work for you create. You need to do more and do better.
Remember that in the real, outside of games, world there are people who have been harmed by you. They deserve more. The people you lost from the company due to other employees deserve better. I feel for the person or people dealing with the comments on the Twitter post having to copy that response about timing. They were tasked with a difficult job as they had to post that message multiple times and deal with the comments.
It was going to be part of their effort to put the video as part of the official VOD. If that happened then great (note I wrote this after the event but have not looked at the VODs of the event). But you could have put it in the event, or the pre or post show. That Twitter post got hidden amongst announcements and links and hype for games. Whilst Twitter users tried to keep the awareness going it is disappointing that Ubisoft chose this route. People matter. Showing that you actually care would do you more good and gather some more goodwill than choosing this route. I know that next time it is likely they will choose the same path. I just hope that they (and the wider industry) can be honest and do better in future.
Please note: This is my opinion and viewpoint. I understand and appreciate that people will have preferred not to see this in any section but I would like some wider acknowledgement and honesty shown. I have left comments available on this post but all I ask is you stay respectful.