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Assassin’s Creed makers Ubisoft continue 2023’s gutting of the games industry as they lay off over 100 staff

VFX and IT teams hit, months after customer service redundancies at the publisher

An image of Assassin's Creed: Mirage showing Basim, the title character leaping onto a guard.
Image credit: Ubisoft

Ubisoft has laid off more than 100 staff, continuing what feels like an unending wave of layoffs across the video games industry. The latest job losses spanning visual effects and IT departments come less than six months after the Assassin’s Creed and Rainbow Six publisher made dozens of custom service staff redundant.

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Ubisoft confirmed that 124 staff had been laid off from its global workforce, with the vast majority - 98 people - cut from its Canadian business administrative services and IT departments, along with the Montreal-based VFX studio Hybride. The numbers represent around 2% of its total Canadian team.

Hybride is predominantly focused on providing visual effects for TV shows and movies, with credits on multiple Star Wars shows and films - including The Mandalorian, Ahsoka and Andor - Disney’s live-action Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast remakes, and sci-fi movie Arrival. The studio’s video game credits include prehistoric FPS spin-off Far Cry Primal.

"Over the past few months, every team within Ubisoft has been exploring ways to streamline our operations and enhance our collective efficiency so that we are better positioned for success in the long term,” Ubisoft said in a statement, adding that it would “reorganise” the general and admin functions of its Canadian studios. (Thanks, GI.)

“These are not decisions taken lightly and we are providing comprehensive support for our colleagues who will be leaving Ubisoft during this transition. We also want to share our utmost gratitude and respect for their many contributions to the company. This restructuring does not affect our production teams.”

The latest layoffs follow 60 job losses at Ubisoft’s UK and US customer service teams in May, as well as the planned closure of its London mobile studio - made up of over 50 devs - reported in September.

There has been continued unrest at the publisher this year, which kicked off with their first staff strike in January in response to employees' unhappiness over pay and working conditions. That’s accompanied the controversial unveiling of plans to use an AI dialogue-writing tool and Ubisoft’s ongoing dabbling in NFTs, which have been met with widely negative responses by both developers and players.

Elsewhere, Ubisoft has cancelled a number of planned games and delayed others, including the ever-drifting ghost ship of Skull & Bones.

Ubisoft’s latest redundancies continue a dire year for those working in the industry, with thousands of layoffs across developers, publishers and more. Big names hit by cuts include Bungie, BioWare, CD Projekt Red, Frontier, Creative Assembly, PlayStation, Epic Games, Microsoft and the stable of Embracer-owned studios. Embracer’s ongoing “restructuring” alone has so far resulted in the closure of Saints Row makers Volition, fledgling studio Campfire Cabal and the possible upcoming shuttering of TimeSplitters devs Free Radical, along with layoffs at Beamdog, Cryptic Studios, Crystal Dynamics, Zen Studios and more.

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