The CEO of Ubisoft has apologised to staff for comments he made in an email last week, which appeared to blame employees for cuts and delays at the publisher. Kotaku report that Yves Guillemot began a Q&A meeting with an apology for his suggestion that sorting out issues at Ubisoft was the responsibility of lower-level staff, summarised by the phrase “the ball is in your court”. Guillemot had come under fire from Ubisoft staff following his comments, which prompted calls from one French union for Ubisoft Paris staff to strike later this month.
“I heard your feedback and I’m sorry this was perceived that way,” Guillemot told staff at the start of the hour-long meeting. “When saying ‘the ball is in your court’ to deliver our lineup on time and at the expected level of quality, I wanted to convey the idea that more than ever I need your talent and energy to make it happen. This is a collective journey that starts of course with myself and with the leadership team to create the conditions for all of us to succeed together.”
Comments from Guillemot and other senior staff at the meeting indicate that Ubisoft are looking to refocus on their existing successful series such as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six. Last week’s email from Guillemot to Ubisoft staff came as the company cancelled three unannounced projects, and pushed much-delayed pirate action-adventure Skull And Bones back from a March release date and into the next financial year. “The ball is in your court to deliver this line-up on time and at the expected level of quality, and show everyone what we are capable of achieving,” Guillemot wrote.
Ubisoft are continuing to work on their return to a smaller-scale version of one of their tentpole franchises, Assassin’s Creed Mirage. As Matt noted last week, creative director Stéphane Boudon has said that Mirage will be a “more intimate” game than the past few mahoosive Assassin’s Creed outings. Mirage follows Valhalla’s Basim Ibn Ishaq on his shadowy adventures around Baghdad. There’s still no release date foothold for Mirage to hop onto, with just a tentative 2023 crenellation announced for the game to dangle from.