In a significant development, French authorities have initiated a criminal investigation into the long-standing allegations of sexual misconduct within Ubisoft, the renowned publisher behind the Assassin’s Creed franchise. This move comes three years after the allegations first surfaced, shedding light on a troubling chapter in the gaming industry.
Five former Ubisoft executives, including former Vice President Tommy Francois and Serge Hascoët, the former head of creative who served as CEO Yves Guillemot’s right-hand, were detained for questioning on October 3. This represents a critical step forward in holding individuals accountable for their actions.
The allegations against Hascoët, a 32-year veteran at Ubisoft, reveal a toxic work environment. He wielded immense creative power, determining the fate of projects and the inclusion of gameplay features. Reports accused him of making sexual comments and creating a hostile, misogynistic atmosphere at Ubisoft’s Paris office. Francois, who reported to Hascoët, faced accusations of attempting to forcibly kiss a colleague during a work event.
These high-profile arrests follow a multi-year investigation involving interviews with over 50 current and former employees, underlining the gravity of the situation. Ubisoft’s workplace culture has been under scrutiny for years, with allegations of institutional harassment and a “boys club” mentality.
Ubisoft faces not only a criminal investigation but also legal complaints filed by victims and the French union Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo. These complaints target the company as a whole, as well as CEO Yves Guillemot and former head of human resources Cecile Cornet. The allegations include failing to maintain a safe work environment and allegations of ignoring toxic management practices.
The outcome of these interrogations could lead to potential court proceedings, forcing the former executives, including Hascoët, to present their testimonies. It remains uncertain if current Ubisoft executives, like Guillemot, have been questioned by authorities yet. Ubisoft, a company with a long history of successful franchises, is now navigating a critical juncture as it prepares to release Assassin’s Creed Mirage on October 5.
This criminal investigation serves as a stark reminder of the need for accountability and cultural change within the gaming industry. It underscores the importance of addressing workplace issues and promoting a safe and inclusive environment for all employees. Ubisoft’s response to this investigation and its commitment to reform will have far-reaching implications for the industry as a whole.
The games industry has been rocked by a scandal that began three years ago with allegations of sexual misconduct at Ubisoft, the publisher behind the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise. Recent developments in France have thrust this issue back into the spotlight, as French authorities have initiated a criminal investigation. This article explores how these events affect both Ubisoft and the broader games industry.
Five former Ubisoft executives, including former VP Tommy Francois and former Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët, were detained for questioning on October 3. These arrests mark a significant development in a case that first came to light in 2020 when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. The detained executives will provide testimony that could potentially be used in a criminal trial, signaling the seriousness of the charges.
The investigation itself is the result of years of work, involving interviews with over 50 current and former Ubisoft employees. The allegations against Hascoët and Francois include sexual misconduct and contributing to a misogynistic “boys club” culture within the company. These claims paint a troubling picture of workplace harassment and discrimination within Ubisoft.