Report: Beyond Good and Evil 2 developer Ubisoft Montpellier faces labour investigation
Studio head Guillaume Carmona reportedly departed the firm after 18 years while the team undergoes well-being assessments
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Ubisoft Montpellier, the developer of Beyond Good and Evil 2, has seen another setback as its managing director, Guillaume Carmona, has left the studio amid labour issue allegations.
As reported by Kotaku, the reason for Carmona's exit was not provided due to legal confidentiality but it comes as the studio is under scrutiny by the Inspection du Travail (labour inspection services) for an "unprecedented number" of developer burnout and sick leave.
Sources familiar with the matter have told Kotaku that "dozens" of staffers left the Montpellier studio last year following extended periods of leave, which prompted a labour inspection of the studio this past December.
In a statement sent to the publication, a Ubisoft representative said in part, "Given the length of the development cycle with Beyond Good & Evil 2, the Montpellier development team is undergoing well-being assessments through a third-party for preventative measures and to evaluate where additional support may be needed."
Kotaku reported shifts in Beyond Good and Evil 2's leadership as well, with senior creative director Jean-Marc Geffroy reportedly leaving the project and being replaced by the game's associate director Emile Morel. The game's director is now Charles Gaudron, Kotaku reported, replacing Benjamin Dumaz.
GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to the Regional Directorates for the Economy, Employment, Labour and Solidarity (DREETS) for confirmation and comment.
This situation follows reports in 2020 of toxic culture at Ubisoft Montpellier related to Beyond Good & Evil creator Michel Ancel, who has since left the studio and game development altogether. At the time, around 15 employees talked to French newspaper Libération and described Ancel as a "toxic" personality around which the entire studio's "grotesque" organisation revolved. Ancel denied the accusations of toxic mismanagement.
Most recently, Ubisoft's company culture and working conditions made headlines following the cancellation and delay of several projects. On January 19, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot backtracked a comment in which he had told employees "the ball is in your court" comment, which staff interpreted as a call for overtime and crunch.
Then on January 31, nearly 40 employees from Ubisoft Paris went on strike for better working conditions.
Additional contributions by Marie Dealessandri