Ubisoft CEO Apologizes For Controversial All-Hands Email Amid Public Struggles

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Ubisoft, one of the largest video game publishers, has endured a number of highly-publicized roadblocks in recent weeks, especially after the release of disappointing financial results. Now, the company’s CEO has apologized for an internal email he sent to all employees, after some pushed back on its tone and phrasing.

According to Kotaku, that email included a portion where Guillemot told employees that “the ball is in your court,” which was widely seen as management shirking its responsibility. Employees at Ubisoft Paris announced that they are planning a strike in response to the comments. In a recent meeting, an employee sent the following question to management: “The ball is now in our court—for years it has been in your court so why did you mishandle the ball so badly so we, the workers, have to fix it for you?”

This question apparently prompted Guillemot’s apology. At that meeting, he said, “I heard your feedback and I’m sorry this was perceived that way.” He went further on to say that he wanted to convey the “talent and energy” of the company’s staff, and referred to its production process as a “collective journey.” Several sources told Kotaku that the apology failed to assuage their concerns about the company’s direction, and that the meeting was “light on specifics.”

Despite being one of the most well-known video game publishers in the world, Ubisoft has struggled in recent months. The company recently canceled at least three unannounced games, and stated that games like Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023 underperformed financial expectations. One of the announced projects that was cancelled was likely Project Q, a “team battle arena game” that was undergoing a playtest phase.

Ubisoft also delayed Skull & Bones yet again, a project that was first envisioned as a spinoff to Assassin’s Creed IV, which came out a full decade ago. This is also after the company canceled multiple high-profile projects in mid-2022, including Ghost Recon: Frontline and Splinter Cell VR.