Earlier this month, Ubisoft hosted its first not-E3 digital presentation. Ahead of the pre-recorded stream, Ubisoft released a statement noting that it would not be acknowledging the wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations that have emerged about members of the publisher. According to a statement via an Ubisoft spokesperson released today, though, the next Ubisoft Forward event will be different.
Ubisoft's new statement acknowledges that September's event will include a message dedicated to showing its commitment to "improving the culture" of the embattled publisher.
"The Ubisoft Forward showcase in September will be a pre-recorded show like the previous iteration in July in order to localize for multiple languages including American Sign Language (ASL)," Ubisoft tells USgamer. "There will also be a message tied to the show sharing the status of Ubisoft's commitment to improving the culture, comfort and safety of Ubisoft employees and community."
Since late June, executives and other employees at Ubisoft have been accused of various instances of misconduct and harassment, and in some cases, assault. In the wake of these allegations, there have been a number of high-profile resignations from individuals facing investigation, including Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët, and Yannis Mallat, Managing Director of Ubisoft's Canadian studio. Ubisoft Valhalla director Ashraf Ismail and Global Head of HR Cécile Cornet have stepped down from their respective positions, and Vice Presidents Tommy François and Maxime Béland were put on administrative leave in late June.
Yesterday, French labor union Solidaires Informatique announced that it was in the process of coordinating a collective lawsuit against the publisher. "The repeated acts of harassment and sexual assault, sexist acts and discrimination, as well as the impunity that the group has been subjected to over many years must be explained and repaired," Solidaires Informatique's official statement reads. "The exclusion of a few prominent individuals such as Serge Hascoët is not enough, as those who have benefitted from the group's activities are hiding under their leadership."
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has pledged to "personally" oversee company-wide "profound changes" to Ubisoft's culture moving forward. Now, it's time to see if it can.