Ubisoft Paris employees speak of “exhausting" crunch culture in a new report

by Danny Craig  · 
Ubisoft Paris employees speak of “exhausting" crunch culture in a new report

A new report focused on the development of Just Dance 2023 reveals that the studio has reportedly suffered from significant crunch, with many developers facing burnout.

The details:

  • NME has released a report following its investigation into the internal culture of Ubisoft's Paris studio during the allegedly chaotic production of Just Dance 2023. Multiple developers provided quotes to the publication for the report through the labor union Solidaires Informatique, with NME also contacting another employee directly. Those speaking through the union claim that overtime pay at the studio shifted from a "controlled system" to "commonplace" and that a "double standard was established," with one developer claiming to have worked regular 13-hour shifts during the game's development. Quality assurance staff were also said to work even longer hours at times, with some employees "explicitly encouraged" to work overtime during daily meetings.
  • According to Solidaires Informatique, approximately 10% of the development team was burnt out as a result of the long working hours, with many taking sick leave each month. Pre-production was also allegedly a "mess," with the team being told to change the title's engine just 11 months before its release, despite a promise to hire more staff to assist with ongoing development that was never fulfilled. After the team "learned quickly" and got the engine up and running, the higher-ups saw their success as justification to "add more and more features." Despite attempts to delay the game until 2024, Ubisoft HQ had reportedly said, "Just Dance must be under Christmas trees," and that the company had "challenged" the team for years with the company wanting to make the series into a live service title.
  • According to an employee, some progress has been made since then, with the appointment of managing director Marie-Sophie de Waubert being a "positive change for the studio." The same developer also stated that the studio's staff has "real cohesion" and "big love" for both the games and the fans. Ubisoft Montpellier is also under investigation following labor complaints, which has resulted in the departure of its studio head and further disruptions in the development of Beyond Good and Evil 2.

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