Ubisoft boss temporarily removed amid workplace abuse and harassment allegations. David Polfeldt was managing director of Massive Entertainment (aka Ubisoft Massive) and was currently leading the Avatar and Star Wars projects. He is stepping down for six months, then returning to a “new strategic role.”
Le Telegramme released a piece exposing Ubisoft’s minimal response to rampant harassment and abuse allegations in May. The following media storm forced Ubisoft to take action. Polfeldt is just the latest Ubisoft boss to face punishment this month. On July 12th, they issued a press release announcing the dismissal of several in management. Some of these included the head of HR Cécile Cornet, Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët, and director of Canadian Studios Yannis Mallat. The biggest hit is the demotion of CEO and founder Yves Guillemot to Creative Director. Cornet truly needed to go. HR was meant to be the employee’s haven, but Cécile Cornet created a management protection atmosphere.
“Ubisoft has fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees. This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviors are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised—and never will. I am committed to implementing profound changes across the Company to improve and strengthen our workplace culture.”Yves Guillemot, CEO and co-founder of Ubisoft
David Polfeldt was leading the publisher’s most ambitious titles. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora was just revealed at E3 2021 to mostly positive reactions. The open-world Star Wars game will be one of the first non-EA titles in a decade. He also maintained the Division 2 team; a steady live-service game. Polfeldt’s departure should not affect production too much. The new titles are still early in development, and Ubisoft’s structure provides many qualified replacements. All his titles should arrive as expected.
Ubisoft is finally making the moves required to make employees feel safe and regain the trust of gamers. There are many more that still need to face their consequences. But Ubisoft is finally doing something. This is all because of the gamers. They have voiced their opinions, giving the reports the boost they needed. Keep up the good work and force game developers to earn our trust.