It’s been two years since payback for workplace sexual harassment at Ubisoft led to numerous layoffs, resignations and layoffs. Now one of the defendants has come to the surface. Ashraf Ismail, formerly hit creative director Assassin’s Creed Valhallanow works for competitor Tencent, Axios reports.
Specifically, Ismail works for TiMi Studio Group, the Chinese conglomerate’s mobile gaming giant, as a “consulting creative director,” a spokesperson confirmed. Axios. TiMi is responsible for pokemon unitemobile adaptations Call of Duty as well as PUBG, and many other games. Last year, the company also opened an office in Montreal to develop “an ambitious service-based AAA open-world game for multiple platforms.”
“During our time with Ash, he was professional and consistently demonstrated a desire to learn and grow as a team member and as a person,” said a spokesperson for the TiMi Studio Group. Kotaku in a statement. “We are committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment for everyone and will continue to do so as our team grows and expands.”
Ismail did not immediately respond to a request. for a comment.
Ismail started working on Assassin’s Creed franchise in 2009 with Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag. Then he was a game director origins before becoming creative director Valhalla. Prior to his firing, he helped chart the series’ turn towards becoming an open-world RPG. As a result, his name was removed from Valhallaloans.
Read more: Ubisoft employees ‘expressed concern’ over allegations of misconduct
It’s because he was fired from Ubisoft in August 2020 following a misconduct investigation, although the company never disclosed the details of its findings. Earlier this summer, the veteran developer was accused of using his status and lying about being unmarried to prey on women who were relatively new to the gaming industry. Soon this was replaced by a mass of accusations against other employees of the company, culminating in high-profile resignations of several key leaders.
Despite initial purges and personnel reviews, some current and former employees say that the company stopped completely change the culture of the workplace. In 2021 A Better Ubisoft Working Group contacted management give him a seat at the negotiating table in dealing with cases of misconduct and help improve the company.
Hundreds signed the open letter, but a year later they say management has yet to respond to their demands. On the anniversary of their demands, the group wrote today that 25% of the employees who signed this letter have since left the company, and that a disproportionate number of them were women. One current employee who signed the letter called the trend “very worrying.”
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I can’t say anything more about the ABU’s demands or the leadership’s reaction to them, because there was nothing,” said the person, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the press. Kotaku. “No attempts to get through, no new measures to satisfy them.”
Ubisoft has denied accusations of attrition in the past, saying they are within the normal range for the industry. But last fall, the company ran an unprecedented pay raise at its Montreal studio to keep talent from leaving. Although people left for various reasons, employee exodus influenced the release of Ubisoft games.
“Overall headcount has remained pretty much the same because Ubi is still able to hire a lot of juniors,” said the current employee. “But the massive loss of all that experience and knowledge has clearly hit our productivity hard, and we are now seeing more delays and game cancellations.”
Ubisoft has confirmed some of these delays and cancellations. during the last P&L call. Avatar: Pandora’s Limits will no longer come to the new movie, and the new unannounced miniAssassin’s Creed the game is also behind schedule. Meanwhile, Ghost Recon Frontline was one of several recently mothballed projects. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot also urged employees to cut spending to “the bare necessities” ahead of a possible recession in a recent company-wide email.
Ubisoft not immediately respond to a request for comment.