Ubisoft Investigating Retired Rayman Creator For Alleged Hostile Work Environment
Michel Ancel, who left the company only this month, denied the allegations of a toxic and hostile work environment.
Following Rayman creator Michel Ancel's abrupt resignation from Ubisoft earlier this month, the company has confirmed that he is under investigation regarding allegations of a toxic and hostile work environment.
"[Ubisoft CEO] Yves Guillemot committed back in July that any allegation will be investigated and no one will be outside of that process -- and this would include Michel Ancel," Ubisoft told GameSpot. "And as Michel confirmed to the journalist at Liberation, he is under investigation. The investigation is still ongoing and we have nothing further to share as we respect the confidentiality of this investigation."
Ancel was informed of the investigation in August and has not been in contact with Guillemot since then. Ancel had been working for Ubisoft since he was a teenager and also directed the original Beyond Good & Evil. His time had been split in recent years between Ubisoft and his own Wild Sheep Studio.
The French publication Liberation's article alleges that Ancel was abusive toward staff and could make them feel unappreciated during meetings. He also is alleged to have not listened to his team and seemed to be making certain decisions arbitrarily.
Ancel largely denied the article's allegations on his own Instagram page, saying he wasn't responsible for managing the team and was not changing his mind on design decisions regularly.
"I worked hard on every [one] of my projects and always had respect for teams. The accusations are wrong," he said.
When Ancel announced he was retiring from the game industry, he clarified that his project Beyond Good & Evil 2 would continue, as would the game Wild being developed at his independent studio. He said this decision was made in order to focus on work at a wildlife preserve, and Ubisoft's statement at the time didn't suggest otherwise.
"We would like to thank Michel for the incredible creative vision he has brought to Ubisoft over the course of his career, and wish him all the best for this new venture," the company said.
The allegations are just the latest in a growing list at Ubisoft that has included reported sexual assaults, harassment, and physical violence. Thus far, several high-profile Ubisoft employees have resigned or been fired, including VP Maxime Beland and former Assassin's Creed Valhalla director Ashraf Ismail.