Ubisoft's Michel Ancel Accused of Toxic Management, Denies Allegations in Statement
In the wake of wider systemic issues at Ubisoft, Rayman creator Michel Ansel has reportedly been accused of toxic behavior and management.
For a large portion of 2020, Ubisoft has been under the spotlight for a series of allegations against employees and managers regarding toxic workplace culture, sexual harassment and abuse, and more. While the company has publicly taken steps to work towards addressing these allegations over the past several months, further accusations and details on troubles with the company’s workplace culture have continued to emerge, with the latest focusing on longtime Ubisoft veteran Michel Ancel.
Last week, Michel Ancel–the creator of the Rayman series and Beyond Good & Evil—announced his departure from Ubisoft after 30 years, with Ancel detailing that he would be moving on from game development to pursue work at a wildlife sanctuary. However, following Ancel’s announcement of retirement and leaving the company, a report emerged from the French newspaper Liberation that claimed Ancel was under investigation by Ubisoft for accusations of toxic behavior and management during the development of Beyond Good & Evil 2.
According to additional details from Kotaku, Ubisoft confirmed in a statement that Ancel was under investigation from accusations that arose of his management style and issues with the direction of the game. According to anonymous reports from employees to Liberation, this included “constant changes in scope and re-works” and “an unusual amount of exhaustion, depression, and burnout experienced by members of his team.”
In response to the allegations, Michel Ancel posted a statement to his Instagram, calling the claims by Liberation “fake news” and denying the reports. Ancel mentioned in his statement that “I will fight for the truth because such accusations are a shame,” adding that “I worked hard on every [one, sic] of my projects and always had respect for the teams.” Ancel also seemingly pushed some of the accusations away from him and towards managers on the project, detailing that he brings “a vision” and that “producers and managers decide what to do, when and how.”
Given the blowback from Ubisoft’s prior investigations and accusations that emerged over the summer, the allegations against Ancel add more fuel to the calls from across the industry for Ubisoft to implement more systemic change to address these issues. While several of the managers and employees named in the initial allegations have either been terminated or left the company accordingly, it remains to be seen what firmer action Ubisoft will take heading into the future following its planned investigations.