Ubisoft CEO’s Son Resigns from Mobile Studio
Owlient is a mobile game development studio owned by Ubisoft, and the son of Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, Charlie Guillemot, has been Owlient's co-head since 2014. Purchased by Ubisoft in 2011, the company has worked on lesser known titles such as Howrse, an equestrian simulation game that has been live for over 10 years.
In August 2020, Owlient released a Tom Clancy branded game called Elite Squad, a mobile title that allows players to collect characters from games like Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and The Division to build a five-member team for use in the game's campaign mode, guild battles, and PvP arena. Controversy arose when players noticed that Elite Squad had used Black Lives Matter imagery to portray an in-game terrorist organization. The imagery was removed and Yves Guillemot publicly apologized, stating that the incident was “an oversight.”
Last week, an announcement was made internally at Ubisoft that both Charlie Guillemot and the other studio head, Rémi Pellerin, would be leaving Owlient, though it's unclear precisely when the exit will occur. The reason for the departures is also uncertain, and it's not known whether past or ongoing Ubisoft controversies have had any influence on the decision. In the past, Ubisoft employees have expressed displeasure on an internal company message board about Yves Guillemot's son becoming a studio head just out of grad school.
Yves Guillemot himself did not make a comment on the pair leaving Ubisoft, nor has his son or Pellerin made a public statement. A source inside of Ubisoft, however, has said that the two men may be leaving to start their own studio. “We wish them all the best for their future endeavors,” a Ubisoft representative said in a statement to Axios on May 27.
Ubisoft has been embroiled in controversy over the past year after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, emotional abuse, bullying, sexism, use of homophobic slurs, and accusations of a toxic work environment began surfacing in June 2020. The employees accused were in positions of power or executives within Ubisoft, ranging from Creative Director to Global Head of HR to Chief Creative Officer.
A number of those named either resigned or were fired shortly after the news came to light, but some were merely suspended. Yves Guillemot had promised that actions would be taken to prevent abuse in the future, and at least 20,000 staff received half-day training. However, as recently as last week, an investigation by French outlet Le Télégramme revealed that the harassment at Ubisoft has continued and many Ubisoft employees say that nothing has changed within the company.
MORE: What Ubisoft Needs To Do Next Regarding Its Misconduct Allegations