Ubisoft Montpellier, the studio behind Beyond Good and Evil 2, is reportedly under investigation by France’s Labour Inspection body for an “unprecedented” amount of burnout and sick leave among its staff. According to anonymous sources who spoke to Kotaku, numerous staff members, including several lead developers, have taken extended absences from the company due to sickness and stress, with some of them eventually leaving altogether. A third-party has now been given the task of interviewing Ubisoft Montpellier employees to assess their physical and mental health.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 is probably the most notable ongoing project of Ubisoft Montpellier, although the studio has also worked on a number of mobile games as well as Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and Wildlands in recent years. However, the game has undergone multiple shakeups recently. The project picked up Sarah Arellano as its new lead writer in August last year, and staff have reportedly been told that managing director Guillaume Carmona won’t be returning to Ubisoft after a long period of absence that began at the start of this year. The game is also said to have lost its creative director and game director in the most recent shake-up.
The first trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2 was released in 2008, but since then, the game has experienced a long and troubled development. In fact, it beat Duke Nukem Forever’s record for longest development time in August last year. The game that was showcased with a surprise guest appearance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt at E3 2018 is probably not what the game is at this point. It’s certainly not what anyone had in mind all the way back in 2008.
The situation at Ubisoft Montpellier has raised questions about the status of Beyond Good and Evil 2. The game has been in development for 15 years, and it’s unclear what shape it’s in at this point. If the game is pushing its staff to the point that it damages their health after all this time, maybe it’s best to just let the project go. No game is worth this agony, and the health and well-being of the people who make games should always come first.
It’s worth noting that Ubisoft has faced numerous allegations of toxic workplace culture and sexual harassment in recent years. In 2020, several high-profile employees were fired or resigned following allegations of misconduct. Ubisoft has since implemented new measures to address these issues, including setting up a support fund for employees who have experienced harassment or discrimination. However, the situation at Ubisoft Montpellier suggests that there’s still work to be done to improve the working conditions at the company.
In conclusion, Beyond Good and Evil 2 has been in development for 15 years, and the situation at Ubisoft Montpellier suggests that the game’s development has taken a toll on its staff. The studio is reportedly under investigation for an “unprecedented” amount of burnout and sick leave among its employees, and it’s lost its managing director as well as its creative director and game director. If the game is pushing its staff to the point that it damages their health after all this time, maybe it’s best to just let the project go. The health and well-being of the people who make games should always come first, and there’s still work to be done to improve the working conditions at Ubisoft.