Ubisoft’s new chief creative officer is Igor Manceau, a 20-year veteran of the company who most recently led development on Riders Republic, the company announced today. Manceau steps into the role over a year after previous CCO, Serge Hascoët, resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, and at a time when many employees are calling on the Assassin’s Creed publisher to shakeup its predominantly French and French-Canadian creative leadership team.
As chief creative officer, Manceau will be in charge of guiding the overall creative vision for every Ubisoft game. “Manceau will work closely with stakeholders in all the company’s studios to include diverse perspectives and sensibilities that will feed the creative spirit of the group,” the company wrote in a press release today, appearing to anticipate criticisms of Manceau’s background and Ubisoft’s ongoing struggle to make its highest ranks reflect the diversity sometimes championed in its games and marketing.
The role was previously filled by Serge Hascoët, another decades-long veteran who saw his tenure at the French publisher come to an end last July while it was reckoning with widespread allegations of sexual misconduct. Hascoët was among those accused, in his case of making sexually explicit remarks to and about female coworkers, but also of fostering a sexist atmosphere and of protecting other men who engaged in harassment. Unlike other Ubisoft employees who were accused of misconduct, Hascoët was allowed to resign but was never formally investigated.
Hascoët was also at the center of internal disputes over which Ubisoft developers were promoted to be his lieutenants. In early 2020, the company announced its revised slate of VPs to help lead its all-powerful Editorial department, responsible for helping the CCO oversee development across all game studios. All of them were white men. After allegations against some of the men appointed were finally reported publicly, Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot promised to revise its composition. One woman, Bio Jade Adam Granger, was finally appointed to that role earlier this year, but many employees are still waiting on the more thorough overhaul that was promised.
“There is no clear expression of the creative process, and there is a shocking lack of diversity in the VPs,” a representative for the A Better Ubisoft employee group wrote in a statement today. “We acknowledge the hiring of Bio-Jade Adam Granger, but not much progress has been made beyond that, especially given that two additional VPs were meant to be hired. Currently, as it stands, the creative team at Ubisoft is composed of white people who are of uniform cultural backgrounds.”
A Better Ubisoft sent an open letter to company management last month calling for fundamental reforms across the video game industry when it came to workplace protections for reporting sexual misconduct, toxic managers, and other issues.
The letter came after several reports earlier this year for current and former Ubisoft employees feeling that the company has done little to fundamentally change in the face of last year’s reckoning. Activision Blizzard faces a similar backlash from employees over a California lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination at that company. So far, neither company has formally acknowledged the employees’ demands for further action.