Assassin's Creed publisher Ubisoft investigating harassment allegations
Allegations of employee harassment and abuse were made against members of Ubisoft.
Ubisoft, the gaming publisher behind the Assassin's Creed and Far Cry games, announced Thursday that they are launching an internal investigation into multiple allegations of employee harassment and abuse. This follows Ashraf Ismail, the creative director of the upcoming Assassin's Creed Valhalla, stepping down from the project amid sexual misconduct claims.
"Concerning recent allegations raised against certain Ubisoft team members: We want to start by apologizing to everyone affected by this – we are truly sorry," a company statement reads. "We are dedicated to creating an inclusive and safe environment for our teams, players, and communities. It is clear we have fallen short of this in the past. We must do better. We have started by launching investigations into the allegations with the support of specialized external consultants. Based on the outcomes, we are fully committed to taking any and all appropriate disciplinary action. As these investigations are ongoing, we can't comment further. We are also auditing our existing policies, processes, and systems to understand where these have broken down, and to ensure we can better prevent, detect, and punish inappropriate behavior."
The statement also says that Ubisoft will share additional measures in the coming days. "Our goal is to foster an environment that our employees, partners, and communities can be proud of — one that reflects our values and that is safe for everyone," it concludes.
In a now deleted tweet, Ismail said he's stepping down from his creative director role on Valhalla "to properly deal with the personal issues in my life." He added, "The lives of my family and my own are shattered. I am deeply sorry to everyone hurt in this." In recent days, a number of women have shared stories about alleged abuse and misconduct they faced in the gaming industry. The specific claims against Ismail allege he engaged in extramarital affairs and sexual misconduct with younger fans. Multiple other employees at Ubisoft have also been accused of misconduct and "predatory behavior," as reported by Gamasutra.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla was announced in April and set for release on the Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC, Stadia, and the upcoming Playstation 5 consoles this holiday season. It's unclear if it will be delayed.