Ubisoft CEO Expanded on Comments Regarding "Friction" in Game Development

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated that game development requires "friction" and "a lot of tension" but later, offered additional context saying that he referred to "creative tension."

In a recent interview with the Canadian outlet La Presse, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated that creating video games takes "a little friction" which sparked some controversy among people in the industry.

When asked about why toxic behaviors are so widespread in the video game industry, Guillemot noted that as developing a game is quite challenging, the development process comes along with "a lot of tension."

"Techniques must be put in place to ensure that everyone succeeds in finding their place," he said (Google translated). "To create, you need a little friction, because everyone has to succeed in getting their idea across. It's a job that brings a lot of rewards when you succeed, but it's difficult."

Guillemot's comments shortly caused backlash from representatives of the games industry, not least because of Ubisoft's own struggle to deal with allegations of toxicity and misconduct in the workplace. In 2020, Ubisoft was one of a number of game companies that faced accusations of harassment and bullying which led to the termination of several employees including creative director Ashraf Ismail and PR director Stone Chin.

The company later noted that it is currently working on improving the workplace situation. However, in a recent interview with Assassin's Creed fan group AC Sisterhood, A Better Ubisoft, the group of current and former Ubisoft employees who campaign for change in the company, stated that the company is not doing enough to solve the issues and it still has some employees who were involved in misconduct or employees who protected abusers.

Meanwhile, in early September, Guillemot claimed that Ubisoft has "done a lot" to improve the working culture saying that the company started taking necessary measures, like cutting jobs of those who were involved in misconduct and taking actions on other fronts, shortly after it got aware of the issues.

Following the wave of ire regarding Guillemot's comments to La Presse, the head of Ubisoft provided a statement to PC Gamer saying that when he spoke of the tension, he was referring to the "creative tension that is common and vital in innovative companies" like Ubisoft. 

"To prevent this tension from becoming negative or to address it if it does, that's where strong policies, values and corresponding procedures are essential," Guillemot said. "Over the past two and half years, we have made a lot of progress on that front in order to deliver safe and great experiences to all of our teams."

You can find Yves Guillemot's interview with La Presse here. Please note that it is in French. Also, don't forget to join our Reddit page and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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