The game industry has suffered yet another round of layoffs, as Ubisoft confirms that it has cut 124 employees worldwide as part of an ongoing restructuring effort. The bulk of that number, 98 in total, were let go from Ubisoft's business administrative services and IT in Canada, as well as the Hybride VFX studio in Montreal.
Hybride's website describes it as "part of the techno-creative family of Ubisoft," but its work is focused primarily on film and television rather than videogames. The studios numerous projects include Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, Watchmen, The House With a Clock in its Walls, and Kong: Skull Island, along with pretty much every recent Star Wars films and series: Ahsoka, The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, The Rise of Skywalker, and many others. Ubisoft clarified that Hybride is not part of its major Ubisoft Montreal studio, but is a separate studio based in the same city. According to Mobygames, Hybride's only videogame credit is on Far Cry: Primal.
"Over the past few months, every team within Ubisoft has been exploring ways to streamline our operations and enhance our collective efficiency so that we are better positioned for success in the long term," Ubisoft said in a statement sent to PC Gamer. "In this context, today we announced that we are reorganizing our Canadian studios’ general and administrative functions and reducing headcount in Hybride (our VFX studio based in Montreal) and in our global IT team, which impacts 124 positions overall. These are not decisions taken lightly and we are providing comprehensive support for our colleagues who will be leaving Ubisoft during this transition. We also want to share our utmost gratitude and respect for their many contributions to the company. This restructuring does not affect our production teams.
"As part of this transformation, 98 people, representing less than 2% of our Canadian workforce, from our business administrative services and IT team will be leaving Ubisoft. All affected Canadian employees will be supported through this change, including severance packages, extended benefits where applicable, and career assistance to help them navigate their transition."
2023 hasn't been an overly smooth year for Ubisoft. It began with employees at Ubisoft Paris going on strike to protest "catastrophic" comments by CEO Yves Guillemot, who was accused by the Solidaires Informatique union of trying to pin the blame for Ubisoft's financial struggles on employees rather than management. Following that came reports of unrest at multiple Ubisoft studios in Paris, Montpellier, and (via IGN) Montreal, multiple game delays, and an embrace of AI and NFTs that frankly nobody likes.
But it's also been a rough year for the game industry across the board, with layoffs seemingly industry wide. Star Trek Online developer Cryptic Studios cut its workforce just last week as part of Embracer's ongoing financial struggles, Bungie made cuts in October amidst reports of declining Destiny 2 player numbers, and Epic laid off more than 800 people in September just because it was burning too much cash. Other big game companies including Electronic Arts, Activision, Take-Two, and CD Projekt, along with numerous smaller developers, have followed suit.
Update: The report originally indicated that the 98 Canadian employees were all from Hybride. They were in fact released from Ubisoft's business administrative services and IT team in Canada, as well as Hybride.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.