Ubisoft Montreal isn’t a hell at least not for everyone, this blog is open to comments and other stories. You can also take part enven if you disagree with me, feel free to contact me and tell me your story.
This website is inspired by some courageous employees of Ubi Soft, to read their story, click on the link (only in French, but google can help 🙂 :
If you are not a Canadian or permanent resident, you will need a work permit to work at Ubisoft Montreal, of course they will make the steps to get it quickly and you can join the dream team of which you are the missing link (weakest link). In return you’re married with Ubisoft Montreal, since then you leave home, often your job, your family, you sell your house, liquidate your stuff. You come to Canada to have a brighter future, not really you come at Ubisoft Montreal . Then you are tied body and soul with Ubisoft Montreal, because you can only work for them, your health insurance depend on guess who? (Ubisoft Montreal), your social life for months, the gym is there, the sports activities are organized by company, the child care center is also managed by Ubisoft Montreal. So if they decides to divorce (fire you), you find yourself in a big mess where you become illegal in the country because you have no right to work and you should either leave the country or persuade another company to sponsor you.
This has not existed for a long time and certainly not at Ubisoft Montreal.
Ubisoft Montreal hires a lot of people, almost everyone is to believe that they have no plan to ending. By cons what is less known, are the people who are laid off overnight in silence. And they are much more numerous than previously believed, because the project is canceled or when a project goes wrong, they give back the freedom (fire) some employees. Indeed, it has happened more than once when junior (or even some senior) who did a good job got fired, but why? Well, we had to fire someone and it was the newcomer, or someone in a probation period, or it does not get along with his supervisor or before promotion period. Some other are dismissed because their project is canceled and did not find their other project, and there are still other reasons which are obscure and known only by some gray heads somewhere in the suburbs of Paris. This is even more disheartening knowing that Ubisoft Montreal is receiving signing bonuses of the Government of Quebec, around 25% of salary, it must be added that a junior is employed the first year to 90% of his time in training, and again they receive again money from the government of Quebec. And the last point is that they have tax benefits once again from the Government of Quebec to pay less tax. So they hire all these guys largely paid by the taxes of Quebecers to finally dismiss them like crazy for no good reason, without the government to say anything.
Another consequence is the termination of your social life around collegues (especially important for expatriates) and well all your world collapses. Because they do not invite you any more, nor the partis nor playing improvised evening with a colleague for the reason that you no longer part of the gang and they can not speak freely on secret projects where they work, even if he is an ex-colleague.
After the dismissal, Ubisoft Montreal keeps a file on the former employee, the reasons for which the employee was laid off. I’ll spare you the aberrations they register on the former employee is not always beautiful to read and even less true.
Why do you think there profile departures with Ubisoft Montreal? I do not speak of Martin Tremblay but Clint Hocking (Splinter Cell, Far Cry 2) and Patrice Desilet (Prince of Persia, Assassins Creed), and why Jordan Mechner (Prince of Persia creator) will never work with Ubisoft and is very disappointed with the last Prince of Persia. This is not a coincidence, especially as the company grew too quickly, yet not so long ago it had fewer than 1,000 employees and we saw this number as astronomical, and now we approach the 3000 (minus the silent layoffs), to become the largest studio (factory) in the video game world. While aspirant developers looking for experience and fame continue to knock on the door of Ubisoft Montreal begging for work even at rebate, there is no reason to change anything to their policy.
So why staying at Ubisoft Montreal as the urban legend with Ubisoft Montreal and elsewhere about EA said that it is worse there, and other major studios are not much better. So going elsewhere to find the same conditions, and start from scratch to risk worse, with this kind of argument they managed to keep a good number of employees, because over the years, there accustomed, Ubisoft Montreal is like a family, he becomes a veteran that is respected, we have buddies at work and so on. Other major studios have not yet the same recognition, even if the big guys are coming (Eidos, Funcom, THQ, Warner) are still awaiting the first games out of Montreal studios.
Then you have smaller studios, but you think it’s less serious, poorly managed, working on unfamous games and less work security. At least in a smaller studio they know you and you are not employee Number :3001.
Being hired by Ubisoft Montreal is a tempting offer, but if at the same time you are offered another job in another game company, basically Montreal became the new capital of gaming. But at Ubisoft Montreal for less pay you dangled a bonus (you will not), a fitness room in the building (where you’ll never have time to go), working on a famous game (if is not canceled), to be paid a fixed amount regardless of the number of hours of work. Yes, the salary is not calculated according time and they do not give you the actual contract before your first day at Ubisoft Montreal. They give you an offer letter with the pay and the basics conditions, the real contract is known once it’s too late to turn back. If ever they offer you a letter of employment, refuse it and ask for the real contract, you will be surprised by the real conditions of the contract.
The major problem in the video game industry is that the precarious working conditions are seen as the norm. Since then, scandals and other EA SPOUSE, Ubi Free (the original), including those conditions known to the world and have the perverse effect of making believe that it is normal to work 70h – 80h per week for the same salary, without any compensation. If you are not happy they should go work elsewhere, so developers got along with the idea of being exploited. This causes a vicious circle where new employees find it normal to work like slaves without any compensation or guarantee, after a while they just require the same for the next generation.
As an employee in production (programmer, artist, designer, … on a game), you receive a bonus around 20% of your annual salary, at least if the game reaches its sales goals set by someone of management. This premium is used to motivate employees to excel (overtime without flinching) and achieves a good game that will sell. But his involvement in the success or commercial success of a game is reduced when working in a team of 100 or 200 or 300 people around the world. In addition, a significant factor such as marketing should be taken into account especially that the game designers have no decision on it.
On the other sides, there are other attractive incentives: bringing a friend to join Ubisoft Montreal, if one refers to and that he’s lucky to be part of Ubisoft Montreal, we are promised a quick check to the next payday. Subsequently, this is less rosy, the check fails and the person in charge do not understand (or pretend to). You need to move heaven and earth to see the color of it. An employee chased the human resources for over two months, and they ended up paying because he was on a key project already in overtime in recent months. You should also add that he will only receive half the promised sum, but good people do not work at Ubisoft Montreal for the money, they would work even free, thinks a lot of people, as if the employees of Ubisoft Montreal did not pay rent, do not eat, had no social life, had no family, in fact they have no need of money but Ubisoft needs it, to continue creating great games that will bring happiness to the world.