Beyond Good & Evil 2 studio reportedly under investigation for “unprecedented” burnout and sick leave

Ubisoft Montpellier – the studio behind the extremely long-in-development Beyond Good & Evil 2 – is reportedly facing upheaval as it grapples with a labour investigation into “unprecedented” levels of employee stress and sickness, and the departure of its managing director.

As reported by Kotaku, Ubisoft Montpellier – perhaps best known for its work on the Rayman games under studio founder Michel Ancel, who departed in 2020 amid claims of toxic behaviour – is currently being investigated by Montpellier’s Inspection du Travail due to an “unprecedented number of developers experiencing burnout and going on sick leave”.

According to the website’s sources, who were unauthorised to speak about the issue and wished to remain anonymous, “dozens” of Ubisoft Montpellier developers, including “many” leads, have taken extended leave for stress or sickness over the last year, with some choosing not to return – a situation leading to a visit from the French labour inspection office in December.

Beyond Good and Evil 2 Trailer – E3 2017.

Kotaku says that visit resulted in the hiring of a third-party entity, which has now been tasked with interviewing Montpellier employees to provide a full report on the health and wellbeing of the studio’s teams – something Ubisoft has now confirmed.

“The health and wellness of our teams is an ongoing priority,” the publisher told Kotaku. “Given the length of the development cycle with Beyond Good & Evil 2, the Montpellier development team is undergoing wellbeing assessments through a third-party for preventative measures and to evaluate where additional support may be needed.”

As the Inspection du Travail continues its investigation of Ubisoft Montpellier, employees have reportedly been told that managing director Guillaume Carmona – who is said to have been absent from the studio since the start of this year – has now left the company. Carmona had been with Ubisoft for nearly two decades and became the head of its Montpellier studio in 2019.

Kotaku also highlights a number of other changes within the Beyond Good & Evil 2 team, with creative director Jean-Marc Geffroy having reportedly been replaced by the game’s former associate director Emile Morel, while Charles Gaudron is now game director following the departure of Benjamin Dumaz.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 was first teased by Ubisoft in 2008 but wasn’t heard of again until 2017, with new information on its progress arriving only sporadically since then. It’s yet another troubled title for the embattled Ubisoft, which has only just managed to get The Settlers out the door after a tumultuous half-decade of delays, and is still struggling to release pirate adventure Skull & Bones after nearly ten years in development.

That project was recently delayed yet again as Ubisoft confirmed the cancellation of three unannounced games – on top of the four games cancelled last July – and a move to “increased cautiousness over the coming years” after disappointing financial results.

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