6 min read

creative human cog

To be a creative human cog in video game development.

Creative Human Cog

I'm writing this to you I guess out of frustration about the video game industry.
I have worked in the industry for some time now, and recently by Ubisoft Montreal.

I worked there for a little while and saw horrific mismanagement, to the point where unfinished projects are disastrously over budget the staff on that project will never see a bonus for years of work.

One unannounced project that was announced at E3 Rainbow Six: Siege, is $20 million over budget, and that budget is for a final release of that game. Right now its fighting for its FPP and if it is approved to full production previous budget get ignored. My jaw just has to drop when I see people let go, families to support, moving to a foreign country to work for this company and to be let go, why because someone else can’t make a better decision than to let a project unchecked sucking the money from itself. People are let go from the company that had served it with pride for years, so the bottom line looks better to investors. So they can sleep better at night that there 3rd house won’t have to be sold, and their Maserati can get a new mother of pearl finish.

The other issues that I find horrific was that a lot of people had recently have been let go from the company. This news has been kept quiet, quite a few designers from Watch Dogs, many from the THQ buyout were let go. The designers were told that their skills did not either fit current needs or that there was were to many designers for positions available. Well I guess if we did not let project run amok, these people would have jobs. Yet months after they were let go, amazing there are positions on the job list, there are people being hired.

Ubisoft has another problem that has to come to light as well, its unfair practices on employee's is that people are placed in an area called Inter-project. In this area its like a bullpen where you go to wait to be placed on another project of get a mandate for one month to eight months or what have you. The idea is good, but the follow through is sorely lacking.

This place the employee is paid half salary by Ubisoft and the other by the province of Quebec.
The project mentioned above being well over budget uses this staff as outsourcing, which the tax payer is paying for. Yes that is right, so not only you pay for these people to do supposedly R&D yet work on a project. So essentially the province of Quebec is paying for part of the development of a over inflated game.

I believe the deal with the Province of Quebec is to keep this staff so Quebec pays for hald their pay as not to put them into unemployment.. I'm sure since I pay for half their salaries I should be entitled to half price on the games I am paying for. The issue is that most people who are in there for a few months do not do work on R&D. This is a lie to the province of Quebec and the people paying for these people do nothing most people sit around and play games and Facebook, while we pay for it.

The other issue is that they have HR specific people who are to supposedly there to aid you into getting another project. This does not happen, I cannot find the purpose for these people because they do not place you on a new project, they tell you about the list of positions that are available, you pick one, they wait for days to get back to you. Give you a name of a contact, you write a cover letter or a letter of introduction. When and if you get a response from them, you have to go and interview for that project, wait what? You have to endure a phone interview, two face to face interviews to get hired, then do it again for a new project a year or so later. This place is so bogged down with red tape; I find it amazing it releases a title. Well on time, Well; just releases it.

It is you alone that has to find your training while you are to do R&D, find your own training or use theirs. There is no HR or management structure in inter-project, so people inevitably
do what they will do best when not managed; it is your decision where to go.

The good thing here sarcastically speaking is at the end of the quarter just before year end company pep talk. HR has a mandate to empty the inter-project area.  You either find a position yourself or get canned. Getting a new position, well you have to pimp yourself out and stroke, there is no shortage of that there. I find it amazing and it’s not just here, but a lot of companies. I think we forget about team work and protect what we have, but what makes a game is a team of people; other humans with families.

So getting a new project is a lot of coffee talk and ass kissing, or a friend of a friend. It’s demeaning to have to apply for a job again after your already there. People are demoted and salaries are reduced because of assigned obscure meaningless defined review system. These levels are so ambiguous and an easy way to bend and mold it appropriately to the whims of HR who has X amount of money for raises to give out. So they ask Leads to be pickier on reviews if they get to many good reviews.

I guess I know why the sweeping layoff of more senior to higher paid employees, to make way for the mass of junior people was done.

Assassins Creed Black Flag team received Gold Master Bonus, but not everyone. It was undetermined how and who got one.
It was not seniority.
It was not duration on the project.
It was not management only.

Future projects:

Well this is all I have for now!



Latest Jobs


Playa Vista, California
Audio Engineer

Digital Extremes

London, Ontario, Canada
Communications Director

High Moon Studios

Carlsbad, California
Senior Producer

Build a Rocket Boy Games

Edinburgh, Scotland
Lead UI Programmer
More Jobs   


Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter


Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more