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New report looks inside Ubisoft's little-known 'interproject'

Laying off development staff between projects is a woefully common practice in the game industry, but Kotaku has found that Ubisoft Montreal's efforts to keep talent on the payroll can have its own downsides.
"Many people that do end up in interproject for any length of time just end up quitting. You go from working your ass off and giving a shit to just basically being set aside and forgotten."
- An anonymous Ubisoft employee speaks to the negative aspects of being retained off-project in the company's interproject building. Laying off development staff between projects is a woefully common practice in the game industry, but keeping talent on the payroll without giving them something to do can have its own downsides. A new Kotaku report investigates one such retaining strategy at Ubisoft Montreal, which maintains an "interproject" division for housing developers who are between projects. Kotaku's sources paint interproject as a sort of company-funded holding pen where developers mostly goof off between bouts of pitching in to work on company projects and applying for a position on another Ubisoft development team. "If you can get on another project quickly then it's like a little mini-vacation," one source told Kotaku. "You go there, hang out, and then move on." However, another source characterized being assigned to the division as "one of the most depressing things that can happen;" multiple sources characterized interproject life as drab and unsettling, with some developers reportedly spending months there unsuccessfully seeking new positions within the company before being terminated. While a Human Resources VP at Ubisoft Montreal confirmed the existence of interproject to Kotaku and claimed it was a standard practice for large-scale companies, we struggle to think of similar programs. If you or someone you know has worked for a company that practices similar talent retainment strategies, we encourage you to email Gamasutra to tell your story in confidence. The full report, which cites multiple sources and goes into much greater detail about the nature of Ubisoft Montreal's interproject division, can be read over on Kotaku.

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