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XDefiant Toxic Workplace Allegations Ramp Up, While The Game Is Still Not Ready To Release

Unfortunately, this is all very credible, given what we know about Ubisoft.

Insider Gaming has a serious new report about the goings-on behind the scenes at Ubisoft’s XDefiant.

The media outlet has been reporting on alleged turmoil behind the scenes in the project since January. Most recently, Mark Rubin responded to the allegations, stating that the title is currently delayed because the studio is still working on netcode, social systems, and bug fixes.

Insider Gaming’s new report alleges that issues with XDefiant’s production have been a long running problem, possibly since the project was first started. Their sources refer to a group called The Boys Club, who are the people in charge of the production. That includes their most visible member, project head Mark Rubin.

Quoting Insider Gaming’s report directly:

”The issue with ‘The Boys Club’ isn’t that its managers or directors telling developers what to do—after all, that’s their job—but it’s the lack of work ethic, unpleasant behavior, and the egos from these individuals that have created a really unhealthy place to work, said sources.”

Insider Gaming also makes it clear that the netcode issues Rubin referred to in public are real. They are not leading to crashes, but bullets do not hit as intended, they get around corners, and other similar issues have led to the current delay.

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Insider Gaming also confirms Rubin’s statement that there have been no significant changes to the game since its last playtest. They then explain that their own claim that XDefiant has been chasing Call of Duty was a long term issue in development. It’s not that copying things that work in Call of Duty is a bad thing. Rather, The Boys Club have been making their developers repeat and iterate work to an unreasonable degree, with this as the stated justification.

This has led to the rank and file staff feeling frustrated behind the scenes, with some even quitting. But now there are even accusations that have come up against The Boys Club since this report.

A 20+ year industry veteran named Lisette Titre-Montgomery, who has worked on titles as varied as The Simpsons Game, Dante’s Inferno, Dance Central 3, and most recently, Psychonauts 2, made these allegations on Twitter (edited for clarity):

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“This is why I left @Ubisoft SF (Ubisoft San Francisco) during SPTFB (South Park: Fractured But Whole).

“The Boys Club” are known abusers. Domestic abuse included.

I was verbally insulted constantly. Called “a stupid bitch” in front of my team.

“Ni**er” (Hard ER) was written on a whiteboard at a meeting I attended.

Bullying was common practice as was crunch.

I was regularly and purposefully excluded from leadership meetings and decisions that affected my team and processes.

This kind of behavior was so prevalent several other people on the team had mental breakdowns during their tenure there.

Even If I wanted to complain to HR I couldn’t. My boss was sleeping with the woman who ran HR for the studio.

I have friends who have experienced the same culture at other Ubi studios worldwide starting with The Paris Editorial board whose abuse is also well documented… same stories from Montreal, and the Philippine studios.

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The shit keeps rolling downhill.

With no accountability.”

This matches previous reporting on alleged management misconduct at Ubisoft that we have known about in the past few years. While we know Ubisoft and their management is currently in the process of facing court cases and more investigation, it seems that the company has even more secrets that have yet to come to light.

As for XDefiant, Insider Gaming reiterates the game is still not cancelled, but it isn’t clear how long before the studio working on it can finish the project enough to be ready for release. If their allegations are true, under The Boys Club, we could be waiting even longer.

We wish the best for the current and former employees at Ubisoft, and hope to report on proper accountability and change coming to the game company in the future.

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