Beyond Good and Evil 2 is stuck firmly in development hell, with current studio Ubisoft Montpellier now having worked on the game, in one form or another, for over a decade. In this time, little progress has been made, with only scattered teaser trailers, behind-closed-doors demos, and reassurances to keep fans hopeful of an eventual release. Now, the project has hit a new snag – as the managing director of Ubisoft Montpellier has reportedly departed the company with no prior warning.
As shared with Kotaku, studio managing director Guillaume Carmona reportedly took a leave of absence from Ubisoft in early 2023. Now, staff are being told he will not return, and he has officially left the company. Anonymous sources speaking to Kotaku claim the reason for his departure was not explained – but it does coincide with a major third-party labour investigation into Ubisoft Montpellier, for its ‘unprecedented’ rates of employee burnout.
‘The health and wellness of our teams is an ongoing priority,’ a Ubisoft spokesperson told Kotaku of this investigation. ‘Given the length of the development cycle with Beyond Good and Evil 2, the Montpellier development team is undergoing well-being assessments through a third-party for preventative measures and to evaluate where additional support may be needed.’
Reports detailed by Kotaku indicate those working on Beyond Good and Evil 2 have experienced major difficulties over the life cycle of the game, with many going on extended leave for stress or sickness as its development timeline continued to blow out. Studio pressure also impacted leads on the project, according to sources speaking to Kotaku.
The impact was so great, it attracted the attention of French labour inspectors, who are now in the process of interviewing everyone at Ubisoft Montpellier, and providing a full report on the health of the team.
This is just the latest in a string of major changes and challenges for the Beyond Good and Evil 2 studio, which has experienced extreme shifts over the last few years. Michel Ancel, the game’s original director, departed the project in 2020, amid allegations of a toxic workplace at Ubisoft. Several of the game’s creative directors have also been removed or replaced over the last few years, with development constantly slowing, as a result.
At this stage, it’s unknown if Beyond Good and Evil 2 will ever see the light – but it hardly matters. The health and wellbeing of Ubisoft Montpellier employees is far more important to consider. There is hope the ongoing investigation into labour practices at the studio yields much-needed change, and a more positive working environment for everyone.