According to recent reports, all is not well at Ubisoft Montpellier, the studio behind the long-in-gestation Beyond Good and Evil 2. Sources close to the company have told Kotaku that managing director Guillaume Carmona has left the company in the wake of a government investigation into its working practices.
Kotaku describes “an unprecedented number of developers experiencing burnout and going on sick leave” at the French studio, prompting the Inspection du Travail to visit its offices in December 2022. In a response to Kotaku’s reporting, Ubisoft confirmed that “the Montpellier development team is undergoing well-being assessments through a third party”.
It’s the latest chapter in Beyond Good and Evil 2’s development saga, which began over a decade ago. An open-world sci-fi adventure and sequel to the much-loved 2003 hit, Beyond Good and Evil 2 was first announced in 2003, and has been in varying stages of development ever since; a formal unveiling at E3 in 2017 hyped up its ambitious scale, with players able to seamlessly travel between planet surfaces and outer space.
In September 2020, however, game director Michael Ancel left Ubisoft Montreal following the wider company’s investigations into sexual misconduct. Ancel departed under a cloud of allegations about his “toxic leadership”, according to reports at the time.
The recent departure of Guillaume Carmona coincides with a shakeup of other personnel at Ubisoft Montpellier. According to Kotaku, senior creative director Jean-Marc Geffroy has been replaced by Emile Morel, while the game’s original director is now Charles Gaudron – he replaces Benjamin Dumaz, who’s now left.
Ubisoft has cancelled and delayed a number of games recently, following the sales disappointment of such titles as Just Dance 2023 and Mario +Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. For now, Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still a live project, but a decade on from its announcement, it still doesn’t appear to be any closer to entering full production.