Less than a month after joining work on the Sands of Time remake, Ubisoft Toronto lays off 33 employees ‘to ensure it can deliver on its ambitious roadmap’

The plague of layoffs that’s gripped the videogame industry since the start of 2023 continued today as Ubisoft confirmed that 33 employees at its Toronto studio have been let go.

“Ubisoft Toronto has decided to conduct a targeted realignment to ensure it can deliver on its ambitious roadmap,” a company representative said in a statement provided to PC Gamer. “Unfortunately, this will impact the roles of 33 team members who will be leaving Ubisoft. We are committed to providing comprehensive support to them, including severance and career assistance, to help through this transition.”

The pursuit of “growth” or future ambitions is an unfortunate oxymoron that’s also become a common justification for putting people out of work. Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive described it as “rationalizing its pipeline” in April, while Xbox chief Phil Spencer in March blamed an industry-wide “lack of growth” for the decimation of its workforce. 

In May, Square Enix announced its intent to “aggressively pursue” multiplatform game development with an increased focus on the PC market, a strategy that also necessitated layoffs; the following month Embracer Group unveiled a “human-centric” AI policy it said will “empower” its employees, just three days after closing Alone in the Dark studio Pieces Interactive outright.

Of course, none of these cuts are about people and games, they’re about ensuring a number on a page goes up sufficiently quickly to keep investors happy. Those numbers went up very quickly indeed during the opening years of the Covid-19 pandemic, when we were all stuck at home and playing more games than ever. 

But with those restrictions now a thing of the past, that rapid expansion has slowed, and the executives who dove face-first into an overheated market as though it was going to last forever (and, let’s be clear, who should have known better, that’s literally their job) are now left to reckon with the aftermath—which, naturally, other people are going to have to pay for.

The layoffs at Ubisoft Toronto seem especially surprising in light of the fact that the studio was recently put to work on the struggling Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time remake, which it’s handling alongside the seemingly also-struggling Splinter Cell remake. Given that, you might think Ubisoft Toronto would need more people, not fewer, but Ubisoft said the layoffs will not impact any ongoing work: “Our plan remains unchanged, and our teams are working to deliver on the Splinter Cell remake and other projects at the studio.”