#2: Indecent exposure

Come work for Ubisoft! Maybe! No, we won't pay you, don't be silly.

#2: Indecent exposure

At E3 in 2019, Ubisoft announced a partnership with HitRecord, a company set up by Hollywood’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt that lets hobbyist artists collaborate on projects to potentially be featured in Watch Dogs Legion and the definitely-coming-out-one-day Beyond Good & Evil 2. Which sounded great, until it transpired that Ubisoft would pay just $2,000 for anything it chose to include in a game, to be split evenly between collaborators. The pushback was predictable: a huge, multinational, multibillion-dollar game publisher, asking its fans for work on spec, is not the greatest of PR moves.

Undeterred, Ubi is now at it again, with a tattoo-design contest for its enjoyable vikings-in-Norfolk caper Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Except this time it is somehow even worse. Just four tattoos will be incorporated into the game, with the designer of each given $225 worth of Valhalla merch. And by entering the contest, win or lose, you transfer all rights to your work to Ubisoft in perpetuity, agreeing it can use it in any future projects at no cost.

This is all terrible, needless to say, and quite a baffling move from a company whose reputation is in the gutter following all those allegations of unrestrained harassment last year, and the high-level firings and departures that followed. With the staff done, it’s now seemingly time to screw the fans, too.

Yet there may be something else going on here. Ubisoft is highly curious about blockchain technology, partnering with and co-founding several organisations and initiatives in the space (GI.biz has a quick summary of it all here.) Perhaps it envisions a future in which player creations can be freely traded between players, incorporated across games, and maybe even monetised by their creators, and the Valhalla contest is just an awkward early step down that road. Or maybe they’ve just lost the plot. There’s always that, isn’t there.


  • Whatever you think of Rockstar and its games, you can not fault it for confidence. 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V arrives on PS5 and Xbox Series S/X on November 11, two weeks before the US sits down for Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, I’ll buy it again.
  • Speaking of which, GTA publisher Take-Two plans to release 21 games before the end of its fiscal year in March 2022. (I hear its Private Division label will be doing the heavy lifting here.)
  • More Starfield rumours to keep those SEO-riddled ‘everything we know’ website features going: it’s coming out in 2022, according to someone on a podcast, and will star Tom Cruise, according to some people on Reddit who saw a Tweet. Good.
  • The remaster of Skyward Sword, that most overly padded of all Zeldas, will offer a new universal fast-travel system —  but only if you buy a new Amiibo. Right.
  • Four class-action lawsuits launched against CD Projekt Red over the Cyberpunk 2077 launch fiasco have combined to form one super-powered giga-class-action lawsuit, unlocking better skills and a Super on a cooldown.