The threat of a possible takeover is never a nice feeling for a company, yet it is a threat that renowned developer Ubisoft could well face at some point in the not too distant future. It’s no secret within the industry that the shadow of multinational French media conglomerate Vivendi looms large for the Watch Dogs and Division developer/publisher, with Vivendi having already taken control over Ubisoft sister company Gameloft earlier this year.
Vivendi has spent most of 2016 buying up Ubisoft shares in a relentless bid to seize a controlling stake in the company and only time will tell if Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot is able to resist an unwanted takeover. With Guillemot attempts to convince board members not to sell their shares, Vivendi’s attempt at a hostile takeover has proved to be an unwelcome situation for all concerned and something that doesn’t sit well with the majority of developers inside Ubisoft, “There is something very fragile that makes a company what it is,” said Michel Ancel, developer for Ubisoft while speaking to Kotaku. “[It’s made of] people who have been working together for a long time. It’s always the same, if you look at King or Supercell, it’s a group of people who did something very strong at a certain time.”
Ubisoft Montpellier’s creative director, Ancel who created the iconic Rayman series in addition to Beyond Good and Evil understands more than most the detrimental effects a possible takeover could have on the companies various development teams, including his own, “It’s not just one person most of the time, it’s a lot of people who make the team work. If you change the team this fragile system could break, it’s a risk, and today there is no reason to change it, unless people want to make more money. But Ubisoft is good at what it’s doing.”
With Ubisoft Montpellier and Ancel currently focused on a follow up to 2003’s Beyond Good and Evil, Ancel explains that both he and his staff try not to let takeover speculation distract the team from their current project, but of course, life isn’t easy, “We try to continue in the normal way, We try to [remain] focused on our job and not think too much because otherwise… you aren’t natural anymore. You can’t live with the threat.”
It is currently unclear if Vivendi’s attempts to seize control of Ubisoft will prove to be successful.