Ubisoft has come under fire for striking a second partnership with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s controversial production company, HitRecord, on Watch Dogs: Legion.
HitRecord will be producing in-game materials for the upcoming title by having its community members contribute to the project, who will then be paid an amount the company sees fit. For those who missed last year’s Beyond Good and Evil 2 backlash, HitRecord has often been criticized over its questionable and inconsistent compensation methods, and has been called out repeatedly for exploiting its community members by extracting work and not paying accordingly – a charge that it denies.
Ubisoft’s announcement drew criticism from fellow developers, who took to Twitter to voice their concerns.
“This sucks,” wrote Thomas Was Alone developer, Mike Bithell. “Pay people for their labor. Stop exploiting fans and hobbyists while devaluing the work of those with the gall to actually expect consistent payment for work done. Do better, Ubi, we’re counting on you.”
Bithell suggested that an open call for submissions would be a better way for Ubisoft to commission those whose work it likes so that they can be tasked to work on the game for proper pay.
Bithell was joined by Night in the Woods co-creator, Scott Benson, as well as Vlambeer co-founder, Rami Ismail, both of whom voiced their disappointment.
For its part, Ubisoft has said that its decision to work with HitRecord was born out of its desire to work more closely with fans.
“The core innovation in Watch Dogs: Legion is that you can recruit and play as anyone, and bring them into your resistance, and they can become the heroes of your game,” said creative director, Clint Hocking. “When we first started thinking about that as sort of the theme, that’s when we had this idea that maybe we should work with fans, and the community, and other players in order to add value, and reflect that theme in the musical landscape of our world. That’s why we went to HitRecord.”
Watch Dogs: Legion will release on March 6, 2020.