Wow, this has just become increasingly messy over the years. First, some background: Patrice Désilets is the creator and designer behind the Assassin’s Creed series – you know, Ubisoft’s most successful and lucrative IP to date. In 2010, Désilets left Ubisoft and at the time it was believed he did so because he wasn’t happy with the direction the AC franchise was heading – you know, the whole annualised releases thing. Désilets departed Ubisoft Montréal and ended up working at THQ Montréal.
During his time at THQ Montréal, Désilets was working on two games that had working titles of 1666 and Underdog. Very little is known about these games, but you can guess what happened next: THQ imploded and the now dead publisher began offloading studios and IPs. Ubisoft acquired THQ Montréal along with 170 members of its staff and all the games it was working on – yes, including Désilets and his two new games 1666 and Underdog. It must have been a slightly awkward “homecoming”. Regardless, there was no concrete evidence on whether Désilets would slot back into Assassin’s Creed development or if he would continue work on his other two games.
Now, Désilets has revealed that he’s just been fired by Ubisoft:
“Contrary to any statements made earlier today, this morning I was terminated by Ubisoft. I was notified of this termination in person, handed a termination notice and was unceremoniously escorted out of the building by two guards without being able to say goodbye to my team or collect my personal belongings. This was not my decision. Ubisoft’s actions are baseless and without merit. I intend to fight Ubisoft vigorously for my rights, for my team and for my game.”
The statements made earlier that Désilets refers to is the official statement from Ubisoft, which says the following:
“The acquisition of THQ Montréal in January allowed Ubisoft to welcome 170 experienced developers, including Patrice Désilets, to our existing and renowned workforce. Unfortunately, since the acquisition, the good faith discussions between Patrice and Ubisoft aimed at aligning Patrice’s and the studio’s visions have been inconclusive. As a result, Patrice has left the studio. Our priorities remain with the teams already hard at work on projects in development. They are at the root of Ubisoft Montréal’s past and future successes.”
Of course, Désilets now no longer holds the rights to the two games he was working on while at THQ Montréal, and this is where the corporate conspiracy theorists are having a field day. It is being speculated that Ubisoft’s acquisition of THQ Montréal served a nefarious purpose to acquire Désilets’s two new IPs on the off chance that they present competition to the Assassin’s Creed series, which Désilets created for them in the first place. Ouch.
Where’s my tinfoil hat?