Ass Creed Creator Leaves Ubi Again, Fired This Time

By Nathan Grayson on May 7th, 2013 at 9:30 pm.

Eventually, Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets will make another game. He’ll just have to make some excruciating blood sacrifice on an arcane altar in some Mayan ruins first, because he is clearly cursed. First he left Ubisoft to chase his new vision, then eventual partner THQ drowned in a sea of unsold uDraws, and now – only a few months after being brought back into the Ubisoft fold – he’s flying solo once again. This time, however, he claims the departure wasn’t voluntary at all. Well, unless you define “being unceremoniously booted out the front door by security guards” as voluntary, anyway.

Initially, Ubisoft announced Desilets’ brisk, refreshing lap through the old revolving door, implying that the designer left of his own accord. ”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,” said a statement. “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.”

But then Desilets fired back. And I mean that. He’s ready for war, from the sound of things. He explained, in a statement to Kotaku:

“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 game in question is 1666, a game that presumably involves goals and challenges and is a game. Yeah, nobody really knows what it’s actually about, though speculation says another alternate history could be in the cards. Perhaps something more occult than Assassin’s Creed? Or maybe it’s a historically accurate account of Isaac Newton’s creation of differential calculus. “Eureka!” he’ll say. “The equation was here all along. Now I can finally leap from tens of stories into rickety hay bails and not die in a twisted splatter of splinter and bone!”

I’ve attempted to contact Desilets for further comment. More soon, hopefully.

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78 Comments »

  1. Brun says:

    It’s not the most unprofessional firing I’ve heard of but it’s close (that dubious title goes to the company – can’t remember which one – that fired its CEO over the phone while she was returning from a business trip).

    What could he have done to piss them off so badly?

    • Shuck says:

      Sounds pretty typical, honestly. The least professional lay-off that I’d heard about (and probably after numerous “retellings,” so grain of salt) was a Sony studio where employees learned they all weren’t being kept on when, after a company outing, there weren’t enough buses to take them all back to the office. (I like to think this is true, just so that all the layoffs I experience seem kind and professional by comparison.)
      As for what he did – it could be as simple as they didn’t want to do the project he was heading up.

      • olemars says:

        One time-honored method of “telling” someone they’re fired is to just delete their access card from the security system.

        • heretic says:

          yeah, heard nomura would have an evacuation fire drill and remove access while everyone was out – prevent front office from taking client details…

    • Soldancer says:

      Based on this article:

      http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-05-07-patrice-desilets-leaves-ubisoft-again

      …I am going to make a partially baseless assumption (and make an ass out of U and Umption)

      Ubisoft was trying to keep him from making something that was competing with them, and then gained the rights to (ostensibly) his game after the THQ acquisition. Presumably he was booted because they wanted to have their way with 1666.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      The CEO was *fired over the phone*?! Oh, dear me, how ever will she console herself with only the millions CEOs are handed when they’re sacked? Someone pull out the fainting couch!

      • Brun says:

        It’s an incredibly disrespectful and unprofessional way of firing anyone, regardless of how much money they make.

        • Continuity says:

          With a 6 figure severance package, you can fire me any way you damn well please. in fact, kudos points for originality.

          • MadTinkerer says:

            Not all CEOs make six figure severance packages.

            EDIT: Also, it’s the CEO. Which means a couple things, including whoever had enough power to do that to a CEO was also willing to be that damn unprofessional. Which means the rest of the company is/was at the mercy of an unprofessional jackass.

          • Lone Gunman says:

            Considering the amount of corporate psychopaths out there I am sure they will be just fine.

        • Grygus says:

          I’ve only been fired twice in my life. One of them was over the phone, and it came with a five-figure severance. The other one was face-to-face, and came with not getting a paycheck anymore.

          Guess which one I liked more?

          • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            I had a five figure severance once. Two of the figures were to the right of the decimal, and there was at least one leading zero, possibly two. I bought a bag of crisps.

          • Synesthesia says:

            I love this guy.

          • trout says:

            In the venerable stone bricks of Castle Shotgunne, there is a hallowed hall reserved for the wittiest and most charming comments made on RPS – I understand L.C Smingleigh has the largest portrait thereabouts. :D

          • Rublore says:

            Trout – By now, I’m fairly certain he has his own wing.

    • kimadactyl says:

      I don’t want to defend Ubi but apparently this kind of firing is pretty average for senior server admins. Short version, if you have access to all the source/passwords etc and you’re in charge and it might be acrimonious, getting the person physically out the building is the only way to ensure security.

      Why it is acrimonious of course is the issue here.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        I got fired from my last IT job while I was away on sick leave. They took the opportunity to rifle through my personal items, delete security details from my flash drives, and remove password info from my notebook.

        In hindsight, it’s probably a good thing they went that far — I’m still fuming about that whole degrading experience six years later. VENGEANCE WOULD HAVE BEEN MINE!!!

        • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          Why does the drive space formerly occupied by the mission-critical database consist solely of the number 0xDEADC0DE repeated over and over?

          *sigh*

          If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. First, the paralyser dart, then drag their bodies out to the side of the road, then tell them they’re fired.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Gradual toxin immunity is a side benefit of IT work, so that shit wouldn’t have affected me anyway.

          • solidsquid says:

            Don’t forget to log all activity on the servers for a year to catch any dead mans handles they’ve installed

        • FFabian says:

          I guess you’re from the US? Then I’m glad for living in western Europe. Here we have rights – even as an employee.

          • jimbobjunior says:

            Your contract still probably has a “garden leave” clause that allows the employer to get you out of the office immediately and to serve your notice period at home.

          • Widthwood says:

            Not sure about Europe, but in Russia if employee was fired wile being on a vacation or sick leave and he would choose to sue the employer, the employer would almost certainly loose the case in court. This is a direct violation of worker’s rights, and no contract can limit or override them. Actually, I thought these rights were pretty much international like copyright, sad to see that they aren’t.

            If the employer blocks employee from his working place (e.g. by erasing his security card from database) a proper course of action is to call the police, and record the fact that you can’t do your job because of the employer. If you don’t – employer can count this as an absence without grounds – this is violation of work contract, and with enough violations can then fire employee according to law.

            A proper (and the only) way to forcefully fire a good worker in Russia according to law is to notify him/her no less then TWO months in advance in written form, and the worker will also get 2 months worth of severance minimum. Other variants include employer proving that worker’s skills are inadequate (this is usually pretty hard to do), or terminate the whole company and rehire only part of workers under a new name (this is some legal kung-fu that is only applicable to massive layoffs, obviously). Usually however, employees are fired based on voluntary mutual written agreement that is signed by both parties.

            The things that you are describing (firing over phone, while on vacation, etc) are happening too, but these are clearly illegal and usually involve document forgery, bribes and scare tactics, and still there is usually a pretty high chance for a worker to win a case in court.

      • MajorManiac says:

        Yes, the sad truth is this is the professional way to be fired.

        Still unpleasant though.

    • HisDivineOrder says:

      Yahoo fired their CEO over the phone.

  2. Phendron says:

    Where has Cara been? Don’t tell me you’re not her keeper, RPS.

    • Phendron says:

      NM, she’s hiding in the other comments sections.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Get out of here, stalker.

        • Bork Titflopsen says:

          That’s what you get for posting pictures of soup on the internet, people get obsessed with you.

          I posted a picture of soup on a forum once and boy, let me tell you, people wouldn’t stop bothering me! They’d even call me names like ‘Soup Guy’ or ‘Attention Souper’.

  3. mouton says:

    Now no one will want to hire him ever again, as he clearly causes its host company to be absorbed by Ubi. Perhaps it is on purpose, perhaps he is their magical killer bullet they aim at competition?

  4. kwyjibo says:

    They’re going to gut his game and turn it into Assassin’s Creed V.

    • Danda says:

      Probably.

      Eidos Montreal should hire him to salvage THIEF.

      • luukdeman111 says:

        Oh god noo!

        The stealth aspect in assassins creed is so weak I would not trust him with thief… Unless you also want to turn thief into a counter counter counter counter – fest

  5. SominiTheCommenter says:

    Damn Ubi, just let the man work. He made AC2, or did they forgot?
    Ancel was recently shafted too, they delayed the new Rayman despite being done for the WiiU.

    Yeah, I know, big publishers screws dev shocker. It’s still awful.

  6. Rinu says:

    I always thought that AC is a work of a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs™ and I didn’t really look for the one and only behind the idea.

    Good luck to Patrice finding the right publisher and team to create another gem like Assassin’s Creed 2 :).

  7. MichaelPalin says:

    Is that a wig or a fake beard? I’m betting on wig, but still not fully sure.

  8. nimzy says:

    Personally I don’t think the acquisition was revenge-motivated… just a bonus.

    I’m sure he’s got friends over at Eidos Montreal that would love to have him.

  9. Jimbo says:

    Ah ha, Great Fired more like! OF LONDON!!

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Following up on the naval escapades in the last AssCreed, it’s obviously about the Four Days’ Battle.

      • Elmar Bijlsma says:

        An Anglo Dutch War themed game is actually not that bad a guess.
        The naval sections of AC3 were rather well received. If a developer was looking to make the most of this positive reception with more of the same, the Anglo Dutch Wars is pretty much the biggest show in town.
        Plenty of scope for intrigue and jealousy if you were looking for plot padding.

  10. Nimdok says:

    … So his game he was making for THQ was called 1666. Which was a golden year for piracy in the Antilles, not to mention the year of the Great London Fire and the year the Great Plague both peaked and ended. Piracy, huh? Not unlike Ubi’s newest AssCreed title. THQ filed for bankruptcy in December of last year, and in January of this year UbiSoft bought the branch of THQ that Patrice worked for, THQ Montreal. In February of this year, UbiSoft announced AssCreed 4 and started sending out all the piracy-themed hints. Now Patrice’s been fired, according to UbiSoft for what amount to irreconcilable differences.

    Possibly a coincidence.

  11. Bhazor says:

    Hey is that Tim Key? Naw, nevermind.

  12. Tiguh says:

    Is 1666 a game about Kronenbourg lager?

  13. sinister agent says:

    I bet he was found out to be the person who kept taking the nibs out of all the biros in the management meeting rooms. That drives them fucking mental.

    I er, I read somewhere.

  14. PopeRatzo says:

    A big company treats its employees like crap.

    This is not news.

    We’ve seen this movie before, and the only solution, ever, is organized labor. In the US, during the decades organized labor was strongest, big corporations really behaved themselves, paid well, gave benefits, pensions. After three decades of concerted attacks on organized labor, we’re headed straight back to the days of child labor and company stores. Companies do it because they think they can get away with it and there’s nobody to tell them different.

    This is not complicated.

    • pupsikaso says:

      I’ve had enough of unions in government jobs like public transport, garbage collection and schools, thank you very much!

    • Superpat says:

      While I agree that in the us companies beat the shit out of anybody who opposes them, organised labor is not always the best solution, if they become too powerful they start paralysing progress. My best example is our construction/corruption crisis here in Québec. And also situations like what’s going at this ski school where I teach, we have an overabundance of old retirees who managed to get into the syndicate. They have really bad teaching methods and little to no skiing technique, but got hired because there was a lack of new employee’s for children lessons at one point. Now those employee’s are stopping new blood from getting in because they take all the work and nobody can fire them (no matter how bad they are) because of the syndicate.

      Edit: Basically, what I mean is we need BALANCE

      • Harlander says:

        So, organised labour is still the best solution, as long as they have a willingness to compromise.

      • Lone Gunman says:

        It’s ok for the capital owners to be greedy fuckers at the expense of everyone else but woe betide the workers try it.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Sadly it was people in the West enjoying the fruits of Far East sweat shop labour that led us down this route. People thinking it was OK for other people to work for a bowl of rice while they enjoyed a comfortable standard of living!

      In the Capitalist model of the Global Market cost is the lowest common denominator, unit labour cost being part of this! Unionisation would just mean no job as the company would relocate.

      An across the board (i.e. Global) set of workers’ rights would be (IS!!!!) required.

      Unionisation is good as seen in Germany(and Scandinavia) but German companies have a moral code towards their employees. They achieve profit through excellence and see their employees as an integral part of achieving this excellence! Mind German society is different to the UK, USA where you see massive disparity in terms of wealth, the us and them where the ‘us’ holds the capital and power and the ‘them’ are there to be exploited to create more capital.

      • Widthwood says:

        Unionization is not necessary for that, all it takes is passing a law granting similar irrevocable rights to both employer and employee. Just as employee must inform employee of his leave in advance to expect a severance package, so should the employer, etc.

        Although given that pretty much every single lobby would be against it, chances of such law appearing in US (if it doesn’t already exist) are virtually zero.

  15. 1Life0Continues says:

    Assassin’s Creed FPS on the FarCry 3 engine anyone?

    Wow, I both excited and brutally disappointed myself at the same time.

    Still, an Assassin’s Creed FPS would still be better than AssCreed 2. At least then the lead character has a reason to be a completely obnoxious arsehole.

  16. Legion23 says:

    I know it is petty of myself and even not really related but this news made me decide to not buy FC3 Blood Dragon any time soon either even I wanted to do so today. Wonder what the last game was I bought by Ubisoft… Probably Ass Creed 1.

    • KenTWOu says:

      I’m just curious, what will you do if Ubisoft fired Dean Evans – creative director of FС3:Blood Dragon?

      • Legion23 says:

        That´s why I wrote it´s petty of myself but negative publicity about a company stops me wanting to buy ANY of their products. That might not be fair but it´s hard to fight emotionally responces sometimes.

  17. Yosharian says:

    Wait, people actually like the Assassin’s Creed games?

    • Rollin says:

      I got fed up with the awful console port controls while trying to deliver a package for Leonardo Davinci, which got stuck on the floor and the game wouldn’t let me pick it up.

      So awful.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Plenty, they just don’t like them on the PC.

    • Wut The Melon says:

      Have you played Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time? Because if you have, Patrice Désilets also developed that game.

      And if you haven’t, you should. Great game.

    • welverin says:

      Yes, I’ve played all of the main games (not the portable or mobile games), though I have reach the burnout stage and don’t foresee getting AC4 at launch. That’s if I decide to get it at all. Yearly releases are bad.

    • karry says:

      Never played one, so no idea.

  18. 9squirrels says:

    I’ve seen an almost identical notification that someone has left the company at my own place of work a few years ago. From what I heard in that case, he wanted to do one thing, this was not in line with the company’s direction, they weren’t able to convince each other, the company got rid of him (in our case, shouting was involved).
    The key phrase in there is “discussions … aimed at aligning Patrice’s and the studio’s visions have been inconclusive”.

  19. Wut The Melon says:

    Such a shame, Désilets is probably one of my favourite developers, really hope to see more of him that doesn’t get fucked over by Ubisoft. Since no-one seems to remember, he wasn’t just the mind behind the AC franchise (until ACB), but more importantly he was also behind the original (Ubisoft) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which is arguably one of the best games to this day.

  20. HisDivineOrder says:

    Ubisoft saw an opportunity to pick up another team to make Assassin’s Creed games. He didn’t want to make more AssCreed and they didn’t really want a “traitor” back who’d go elsewhere and make a game so similar to theirs anyway.

    So when they told him “the plan”–his game is mostly axed with some of it being converted into an AssCreed–and he said he did not particularly like that plan, they showed him the door in the most abrupt and rapid manner possible to try and negate the morale drain for the newly acquired AssCreed team when their leader is removed.

    Of course, the man is angry and didn’t hold back. He was angry before when they tried to stop him from leaving, irritated when they said they’d take him back, and now truly angry that they brought him on, got his hopes up, and then dropped the hammer one day.

    And then they fired him like their management obviously secretly wished they could. It’s like when you break up with your girlfriend to chase the new hotness, find out she’s broke and living with five guys she’s banging to support herself, you get back with your old gf long enough to say you’re back together, and then SHE gets to dump your sorry butt.

    It’s just like that.

    • LordMidas says:

      Best analogy yet. Prizes to you.

    • Kaddrius says:

      And then they fired him like their management obviously secretly wished they could. It’s like when you break up with your girlfriend to chase the new hotness, find out she’s broke and living with five guys she’s banging to support herself, you get back with your old gf long enough to say you’re back together, and then SHE gets to dump your sorry butt.

      It’s just like that.
      ———————————————————
      That’s the whole article. I think they should scrap the wordiness and use your version instead. That upside down lush beard on his head (as someone else above called it) would make a poignant anchor for your trashy description (which is all truth).