It’s like something out of a storybook. Guy meets gigantic, monolithic game publisher. Guy helps create publisher’s flagship franchise. Guy leaves to pursue something new and different. Guy’s company is bought by said gigantic, monolithic publisher due to hilariously unfortunate circumstances. Guy reluctantly returns to company. Guy gets fired a couple months later. AND FINALLY: Guy’s project is “suspended for an undisclosed period of time.” And some unrelated people somewhere else all lived happily ever after.
Yes, with Assassin’s Creed designer Patrice Desilets out of the picture, it seems Ubisoft’s decided it doesn’t really have any idea what to do with his next big thing, 1666. So now it’s going on the backburner indefinitely, something that – as the likes of StarCraft Ghost and End of Nations can tell you – doesn’t typically bode well in this industry. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot explained during an investor call:
“After more than two months of discussions with [Desilets], we couldn’t align our vision both on project development and team management. So consequently, our collaboration has ended, and we have suspended 1666 for an undisclosed period of time.”
What that means for the rest of THQ Montreal’s remains isn’t clear at this point. Ubisoft purchased the entire studio, so that means a number of people are now unaccounted for. Maybe they’ll all simply be relocated onto other projects, but this is the gaming industry we’re talking about. Layoffs wouldn’t exactly be unprecedented.
Desilets, meanwhile, has Ubisoft in his crosshairs for the recent turn of events, and he’s been quite vocal about the perceived injustice. “Ubisoft’s actions are baseless and without merit,” he said shortly after his firing. “I intend to fight Ubisoft vigorously for my rights, for my team and for my game.”
Should we expect fireworks? Probably. For now, though, 1666 will remain a mystery. Or become another Assassin’s Creed game. These days, I suppose that’s pretty much always a possibility.