I remember when Mike Laidlaw revealed he had joined Ubisoft Quebec a couple of years ago. What a match! The former lead designer for Dragon Age working with the studio that created the brilliant Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. Surprisingly, Laidlaw announced his departure from Ubi just a year later, which a report revealed today was shortly after the game he was working on was cancelled. Even worse, we now know what that game could've been - an Arthurian fantasy RPG.
According to Bloomberg (watch out, there's a paywall), the big RPG he was working on was code-named Avalon, and would have been set in a fantasy world involving stories about King Arthur and his Round Table. It even would've featured cooperative multiplayer akin the Monster Hunter series. But, alas, it was struck down by Ubisoft's former chief creative officer, Serge Hascoët.
The report says that Hascoët "wasn't a fan of the fantasy genre", and told the Avalon team that if they were making a fantasy game, it had to be “better than Tolkien". Despite this, Bloomberg writes that the people who had worked on the game said it was progressing well before it was shut down, and they were "shocked to see the project impeded simply because the chief creative officer didn’t like its setting".
Laidlaw and the Avalon team reportedly tried pitching new themes to Hascoët, changing it to a more modern sci-fi setting, and even to a Greek mythology setting. But Hascoët was reportedly having none of it, and cancelled the project outright last year.
From reports that have come to light over the last month or so, it seems Hascoët has allegedly been involved with shutting down ideas for projects for years. Bloomberg revealed in another report that he's supposedly a large part of the reason Ubisoft were reluctant to give female characters equal or main billing in the Assassin's Creed games.
Hascoët has now resigned from his position at the company, along with several others, following abuse allegations that have come to light over the last month.