In 2010, Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilet left Ubisoft and brought many of the team involved in the Assassin’s Creed series with him. He would go on to found THQ Montreal and would work with THQ on crafting an entirely new IP. As many of you know, THQ went into bankruptcy late last year, with all of the company’s assets being sold off, including THQ Montreal, and the IP they had been working on: 1666: Amsterdam, which were purchased by Ubisoft.
On May 7th, Patrice Desilet was fired from Ubisoft over contract disputes. This past friday, the Canadian site Lapresa found a new lawsuit filed by Desilets. He will seek 400,000 dollars from Ubisoft, as well as the IP rights to 1666: Amsterdam. According to the report, Desilet was allowed a lot of creative freedom at THQ, as the company was quite desperate at the time. THQ had been struggling for quite a while, and the vision of a creator of such a beloved franchise could have really allowed them to turn things around. Ubisoft is currently in no such financial straights, ending the 2012 fiscal year with 47.6 million in net income, and came intro contractual disputes with Desilet, leading to his termination in May.
According to the website Gamechup, the IP was suppose to revert back to Desilets if it was ever cancelled. Ubisoft currently has the title “postponed-Indefinitely”. Doing it this way allows Ubisoft to maintain the rights to the IP, while not allowing the title to come out.
Ubisoft gave the following statement to Gameinformer: “As stated before, the acquisition of THQ Montréal in January allowed Ubisoft to welcome 170 experienced developers to our existing and renowned workforce. Unfortunately, the discussions between Patrice Désilets and Ubisoft aimed at aligning Patrice’s and the studio’s visions were inconclusive. We received Patrice’s legal request and we will take the time needed to evaluate our options. We will make no further comment at this point.”
We will keep you updated on any new developments on this case, as well as any new regarding 1666: Amsterdam.
This reporter’s take: I can understand both sides of this issue. Patrice left when he may have seen what was once his passion project, being turned into a cash-cow for Ubisoft. Desilet then took many employees from Ubisoft to go form his own studio (in the same city no less) for a rival publisher. When Ubisoft saw what they were creating they probably liked what they saw, and purhcased the studio. It’s almost guaranteed that their is still bad blood between the two studios, and that could have been the cause of this move by Ubisoft. I can’t say I feel bad for either side in this case, as Desilet could likely go anywhere and create a bold new game, while Ubisoft could still continue work on this game if they so chose. It will be interesting to see it play out though.
by, Bobby Marquardt