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Patrice Desilets sues Ubisoft for $400K over termination
Patrice Desilets sues Ubisoft for $400K over termination
June 10, 2013 | By Mike Rose

June 10, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

After being fired from Ubisoft last month, Assassin's Creed designer Patrice Desilets has now filed a lawsuit against his former company, suing the publisher for around $400,000.

The District of Montreal court filing, as obtained by Game Informer, details the alleged break down between Desilets and Ubisoft, in which Ubisoft claimed that it was able to go ahead with the in-development 1666 with or without Desilets.

Ubisoft acquired 1666 as part of its THQ Montreal purchase earlier this year. However, the filing states that Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat told Desilets that THQ had given him too much creative freedom on the title, and that Ubisoft would have a problem continuing down this path.

THQ's Danny Bilson had given Desilets this much freedom on the project out of desperation, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot is alleged to have said.

Talks rapidly broke down after this point, and Desilets was eventually fired in May. Now he is looking for damages, as well as the rights to the 1666 IP if Ubisoft chooses to terminate the project.

Ubisoft responded to the filing, telling Polygon, "As stated before, the acquisition of THQ Montreal in January allowed Ubisoft to welcome 170 experienced developers to our existing and renowned workforce."

"Unfortunately, the discussions between Patrice Desilets and Ubisoft aimed at aligning Patrice's and the studio's visions were inconclusive. We received Patrice's legal request and will address it in court. We will make no further comment at this point."

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Ramin Shokrizade
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This seemed inevitable, and unfortunate. I hope both parties can find a workable solution before this gets worse. I also hope the resolution does not stifle creative freedom industry-wide.

Jonathon Green
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Strange, this is simply personal opinion, but I perceive Desilet's work (and the work of many others), even at his creative zenith to be a product of an already creatively stifled and grossly iterative industry.

Despite the obvious legal strength of Ubisoft's position. I hope Desilet wins. Not to "maintain" his creative vision, but to have an opportunity to perhaps push it even further. Anything to offset the balance of the industry machine away from producing the most palatable and therefore (what is assumed to be) the most salable and profit producing games.

If the industry will heavy hand it's designers ... I'd like to see the designers win out in the end, for the sake of the industry.

Matthew Downey
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"Guillemot" was mentioned without any introduction. Apparently he is Ubisoft's CEO (Yves Guillemot).

I know a lot of game developers would know this, but I personally did not.

Mike Rose
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Hey Matthew,

apologies for that - his first name was left out in error. I've added it now, cheers for pointing it out.


Bart Stewart
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"Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat told Desilets that THQ had given him too much creative freedom".

Well, if I've ever heard one, there's a sentence that should inspire informed commentary.

How much creative freedom is "too much?" How much is just enough? How do you know?

In the industry as a whole today, is there too much creative freedom? Or not enough?

Who has the real power to determine the core components of a game? Is that who should have it? If not, how could they get it?

Jonathon Green
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Is there such a thing as too much freedom? I would've thought that such a thing only existed when effecting the lives of others without their desire for you to do so. And I've never heard of anyone playing games against their own will. (though there's a whole messy argument for how media effects peoples lives unknowingly because of our limited knowledge and infinite ignorance)

Therefore in terms of the design of games, there cannot be too much creative freedom. Unless it is in terms of negatively effecting the lives and livelihoods of others who are dependent on the success of your efforts.

So the question should become one of a balance between the necessity of success stifling the natural cognitive evolution of those at the forefront of that success. That will drive the various elements of game design forward; for better or worse, to be at the mercy of consumer selection.

Assassin's Creed, in my sole opinion, is now a long running franchise with spin-offs abound with, over time, less risk taken to progress itself or it's genre, it became a well establish formula and a set of very well polished pieces.

The decision therefore to back away from a more creative experience would seem to be aimed at ensuring as successful a next title as possible, by avoiding the risk of steering a course too far from consumer expectations. And this is exemplified by the vast, vast majority of copy paste game design across much of the industry, to the extent that it would not be hard to argue that creatively in terms of game design much of the industry is almost going backwards in attempts to ensure blockbuster success with proven notions and ideas.

At which point, we reach the conclusion that these companies, are not in the business of making games as we perceive them, ... that despite Gamasutra's motto there is no "business" of making games, simply the age old business of making profit under a different name.

In the industry, as it stands, good games are not made. They survive, by fighting for as much creative freedom as they can get, taking risks so mistakes can be made, learned from, so that the next iteration actually has something worth improving.

disclaimer: Sorry if the above is a bit fluffy.