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Updated @ 11:30 a.m. Pacific with statement from Patrice Désilets
Everyone knows the old saying: “If you love someone, set them free. If it is meant to be, you can buy them back in a bankruptcy auction.” At least that’s how my mother always put it to me.
Ubisoft certainly believed in that maxim when it came to Assassin’s Creed designer Patrice Désilets. He left the company before, but it bought him back, along with his new development studio, THQ Montreal, earlier this year.
Now, publisher Ubisoft told GamesBeat that Désilets has “left” the company for a second time, as first reported by Kotaku. But Désilets instead claims he was fired and will fight this action in court.
“The acquisition of THQ Montréal in January allowed Ubisoft to welcome 170 experienced developers, including Patrice Désilets, to our existing and renowned workforce,” Ubisoft associate director of public relations Michael Beadle told GamesBeat. “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. 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.”
Désilets is countering that statement from Ubisoft. He says the publisher fired him without warning in a statement provided to GamesBeat.
“Contrary to any statements made earlier today, this morning I was terminated by Ubisoft,” said Désilets. “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.”
In 2012, Désilets was working on a game titled 1666 at developer THQ Montréal. When publisher THQ collapsed into bankruptcy, Ubisoft purchased 1666 and THQ Montréal.
The publisher would not share any info on the status of 1666 or the THQ Montréal team.
Prior to his stint at THQ, Désilets oversaw the Assassin’s Creed series for Ubisoft. He led the design team through the second entry in 2009. He left in 2010 during the production of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.