Many gamers associate Ubisoft with frustration, from draconian and overly-restrictive DRM practices to games populated with mundane and repetitive tasks, and apparently so do employees who work, or at least worked, at Ubisoft. The creator of Ubisoft’s cash cow Assassin’s Creed, Patrice Desilets, apparently has no love lost for the company.
During a recent interview with Gameology, Desilets reminisced about his history as a video game developer. He talked about his inspirations, his first years at Ubisoft, and his recently-created indie company Panache Digital Games. When the interviewer, Hamidreza Nikoofar, asked about the difference between working for a big company like Ubisoft and a smaller indie company, Desilets had some choice words to say about his experiences.
“Me, my biggest struggle with being in an organization is that I was the guy at the end or in the middle also…I was the guy doing interviews like what we’re doing right now and I had to come up with political lying and I would receive comments and decisions made by other people and not me because it’s all about compromising when you’re in a big organization somehow and as my role, the creative director it’s tough to live by the decisions of others when being in front of the camera or Skype and I said I’m not a really good liar so I can’t do it anymore and then I also realized that when you do a really big franchise, you also make money for other people and they don’t really care about you,” Desilets said (in quite the run-on sentence). He went on to explain, “So I said, enough! if I do another Assassin’s Creed at least it would be for me and my guys and also for Quebec and for my people in Montreal.”
Desilets apparently realized too late that when Assassin’s Creed became a critical success, the higher-ups would demand sequels, but they would make all the critical decisions, not him. Desilets didn’t feel important anymore, not as important as he thought he should be, anyway; after all, Assassin’s Creed was his baby. The Ubisoft executives didn’t create the idea for a game where players leap from rooftop to rooftop in ancient Jerusalem, Desilets did. The execs didn’t design the iconic Hidden Blade, Desilets and his team did. It took some time, as well as a girlfriend who stated the obvious, for Desliets to realize he wasn’t happy working at Ubisoft.
Desilets went on to say that he is much happier working with small development teams. He and his team are already working on a game called Ancestors: Humankind Odyssey and will eventually move on to 1666: Amsterdam, a game Desliets has described as “the new Assassin’s Creed.”