Ubisoft being sued by ex employee Patrice Désilets

Patrice Désilets, the creative director for titles such as Assassins Creed I, II & Brotherhood and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is now suing Ubisoft. He is seeking $400,000 total as well as the rights to obtain the game he was working on for THQ Montreal titled 1666: Amsterdam.

The filing has been obtained by Canadian site La Presse, translated by Game Informer, and it reveals statements including one from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemont that says he “loved 1666: Amsterdam and wanted to conduct its development”. Which I find myself being a little skeptical about as just a month back it was announced that Ubisoft have suspended 1666 for an undisclosed period of time, which is generally PR speak for “We’re done with it”.

The issue here seems to be that Patrice Désilets’ contract with THQ gave him a large amount of creative freedom that Ubisoft were unwilling to work with and the original contract, which Ubisoft bought out with the studio, stated that if the game was ever cancelled then the IP would naturally revert to the ownership of Désilets himself. There’s no love lost between Ubisoft and Désilets so this was never going to be an easy thing to sort out. Prior to him working at THQ he was the creative director behind the Assassins Creed franchise and when he left, later joining THQ, Ubisoft sued their rivals to prevent more people leaving and then with the bankruptcy of THQ came the fire-sale of all assets, Ubisoft acquired the Montreal studios and all the IP’s associated with it which included former employee Désilets and his child 1666: Amsterdam.

1666 Amsterdam

According to the translation by Game Informer (found here), Désilets is asking for:

  • Severance payment to the tune of $250,000
  • Damages to the total of $100,000 for misrepresenting his second departure from Ubisoft. They fired him and had him forcibly removed, stated he departed.
  • Reimbursement of all expenses up to and including the 7th of May, 2013 totaling $35,000
  • Relocation and job search fees to the total of $25,000
  • Continuance of his insurance up to the date of May 6th, 2014

Finally he is seeking to instill the clause in his contract that gives him control over the 1666 IP should it be cancelled by Ubisoft. Which it has in my opinion, I don’t buy into the silly legal parlance, but then again I’m not a judge or a lawyer.

It does seem that Ubisoft believe that the contract Désilets had was voided upon him failing to deliver an acceptable prototype by a set date which both sides have a difference of opinion on. Of course we’ll never know the full truth until either Désilets or Ubisoft reveal the whole gory details. Until then we can only assume based on what snippets of information we can piece together.

Source and location of legal documents: Game Informer

Ali Moin

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