When Patrice Désilets was removed from his job at Ubisoft last month, he vowed to “fight Ubisoft vigorously for my rights, for my team and for my game.” Today he made good on those promises, as the French-Canadian newspaper La Presse is reporting that Désilets is now suing his former employer for approximately $400,000, as well as the rights to 1666, the original IP he was working on when he was fired.
Désilets claims that Ubisoft owes him $250,000 (a year’s salary,) $100,000 for damages, and $55,000 for misc. expenses and severance pay. Désilets also says that his contract with the company entitles him to the rights to 1666, a brand new IP that Désilets and his team were developing for a number of years.
During his original run at Ubisoft, Désilets served as one of the lead designers on the last-gen Prince of Persia: Sands of Time trilogy, and later directed the first two Assassin’s Creed games. He left Ubisoft in 2010 in order to start his own development team over at THQ, where development on “1666” began. Following THQ’s bankruptcy earlier this year, Désilets and his team were bought up by Ubisoft for approximately $2.5 million. Désilets return to Ubisoft was short-lived, as he left the company early last month — Ubisoft says Désilets quit of his own volition, while Désilets asserts that he was fired and escorted out of the building without being able to collect his things or say goodbye to his team.
Ubisoft recently announced that development of 1666 has been put on hold indefinitely.
This is starting to look like it’s going to turn into a massive legal shit-storm on par with the legal battle that Activision had with the former heads of Infinity Ward. Personally, I’m hoping Désilets gets what he wants: reports from other Ubisoft employees seem to corroborate his claims that Ubisoft treated him less than fairly, and I honestly don’t know why Ubisoft was so eager to get rid of him: the Assassin’s Creed series has been trending downward ever since he left (AC2 was my favorite in the series, and as far as I’m concerned, each new entry has failed to match that game’s level of quality) and I’m similarly pessimistic about the future of the Prince of Persia franchise without his direction as well.