The Story of Patrice Désilets; an in-depth look at the tale of his roller coaster ride from Ubisoft to THQ back to Ubisoft.
Imagine this, you leave your job at a company you’ve worked with for years in an attempt to start fresh, take a chance on new beginnings, and escape from your past, only to end up back at the same company you worked for just two and a half years later through no choice of your own.
This is what has happened to Patrice Désilets, mastermind of the Assassin’s Creed series.
Patrice Désilets was the creative lead on Assassin’s Creed 1, 2 and Brotherhood.
After his well publicized departure from Ubisoft in May of 2010, fans of the series have seen Patrice leaving as a turning point in the series, a turning point for the worst. He was heralded as the mastermind of the story, and it was his creative vision that had led the complex story so far. How could this series continue without knowing where the creator meant for it to go? Ultimately, Patrice’s departure did lead to the series suffering as Assassin’s Creed 3’s finale was disappointing, felt rushed, and was almost a clear sign that they didn’t know where they were going. If only the man who actually began the series was still there to guide them, and tell them how the tale was meant to end.
In October of 2010, Patrice sent a letter to Kotaku, explaining why he left Ubisoft:
As you may know, last May, I made the difficult decision to leave Ubisoft after 13 incredible years. I felt that it was the right time for me to pursue new opputunities as well as enjoy life outside the industry. Since then, a lot of speculation and rumors grew as to where the next chapter of my career would bring me.
Today, I am happy to share with you my decision to join forces with THQ. Under my own label and team, which has yet to be created, I will be making my next few games within THQ’s Montreal-based studios.
I am very eager to start working on new games, but for various reasons and mostly out of respect for those who gave me my first chance in the industry, I will not be working on any projects until Summer of 2011.
Now I will go back to my obliged creative hibernation and enjoy spending time with my family… I can’t wait to see you all at E3 2011 where I will be revealing a lot more. Until then, I hope you all buy and enjoy AC: Brotherhood and Homefront:) I know I will.
Thank you, see you soon.
Patrice Désilets A.K.A “the beard”
Désilets wanted change, which meant pursuing new opportunities away from Ubisoft.
In an interview with Reuters, Patrice said: “After seven years of Assassin’s Creed, even though it was my baby, I felt like I was losing it. I was tired of being told what to do, how to do it and in any organization.”
He took a short break from the game industry before joining THQ Montreal to work on the game 1666. Then THQ took a turn for the worse when Jason Rubin was brought in from Naughty Dog in an attempt to save the company, but failed to do so. THQ was to be auctioned off, with all THQ assets sold in order to pay creditors.
These assets included THQ Montreal, 1666 and Patrice Désilets with it.
$2.5 million later and THQ Montreal and the IP 1666 (where Désilets was the creative lead) belonged to Ubisoft. He once again worked for the company he had fled to try something new.
The questions are: Does Ubisoft want Patrice Désilets back? Does Patrice even want to be back? How could he go back to a company where he was “tired of being told what to do”, and where he was “losing it”?
At this time it is still unknown what Patrice thinks of this whole situation, but interestingly enough we do have a comment from Ubisoft. Speaking to the Financial Post Ubisoft Montreal President Yannis Mallat said “I’ve known Patrice for 13 years and I know him very well, he’s a great talent and I respect him as a creator. We’re very happy to look forward to working with him again.”
It seems obvious that Ubisoft would want Patrice back. He was fantastic working on the Assassins Creed series, and is a great creative mind and an important asset to any company. Maybe Mallet even wants to put Patrice back on the Assassins Creed series.
Unfortunately, until Patrice Désilets comments we have no idea what will happen. There is of course a chance he will leave the company and break all ties with Ubisoft once again. Most likely he will continue his work on 1666 until its completion, although that depends on whether Ubisoft lets them complete it at all.
What we can be certain of is that it cannot be easy for Patrice to leave a company only to be forced back. Good luck to him and hopefully the situation gets resolved soon, as I’m sure whatever happens will be very intriguing.
Sources: Game Informer, VG247, Financial Post and Reuters.