Rayman creator and Beyond Good & Evil 2 lead Michel Ancel previously departed Ubisoft, and it appears his leaving wasn’t under good circumstances. Fans initially suspected that it was just a move on Ancel’s own volition, which appears not to be the case. Later reports from Ubisoft and various outlets have revealed some startling allegations against him.
This is just the latest of issues Ubisoft has had in recent months. Many folks in the industry stepped forward to reveal a culture of abuse and bigotry that was pervasive at the French company and reached to the top levels. Ubisoft executive Tommy Francois was fired as well, for similar reasons. Ubisoft has been wrangling with the fallout from this for some time. And it would appear that there would be more to come.
Ancel had been investigated some time ago after complaints surfaced against his leadership and behavior. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed to Ancel that the company was looking into the matter. It appears that these complaints had merit, and Ancel has been effectively removed from the company as a result. Ancel initially denied the claims against him, calling them “fake news”.
“He is capable of explaining to you that you are a genius, that your idea is wonderful, then to dismantle you in a meeting, saying that you are nothing but shit, that your work is worth nothing, and not speak to you for a month,” said one source with knowledge of the situation.
It turns out that things are not always that simple when it comes to complicated icons. The entertainment industry is rife with problematic personalities, many of whom have gotten away with abusive behavior for years before finally being caught out. Ancel appears to be latest in a string of high-profile departures for Ubisoft. If I were a betting man, I would bet this isn’t over.
Fans are right to be concerned about the concept of enjoying a game with such problematic names attached. It’s a valid concern too, as the interpretation changes when you start to learn what kind of person was behind the creation of a thing you once loved. I’m reminded of my own feelings toward Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card.
Ubisoft published the following statement to assuage fans of concerns about him being involved in projects:
As Michel noted, he hasn’t been directly involved in BG&E2 for some time now, as the team have been hard at work building on top of the solid creative foundation he helped shape. The team’s collective strength has us well on our way to developing a flagship next-generation action-adventure game. We recently passed an important internal milestone, delivering a build that proves our Space Pirate Fantasy and offers hours of gameplay and an incredible level of freedom in a seamless online sandbox, building upon the promise of our tech demos shown at E3. I’m incredibly proud of the team’s perseverance, dedication to each other and ongoing commitment to developing an amazing game.