E3 might be breathing down our necks, but we've always got time to gawk at some legal chicanery. Patrice Desilets, the father of Assassin's Creed who left Ubisoft to develop 1666: Amsterdam at THQ Montreal before finding himself back at the old firm. At which point, he was quickly fired while Ubisoft kept 1666 in cold storage.
Court documents suggest that Desilets has sought legal action against the company, seeking both the IP and some damages. Details below.
Game Informer's unofficial translation of the (presumably French) documentation chronicles the breakdown of Desilets and Ubisoft's relationship. Initial excitement quickly turned into resentment as Ubisoft tightened the creative reins, with Yves Guillemot suggesting that THQ Montreal had given Desilets far too much freedom. With neither party willing to budge, Guillemot signed off on Desilets' termination on May 7th, and as previously reported, he was unceremoniously removed from the premises without time to collect personal possessions or wish his team farewell.
It's not hard to imagine why it's come to legal action then. Desilets is seeking the following:
- Reimbursement of all expenses through May 7, 2013 (totaling $35,000)
- Severance in the amount of $250,000
- Continuation of insurance through May 6, 2014
- Relocation and job search fees in the amount of $25,000
- Damages in the amount of $100,000 for misrepresenting the facts of the termination (Ubisoft stated that Désilets departed)
However, this is small potatoes compared to the rights for 1666: Amsterdam. A 'turnaround clause' will revert the rights back to Désilets should Ubisoft cancel the title outright, but they've cannily put it on indefinite hold to retain the rights for themselves.
It's a shame that a little willingness to let a creative strut his stuff could have stopped this entire sorry situation from happening. More details as we hear it.