If you consider yourself a serious gamer, then chances are you know the name Patrice Desilets. The former Ubisoft employee was the creative director on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time as well as the first two Assassin’s Creed games. He left the company last summer and was soon after scooped up by THQ, though a non-compete clause in his Ubi departure kept him on the sidelines until a full year had lapsed. That date passed on June 14, and THQ has confirmed that Desilets is officially on the job and working at the publisher’s Montreal studio.
“The creative freedom that THQ gives its artists and developers — and their willingness to make games that truly reflect an artistic vision — really drew me to THQ,” Desilets said in a statement (via Gamasutra. “I plan to build an incredibly talented team at THQ, and am very anxious to get started on creating a new project.”
Desilets’ team has already started coming together, with three former Ubi employees following his lead and taking on roles at THQ. He’ll have to look elsewhere for more talent though, as Gamasutra notes that his former employer won an injunction against THQ in March that prevents the publisher from hiring any other Ubisoft talent.
THQ is a publisher known for having great direction at the top, thanks largely to its Core Games division boss Danny Bilson, and a strong overriding creative vision. Healthy franchises like Saint’s Row, Warhammer 40K and Red Faction were almost certainly what lured Desilets over, and Homefront presents him with a big opportunity. The expertly marketed first-person shooter hit stores in March with a strong launch, but it almost immediately fell flat with critics and gamers. The recent closure of Homefront dev Kaos Studios is very likely a direct result of the game’s poor performance.
Word came alongside the closure announcement that future Homefront work would be picked up by THQ Montreal. Which is also where Desilets starts work this week. Coincidence? Not likely, folks. He may be anxious to “get started on creating a new project,” but there’s still a lot of potential in Homefront. Here’s hoping Desilets can apply the same sort of magic that led to his smashingly successful 3D reinvention of the Prince of Persia series back in 2003. At base, it’s encouraging to hear that the franchise will be in good hands.