Panache Digital’s Patrice Désilets has quite the turbulent history with Ubisoft. After helping to create the ludicrously successful Assassin’s Creed franchise, he left the company and joined THQ, where he remained until the publisher went bankrupt and auctioned off its properties and studios. One of these properties, 1666: Amsterdam, was acquired by Ubisoft during this time, but under threat of a lawsuit, it is now back in the hands Désilets.
The troubles began almost three years earlier. Shortly after THQ Montreal was absorbed by Ubisoft following the former publisher’s auction, Patrice Désilets was fired and Ubisoft shelved 1666: Amsterdam. A Polygon piece details the terms of Désilets’ lawsuit against his former employer, which included $400,000, and perhaps more importantly, the rights to the game. At the time, Ubisoft said that it could “develop and publish 1666 with Désilets or without him.”
Just two weeks ago, Ubisoft even filed a new trademark for “1666” with the US Patent Office, but the company has now made an enormous about-face. The rights to the game have been relinquished to Désilets, and he will be dropping his lawsuit.
In his own announcement, Désilets expressed his excitement that the rights to the IP were now under his control, but don’t expect to actually see it anytime soon.
“I’m glad Ubisoft and I were able to come to an agreement that will allow me to obtain the rights to project 1666: Amsterdam,” he says. However, he adds that he will now devote himself “entirely to the development of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey.”
The latter game, described on the company’s website as “third person action-adventure survival,” took direct aim at the Assassin’s Creed series in its teaser trailer.
“After having fought millions of Templars hidden in haystacks, and chased a pope, it is time for something new,” the trailer states. Very little about the game has been revealed since, but it will likely be released episodically, according to interviews with Désilets.
Though the tension could be cut with a knife, Ubisoft’s statement in the same press release at least appears to be cordial.
“This agreement is good news for everyone,” says Ubisoft Montéal and Toronto CEO Yannis Mallat. “As we have always said, Patrice is a talented designer and we wish him all the best in the development of his future endeavors.”