Assassin's Creed Creator Sues Ubisoft

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Assassin's Creed Creator Sues Ubisoft

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Patrice Desilets wants $400,000 in damages from the publisher, as well as the rights to 1666.

When we last heard from Assassin's Creed creator Patrice Desilets, he was unceremoniously being given the boot by his employer Ubisoft. Desilets vowed "to fight Ubisoft vigorously for my rights, for my team and for my game," and he has now strapped up his boxing gloves, filing a lawsuit against the publisher for $400,000 in damages as well as the right to purchase 1666, the game he was working on when he was fired.

According to the filing, THQ's agreement with Desilets offered the developer a great deal of creative freedom that Ubisoft refused to offer, which lead to the falling out. The filing also includes quoted statements from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stating that the executive "loved 1666: Amsterdam and wanted to conduct its development."

Ubisoft offered the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

"As stated before, the acquisition of THQ Montréal in January allowed Ubisoft to welcome 170 experienced developers to our existing and renowned workforce. Unfortunately, the discussions between Patrice Desilets and Ubisoft aimed at aligning Patrice's and the studio's visions were inconclusive. We received Patrice's legal request and will address it in court. We will make no further comment at this point."

When Desilets first left Ubisoft to work for THQ several years ago, Ubisoft tried to sue THQ to prevent other employees from also switching sides. Ubisoft lost that battle, but managed to re-acquire Desilets, his team, and the 1666 game they were working on, when it bought out various THQ studios following its rival's collapse.

Ubisoft and Desilets also gave quite different accounts of Desilets' termination earlier in the year. Ubisoft claimed that Desilets left of his own accord, while Desilets assures us that he was "handed a termination notice and was unceremoniously escorted out of the building by two guards."

Source: La Presse (French) via Game Informer

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I never heard how that thing with Infintyward turned out so I'm curious how this will go.

I hope Desilets wins. Besides being fired they are now trying to steal his game from him which is both wrong and very low.

Shoulda known he wasn't going to be welcomed back with open arms. Hope he can afford to buy his game back.

As I understand it, this second departure is a bit of petty retribution by Ubisoft who are annoyed that Desilets left for THQ in the first place. So I'm going for Desilets here, fuck Ubisoft.

My apologies for the lack of interest in corporate politics, but his name is Patrice? Huh... I always found that to be more of a female name and not a males name. I guess it's up there with other names such as Carroll.

Kheapathic:
My apologies for the lack of interest in corporate politics, but his name is Patrice? Huh... I always found that to be more of a female name and not a males name. I guess it's up there with other names such as Carroll.

He's French or French Canadian, or at least I think he is. You know, the nation that names its men Jean.

OT - I'm cheering for the guy, but I don't think he'll be seeing any money. At most he'll get a chance to buy 1666 for a million billion moneys.

Kick their pretentious, DRM praising, PC hating, DLC loving, arrogant asses Patrice! It's about time Ubisoft got a reality check.

MeChaNiZ3D:
As I understand it, this second departure is a bit of petty retribution by Ubisoft who are annoyed that Desilets left for THQ in the first place. So I'm going for Desilets here, fuck Ubisoft.

Well considering Ubisoft tried to legally stop him from leaving to THQ and lost you can assume this was a 100% petty retribution. They let patrice do the gruntwork of the pre-planning the game and now are using his direction to make his game after firing him.

Honestly I hope the used market isn't killed this generation because I want to keep my ability not to support certain publishers.

Kheapathic:
My apologies for the lack of interest in corporate politics, but his name is Patrice? Huh... I always found that to be more of a female name and not a males name. I guess it's up there with other names such as Carroll.

Patrice actually a common male name, at least in Quebec, female version of the name would be more like Patricia.

Only 10 posts in and this thread got derailed to if he's male or female based on his first name xD

Why is the sum he's asking for 400k? Is there some reason for it or is it just a sum he sees fitting for what's happened?

I hope he wins.
From the outside it just looks like a massive dick move by UbiSoft. I mean they put his game on ice because apparently outright cancelling the thing meant losing the rights to him automatically.
Isn't the first case were a corporation refuses to hand over or sell the rights to an IP to their creator while still having no plans whatsoever to do something with it.

Guffe:
Only 10 posts in and this thread got derailed to if he's male or female based on his first name xD

Why is the sum he's asking for 400k? Is there some reason for it or is it just a sum he sees fitting for what's happened?

Sounds like only 1/10th of what a big corporation would usually try and charge someone else for an IP.

Abomination:

Guffe:
Only 10 posts in and this thread got derailed to if he's male or female based on his first name xD

Why is the sum he's asking for 400k? Is there some reason for it or is it just a sum he sees fitting for what's happened?

Sounds like only 1/10th of what a big corporation would usually try and charge someone else for an IP.

I had just woke up when I wrote that so I forgott to throw in my own theroy apparently :P

Could it just be as simple as if he doesn't ask for crazy ass big sums the chance of getting the full amount is a lot higher? Besides he's also asking for a long term deal with wanting a part of the money they get from the game so that'll most likely make him rich by some standard at least.

i hope he wins, not because i want him to stick it the man but because i think the game will be better if he works on it, since for him it's personnel while for ubisoft it's just future money.

makes me rethink if i still should get AC4.
ok, will not make a huge difference but i also hope for him he will win.

I can't help but think Black flag has something to do with this all. 1666 Amsterdam will definitely focus heavily on ships, as will Black flag. Maybe Ubisoft thought stuffing 1666 into the fridge would be a good way to eliminate a possible rival.

I hope he wins. This is a very dick move and a game named after Amsterdam just has to be made!

+1 on his side as well. Although, what gets me is how far he could have gone with this lawsuit and didn't - He's not suing for the rights of 1666, but instead for the rights to purchase them. In fact could've planned a major blow to Ubisoft if he also went for the rights to Assassin's Creed, which is Ubisoft's current cash cow!

Honestly, I believe Disletts over Ubisoft. Companies in general are becoming increasingly run by spreadsheets and numbers instead of human beings, and if an employee is creating problems like demanding some actual creative breathing room, the guy with the MBA in the CEO position will fire him.

I was about to give Ubisoft the benefit of the doubt here until I saw that they acquired 1666 and Desilets just to fire him and take his game. I mean, the only OTHER reason to hire someone just to fire them is because you have a personal grievance, and while they certainly had cause, I still think it was so they could get the rights to this guy's game. Ubisoft can take a flying leap off the nearest cliff.

Man, that's really...REALLY gotta suck. You leave a company (either because you left on your own or were fired, either way I'm guessing Patrice wasn't very happy with Ubi when he left) only to have the company that you go and work for get bought-out by the company you left. I that isn't a slap in the face from the forces of fate, then I don't know what is.

Also, when I first read the headline, I didn't know that 1666 was a game...I thought you were making a joke about him wanting to buy the rights to a year. :3

Personally I think that Patrice should sue them over the absolute bastardization of his AC series. The lawsuit could be written up as a simple, short sentence: "Pirates...fucking really?"

Hades:
I can't help but think Black flag has something to do with this all. 1666 Amsterdam will definitely focus heavily on ships, as will Black flag. Maybe Ubisoft thought stuffing 1666 into the fridge would be a good way to eliminate a possible rival.

I hope he wins. This is a very dick move and a game named after Amsterdam just has to be made!

why stuff your opponents work in a fridge when you can secretly just absorb his work and reputation to make your work shine more in comparison?

i bet half of black flag is amsterdam 1666.

Kheapathic:
My apologies for the lack of interest in corporate politics, but his name is Patrice? Huh... I always found that to be more of a female name and not a males name. I guess it's up there with other names such as Carroll.

You've probably only heard of women named "Jean" as well, and you pronounce it like the denim clothing, or gene, but it's actually the French equivalent of John. As much as I dislike referencing the Bible, in French, St. John is St. Jean.

Likewise, Patrice is the French equivalent to Patrick. See also Michel/Michael, Pierre/Peter, Mathieu/Matthew, Luc/Luke, etc.

One of my friends is named Patrice. I just call him Pat though. Anyway, good luck to Mr.Desilets. Not cool Ubisoft, not cool.

GAunderrated:

Honestly I hope the used market isn't killed this generation because I want to keep my ability not to support certain publishers.

Agreed, I get to add Ubisoft to the list of companies now. So far the main on on my list is Capcom after what they've done.

OT: Man Ubisoft seems to want to join the "Be dicks to developers" club. A club at which EA is the President, Activision is the Vice President, Capcom is the Treasurer, and the secretary position is open. XD

GAunderrated:
[quote="MeChaNiZ3D" post="7.410044.17164873"]
Honestly I hope the used market isn't killed this generation because I want to keep my ability not to support certain publishers.

I had to quote that one part, because gods above I don't think I've agree'd with a statement on these forums more then I agree with this particular one. So many people whine about used games and various publishers, but this here is just one of those little gems that comes out once in a while. Honestly think I'll be doing such to Ubisoft games for the foreseeable future.

OT: I honestly hope things go well for Patrice, it was a very douche move on Ubisoft's part.

Metalrocks:
makes me rethink if i still should get AC4.
ok, will not make a huge difference but i also hope for him he will win.

Don't let politics dictate your personal passion. The great thing about the used game market is you can still play games and not support shit companies.

If AC4 is a game that you want to play just buy it used and enjoy the game guilt free. Also if you are against companies such as gamestop or GAME then just buy used on sites like Amazon or Ebay. :)

If only you people knew how common being "unceremoniously escorted out of the building by two guards." Actually is in the gaming industry.

...yeah. It's an absolute shame this guy is getting the shaft, just like thousands of other Gaming industry employees. Irony is that a vast majority don't have the financial wherewithal to sue publishers like him, and so it goes unnoticed.

Here's hoping something comes of it, and there's legal precedent for the little people to actually have recourse.

I do hope that boxing gloves bit wasn't a joke. Settle it with fisticuffs! Fisticuffs I say!

Will be down to who actually owns the game. Just because he worked on it doesnt mean he owns it, he was paid to do a job. I think he is just bitter. Cant say i care who wins, though being fired does suck.

I'm supporting the greedy corporation, because this guy does not know how copyright works!

Why? Well, there's the fact that he was using Ubisoft's money to make both games. And filed the copyright under their name. And agreed to the terms of service they provided him. That kind of counts. If stuff worked like he wanted it to, This guy should get all money from the GI Joe stuff.

Plus, he wasn't the "Creator". He was A creator. If he used his own cash, drew out the level design, programmed it, composed it, acted out all the parts, and then got up the marketing and released it all on his own, he would be the creator. But no. He was a lead creator on a team. He cannot get sole credit for this.

saintdane05:
Well, there's the fact that he was using Ubisoft's money to make the game. That kind of counts. If stuff works like this,This guy should get all money from the GI Joe stuff.

Plus, he wasn't the "Creator". There are hundreds of "Creators" on a team. A game does not rely on the input of one person. A game is made by teams. Even Minecraft. And most indie games.

Well, G.I. means "General Issue" in the military and "Joe" is what foreigners called Americans and came to mean a sort of everyman. "G.I. Joe" meaning pretty much he average infantryman, and as I understand things the G.I. Joe action figures were not connected to that movie but a line of dolls where the term was used because it was then generic and fit into their jingle "G.I. Joe, fighting soldier from head to toe" which was a gimmick to sell dolls to boys by putting them in then-authentic representations of actual military uniforms.

The point being that the term couldn't really be copyrighted, not to mention that it was before we had Langsdell-type copyright trolls. Now the rights to the "modern" G.I. Joe where they turned it into a sort of super-hero premise could get pretty interesting if someone wanted to fight that out more seriously. Apparently there were already battles between comic creators, cartoon creators, and toy manufacturers over the rights, names, and likenesses of some of the characters due to the fact that the rights to produce "canon" were apparently sold and held by multiple people at the same time. I'm no expert on it, but I remember reading some stuff about it, by way of an explanation of why G.I. Joe went through a period where it more or less disappeared from TV before being resurrected later with the "Extreme" line after my time and such.

It should also be noted that it's also why I think the politically correct goofs that did the G.I. Joe movies insulted the franchise and it's backround. In an attempt to be politically correct and sell the movie better globally G.I. Joe was defined as being a multi-national armed force of UN peacekeepers if I remember. That's hilarious given that the very name is "General Issue American" (which was funny to begin with). It was also supposed to always by it's nature supposed to be a very nationalist and ultra-patriotic concept despite some members being on loan from various US allies (but I believe even then dual citizenship was required which came up in one of the comics or "novels" if I remember vaguely. Something about "Quick Kick" who was a Chinese actor/martial artist patterned loosely off Jackie Chan/Bruce Lee being booted until he could get dual citizenship, but still working with the team unofficially, and then things ending with him giving the pledge of Alliegience as he joined officially... it's been a long time though).

At any rate, however many details I might have wrong there aside, when it comes to Ubisoft I pretty much "get" how this happened. At the end of the day ideas start with one person even if other people might tweak them later. Video games tend to have one "lead writer" who came up with the initial concepts, characters, etc... and in some cases a big deal is even made if someone famous like say "Clive Barker" or "Steven King" came up with the ideas and/or concept. In general the guy who makes the pitch to get a team assembled is usually the creator/idea man. I don't doubt that this guy pretty much created the whole "1666" idea and that it goes back to him, however in today's increasingly corporate environment producers generally don't want to risk/invest money in something they don't control. This is the key to "intellectual property rights" where a creator typically gives up their ownership of an idea in order to get it made. This is done specifically to avoid cases like where this guy left Ubisoft, and took his idea with him, with Ubisoft thus likely losing all the money and man hours they had invested in the project.

In short it appears what happened was this guy got a better deal from THQ which he didn't realize was in trouble. He was lucky and didn't have his IP tied to Ubisoft at the time, so he stabbed them in the back and went to work for the competition. THQ probably demanded that he sign over the rights to them though when he transferred as part of the better deal. THQ collapsed and got bought out by Ubisoft which has a grudge having been stabbed in the back, and also now owns the rights as part of THQ's assets since the creator had given them to THQ at least in part.

It's really hard to take a side here without knowing what was said and to whom behind closed doors, the kind of information we're never likely to hear. At the end of the day it seems to me that Ubisoft is likely to win this one legally. Morally... well, these kinds of pitfalls are what creators have to worry about throughout the entire "fandom" industries (comics, anime, games, etc...) a lot has been said about it here and there over the years. I can see both sides of it as the industries are full of both creators and publishers being the "villain" of stories where things have gone sour.

I think he will be laughed out of court by the judge. Read between the lines in that story. This is not the same as Infinity Ward. THQ went under. They were liquidated. Ubisoft bought out the properties. It sounds like Desillets wanted the same total control deal from Ubisoft that he had from THQ. They declined to grant him that control and they never reached an agreement. He is claiming ownership of a property that was already discharged by the THQ Bankruptcy court. Even if he did have a deal with THQ that it would revert to him if development was cancelled, the bankruptcy sale would have invalidated that. The property was sold off as part of THQ's assets. Before he can even begin to take action against Ubisoft he would need to challenge THQ and the bankruptcy court. Remember how South Park Studios challenged THQ before the bankruptcy court over their right to sell the Sword of Truth? If Desillets did not raise a challenge regarding the sale then, he probably doesn't have a leg to stand on now. THQ was liquidated. Ubisoft bought the assets andproperties. Chances are he was simply in a work for hire role at Ubisoft until they hammered out a contract, which it sounds like they never came to agreement on.

saintdane05:
Well, there's the fact that he was using Ubisoft's money to make both games. And filed the copyright under their name. And agreed to the terms of service they provided him.

He left UbiSoft before starting on the new game. He was using THQs money and signed with THQ. And THQ gave him a contract which stated that if the game gets cancelled then he would gets the rights to the IP back.
That is why UbiSoft did not cancel the game outright but put it on hiatus instead: So they could fuck him over the rights to the IP!
So I think what you just said is just plain wrong.

saintdane05:
Plus, he wasn't the "Creator". He was A creator. If he used his own cash, drew out the level design, programmed it, composed it, acted out all the parts, and then got up the marketing and released it all on his own, he would be the creator. But no. He was a lead creator on a team. He cannot get sole credit for this.

I doubt that this is the case. Someone had to come up with the game idea in the first place and apparently he was the one.
Of course a big games is not created by one person. But just because someone else created the assets used in the game does not diminish the influence or role of the lead game designer.
I say it now: The texture artist or 3D modeller did (probably) not propose the game to the publisher. They may influenced it after work started but they have nothing to do with coming up with the IP in the first place.
And such is the case for the publisher. Yes they pay the bills, THQ that was. But they did not commission him to work for "their" game idea, he instead proposed the game idea to them!
From this point of view he very well is the creator of said IP.

Ishigami:

saintdane05:
Well, there's the fact that he was using Ubisoft's money to make both games. And filed the copyright under their name. And agreed to the terms of service they provided him.

He left UbiSoft before starting on the new game. He was using THQs money and signed with THQ. And THQ gave him a contract which stated that if the game gets cancelled then he would gets the rights to the IP back.
That is why UbiSoft did not cancel the game outright but put it on hiatus instead: So they could fuck him over the rights to the IP!
So I think what you just said is just plain wrong.

That might have been true... up until the point that THQ entered bankruptcy and was liquidated. Chances are quite good that the bankruptcy court considered and ruled that that IP was an asset of THQ, and sold it as such. Otherwise it would have reverted to him to arrange a sale. Did Desillits contest the sale of the IP to Ubisoft before the bankruptcy judge? If he didn't than there is a huge chance that he is screwed. Bankruptcy liquidation dissolves pretty much all contracts unless specifically left in place by the court. Anything that might be considered an asset. even things that the company does not actually own, such as leased equipment will be considered property and sold. 9South Park Studios would have had a much cleaner path to challenge this as they were clearly the proven IP holder and THQ was clearly the licensee.)

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