In Ubisoft, the atmosphere is not in good shape. Yves Guillemot’s studio saw the departure of its editorial managers and creative director Serge Hascoët following the revelation of numerous cases of harassment and sexual assault. The CEO spoke recently, but just after, it’s Nadeo (Trackmania) was pointed, and especially its director Florent Castelnérac. But last week, drama, it was Michel Ancel who announced his departure fromUbisoft.
Creator of Rayman and Rabbids, Michel Ancel had been planking for more than seven years on Beyond Good and Evil 2, a game made official atE3 2017 and on a crazy scale. Too crazy by the way, as several developers have admitted to Release in a survey released today. In this long paper, Michel Ancel himself returns to this chaotic development, which has changed direction several times, to the chagrin of the developers. who saw their work erased after a simple decision. As they explain, Ubisoft Montpellier revolved around Michel Ancel, who had the blessing of Yves Guillemot to carry out his game, and who commanded absolutely everything. Which obviously posed concerns, the developers speak of a cold atmosphere, anger on the part of Michel Ancel, depression or even burn out, for a crazy project, much more important than the other achievements of the studio. And nothing was ready in time, even for theE3 2017 :
The videos were made by hand, in rush, under the control of Michel. Everything has obviously been thrown out since. The city of Ganesha City, which Ancel absolutely wanted us to do with a completely stupid level of detail, we have barely come out of it three years later, and we have done it again four or five times. Knowing that you have to make several planets, you can imagine the absurdity of this type of reasoning.
Besides, Beyond Good and Evil 2 development was almost canceledNothing was progressing, Michel Ancel changing his mind regularly, throwing months of work in the trash. Except that in the summer of 2017, Jean-Marc Geffroy, then creative director of Ghost Recon, arrived on the project, breaking Michel Ancel’s way of doing things, which he obviously did not like, and a third project manager was even added to the development after the fact. Michel Ancel, who had nevertheless managed to get a half-time to work on BGE2 and on WiLD at Wild Sheep Studio at the same time, decided on his own to move away fromUbisoft, by explaining to Yves Guillemot that “it is no longer my game”. A blow to the CEO, who then went to Montpellier in early 2019 with Serge Hascoët to stop the project, but the team managed to negotiate a one-year reprieve, promising to deliver a playable demo by then. This demo arrived last spring, which allowed the game to finally enter the production phase, except that for Michel Ancel, it’s over, he who took a long vacation away from Beyond Good and Evil 2 since.
Release also publishes in parallel an interview with Michel Ancel, who looks back on his departure from the video game world. Very lucid about the situation ofUbisoft in recent months, he looks back on internal investigations :
Yves called me in early August to let me know. It was better than an email. I knew it was going to happen, I replied: “OK, I’m going to say whatever I think I can say, if I can’t work anymore because I did this or I did that and that. is reprehensible, in the end, the box will come out better. And today, barely back from vacation, I answered questions for two hours.
However, he admits to having seen himself burn out at Ubisoft Montpellier, mentioning a concept artist who cracked in front of him, but without giving him any real explanations, leaving Michel Ancel in the dark:
I did not understand if his burnout was related to the person who worked with him directly or if it was me, or the interaction of that person with me. Did he have too many responsibilities? I would have liked to have had the explanation, I would have had to look for it. Out of modesty, I did not dare. It would have been nice to come talk to me about it. I never knew if it was a mistake on my part, or too much solicitation.
Michel Ancel and the video game, it is thus old history, and Beyond Good and Evil 2 does not belong to him any more. Obviously, we will have to wait many more years before we can discover this big game ofUbisoft Montpellier, which has just entered production. For the most motivated, you can already pre-order the game for € 69.99 on Amazon.fr.
Writer – Tester
Amaury M. / Clint008
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