In the midst of a quietly burning controversy within the company, another of Ubisoft’s high-level developers announces his exit. Raphael Lacoste, the art director for Ubisoft’s most popular franchise Assassin’s Creed, tweeted his departure from the French video game company as he “set sails on new adventures and challenges.”
Good morning all,
It is not without emotions I have to tell you that after 8 assassins, 16 years at Ubisoft I have decided to set sails on new adventures and challenges. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/ZynG1pXoK9
— Raphael Lacoste (@raphaellacoste) July 21, 2021
His thread on Twitter was accompanied by his artwork, showcasing the art director’s influence on some of the most prolific games in the series, including Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Beneath the well wishes and farewells, however, were questions coming from the controversies facing Ubisoft for the better part of the last few months, namely the allegations surrounding abuse and whether or not the developers’ exit had something to do with it.
Prolific work with the Montreal studio
Raphael Lacoste, in his 16 years with Ubisoft, was part of its former lead studio, Ubisoft Montreal. During his tenure there, he worked as an art director since 2012 for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and served as main art director for five Assassin’s Creed titles: the first one from 2007, Revelations, Black Flag, Origins, and the most recent one, Valhalla. A lot of the atmospheric environments and massive, sprawling landscapes can be attributed to his work on these games, all of which capture the beautiful historical settings of its time, from ancient Egypt to 16th century Constantinople.
Lacoste is not the first high-profile developer to announce his exit from Ubisoft. Earlier this year, narrative director Darby McDevitt and game director Eric Baptizat, both of whom worked on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, both announced their departure from the company to work at other studios. Both were also veterans, having worked for more than a decade at Ubisoft.
This latest exit begs the question if these are related at all to the still unaddressed controversies regarding sexual harassment and misconduct within the company, issues that have already seen reaction through the firing of some of the top men within the company like creative director Ashraf Ismail.
All that said, the franchise changing its direction might also be the cause. Ubisoft recently announced that Assassin’s Creed will be going full live service, something which may have caused a disconnect between the developers who left versus the way the franchise will be heading. At the end of the day, the bottomline is that Assassin’s Creed will see new people involved in its development process, and players will determine if it’s for the better or worse when the latest title comes out.