Ubisoft was working on a King Arthur RPG, but former chief creative officer Serge Hascoët didn’t like fantasy games, so it got cancelled (via PC Gamer).
This revelation comes from a Bloomberg report, which claims that Dragon Age designer Mike Laidlaw was brought on to direct the game in 2018. The game, codenamed Avalon, was canned just one year after, and coincidentally, Laidlaw departed from the developer in 2019. What happened?
According to the report, the team struggled to satisfy the demands of former chief creative officer Serge Hascoët. He allegedly had it in for the fantasy genre, so it was an uphill battle for the Avalon developers. He wanted the game to be “better than Tolkien,” and rejected pitch after pitch. The game got off the ground, at long last, but Hascoët remained a thorn in the team’s side.
In 2019, the team tried altering the game to placate Hascoët, like setting it in a sci-fi world, and also drawing from Greek mythology to support its story. Hascoët didn’t budge, and the game was sadly binned. The former chief creative officer is no longer with the company following an outpouring of stories surrounding discrimination and sexual harrassment within Ubisoft. Hascoët himself has been accused of using sexually explicit language in the workplace and holding company meetings in strip clubs, as well as encouraging employees to drink to excess at parties.
In addition, it is apparently Hascoët who claimed that female characters don’t sell, and diminished the role of Evie, Aya, and Kassandra in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Origins, and Odyssey respectively. “Ubisoft has fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees,” said CEO Yves Guillemot in an official statement. “This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviors are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised—and never will. I am committed to implementing profound changes across the Company to improve and strengthen our workplace culture.”