Rayman And Beyond Good & Evil Creator Denies Abuse Accusations

Ubisoft is, unfortunately, no stranger to controversy. Just this year, two creative directors were suspended for claims of misconduct against them, and three more of the company’s employees resigned weeks later. Since then, the creator of Beyond Good and Evil and Rayman—Michel Ancel—retired from gaming in a surprise announcement. Days later, a French magazine reported that Ancel was accused of creating a hostile work environment by verbally abusing staff members. Ancel has since denied those accusations.

As some brief background, the allegations stem from the development of Beyond Good and Evil 2, Ubisoft’s approach to making games, and Ancel’s personal creative process. Following the success of Rayman, Ubisoft decided to give nearly full control of their games to the company’s creative directors in general and Ancel specifically. This worked well for Ancel, who preferred to only interact with representatives of the various groups working on a project instead of speaking with the group directly. However, Ancel claims that Beyond Good and Evil 2 was a bigger project than anything Ubisoft Montpellier had worked on up to that point—which required changes that he believed others were unwilling to make.

During this time, Ancel began working part-time with Ubisoft while splitting his time with Wild Sheep Studio, a company which he founded with Sony’s money. In 2017, Ubisoft hired another creative director, Jean-Marc Geffroy, to work alongside Ancel on Beyond Good and Evil 2. That relationship quickly soured. Then a third director was added. All of this created friction that led to a situation where, “a good dozen people go on sick leave, probably more… Meeting people with tears in their eyes, it happens often” as one employee described it. The majority of the blame is placed on Ancel, however—blame that he calls “fake news”.

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Fake News Take few people with rage and jealousy and let them speak in the name of hundreds. Publish the news fast so that it combines with sexual harassment from other news at Ubi soft. I this serious? Is this what you expect from a national newspaper. I will fight for the truth because such accusations are a shame . I worked hard on every of my projects and always had respect for the teams. The accusations are wrong . 1- Toxic management : I am not managing the team. I bring a vision and producers and managers decide what to do , when and how. They are powerful people in the making of such a big projects. Why don’t the journalist speaks about them? 2- I always change my mind : false. E.g. I’ve spent years explaining why the city should not be re done from scratch. Hours explaining that characters were good enough and did not need to be redone . Same for planets and all. But sometimes some people in the team changed things despite my advices. Managers are here to solve this. 3- the 2017 demo was fake and was a video: false . The 2017 demo was solid and made possible the 2018 demo. As opposed to what is in the news, the 2018 demo had the right details , was using real streaming, procedural generation and was playable online. This was a masterpiece of technology. The news from liberation contains fake Informations revealed by few people who wants to destroy me and the projects . This can’t be done without me fighting every single lines of that news. I’ve offered the journalist the opportunity to take enough time to look at all the mistakes. Let’s see what he will do .

A post shared by Michel Ancel (@michelancel) on

Fake News Take few people with rage and jealousy and let them speak in the name of hundreds. Publish the news fast so that it combines with sexual harassment from other news at Ubi soft. I this serious? Is this what you expect from a national newspaper. I will fight for the truth because such accusations are a shame . I worked hard on every of my projects and always had respect for the teams. The accusations are wrong . 1- Toxic management : I am not managing the team. I bring a vision and producers and managers decide what to do , when and how. They are powerful people in the making of such a big projects. Why don’t the journalist speaks about them? 2- I always change my mind : false. E.g. I’ve spent years explaining why the city should not be re done from scratch. Hours explaining that characters were good enough and did not need to be redone . Same for planets and all. But sometimes some people in the team changed things despite my advices. Managers are here to solve this. 3- the 2017 demo was fake and was a video: false . The 2017 demo was solid and made possible the 2018 demo. As opposed to what is in the news, the 2018 demo had the right details , was using real streaming, procedural generation and was playable online. This was a masterpiece of technology. The news from liberation contains fake Informations revealed by few people who wants to destroy me and the projects . This can’t be done without me fighting every single lines of that news. I’ve offered the journalist the opportunity to take enough time to look at all the mistakes. Let’s see what he will do .

A post shared by Michel Ancel (@michelancel) on

The accusations include lines such as, “He’s able to explain to you that you’re a genius, that your idea is great, and then disassemble you in meetings by saying you’re a piece of shit, that your work is worthless, and not talk to you for a month. He’s someone who has a creative process that is based on erosion, erosion of his vision, and erosion of the people around him.” Liberation elaborates further by saying, “Everyone recognizes that Ancel is in his role when he cuts, deletes, changes gears. The problem comes less from the reversals themselves than from their unexplained, arbitrary nature, so much so that the idea sets in that he doesn’t want to create a game with the team, but in spite of it or over it.”

Ancel emphatically denies having interacted with members of the teams under his control, saying that he didn’t manage the team, but instead brought a vision to producers and managers who then decided how to execute that vision. He also denies the idea that he made constant and arbitrary changes to the game, indeed, going as far as saying that he frequently and consistently argued against changes to the game.

Ancel claims that the articles written in Liberation contain false information, which he believes stems from people who are out to destroy—to use his words—both Beyond Good and Evil 2 and his name. Ubisoft is allegedly conducting an investigation into the accusations.

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