Michel Ancel Denies Toxic Management Allegations Through Beyond Good & Evil Protagonist
Michel Ancel "speaks" with Jade and shares apparent evidence of those at Ubisoft that hates him, which led to this month's allegations against him.
Earlier this month, Michel Ancel, the creator of Rayman and Beyond Good and Evil announced his departure from Ubisoft and that he was focusing his time on animal sanctuaries. Not long after that, the French newspaper Liberation ran a story claiming that Michel Ancel was under investigation by the company following allegations of toxic behavior and management during the development of Beyond Good and Evil 2. In a new lengthy Instagram post, he shares “evidence” that is said to be 10 years old.
The post description is formated as if he’s being interview by Jade, the protagonist journalist from the original Beyond Good and Evil game, and comes with some images. He refers to him claiming that the journalist from the Liberation newspaper used information from “jealous people” and those that are “full of rage”. He explains that there is a group of veterans at Ubisoft Montpellier that have apparently hated him for years.
To back that up, he shares a comic that was apparently sent to the entire studio. As translated by our own Iyane Agossah, part of it reads, “my name itself is a brand now, I don’t have to make anything anymore, just me being there must be like at least 20% of Ubisoft’s shares. It’s been years since I last did something but no one tells me anything, I can get all the women I want here, I can ask for a whole floor all for myself, I can put on all the whims I want, pout as much as I want” The comic is apparently longer and includes sexual jokes that Ancel claims to have removed.
Ancel also shares an email he sent to the studio with his response explaining that the Beyond Good and Evil 2 team had lost 2 years of work following a “Lynn and studio management fiasco”. LyN is the engine developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and the translated email seems to have spelled it incorrectly throughout.
He details being understaffed and that part of the Beyond Good and Evil 2 team had to leave while the studio had to focus on supporting the end of RGH, most likely Rabbids Go Home.
The artist that apparently drew the comic replied to that email and explanation in 2010 saying, “I hope I haven’t hurt you,” to start things off. Ancel highlights specific sections of the response. “The email you sent is beneficial. It will have the advantage of silencing hallway noises (or accentuating them).”
Another highlighted section from the translated email reads, “I respect you, believe in the good, and I appreciate the man. And it will be necessary to do you justice for what you have brought to this box, and to the number of people who work here thanks to you, and who spit on you afterwards.” Towards the end, it also reads, “I’ll leave you alone. I change target.”
He claims that when they shifted to a new engine called Ubi Art, Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends got high Metacritic results, and those who worked on the TinTin project were jealous and angry at this.
While explaining why he’s bringing up this evidence, he says that the same people are attacking him again, but this time through a journalist rather than a comic. He seems to think the motives could be related to some veterans having their projects shut down, and that some that left Ubisoft to start their own company came back for money and didn’t “appreciate to be challenged during production.”
The imaginary interview with Jade ends with him answering the question of “Maybe you asked for too much?” with “That’s a bit more complicated.” It seems as if there’s more to come as the caption indicates that this is just part 1. Whether part 2 will be arriving anytime soon, or if Ancel is letting this sit for a while is unclear. Ubisoft as a whole has not been having a good time of it of late. Throughout 2020 Ubisoft has been under numerous investigations across studios following allegations of abuse at the workplace.