Ubisoft Had a King Arthur Game in Development Cancelled By Former Creative Head

Ubisoft Had a King Arthur Game in Development Cancelled By Former Creative Head

Detailed by Bloomberg, a King Arthur project from Dragon Age's Mike Laidlaw named Avalon was cancelled by a top exec at Ubisoft.

From its upcoming titles like Assassin’s Creed ValhallaWatch Dogs: Legion, and Far Cry 6, Ubisoft has been known as a publisher that tends to stick to a particular style for its various franchises and series. Specifically, the creative direction of its games over the past several years has been a topic of conversation that even the publisher itself is aiming to address with a restructure of its core editorial team, which is also amid larger structural changes at the company in light of misconduct allegations against several of its employees and executives. Alongside that, a new report has revealed one of the projects that was seemingly cancelled within the past few years that showed promise but ultimately never came to light.

In a report from Bloomberg, details emerged on a cancelled project from the publisher led by Mike Laidlaw, the former creative director of the Dragon Age series. The project was code-named Avalon and was seemingly a fantasy RPG set in the myths of Arthurian legend and in progress by a team at Ubisoft Quebec, the core studio behind Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Work on Avalon had started in 2018 under the direction of Laidlaw, and was reportedly set to feature a deep fantasy world “full of knights and legends.” The tentative project also seemed to feature co-op multiplayer components that could be compared to the Monster Hunter series.

According to several anonymous developers that worked on the project, Bloomberg‘s report detailed that development had been progressing well on Avalon in its early stages. However, ultimately the project’s initial pitch was rejected by former Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoët, who reportedly disliked the game’s fantasy setting and felt that it had to be “better than Tolkien” in order to succeed. While Laidlaw and the Avalon team reworked the pitch, including alternative themes like a sci-fi or Greek mythology setting, the project ended up being continually turned down by Hascoët, leading to Laidlaw’s departure in January 2019 and the title’s cancellation.

Serge Hascoët was among the executives and lead creatives that were accused of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse at Ubisoft within the past several weeks, and had resigned from the company earlier this month. According to several other reports that surfaced in the wake of the accusations, Hascoët had a reputation for stifling creativity at Ubisoft, and for having an unusual level of influence over upcoming projects from the publisher. While Hascoët was behind several of the publisher’s major franchises such as the Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed, he was also known for having an aggressive stance on games featuring female protagonists and playable characters and for fostering a toxic work culture at the company.

Ubisoft has notably been in the news spotlight over the past month in regard to its wave of sexual misconduct allegations and broader company culture issues. However, Ubisoft head Yves Guillemot has outlined some of the measures that the company is taking towards addressing these issues, including a significant overhaul of its core editorial team that oversees the creative direction of its projects and franchises.