Valiant Hearts Director Leaves Ubisoft, Frustrated With AAA Projects and Being "Fake Indie"

After a lucrative career at Ubisoft spanning 14 years, Valiant Hearts content director Yoan Fanis has decided to leave the company.

While the director enjoyed his long stint at the French-based company and working on games such as Beyond Good and Evil, Assassin’s Creed and Valiant Hearts, he became increasingly frustrated with the impersonal development style needed for AAA titles.

Some excerpts from a recent conversation with Fanis proved to be very enlightening:

It was a very hard decision. The last 14 years in Ubisoft are unforgettable; it is like a family. I am proud to have been part of some of the most creative teams in the industry.

I’ve been lucky to develop games in very diverse types and sizes; the diversity of Ubisoft games and people is one of its best strength. As you can see in the photo, Beyond Good & Evil was a 30+ team production with a unique, creative mood that Michel Ancel is able to bring.

The more we grew, the more this mood diminished. 100, 250, 500 people…it was necessary due to the technical evolution and AAA requirements, but on the creative and human side something was missing.

I mean the industrial scale and organization of a giant project like Assassin’s Creed removes some direct connection between people from different job categories, for example. Your interactions are limited, and it is really difficult to have a global vision of the finished game. But at that scale, it would be very hard to make it different.

On Valiant Hearts we wanted to bring back the Beyond Good & Evil spirit, the collegial creative process; we were all involved with the script, the level design, the game design. Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft’s CEO, fell in love with the project and made it possible even if the subject was not “sexy” marketing-wise.

I mean, business-wise, even if the game is a success, with over a million players and many awards, this is still small revenue compared to blockbusters. That’s the harsh reality.

While I’m sure his expertise and talent will be sorely missed at Ubisoft, I have the utmost confidence that he will succeed in any endeavor.

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Allisa James

Senior Weekend Staff Writer for DualShockers. Loves JRPGs, artbooks, and anime.

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