It looks like Michel Ancel’s recent departure from the world of video games had a little more to do with his passion for wildlife, if a report by French publication Liberation is to be believed.
Let’s get the facts out of the way first. Ancel, the creative mind behind Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil, confirmed to Liberation that he was indeed under investigation at Ubisoft for toxic behavior. He denied the allegations, and claimed that he wasn’t aware that people weren’t happy with his management style. Ubisoft separately confirmed that the investigation is ongoing even though Ancel has already parted ways with the games industry.
That said, Liberation published quotes from developers who described what it was like working under Ancel, and claimed that the 2017 trailer for Beyond Good & Evil 2 was just a handmade video put together in a hurry under Ancel’s control.
“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 s***, that your work is worthless, and not talk to you for a month,” said one developer. “He’s someone who has a creative process that is based on erosion, erosion of his vision and erosion of the people around him.”
They added that Ancel prefers his own ideas, was never open to suggestions and advice, and often wiped out weeks and months of hard work within seconds.
Ancel took to Instagram to call the story “fake news,” and said that the allegations come from a few people filled with “rage and jealousy.” He also said that the report was an attempt to “destroy” him and his projects. Part of his response reads:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
If you’re awaiting Beyond Good & Evil 2‘s release, we’d advise not holding your breath.