Former creative heads of legendary gaming franchises breaking off to head their own studios seems to be a bit of a trend lately, and the latest name to join these ranks is Patrice Désilets, the creative director behind the first two Assassin’s Creed games, who recently revealed his new studio Panache Digital Games’ first title.
The game currently doesn’t have a name and the studio has been very selective with its details, but the above reveal image offers much room for interpretation. Featuring the iconic matryoshka dolls, the tagline “Everything big was once small” suggests that Panache’s debut title won’t literally be about matryoshka’s, much like Double Fine’s 2011 game Stacking, but will rather be something more ambitious.
Indeed, Désilets all but confirms this in a press release:
AAA Games, I believe in them. I believe wholeheartedly that this medium we call ‘video games’ can be a positive force for change in our society and that AAA quality gaming experiences have unmatched strength to achieve this. For you see, dear friends, I’ve always had an underlying ambition in my work: to move the world of games. It is with this motivation that I designed Assassin’s Creed. I believe that, somehow, I succeeded in my mission. This gives me great motivation, ambition and heart to continue the adventure.
Additionally, he notes that this upcoming game will be a third-person “historical-action-survival” game, which is expected given his roots in Assassin’s Creed. Perhaps it will be an Uncharted–styled actioner set in Russia?
Panache’s announcement comes at the tail end of a dramatic period for its founder, Désilets, who was fired from Ubisoft in May last year. Désilets had taken a three year hiatus from videogame development in 2010. He then joined forces with THQ to work on two games, codenamed 1666 and Underdog. These plans ran into turbulence when the publisher went bankrupt and its studios, including the one Désilets was working in, were acquired by his former employers at Ubisoft.
Shortly after, he was fired from the publisher unceremoniously. According to him, “I was notified of this termination in person, handed a termination notice and was unceremoniously escorted out of the building by two guards without being able to say goodbye to my team or collect my personal belongings.”
Ubisoft, of course, gave their side of the story with the usual PR spiel, stating that “the good faith discussions between Patrice and Ubisoft aimed at aligning Patrice’s and the studio’s visions have been inconclusive. As a result, Patrice has left the studio. Our priorities remain with the teams already hard at work on projects in development. They are at the root of Ubisoft Montréal’s past and future successes.”
Subsequently, the two parties engaged in a still-ongoing legal battle over the rights to the project that Désilets was originally working on, 1666.
More news about Panache’s upcoming title is sure to follow in the coming months.