Ubisoft’s chief creative officer, Igor Manceau, will step down next month after only a year in that position at the troubled Assassin’s Creed publisher, the company announced internally on Thursday. According to a message to staff from CEO Yves Guillemot, the move comes as part of a larger change in how some of the creative departments at the sprawling game maker are organized.
“For personal reasons, Igor has expressed his desire to step away from Ubisoft and, following this decision, we want to update you on how we’re approaching this transformation,” Guillemot wrote in the email, a copy of which was shared with Kotaku. “From now until his departure end of November, Igor will be dedicated to accompanying the evolution of the structure into specific poles organized by key segments for Ubisoft so that it is better adapted to the variety of our portfolio and unique needs of each project.”
According to the email, the goal of the ongoing reorganization is to “simplify” how projects are overseen and marshalled through development by the head office in Paris, and help give studios more flexibility and autonomy. Ubisoft has a complex system by which games are greenlit and approved through various stages of production, which some current and former developers over the years have blamed for stymieing creativity and making the process overly political.
It’s not clear from the email if Manceau will be replaced. He only took over the position after leading the Riders Republic studio, Ubisoft Annecy, in September 2021, a year after his predecessor, longtime veteran Serge Hascoët, resigned amidst the company’s workplace reckoning with allegations of sexual misconduct. Manceau’s departure, and Ubisoft’s attempts to become more nimble, also come as the publisher faces one of its biggest release draughts in recent years. Big blockbusters like Skull and Bones and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora were the latest to face new delays as the company grapples with the fallout from the pandemic and reported turnover among some of its most senior creative talent.
In the meantime, Ubisoft has attempted to double-down on Assassin’s Creed. While Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will get its last post-launch update later this year, multiple new games are currently in development, including Assassin’s Creed Mirage, a smaller stealth-based game releasing next year, and Project Red, an open-world RPG set in Japan that’s still a couple years out. An online multiplayer spin-off and two mobile Assassin’s Creed games are also planned.
Ubisoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update: 10/6/22 1:17 p.m. ET: A spokesperson declined to comment further, and instead directed Kotaku to an official press release about the creation of a new Global Creative Office at Ubisoft that will be “structured around poles, moving away from a centralized organization.”
“Over the last 24 years I got the chance to meet and work with talented and inspiring teams around the world,” Manceau said in a statement. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have taken part in this fantastic adventure. I am confident in Ubisoft’s potential to continue surprising and delighting players for years to come.”