While in the wait for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, some fans have noticed trouble stirring among its creators. Sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations have rocked Ubisoft’s reputation. This started with Valhalla’s creative director, Ashraf Ismail, “stepping down” from his position on June 24. Since then, the gaming community has laid in wait, wondering what will happen next to the situation.
Today, August 14, the news broke: Ismail has been fired. The official removal came after a probing external investigation into allegations about his intimate, inappropriate relationships with Ubisoft fans and community members, as well as several allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
To say he’s under a lot of fire is putting it mildly.
Ubisoft’s Fallen Director
Public allegations began on June 21 when a gamer and streamer, Dani, exposed her relationship with Ismail. Not only did he not disclose his marital status, but after she opened up to the internet about their affair, several women came forward with their own affair accounts and worse.
She wanted to share her story to protect other women. She didn’t want anyone to feel manipulated like she did. What she unearthed with her honesty was much, much more.
In response to the mounting allegations, Ismail had stepped down merely days after they started appearing. Ismail is not the end of Ubisoft’s problems, though, as multiple people have been coming forward with allegations against Ubisoft employees. It’s become a company-wide culture issue.
Ubisoft has remained vague about his firing, but it’s clear this situation’s publicity was a factor in their decision. They also have refused to comment on the other allegations and cases. Ubisoft president Yves Guillemot has preferred to avoid the discussion entirely in all press conferences since.
As some of the harassment and assault victims are banding together to mount a case against Ubisoft, this likely isn’t the end of the story. The gaming community will have to wait and see if the victims move forward with legal action.