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Fired Ubisoft director Ashraf Ismail now working for Tencent

Chinese giant says Ismail shows “an eagerness to learn and grow as a person” as he consults for TiMi Studios

Ashraf Ismail, the Assassin’s Creed creative director previously fired from Ubisoft Montreal following an investigation into misconduct, has resurfaced at Tencent.

Axios reported he is now serving as “a consulting creative director” for the Tencent-owned Timi Studios group, with the Chinese giant vouching for Ismail as he seeks a second chance.

“During our work with Ash, he has carried himself in a professional manner and has consistently shown an eagerness to learn and grow as both a team member and person,” a Timi spokesperson told Axios.

“We strive to provide a safe, respectful working environment for all and will continue to do so as our team grows and expands.”

Tencent opened a Montreal studio in July 2021, hiring several ex-Ubisoft staff who worked with Ismail on previous Assassin’s Creed titles. One source told Axios he has been involved since the studio opened.

Ismail did not reply to Axios’ request for comment, and has yet to mention the Timi role on his LinkedIn profile, which cuts off following his dismissal from Ubisoft Montreal in August 2020.

Ismail was one of the few named individuals implicated in the wave of allegations around toxic culture and abuse at Ubisoft in the summer of 2020.

At the time, he was creative director on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but left the project in June after accusations of marital infidelity and abuse of power.

Ubisoft later told staff that, following an investigation by an external firm, his employment had been terminated.

In the wake of the allegations, Ubisoft fired a number of employees, including PR director Stone Chin, while other executives chose to step down, including chief creative officer Serge Hascoët, Ubisoft Canadian studios head Yannis Mallat, and global head of HR Cécile Cornet.

The company continues to work on repairing its reputation and improving its company culture. We recently spoke to Lisa Opie about how this is being handled at Ubisoft Reflections and Leamington in the UK.

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James Batchelor

Editor-in-Chief

James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006