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Patrice Desilets: Lessons from 15 years in AAA

In this video from the Gamelab conference, the creator of Assassin's Creed reflects on his career and the future of the games industry

If you've seen Patrice Desilets' name in the headlines over the last six months, it's likely to have been for the wrong reasons. The creator of Assassin's Creed was a prominent figure at THQ when the company collapsed, returned to Ubisoft to continue work on his new project, and was subsequently fired for reasons that, he claims, were, "baseless and without merit." Desilets is now suing Ubisoft for the rights to 1666: Amsterdam, and it seems likely that the project will not come to fruition if he loses.

It is no surprise, then, that Desilets' talk at this year's Gamelab conference caught him in a reflective mood. Essentially a guided tour of his career - from the little known Hype: The Time Quest through Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and on to the Assassin's Creed franchise - Desilets described the triumphs, the mistakes and the lessons learned over 15-years of AAA development.

Ultimately, though, Desilets is still looking towards the future, and the talk culminated in his fervent belief that the digital world will offer a route for AAA games to make money again, and a plea for developers to question gaming's use of violence and find new subjects to explore.

"I believe we need a revolution in subject matter," he said. "It has been four E3s that I've gone to, and it's always the same thing. I get it: we all like space marines and shooters, but come on, we need to talk about something else.

"We're still talking about these things because the medium is really in its infancy. It's so much easier in terms of production and coding to just blow stuff up than to create an interaction about human beings. It's so much more subtle than killing. Eventually we'll get there, and it's really a shame that I cannot finish 1666, because it was about all of that."

For more videos from this year's Gamelab conference, follow the link.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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