When Mike Laidlaw left BioWare in 2017, it was after 14 years with the company and an impressive resume of work on some of the company’s most well-known titles. Specifically, he was the creative director on the Dragon Age series but also worked on Mass Effect.
In 2018, it was announced that Laidlaw would be joining Ubisoft Quebec, best known for its work on recent Assassin’s Creed games, to work on an unannounced project, although he ended up leaving in 2020 without explanation.
Now, a new report in Bloomberg states that Laidlaw was developing a role-playing game based on the adventures of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, codenamed Avalon. However, the game was canceled by Ubisoft’s former chief creative officer Serge Hascoët, who wasn’t a fan of fantasy and put pressure on the team, saying that it needed to be “better than Tolkien.”
The report contains some details about the canceled project. An early version was going to have co-op multiplayer similar to Monster Hunter, for example. To salvage the project, the team pitched other settings, including a sci-fi one and another based on Greek mythology (worth noting that Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series tackled this in Odyssey). However, Hascoët declined to go with any of those ideas.
This all comes from sources close to the project, but neither Laidlaw or a Ubisoft spokesperson commented.
However, people on Twitter have given credence to the report. Jordan Lemos, who was a scriptwriter on Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, said that the team was “crushed by Serge.”
“I worked on the project twice for short periods of time. I loved the narrative of the game and we had a super strong writing team early on. The entire team was great and driven by passion which was then crushed by Serge,” he wrote on Twitter. Olivia Alexander, who also used to work at Ubisoft Quebec, said that working there was like “being bullied in middle school, except bullies in middle school don’t wield an HR department like a club with nails.”
Hascoët was also in the news recently. He was one of multiple Ubisoft executives that left the company earlier this month after multiple sexual misconduct and workplace abuse allegations. Yves Guillemot stepped into the role of chief creative officer. Multiple spokespeople, including Guillemot, promised that Ubisoft was set to change its workplace culture and implement new processes for dealing with toxic behavior.
Andrée Cossette, managing director of Ubisoft Quebec, also just left the company but a company spokesperson said it wasn’t tied to the recent allegations.
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