Former THQ man Danny Bilson talks Patrice Desilets, 1666 and Ubisoft
Danny Bilson, formerly of THQ, has never been one to shy away from talking about controversial issues in the games industry and now he's weighed in his opinion on the whole 1666/Patrice Desilets/Ubisoft mess.
“I think by [Ubisoft's] standards it was an outrageously advantageous contract,” Bilson began, talking about the agreement they had made to secure the Assassin’s Creed creative lead's services.
“By our standards,” he went on, “it was the kind of contract that you give to an individual who creates a franchise like Assassin’s Creed, and deserves a certain amount of control of his destiny. A lot of what they probably didn’t like was that Patrice had a certain amount of independence to build that game and to continue with that team as he saw fit.”
Bilson continued, “I was always a big believer in if we have a good relationship and we support him towards making a great game, and it is a great game, we’ll be working together for years. It doesn’t matter that the contract says he has an option not to continue.”
“I understand that by Ubisoft’s standards that contract was way more favourable to the creator than I think Ubisoft was comfortable with,” he reasoned.
“It was just that he had a lot of freedom on it, and a lot of control – the way other very successful artists made deals, including Respawn, who has Titanfall,” Bilson explained. “They have a lot of control and ownership over that product. When artists in entertainment prove themselves, are very successful and make tremendous money for their company, I think they deserve a certain amount of respect in the deal. And that was okay with me.”
“We had made a deal with Patrice at the time – there was a non-compete clause that Ubisoft had, where he couldn’t work for a year,” Bilson added on Desilets' messy first departure from Ubisoft which resulted in the company filing a failed law suit against THQ over what they saw as staff poaching.
“So he took a year off before he started 1666,” he concluded. “I didn’t know what it was until the year was over and he came and told me what it was. But that’s how much we wanted to bring some of the best talent in the games business to THQ. We were willing to make some of those sacrifices.”
Patrice Desilets' defection from Ubisoft to THQ and subsequent return after THQ went under was a disaster from start to finish. Desilets is currently trying to recover control of 1666, the project he began work on at THQ Montreal for Ubisoft after his second, rather unpleasant departure from the Assassin’s Creed developers.
1666 is currently in development limbo with no signs that it will ever see the light of day.