Eric Baptizat has left Ubisoft after 16 years to join EA Motive.
Baptizat is a seasoned game designer and director. He is partly responsible for rebooting the Assassin's Creed franchise after taking the role of the lead designer for Assassin's Creed Origins. As a result, the series has taken a turn towards a more open-world hack-and-slash action RPG gameplay instead of the predominantly stealth-focused playstyle of the earlier games.
Baptizat would later serve as the director of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, which went on to become the best-selling game in the series.
Ubisoft Loses Another One of Its Key Contributors
It's normal for gaming companies, or any company for that matter, to lose key personnel. However, for it to happen in quick succession does seem worrying.
For all of the game's success, the development cycle of Valhalla has been anything but normal. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is partly to blame for all the disruption, it doesn't explain the number of high-profile members of the development team leaving. While some were forced out, such as former creative director, Ashraf Ismail, due to sexual misconduct charges, others left the studio according to their own volition.
Among these include narrative director, Darby McDevitt. He was part of Ubisoft for more than a decade and has since joined up with iLLOGIKA.
What is interesting about Baptizat's departure is that neither EA nor Baptizat has commented on his move. In fact, Baptizat has been a part of EA Motive since April, which is a long time for such a huge acquisition to fly under the proverbial radar. This suggests that EA Motive might be trying to keep something big under wraps.
In recent weeks, EA Motive has been the subject of rumors of an unannounced project, which would help explain the studio's silence. Some believe that the studio is working on a soft reboot of the Dead Space series. If this is true, then Baptizat's experience should prove invaluable.
Now, all of this is just speculation at this point. We won't know for sure until EA Motive decides to drop an official announcement. However, with EA Play Live 2021 taking place in July, it won't be long until we hear more from EA Motive and EA, in general.
In other news, Ubisoft continues to provide support for Valhalla despite the departure of key personnel. At E3 2021, Ubisoft announced that it was going to release additional content for Valhalla on top of the two that were previously announced. With Siege of Paris set to arrive soon, fans are already busy speculating about a third and a fourth DLC.