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Patrice Désilets sues Ubisoft for more than $400K, seeks rights to 1666: Amsterdam (update: Ubi responds)

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Former Assassin's Creed creative director Patrice Désilets made good on promises to "fight Ubisoft vigorously for my rights, for my team and for my game" in court this week, suing the publisher for $400,000 and the right to acquire the video game 1666: Amsterdam.

According to a report from French language newspaper La Presse, Désilets is seeking an amount that equates to one year's base salary ($250,000), damages ($100,000), expenses ($35,000) and severance pay ($25,000). According to the report, a clause in Désilets' contract allows him the opportunity to acquire rights to 1666 and certain assets for the game that began development at THQ Montreal.

Désilets was fired from Ubisoft in May. At the time, the publisher said the two parties split after "good faith discussions ... aimed at aligning Patrice's and the studio's visions" became inconclusive. Désilets later said he was fired, explaining that leaving Ubisoft "was not my decision."

La Presse reports that Desilets' petition to the court claims he was terminated over a provision in his contract related to the delivery of an "acceptable prototype" of 1666, which Désilets says he delivered. Following Desilets' termination in May, Ubisoft put development of 1666 on hold for an undisclosed time.

Désilets originally left Ubisoft Montreal in 2010 and joined THQ Montreal in 2011, where he served as the creative director on 1666. Ubisoft acquired THQ Montreal and its intellectual property in THQ's first bankruptcy auction this past January for $2.5 million, and in mid-March announced that Désilets had returned to the company.

Polygon reached out to Ubisoft and Désilets' agent seeking comment on the lawsuit and will update with any new information.

Update: A Ubisoft representative responded to our queries, confirming that Desilets has filed suit against the company.

"As stated before, the acquisition of THQ Montréal in January allowed Ubisoft to welcome 170 experienced developers to our existing and renowned workforce," the Ubisoft representative wrote. "Unfortunately, the discussions between Patrice Désilets and Ubisoft aimed at aligning Patrice's and the studio's visions were inconclusive. We received Patrice's legal request and will address it in court. We will make no further comment at this point."

Update 2: The details of both side's arguments in Desilets' suit have surfaced in court documents filed in the District of Montreal. You can read more about the terms of the suit here.

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