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Rayman creator Michel Ancel leading new indie studio Wild Sheep, will stay at Ubisoft (update)

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Renowned game designer Michel Ancel is one of the co-founders of Wild Sheep Studio, a new independent developer, and he will continue in his current role at Ubisoft while working at Wild Sheep, the latter company announced today.

Wild Sheep Studio is based in Montpellier, France — the same location of Ancel's longtime home, Ubisoft Montpellier. According to a press release from Wild Sheep, Ancel is working there with "a team of experienced developers" on an original game. The studio gave no further details, but released the team photo above, which features 13 individuals (Ancel is in the center, wearing the partially buttoned shirt).

Ancel has spent nearly 25 years at Ubisoft. Reached for comment, a Ubisoft representative sent Polygon a statement from Xavier Poix, managing director of the company's studios in Montpellier; Paris; and Annecy, France.

"Ubisoft Montpellier is a hotbed for artistic game development, including great games like Rayman, Beyond Good and Evil, and Valiant Hearts," said Poix. "We are fortunate to have some of the industry's finest talents, including Michel Ancel, working with us at our studio."

Poix added that Ancel's ongoing role at Ubisoft Montpellier will be to lead the creative development of "select projects," including "an extremely ambitious new title that is very close to his and the team's heart."

It's possible that Poix was referring to Beyond Good & Evil 2, which Ubisoft officially announced years ago but about which the publisher has revealed little since then. Last summer, Ancel said he and his team wanted to "try again" at making the game, since it was too ambitious for the existing consoles and would be better suited to the new ones.

Update: Asked specifically about Beyond Good & Evil 2, a Ubisoft spokesperson provided the following statement.

"In many ways, [Beyond Good & Evil] is an inimitable game — it appeals to all generations of gamers and is an inspiration behind many of Ubisoft Montpellier's past and future games," the representative said. "It's still far too early to give many details about this new title, but what we can say is that while Michel and the team at Ubisoft Montpellier are working with the core tenets of BG&E, they're developing something that aspires to push past the boundaries of a proverbial sequel and leverages next-gen technologies to deliver a truly surprising, innovative and exceptional game. The entire team is excited about the direction this extremely ambitious project is taking, and we'll have more to share later, as it progresses."

The original Beyond Good & Evil debuted in 2003 on GameCube, PlayStation 2, Windows PC and Xbox.

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