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Ubisoft hands over rights of 1666: Amsterdam to creator Patrice Desilets

Ubisoft has agreed to hand over the rights of 1666: Amsterdam to former Assassin's Creed creative director Patrice Desilets, according to a press release sent out this afternoon.

In return, Desilets, who spent two years developing the game at THQ Montreal which was then bought by former employer Ubisoft, has agreed to drop the suit which was seeking nearly half a million dollars and the rights to the game.

Desilets filed the suit in June 2013 after Ubisoft fired him and put development of the game on hold. At the time, Desilets said he had a contractual right to buy the game back from Ubi and continue work on its development. Ubisoft argued that any contracts he signed with THQ are non-binding.

"Putting aside our past differences, Patrice and I are above all interested in the creation of video games and the evolution of this medium of entertainment," said Yannis Mallat, Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft Montréal and Toronto, in a prepared statement. "This agreement is good news for everyone. Ubisoft's creative teams are currently working on innovative projects that will mark our industry for years to come. This is precisely where we want to focus our energy, on our teams, to continue what we have been building in Quebec for nearly 20 years. As we have always said, Patrice is a talented designer and we wish him all the best in the development of his future endeavors."

Desilets wrote in a statement that he was happy with the agreement.

"I will now devote myself entirely to the development of Ancestors: the Humankind Odyssey, my next game with Panache Digital Games," he wrote. "This is what matters most to me today: making the best games and showing the world the creative talent of Quebecers. I also wish every success to the Ubisoft teams."

A month after filing the 2013 suit, Desilets pondered what he would do with the property if he won the case.

"It would be difficult to do 1666 as an independent studio of 12 people," he said in an interview with GamesIndustry. "But the indie scene and all the small studios are really attractive to me these days. To be in control, and to have fun, and to not have to deal with all the politics of a huge corporation."

One option could be digital episodic, a model he has already said he admires. "Even with 1666, I was contemplating whether we do that or maybe go episodic, like The Walking Dead," he said. "So I'm giving you maybe five hours of it, and if there's a market it will continue, and if not we can stop. That way, you don't need $100 million. You can do it for $15 million and see if there's a public for it out there.

"You need to design all 60 hours, but then you focus on making the first five, and then the next, and then the next. And then, like The Walking Dead, when everything is done you can buy your disc with everything on there."

We've reached out to Desilets to see what his current thoughts are about the property and will update this story when he responds. We've also reached out to Ubisoft to see if they have any further comment.

Update: Ubisoft confirmed the press release, but had nothing to add. Developer Panache said that 1666 is currently "parked" because Desilets is focusing on Ancestors.

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