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Report: Ubisoft fired Assassin’s Creed Valhalla director

Ashraf Ismail, who stepped down in June, was accused of having an extramarital affair with a fan

Eivor fighting some well-armored enemies in a frosty landscape in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, expected to launch Nov. 17, 2020.
Image: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Ashraf Ismail, former creative director of the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, who left that role in late June following social media allegations of sexual misconduct, has been formally terminated by Ubisoft. The news comes from an internal memo sent to Kotaku on Friday.

In the memo, Ubisoft Montreal employees were told that an outside investigative firm had looked into the matter, and Ubisoft determined “that Ashraf’s employment with Ubisoft had to be terminated.” The publisher told employees it would not divulge any details from the investigation.

Polygon has reached out to an Ubisoft representative for additional comment.

Ismail had worked for Ubisoft for the past 11 years and was creative director for 2017’s Assassin’s Creed Origins and 2013’s Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. In June, allegations emerged on Twitter that Ismail had carried on an extramarital affair with a streamer who met him at E3 2017.

Ismail stepped down June 24. “The lives of my family and my own are shattered,” he said in a tweet. “I am deeply sorry to everyone hurt in this.” Ubisoft confirmed Ismail’s leave of absence the same day, and told Gamasutra that it would begin an investigation into the matter.

The streamer who made the first allegation against Ismail said she had a consenting relationship with him, but also said he concealed his marriage from her, to the point of claiming the wedding band he wore was for show, so that his parents wouldn’t be asked why their son wasn’t married.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is scheduled for a Nov. 17 launch on Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, as well as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, which are expected to launch at that time.

Update: A Ubisoft representative confirmed the dismissal to Polygon. “As a result of investigations, Ashraf Ismail has been dismissed from Ubisoft and is no longer an employee,” they said.