Former Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail has been fired by Ubisoft following an investigation into misconduct allegations made against Ismail.
“Following an investigation by an external firm, it was determined that Ashraf’s employment with Ubisoft had to be terminated,” reads a statement from Ubisoft (acquired by Kotaku). “We cannot provide any details about this confidential investigation.”
The allegations in question involve women who stated that Ismail has pursued extramarital relationships by utilizing his power and position at Ubisoft. It’s been stated that Ismail even pursued these affairs while acting as an official representative of Ubisoft at industry events.
One of Ismail’s accusers (a streamer named Dani) had this to say regarding the former Ubisoft director’s activities:
“This person is married. When he starts a relationship with you, know he’s married. I don’t want other women to go through the same, and I’ve already had several tell me he did all the same stuff to them, and they’ve all been in the gaming community.”
Following these accusations, Ismail announced that he was stepping down as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director and would be taking a leave of absence from the company.
“I am stepping down from my beloved project to properly deal with the personal issues in my life,” Ismail said in a now removed tweet. “The lives of my family and my own are shattered. I am deeply sorry to everyone hurt in this.”
While the details of the external investigation Ubisoft referenced in their statement have not been publicly revealed, it had previously been suggested that 10 or more women had privately shared stories similar to Dani’s which involve Ismail exploiting a power dynamic and lying about his relationship among female fans.
Ismail’s activities are just part of a larger issue that has rocked Ubisoft in recent months. Ubisoft has let go of or demoted three other key employees thus far (former Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët, former Ubisoft Canadian studios head Tannis Mallat, and former Global Head of HR Cécile Cornet) over accusations of misconduct and harassment.
Many of those within the company have stated that Ubisoft’s corporate culture suffers from a lack of consequences and oversight. While Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot has stated that he’s committed to helping correct some of these previous mistakes and change the company’s culture, it remains to be seen what other actions will be made and whether or not they will positively impact the issues which seemingly plague the company.