Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Creative Director Ashraf Ismail has stepped down from his position on the game in order to deal with unexplained personal problems. He made the announcement on Twitter today, but so far has not offered any further explanation other than saying the lives of he and his family were “shattered.”
It’s likely that this is in direct response to the breaking of news that Ismail had been soliciting women for sex while also hiding his status as a married man. Ismail said that the hundreds of talented people on the development team did not deserve to be associated with his impropriety.
Ismail’s story is only the most recent of the various women that are stepping up to speak out against the amount of misogyny and sexism in the video game industry, which most recently included Insomniac Games from an ex-employee.
So far, though Ubisoft has said that it will be investigating the claims and taking the proper action, they’ve said nothing about who will be replacing Ashraf Ismail as creative director for Valhalla. That will likely come after the investigation ends.
Ismail had previously served as Creative Director on two other Assassin’s Creed games, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed Origins. There are likely other former creative directors Ubisoft can pick to replace him on Valhalla, though hopefully the game will still turn out well regardless.
Considering it’s about Vikings and will be Ubisoft’s first foray into that time period, hopefully it can continue on the upward trend that the series has been on since Origins first gave us the new style of Assassin’s Creed games, though Valhalla seems to be dialing that style back a bit after Odyssey’s fine-tuning.
With so many notable video game figures getting in hot water due to their own incidents of sexual impropriety, meaning not just Ashraf Ismail but also people like renowned writer Chris Avellone, we may be facing a new reckoning that may hopefully lead to more gender equality in the workplace.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be releasing in December of this year on both current and next-gen consoles.