Assassin's Creed Valhalla's Ashraf Ismail Steps Down Amid Infidelity Allegations
The game's creative director is stepping down from the upcoming AC game and taking a leave of absence.
A creative director at Ubisoft's Montreal branch has announced his plans to leave the Assassin's Creed Valhalla project behind. Ashraf Ismail, who previously worked on both Black Flag and Origins, is stepping down amid allegations of infidelity.
I am stepping down from my beloved project to properly deal with the personal issues in my life. The lives of my family and my own are shattered. I am deeply sorry to everyone hurt in this.— Ashraf Ismail (@AshrafAIsmail) June 24, 2020
"I am stepping down from my beloved project to properly deal with the personal issues in my life," Ismail wrote on Twitter. "The lives of my family and my own are shattered. I am deeply sorry to everyone hurt in this."
In a follow-up tweet, Ismail said he didn't want to detract from the work others on the project are doing. "There are hundreds of talented, passionate people striving to build an experience for you that do not deserve to be associated with this," Ismail said. "I wish them all the best." [Update: Ismail appears to have now deleted his Twitter account.]
Ubisoft, in a statement to GameSpot, said Ismail is taking a leave of absence. "Ashraf Ismail is stepping down from the project to take a leave of absence," a Ubisoft spokesperson said. "The development team is committed to delivering a great game in Assassin's Creed Valhalla."
Over the weekend, along with allegations against other industry figureheads such as former Dying Light 2 writer Chris Avellone, Ismail was accused of courting women while married. According to a Twitter thread, Ismail cheated on his wife and lied about the relationship to the women he engaged with.
In addition to Ismail, another Ubisoft employee, product and brand marketing manager Andrien Gbinigie, has also been accused of sexual assault.
Regarding the accusations against various employees, Ubisoft told GameSpot, "We are deeply concerned by these accusations. We take any allegations of abuse or harassment very seriously and we are looking very closely into the allegations to determine next steps."
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is still on track to drop on this holiday season for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. With the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X also coming this holiday, Ubisoft confirmed that Valhalla is headed to both next-gen consoles. You can check out our Assassin's Creed Valhalla pre-order guide to learn more.
This story has been updated with a statement from Ubisoft.