Ashraf Ismail has stepped down from his position as creative director of the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. He has been accused of having multiple extramarital affairs, and of manipulating women for sex. This is in the midst of many people coming forward with stories of sexual harassment, abuse and assault perpetrated by high-profile men in the games industry.
This person is married. When he starts a relationship with you, know he's married. This is why he doesn't want to talk on the phone or facetime or have things sent to his home. His marriage has been confirmed by 3 people. I was with him for a year on and off before finding out. pic.twitter.com/eomqLCXZTu
— ✨dani porter bridges✨ (@matronedea) June 21, 2020
My Truth Of Ashraf Ismail
— Avion (@AvionLukas) June 26, 2020
Ismail posted a reply to these allegations on Twitter, but his account has since been deleted. His reply read: “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.”
Ismail is not the only Ubisoft employee to have been accused of sexual impropriety. Ubisoft PR director Stone Chin has been accused of predatory behaviour, and Watch Dogs brand manager Andrien Gbinigie has been accused of assault. Ubisoft has released a statement in response to all these allegations. They say they are “truly sorry” for everyone affected by the situation, that they need to do better, and that they are launching investigations into the allegations. You can read Ubisoft’s entire statement here. It’s all a bit vague and non-specific, reminiscent of the kinds of apologies you may have seen big corporations make before. Hopefully, Ubisoft makes real changes within the company to make the culture surrounding it a safer place for women.
This is not the first time prominent men in the games industry have faced allegations of sexual impropriety and abuse of power. These systemic issues seem to span across not just game development, but press as well.
Ashraf Ismail previously served as creative director of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and Assassin’s Creed Origins. Despite his departure, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is still in development and is due later this year.