Rayman creator Michel Ancel has announced that he is leaving not only Ubisoft, but the games industry as a whole, in order to work full-time at a wildlife sanctuary.
Ancel’s 30-year career in the industry saw him create the Rayman franchise back in 1995, as well as both the Rabbids franchise and Beyond Good and Evil.
Announcing the move on Instagram, Ancel stated that the two projects he was working on, Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Wild would continue in his absence.
In his post, Ancel wrote:
“Today is very special for me. After more than 30 years, I’ve decided to stop working on video games and fully focus on my second passion: Wild Life! My new project takes place in the real world and consists in a wild life open sanctuary dedicated to education, nature lovers and… wild animals.
“Many of you might want to know what will happen to Wild and BGE2. No worries, since many months now the teams are autonomous and the projects are going super well. Beautiful things to be seen soon.”
Guillaume Brunier, senior producer on Beyond Good and Evil 2, posted an update on the game following the announcement, stating that Ancel had not been involved in the project for some time and that the team had “been hard at work building on top of the solid creative foundation he helped shape.”
Ubisoft addressed Ancel’s departure, in a statement to GamesIndustry.biz:
“Today Ubisoft announces that Michel Ancel has chosen to leave the video game industry after an exceptional career spanning more than 30 years. A nature-lover, Michel has been working on a personal project dedicated to the protection of wildlife for a long time. This project, a wildlife sanctuary in the region of Montpellier, France, is now growing in scope, and he wishes to put his full effort into this longstanding passion.
“Michel is at the origin of some of Ubisoft and the video game industry’s most beloved franchises, including Rayman, the Raving Rabbids and Beyond Good and Evil, whose second opus, Beyond Good and Evil 2 is currently in development. The teams at Ubisoft Montpellier are currently focusing on the main stages of production, aligned with the vision set out by Michel. They will have more to share with their community of fans in the months to come.
“We would like to thank Michel for the incredible creative vision he has brought to Ubisoft over the course of his career, and wish him all the best for this new venture.”