Former Assassin's Creed developer Patrice Désilets has hit out at reviewers of his new game Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, insisting some critics "didn't play the game" because of the game's mediocre aggregate score on Metacritic.
"I'm used to having bigger numbers than that, so it's the elephant in the room," Désilets told attendees of Reboot Develop Red (thanks, GI.biz), referring to the typical higher scores achieved by Assassin's Creed games. "But people expected my studio of 35 people to ship a game that is really close to Assassin's Creed, and it's just not possible. We made some harsh decisions in order to ship the game, and we wanted it to be different.
"We know for a fact that some reviewers actually didn't play the game," he added. "It is part of our industry - they have to review games, and they have 15 of them to review in one week, and sometimes they don't have time. And since Ancestors is so different, some of them went 'urgh, I don't have time for this'."
Désilets went further, suggesting some reviewers "just invented some elements" of their reviews, too, and insisted that the game's concept alone "needs an hour [...] maybe two" to be understood.
"And we know for a fact that some just invented some elements in the game - like there is no fire and you cannot ride any horses, even though one reviewer said 'oh, it wasn't that great when you ride a horse'. Yes. My people are pissed, by the way," he added. "So please don't take notes today as we talk, mainly because I don't know how to make a video game."
That said, Désilets did acknowledge that sometimes "the realities of running a games studio" triggered a disconnect between his role as a CEO of Panache and that of being a game designer.
"President, CEO, responsible for 35 families," Désilets said. "The game designer in me wants to make a decision about the quality and whatnot, and then the other guy says, 'no, no, I'm responsible for those people, and I need to make a decision that makes sure the studio doesn't shut down, and that it's good for at least two other years afterwards'... Without them, I'm not here."
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is out now on PC and is slated to release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 6th December, 2019.
In the Eurogamer review, Christian Donlan - who didn't mention horses, incidentally - said "Ancestors is ambitious and clunky and not much fun - and it's often quietly thought-provoking too".