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Ubisoft accuses THQ of talent poaching

Injunction granted against Désilets and co.

A Quebec court has granted Ubisoft an injunction preventing THQ from headhunting any more of its employees for its new Montreal studio.

As reported late last year, THQ recently recruited Assassin's Creed creative director Patrice Désilets to head up its new Canadian outpost.

According to Game Informer, Désilets then encouraged three other Ubisoft staffers - Assassin's Creed artistic director Alex Drouin, production manager Mark Besner and associate producer Jean-Francois Boivin - to come across with him.

This move effectively meant Desiléts was in breach of contract, as his non-compete agreement forbade him from recruiting any Ubisoft employees for one year following his departure. Off the back of this, Ubisoft successfully secured an injunction against THQ and Désilets in January.

However, it seems THQ's shenanigans have continued. In February, Ubisoft discovered that another staffer, Margherita Seconnino, had been approached by former employee Adolfo Gomez-Urda to meet with THQ's localisation department, with a tempting 60 per cent salary hike supposedly on the table.

So, THQ has gone back to the courts asking Gomez-Urda be added to the injunction along with Désilets - a request that this week has been granted. A statement from the publisher read:

"Ubisoft has filed a request before the Superior Court of Québec for injunction orders against THQ Inc. in order to have them comply with the non-solicit clause included in Ubisoft Montreal's employee work contracts.

"The Superior Court of Québec has granted the injunctions to the satisfaction of Ubisoft. This procedure aims to protect Ubisoft Montreal in a breach of contract situation, and to defend the long-term financial and creative health of the studio."

There's no word yet on what Désilets and his ill-gotten gang of Ubisoft emigrés are working on at THQ's new Montreal set-up.

Earlier this month THQ core games chief Danny Bilson admitted that even he wasn't in the loop, thanks to the conditions of Désilets' non-compete.

"I understand that he has an idea of what he wants to do, but I honestly don't know what it is," he admitted.

"Somebody who knows him said 'Oh, I've heard it, it's really cool' and I said 'Well, I haven't'. And that's the truth as I can't legally know. But I trust him – he's a tremendous talent and I'm looking forward to it."

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.


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