Ashraf Ismail, creative director for Assassin's Creed Valhalla, has announced that he is stepping down from his role on the game. His departure comes in the wake of recent allegations concerning manipulative behavior and extramarital relationships.
"I am stepping down from my beloved project to properly deal with the personal issues in my life," Ismail writes on Twitter. "The lives of my family and my own are shattered. I am deeply sorry to everyone hurt in this."
Ubisoft has provided the following statement to USG: "Ashraf Ismail is stepping down from the project to take a leave of absence. The development team is committed to delivering a great game in Assassin's Creed Valhalla."
Ismail, who also served as game director on Assassin's Creed Origins and single-player game director for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, was recently in the spotlight given Valhalla's reveal in late April. "There are hundreds of talented, passionate people striving to build an experience for you that do not deserve to be associated with this," Ismail says. "I wish them all the best."
Over the past few days, dozens of people have come forward to share their accounts of relationship abuse, sexual harassment, assault, and workplace discrimination within the video games industry. On Monday, three studios cut ties with prominent game writer and designer Chris Avellone in light of allegations from two women who say he engaged in non-consensual advances and inappropriate text messages.
Yesterday, an Ubisoft representative also issued a statement to Gamasutra regarding allegations made against two other employees, Andrien "Escoblades" Gbinigie and Stone Chin: "We are deeply concerned by these accusations. We take any allegations of abuse or harassment very seriously and we are looking closely into the allegations to determine next steps."