Ubisoft has announced that former Creative Director of DICE, Fawzi Mesmar, has been hired as the Vice President of Editorial at the company. Mesmar is an 18-year veteran of the video game industry who has spent time at many major game development, including mobile developers King and Gameloft. He is perhaps best known, however, as the former Creative Director at DICE who stepped down shortly after the release of Battlefield 2042 on November 19th.
Mesmar is stepping into a role that has been recently swamped by controversy in the news due to the allegations against several high-ranking Ubisoft employees for misconduct. According to these reports Tommy Francois, the previous Vice President, was accused of abusing employees and enabling broader abuse within the company. Since this position is afforded leadership over multiple studios, as well as their game directions, it has been alleged he used that reach and power poorly.
These allegations have also highlighted just how powerful this role at the company is, putting extra emphasis on who they would choose to fill it with. These reports even suggested that Francois would travel to these studios pushing for changes for games, with the authority to approve or kill direction rather easily. These suggested that studios would end up working even harder to tailor their titles to his personal tastes, even before allegations of gross messages to employees.
This puts Mesmar in a precarious position when it comes to taking this role. Not only will he have to foster relationships with various studios under the Ubisoft banner, but he will need to put them at ease that this change in management will not result in more of the same. He wrote in a statement that “Ubisoft brings together some of the most creative minds in videogames, and I look forward to supporting them in their work to deliver truly meaningful entertainment experiences to players.”
Hopefully, he will be able to deliver on this promise, though nothing in his past suggests he will not. Ubisoft has had several issues as of late, including raising pay to stem the mass departure of employees from the company over the past year.