Ubisoft has announced that Fawzi Mesmar has been hired as a new vice president of editorial at the company.
For any unfamiliar with Mesmar's work, he's an 18-year veteran of the game industry with time at major game development firms across Europe including King and Gameloft. He also wrote one of the first books on game design published in Arabic.
Mesmar is stepping into a role that's become infamous in reporting about allegations of misconduct at the company. The previous vice president of editorial, Tommy Francois, was accused of abusing employees and enabling broader misconduct. The role's leadership position over multiple studios gave Francois influence over multiple teams' game direction.
He allegedly used that power poorly.
Revelations about Francois' alleged behavior also highlighted how powerful Mesmar's new role is at the company. Studios described how Francois would visit Ubisoft's various locations, pushing for changes on game direction and either approving or killing game pitches.
Reports about these meetings give the impression of teams working as hard as they can to tune their games to Francois' personal tastes--to say nothing of his alleged angry outbursts and gross messages to employees.
It will be interesting to see what relationship Mesmar strikes up with the dozens of studios around the globe. In his statement, he writes 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.”
Whether Mesmar is able to patch some of the damage left by Francois, or if this is a return to order for Ubisoft, remains to be seem.