Supposed Ubisoft Dev’s Prince of Persia Tease Looks Fishy (UPDATE)
Update: A Ubisoft representative responded to GameFront’s email requests for clarification on the situation, but hasn’t really clarified much.
“This is something we’re handling internally, so we don’t have anything to share,” the email reads. “Thanks for your understanding.”
As far as “no comments” go, this one is a little cryptic. Though we originally thought the evidence that @UbiDrew was an actual Ubisoft employee was flimsy, the email suggests we might have been wrong about that. It certainly doesn’t answer the question outright, though.
We’ll continue to keep an ear to the ground for any additional info that might clear up whether this is a legitimate leak or a hoax.
A Twitter account reportedly belonging to a Ubisoft Reflections engineer has been deleted after it teased a new addition to the Prince of Persia series.
The tweet was first reported by T1 suggests a new Prince of Persia game is on the way, a rumor backed up by a recent article at Le Portail du Jeu Video. The French gaming site’s story points to an anonymous source providing info on a 2-D PoP title created in the UbiArt Engine, the same engine used for Rayman Origins, Rayman Legends, and Child of Light. Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat said in January the Prince of Persia series is currently “being paused.”
But the supposed leak has an air of fishiness, and ought to be met with skepticism.
The tweet came Tuesday from account @UbiDrew, supposedly belonging to a person called “Drew James,” and who claimed to be a software engineer at Ubisoft Reflections, according to the account’s profile. The account has since been deleted, but CVG snagged a screen cap before it disappeared.
However, the tweet itself is somewhat suspect. Though it tags other known Ubisoft accounts, giving it some air of legitimacy, there seems to be no response from any of them (though that’s not too telling itself, given that if Ubisoft were on a PR lockdown, it’s likely to have ignored the tweet). But the image used in the tweet is the same used in Le Portail du Jeu Video’s post — one that appears to have been created by the video game site. It’s not, therefore, the creation of @UbiDrew or any kind of official image; if the tweet were a hoax, the image would make for a convenient grab.
T1 went on to report that @UbiDrew reached out to Editor-in-Chief Dan via Twitter to note the story was still a rumor, and that @UbiDrew asked for help in gaining more followers.
By today, the @UbiDrew account was gone, and details about it are a bit weird. First off, while tweets coming from the @UbiDrew account have disappeared from Twitter, others tweets interacting with (sending replies and the like) still exist in the system. It’s hard to say for certain, searches through Twitter suggest the account might not be very old — interactions with the account only date back to April 15. It’s hard to say for certain if the account existed before then because of the nature of Twitter’s search software, but by contrast, the list of tweets Twitter has saved on my own account stretches back not days, but months, well before the first of the year.
Other information gleaned from the Twitter account is less than conclusive. The @UbiDrew account has posted about other Ubisoft developments, such as the existence of the Assassin’s Creed Unity: Abstergo Industries Employee Handbook on Amazon, which was reported as being “outed” by the account Tuesday before it was deleted. However, the public Amazon listing seems like it could just have easily been discovered through an Assassin’s Creed Google alert as through inside information from Ubisoft.
Interactions with @UbiJames mostly seem to come from Ubisoft fan accounts or other outside sources; I’ve been unable to find anyone who actually works at Ubisoft acknowledging the account as being run by an employee or someone they know, or even really interacting with it. T1 pointed to this exchange with another person who identifies herself as working at Ubisoft as evidence that employees seemed confused when the @UbiDrew account was deleted:
— Tessa Vilyn (@UbiTessa) April 22, 2014
However, @UbiTessa has given no indication that @UbiDrew might be an employee at Ubisoft, and has mentioned on Twitter that she did not know him (@UbiTessa’s profile says she’s located in Belgium and The Netherlands; Ubisoft Reflections is in the United Kingdom).
— Tessa Vilyn (@UbiTessa) April 23, 2014
Our searches through professional social network LinkedIn also yielded no results for a “Drew James” or “Andrew James” identified as a Ubisoft employee.
In all, the entire thing seems a bit suspect. Taken apart, no piece of evidence really seems to confirm or deny that @UbiDrew is, in fact, a Ubisoft employee — but taken together, the elements lean harder in the direction of “hoax” than legitimate tip-off. GameFront has reached out to Ubisoft and Reflections for comment (and to confirm that Drew James really does work at the studio), and will update with any further information. As of press time, phone calls to Reflections were met with a voicemail recording.