Russell Lees, a veteran writer in the games industry, has died.
News of Lees’ death was shared on Twitter yesterday (January 6) by former colleague and Assassin’s Creed narrative director Darby McDevitt. In the announcement, McDevitt said that “all who worked with him will attest to his patience, his generosity, his passion & his bright spirit”.
“He will be missed, and remembered always as the most ideal artist in this busy, hectic industry – devoted, collaborative, patient, and kind beyond measure,” added McDevitt.
Lees started out as a creative director on The Dark Eye in 1995, and worked as a writer and narrative designer at Ubisoft since 2009.
We lost a dear friend and brilliant colleague this week.
Writer and Narrative Designer Russell Lees was a part of the Assassin's Creed and Far Cry families for over a decade.
All who worked with him will attest to his patience, his generosity, his passion, & his bright spirit. pic.twitter.com/pQhAPe4rPQ
— Darby McDevitt (@DarbyMcDevitt) January 6, 2022
Lees recently wrote story arcs in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, as well as the Wrath of the Druids expansion released in 2021. In the past, Lees contributed his writing to several Assassin’s Creed titles – including Assassin’s Creed Origins and Syndicate – as well as other Ubisoft games such as Watch Dogs 2 and Far Cry New Dawn.
Tributes dedicated to Lees have been pouring in since the news was shared yesterday.
Azaïzia Aymar, transmedia and business development director at Ubisoft, described Lees as a “great writer, humble in his approach and yet very skilful,” adding that it “was a joy to work with him and simply to know him”.
I didn't get to know Russell well, but as a newcomer, professionally, to Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft, its tools and processes, he was always patient, kind and happy to explain things to me. No question was too small, too unimportant. He was Good People.
GNU Russell Lees. https://t.co/ww9zvis8n4
— Giles Armstrong 🎮✍️👾⌨️ (@_GilesArmstrong) January 7, 2022
Meanwhile, Kate MacMullin – lead narrative designer at Ubisoft Quebec – said Lees was “one of the kindest people I’ve had the privilege of working with”.
Antoine Henry – who recently left Ubisoft Singapore after nearly 15 years there – said “working with Russell on the post-launch content of [Assassin’s Creed Valhalla] has been a real pleasure” and offered “sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues”.