Michel Ancel was born in March 1972 in Monaco.
He spent part of his childhood in Tunisia and other places, moving around wherever his father (a professional soldier) was posted.
From an early age, he was fond of the Russian, Chinese and Japanese stories and fairy tales that were read to him. "They were stories that swept me off into the different worlds that I now use to inspire my decors. Some of the heroes of my games look just like the ones I imagined when hearing those tales."
As a teenager he spent the evenings with his buddies, huddled round the first video games that were coming out at the time. From those days on, he was fascinated by the early video games: "the type where you're constantly wondering what'll happen if you open this door, or if you rush into this tunnel - and you tried to imagine what was hidden away in all those places you couldn't get into."
In Montpellier, where his family settled, he taught himself how to program. His greatest desire was to create a game which was something other than just a car race or a combat simulation. So, outside high-school hours, he started developing various puzzle games which soon made a name for him. At a competition for young game designers, an animated sequence he produced on his own led to him being invited for interview by Ubi Soft.
In 1989, at the age of 17, Michel joined the Ubi Soft teams and began work as an independent graphic designer. As one encounter led to another, he was quick to broaden his artistic knowledge and create the Rayman character. The first Rayman game came out on PlayStation® in 1995. Other games - for other platforms - soon followed in the range, and their success is now legendary.
In 1999, having completed the Rayman 2 project, Michel wanted to explore new universes and create new worlds to give free rein to his unbounded imagination. So, in addition to his role as consultant for new Rayman game developments, he embarked on an original and ambitious project - an action/adventure game named Beyond Good & Evil, this time centered on a young female character.
Today - along with Jacques Exertier, co-producer of the game - Michel heads a varied team of 30 people.
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