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Screenshot: Ubisoft/Axios

Eric Baptizat, game director for "Assassin's Creed Valhalla," has joined EA's Motive studio as a game director on an unannounced project, after 16 years at Ubisoft.

  • Baptizat started at Motive in April, but the move hadn't been covered in the press.

Why it matters: No one person is responsible for the excellence of any game, but the movement of top people from one big studio to another can signal the ambitions at play.

Baptizat had third billing on the massively successful "Valhalla," and previously worked in senior roles on "Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag" and "Assassin's Creed Origins."

  • Those three "AC" games are some of the best-received titles in that franchise.

Neither EA nor Baptizat are commenting on the move, though it's sure to drive further interest in Motive.

  • The Montreal-based EA studio drew notice with its well-reviewed 2020 "Star Wars Squadrons" game and is now subject of rumors involving a possible reboot of a classic EA franchise.

Go deeper

Marvel is now taking over video games, too

Image: Marvel, Take-Two Interactive

The rumored Marvel superhero game "Midnight Suns," from the acclaimed makers of “XCOM,” was officially revealed on Wednesday.

Why it matters: New games from Firaxis are always a big deal, but “Midnight Suns” also may serve as confirmation that video games, like movies before them, are now (and forever?) going to be a conveyor belt of major Marvel releases.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

2 hours ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.