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Ezio’s End: Ubi Montreal on Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Wednesday, 5 October 2011 09:40 GMT By Johnny Cullen

As Ezio faces his last stand with Assassin’s Creed: Revelations next month, Ubisoft Montreal’s Brent Ashe and Raphael Lacoste talk to Johnny Cullen about where the series will go next.

Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed was originally announced at E3 2006 as a PS3 exclusive, before eventually making the jump to 360 and PC.

There’s been a yearly AC release since Assassin’s Creed II in 2009.

Main titles (AC1, ACII, Brotherhood) have sold 28 million units as of May this year.

Revelations is Ezio and Altair’s final story chapter, but Desmond’s story will continue.

It’s hard to believe how far Assassin’s Creed has come in the four years since the first game was released on PS3 and 360. Initially announced as a PS3 exclusive five years ago at E3, the IP went multi-platform before release in November 2007.

Assassin’s Creed II in 2009 showed the IP’s true potential, with last year’s Brotherhood cementing the series as a Ubisoft mainstay. Since ACII, we’ve been following Ezio in his quest against the Templars, but that’ll all come to an end this November with Revelations, which promises to wrap up both Ezio’s story and that of AC1 protagonist Altair.

Tying the narrative up in a bow is something that “feels good,” according to presentation director Brent Ashe.

“I think it’s important to do that when you construct a mythology that’s complex and that people are really invested in,” Ashe told VG247, speaking at Eurogamer Expo.

“I think it’s important, like any other comparably good piece of the fiction, like TV shows we like or movies we like. It’s resolution and the wrapping up of threads that’s important. I think it gives weight to the narrative.”

Art director Raphael Lacoste added that moving on will be “great for the brand.”

The scale seen within every Assassin’s Creed game has been incredible, but has only been made possible with this gen of consoles. As previously noted by Jonathan-Jacques-Bellette, Lacoste’s predecessor at Ubi Montreal and now art director for Deus Ex at Eidos Montreal, the series was originally in development on PS2.

“It would be very hard to do that on PS2,” Lacoste said. “But we tried to push the maximum we can do in the details. We try to focus on what is in the frame, but it’s always a big challenge because you have to create a level of detail for everything, so you can display all of the city all the time.

“Also, it’s an open-world, so you can see from each angle. We really have to pay attention to details in the camera angle everywhere, and, as we can climb, you can be very close to the details at the same time. It’s still a big challenge, but we have a very well-trained team. They got some experience from AC1, AC2 and ACB; they’re very efficient at doing that.”

“We have a very well trained team, so we know how to do cities, we know how to create the landmarks. But you’re right, I think we need to step back, to maybe take more time to do something fresh. It’s still a big challenge, but we could make it with a little more time.”

Ashe and Lacoste showed off the bombcrafting part of Revelations in their Expo dev session, a new feature where players will be able to make three types of bombs: lethal, tactical and diversionary. Bombcrafting’s introduction came as part of the further scoping of interactivity in AC’s world.

“We introduced aspects of the gameplay that play with the core system,” said Ashe. “If you look at the Courtesans or the Mercs or whatever, it’s something Ezio can interact with.

“The concept for the bombs came from the idea of taking that further and going, ‘OK, let’s make it centric to Ezio, let’s make it something that the player can create and can make himself. And also, let’s monitise the ingredients through playing into the economy system we’ve developed over the course of ACII and Brotherhood.’

“By using the ingredients as economy, it encourages the player to search these out, to buy and trade them. It reflects the nature of Constantinople.”

When Ubisoft announced that multiplayer would be part of the Assassin’s Creed series with Brotherhood, a lot of people – myself included – was very skeptical. Thankfully, as it would turn out, multiplayer was cleverly tied into the world of Abstergo and the Templars, while single-play remained all about the Assassins. It was vindication for Ubi Montreal.

“Because we have something like the Animus as a narrative device, it does allows us, within those constraints, to be creative and not make something feel tacked on,” said Ashe.

“We spend the single-player version of the game developing the story of the Assassins for the most part; we focus on them.”

The ACR demo shown at gamescom
and Eurogamer Expo.

Lacoste added: “And I think it’s interesting to have the single-player story experience to really go through the story. The multiplayer is an expansion of the universe, but you create the universe and you have all the storyline in the single-player, so that works too.”

Since this interview has been conducted, Ubisoft’s confirmed it intends to end modern-day protagonist Desmond Miles’ story with next year’s iteration. But after that, where can it go? It’s being talked about all the time, apparently, and is never off the table at Ubi Montreal.

“The answer to that is that it’s always in discussion,” said Ashe. “Like we said earlier, we’re very responsive to what the fans like and don’t like about the franchise, and we’re constantly working to iterate and improve on that. And then, of course, the team itself is very, very creative and full of ideas of what’s possible. I think the high-level answer is that it’s always in discussion about what could be.”

Also mentioned in the Eurogamer story earlier this week with the Desmond arc-wrap is that Ubisoft will seemingly stop its rapid-fire release mode with the series. Besides a two-year gap after AC1 – not including PSP title Bloodlines – the series has seen a yearly installment since 2009.

Jade Raymond & Patrice Desilets

Jade Raymond and Patrice Désilets were seen as the series’s figureheads when Assassin’s Creed first began back in 2006. Raymond took a step back from the limelight for ACII, but continued to be executive producer until she was announced as boss of Ubisoft Toronto in August 2009; she’s currently working on a Splinter Cell sequel. Désilets, meanwhile, was creative director of the series, doing most of ACII’s public-facing work in place of Raymond (as with the Sony E3 2009 demo, as you’ll see below). He left Ubisoft Montreal in June 2010, days before E3, before it was announced he would join THQ Montreal last October. He formally hooked up with the studio in June this year.

Lacoste admitted it could be time to back off.

“We have a very well trained team, so we know how to do cities and create the landmarks. I think we have a nice process, a nice workflow. But you’re right, I think we need to step back, to maybe take more time to do something fresh. It’s still a big challenge, but we could make it with a little more time.”

Ashe added that the subject of “milking” the series is very much in their minds, noting it’s a “double-edged sword.”

“Because it’s narratively driven, the games boast a high completion rate, and that’s telling us that the gameplay is balanced to everyone’s liking,” he said.

“They actually want to finish it, like they really want to know what happens. If you make comparisons to television series; if the story’s good, they care about the characters and it’s compelling, they’re not going to complain when a seasonal TV series comes out every year, right?

“That’s not to say Assassin’s Creed will come out every year, but we feel like the momentum of ACII, AC Brotherhood and now AC Revelations will create a complete picture of Ezio’s life and also touch upon Altair. That’s something we wanted to do and we think the fans will enjoy it. It’s true, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword; we don’t want to put it out there if we don’t think there’s a compelling reason to.”

As we rounded off our interview, the subject of the series’ two most famous developers was brought up: former creative bosses Jade Raymond and Patrice Désilets.

Raymond was the public face of Assassin’s Creed, but stood behind the scenes for Assassin’s Creed II despite maintaining her executive producer role, while counterpart and creative director Désilets did the promo work.

Since then, the pair have left the Montreal studio, although Raymond remains at Ubisoft as the head of Ubisoft Toronto, currently working on Splinter Cell 6. Désilets, meanwhile, is currently working on something new for THQ at its Montreal studio.

But, as Ashe pointed out, no one is bigger than Assassin’s Creed: Jade and Patrice included.

“It’s always a multi-disciplinary and multi-person effort. Look at what Raf and his team do for the art side; and you’ve got the engineering side; the design side; each and every person contributes to the final result. In the end, the foundation that was created initially was very strong, strong enough to continue to succeed each version.”

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations releases on November 15 in the US and November 18 in the UK for PS3 and 360. The PC version has been delayed until some point later this year. Expect more from us on Revelations next week.

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2 Comments

  1. bpcgos

    love that jade raymond! :D

    #1 3 years ago
  2. viralshag

    ^ Yeah seriosuly… <3 lol

    #2 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Monstrum launches on Steam Early Access January 29 and today, you can have a look at a video for it featuring all in-game footage. Developed by Team Junkfish the survival horror game set on a derelict cargo ship which combines roguelike elements, such as procedurally generated levels and permadeath thanks to AI driven predators. Monstrum […]

  • Here’s quick look at Dead Rising: Watchtower starring Rob Riggle

    A short look at the film adaptation of Dead Rising has surfaced. Transformers director Lorenzo di Bonaventura headed the project and it was directed by Zach Lipovsky. It stars comedy actor Rob Riggle as Frank West, along with Academy Awards nominated actress Virginia Madsen (Candyman, Sideways), Dennis Haysbert (24), Meghan Ory (Once Upon a Time), and […]

  • A Kickstarter for Underworld Ascendant will launch next month

    OtherSide Entertainment, an independent games studio fronted by Paul Neurath, has announced it’s developing Underworld Ascendant. Neurath is the founder and CEO of the new studio ad his resume includes franchises such as Thief, System Shock and 1992′s Underworld Underworld. The studio hopes Underworld Ascendant will “innovate and revitalize” the fantasy genre. More details will […]

  • APB Reloaded heading to PS4 and Xbox One during Q2 2015

    APB Reloaded will indeed be heading to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One during late Q2 this year, which puts its release sometime around the end of June. Reloaded Productions announced in September 2014 it was working on bringing the free-to-play PC title to consoles during the Digital Media Wire event in New York City. The […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 2 -The Lost Lords arrives in February – video

    Release dates for Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series have been announced. A new video offering a “first look” has also appeared. Below is the story synopsis, which you may want to skip if you haven’t played Episode One. House Forrester is in disarray. Their liege lord and his heir are dead, and Ironrath […]

  • The open beta for Nosgoth has gone live

    Consider this a friendly reminder: the Nosgoth open beta has started. Announced last week, the open beta can be accessed through the official website. Once you link your Steam account, just log into the service and start downloading the client. Everyone that plays the tester will receive double XP through January 28. More information is […]

  • First gameplay footage of Homeworld Remastered Collection being shown this weekend

    Homeworld Remastered Collection news and the first gameplay footage of Gearbox Software’s remake will be revealed at PAX South this weekend. The news and video will be shown during the Inside Gearbox Software panel at 10.30am CST on Sunday. It will also be streamed on Twitch. Gearbox is hoping to have Homeworld Remastered released by […]

  • Latest Final Fantasy Type-0 HD video delves more into combat

    Square Enix has released its latest Orience News video for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, and it provides insight into character combat styles and techniques. In the video you will see the elite combat force of Class Zero going deeper into battle to improve their skills. Combat is party-based and each of the three characters in […]

  • Something really cool happens when you finish Resident Evil HD *spoiler*

    Those who finish Resident Evil HD will be met with a really nice surprise at the end. If you wish to find out what it is on your own, DO NOT head below the break. You have been warned. According to images posted by Reddit user omeganemesis28, a thank you message from Resident Evil creator […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain release date “should be” announced soon

    A release date for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain “should be able” to be announced soon, according to the latest Kojima Station webcast. New information on the game will also be announced at the Taipei Game Show on January 31, per Game Spark (thanks, Gemtasu). “I know you’ve all been eagerly await for […]

  • Punch-Out!!, more Throwback offerings arrive on Nintendo US eShop

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Punch-Out!!, Citizens of Earth and Part Two of the Throwback Sale. Here’s the entire update: Nintendo eShop releases Punch-Out!! (originally for Wii) – also 50% off until January 29 Citizens of Earth – introductory price of $11.99 until January 27 Breezeblox (Wii) Midnight (Wii […]

  • The Witcher Battle Arena has arrived on the App Store and Google Play

    The Witcher Battle Arena, CD Projekt RED and Fuero Games’ mobile MOBA, has been released. In Battle Arena, two three-hero teams fight it out as they try to capture and hold conquest points. The game features “no pay-to-win elements”, instead it contains a “player-friendly monetization system.” Every item and functionality can be unlocked entirely through […]

  • Second wave of Star Wars titles arrive on GOG, third wave next week

    The second wave of Star Wars titles will arrive on GOG.com today with more coming January 27. Today you can pick up the following: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D (digital distribution premiere) Star Wars Rebellion (digital distribution premiere) Star Wars Empire at War: Gold Pack On January 27, the final three games of this wave […]

  • If Microsoft is serious about PC games, Xbox One should be the real Steam Machine

    Forget the magic space goggles. Maybe Valve doesn’t have the wherewithal to realise PC gaming’s TV dream, but Microsoft holds all the keys. If Microsoft really wants to get into PC gaming full-time, it needs to get around the table with Mr Newell and its platinum chequebook. “It’s time for us to talk about gaming […]

  • Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 releases on Steam next week

    Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 will be released on Steam for PC next week. The PC version of the was announced earlier this month and contains upgraded graphics, runs in 1080p, and has both Japanese and English audio. It will release on January 28 for $14.99. Fairy Fencer F and Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 also coming […]

  • Take a look at the controls and special abilities in The Order: 1886

    The Order: 1886 has a new trailer available that highlights the game’s controls and reveals the two special abilities the main protagonist has at his disposal. The game uses a similar control scheme to other shooters, but just in case you wanted to see more gameplay, we’ve got just the thing. The most interesting parts […]

  • These elderly people are better at GTA 5 than you’d expect

    Do old people get video games? Namely something known for its violence like GTA? Well, you’re about to find out. The latest REACT production sits a few elderly men and women in a room and lets them play GTA 5. The results are not what you’d expect, they start off getting a feel for the […]

  • More major Microsoft titles will be coming to PC

    Microsoft will bring more of its franchises to PC. Following on from yesterday’s big Windows stream, Microsoft has released a full recap on Xbox Wire. In the blog post, the firm hid a small bit of news revealing that Fable Legends will not be the only title to come to PC. “Today we announced that […]

  • Someone is attempting to recreate Dark Souls’ Lordran in Minecraft

    Lordran, the land of the ancient lords will soon be explorable in Minecraft thanks to a passionate modder. Davweed is a talented modder attempting to recreate the entire world of Lordran in Minecraft. Lordran is the land where the entire Dark Souls game is set. The goal is to make it a 1:1 scale of […]

  • Elite: Dangerous is getting Community Goals with update 1.1 – all the details

    Patch 1.1 is Elite: Dangerous’ first major update. Developer Frontier has detailed Community Goals, the big change coming with the patch, and more. We were told last week that big additions are coming with patch 1.1, due in February. Today, we learn in more detail what those features are. Namely, what the developer is calling […]

  • Sunset Overdrive, Skyrim and Dead Rising 3 highlight this week’s Deals with Gold

    A new week, a new set of deals for Xbox Live Gold subscribers and we’ve got the full list. Major Nelson posted the deals which are live now and run through Monday, January 26. Highlights include Sunset Overdrive, Dead Rising 3, Skyrim, Final Fantasy 13-2 and more. Check the full list below. Xbox One Dead […]

  • Survarium: 10,000 FREE Premium account keys to give away

    We have 10,000 codes to give away for MMOFPS Survarium, granting the player a Premium account for 24 hours along with 5,000 Silver coins. Each key gives the player a Premium account for 24 hours along with 5,000 Silver in-game currency. A Premium account gives you 50 percent more experience, income and reputation for 24 […]

  • “I don’t like people thinking we’re doing underhanded, dirty shit,” says Evolve dev

    Despite what it looks like, Evolve developers did not intend to give out the wrong signals when it comes to the game’s DLC plan. Evolve creative director Phil Robb spoke to Destructoid in an interview that was conducted late last year about the studio’s approach to DLC, map packs and more. Robb’s idea is that […]

  • Clock Tower spiritual successor Night Cry gets first screens

    Night Cry is coming along nicely and today we get our first look at it. Ever since the announcement of Project Scissors (at the time) last September, and then the name change to Night Cry, we’ve been waiting to see what the game looks like, especially since it’s developed with mobile platforms in mind. Today, […]

  • Tekken X Street Fighter is still happening, 40 people working on it

    Tekken X Street Fighter is definitely not vaporware. A team of 40 developers is currently working on it, according to director Katushiro Harada. Harada was interviewed by Polygon. In the interview, he touched on many topics, one of which is the status of the seemingly-never-coming-out Tekken X Street Fighter. “It’s very difficult to talk about,” […]

  • From Game of Thrones to Borderlands: all of Telltale’s adventure games rated

    Telltale Games has an impressive back catalogue of licensed adventure games to its name, and we have opinions about all of them. Note that this rundown doesn’t include bundles, the non-adventure games or games published by Telltale but created by other developers. It’s also got a fair bit of speculation in it, since at least […]

  • There is probably a new Battletoads game coming

    If you’ve watched last night’s Windows presentation you knew you recognised that logo on Phil Spencer’s t-shirt. Wearing a t-shirt with a logo of an upcoming game is an antic we’ve come to expect from Xbox boss Phil Spencer now. Based on that, we wouldn’t be alone in predicting that a new Battletoads game is […]

  • Here’s a short, 60fps trailer for DmC: Definitive Edition

    DmC: Definitive Edition has a new video available that shows the game running at 60 frames-per-second. Capcom has put out a short new trailer for the Definitive Edition of DmC: Devil May Cry that takes a look at different stages and boss fights. The video begs to watched in 1080p60 quality, if your connection can […]

  • Xbox One to PC streaming targeting 1080p, 60fps

    Microsoft has revealed that it’s looking to achieve 1080p resolution at 60 frames-per-second when the Xbox One game streaming launches later this year. The question of what final resolution and framerate Xbox One game streaming will operate at was on a lot of people’s minds when the demo was shown. Thankfully, Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra has […]

  • Microsoft is looking at offering PC to Xbox streaming

    Having announced Xbox One to PC streaming as part of its Windows event last night, Microsoft said that making the process a two-way street is on the cards. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer sat down to do a group interview following the Windows event and talked a little bit about the firm’s plans for streaming, including a […]

  • Watch John Romero play Doom

    John Romero made DOOM, and now you can watch him play it, dropping many a delightful gem of insight regarding one of the most important shooters of all time. This video was organised by Double Fine as part of its Devs Play series, a thing I only just discovered and now want to marathon all […]

  • World of Speed has gotten fairly pretty over the past year

    World of Speed has produced a new trailer, showing off the racing MMO’s progress over the past year. Announced one year ago, World of Speed is looking pretty damn shiny now. Check it out in this trailer, which introduces the Mountain Spiral Road location and teases several yet to be revealed. World of Speed comes […]

  • Minecraft user data leaked in plain text – change your passwords

    Minecraft users should change their passwords and those of any accounts using the same log-in details. Minecraft’s user data servers have apparently been compromised, with user names and passwords leaked online in plain text. 1,800 Mojang accounts were affected. The news comes via German source Heise and The Guardian and has been treated quite seriously […]

  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will commence filming in August

    The sixth Resident Evil movie is back on track. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will begin filming in August, having been delayed to accomodate star Milla Jovovich’s pregnancy. In a Facebook post, Jovovich said she’s currently being very mindful of gaining enough weight to ensure a healthy birth for her second child, without the risk […]

  • Nintendo bosses “do not really understand modern gaming”, says former executive

    Former Nintendo executive Dan Adelman has provided frank insight into the Japanese platform holder’s inner workings. Adelman, who was one of Nintendo’s most important developer liaisons, left in August 2014. One of the first things he did was say that Nintendo had issued a gag order on his social media use, and shortly thereafter called […]