Assassin’s Creed 3: alleged insider discusses troubled development

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 14:41 GMT By Dave Cook

Assassin’s Creed 3 certainly had its share of problems – depending on who you ask – but one alleged insider at Ubisoft has stepped forward to suggest its development wasn’t as smooth as it was made out to be.

It follows my Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag making of, in I asked Ubisoft Montreal what happened between the development of the third and fourth games to create such a gap in quality.

Treat his one as rumour, but over on Reddit a poster claiming to have worked on Assassin’s Creed 3′s single-player component has given his account of why the game fared so poorly compared to other instalments.

“Oh god,” they began. “I could write about this for hours. I worked on it unfortunately. It was a mindfuck of an experience.”

Before launching into the details, they stressed, “Also, I cherished my time at Ubisoft, and despite my following complaints, working there was a great experience despite the bullshit.”

The source said that Assassin’s Creed 3′s development ran into trouble, “basically because of ridiculously unrealistic expectations and constantly tacked on features by producers / the creative team, it became literally impossible to get everything done with just Ubi Montreal.

“In order to get everything in the design doc completed in time for the annual release (ugh!), team size was constantly fluctuating. The game was worked on by large majority of the Montreal team, as well as Ubi Quebec, Ubi Annecy, Ubi Bucharest, and Ubi Singapore. Between 500-600 people touched the game before it’s release.”

It was suggested that coordinating workload and projects between all of these studios in different time zones proved problematic, and that, “studio resources were constantly stolen for work on Watchdogs and Far Cry 3.”

Desmond’s present day sections were shrugged off as a secondary concern, the source claimed, who explained, “Almost everybody on the bottom knew that the Desmond missions were a disgrace. Why? Because a B-team filled with new hires and the least talent handled all production of the Desmond content, and they were rarely in communication with the main gameplay teams. But we couldn’t really say anything, and the higher ups basically stuck their fingers in their ears and convinced themselves that they were amazing.”

The spread of teams and imbalance of talent meant that whole teams had no knowledge of what the other studios were working on, and this led to the Homestead economy, weapon crafting and hunting being left to the last minute were deemed so incoherent by the source that “Getting 100% went from something fun for the diehard fans, to a herculean task of tedium and dumb-luck.”

Apparently, a large action section before the final boss fight was cut two weeks before Assassin’s Creed 3 went gold, adding to hundreds of raised technical issues labelled “Won’t Fix” due to time issues. “As for the shitty performance,” the source added, “it was the first project ever used on the new AnvilNext engine, which was pretty much designed with next-gen consoles and future pc tech in mind, so it was super inefficient on PS3/360.

“It was a widespread opinion that AC3 was just a massive tech demo for AnvilNext, in anticipation for AC4 and future projects. Took a while for the some programmers to get used to the engine given the processing constraints.”

Regardless of all these complaints, the source was keen to stress, “while the Ubisoft work atmosphere is actually quite calm and respectful in comparison to other larger devs in the industry, the time constraints of an annual release, too many teams to coordinate, and new engine all created a perfect storm of bullshit.”

What do you make of the above?d

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