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Assassin’s Creed 3: alleged insider discusses troubled development

Wednesday, 22nd 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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13 Comments

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  1. Pytox

    thats why they have to stop doing annually

    #1 3 months ago
  2. TheWulf

    AC3 was just a massive tech demo for AnvilNext.

    That is probably the most believable thing I’ve read/heard about AC III. It was so barebones and soulless, I tried to like it for a very short period, but gave up on it. You can tell that they much preferred what they were working on with Black Flag. And Black Flag (with the help of SweetFX) was at least somewhat enjoyable.

    Even if it was no match for the likes of Pirates!, which is still the best piratey game, it was at least still quite fun. Far, far from the most fun I’ve ever had (mostly due to the mundanity of the setting), but fun enough. In an average sort of way.

    As I played Black Flag though I couldn’t help but feel that if it were more cheesy, colourful, and piratey and I was occupying myself with more piratey things rather than assassinations, I’d be happier. I’d loved for there to have been a treasure hunt, there. Sadly, there are mods for Fallout 3 and New Vegas which provide a treasure hunting experience which is more piratey, more engaging, and more fun than AC IV.

    I’m not saying that Black Flag is a bad game, it’s not. The ship parts were really fun. I’m just saying that anything aside from what you did on the ships pretty much constituted a bad game.

    If it was through and through a pirate game, without any of that assassin nonsense, Black Flag might have been almost a GOTY for me.

    Edit: Also, they definitely deserve praise for the homage to Mancomb Seepgood, that wasn’t a very mainstream thing for them to do. I’m proud of them for that.

    #2 3 months ago
  3. YoungZer0

    This sounds like a fucking disaster. I’m impressed the game was even playable. You could tell that a lot of it went wrong. A lot of the parts didn’t fit into the big picture and the result was a game with outstanding potential and little to show for it. The last mission was one of the most frustrating gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

    They should’ve had focused on some sort of theme, Connor should’ve been all about being a hunter, instead we got a native-english-loner-assassin-leader-pirate. Focus is what’s missing in this series.

    I really hope they find their way back to what’s important about the series and develop their own piracy brand instead of trying to use every new gameplay mechanic they develop on this franchise. Show a little bit respect, Ubisoft.

    The next title really should be developed from the ground up. Start fresh. New setting, character, combat, no abstergo bullshit.

    And please don’t be set in the french revolution and get rid of that awful hood.

    #3 3 months ago
  4. Fin

    “Guy on reddit says stuff about AC3″

    I really enjoyed AC3, was my favourite of them all.

    #4 3 months ago
  5. YoungZer0

    How’s that even possible?

    #5 3 months ago
  6. Ali

    God I hated AC3 right after Haythem’s introduction.

    #6 3 months ago
  7. FlyBoogy

    Well AC4 isnt much better than AC3 so… no more AC for me… loved them all before AC3

    #7 3 months ago
  8. ddtd

    I really liked AC3′s story, but the game as a whole was a mess, and the execution of the narrative felt as rushed and sloppily put together as the mechanics.

    Luckily, they didn’t make (most of) the same mistakes in AC4, which was much more enjoyable and cohesive.

    #8 3 months ago
  9. soqquatto

    AC3 blowed so hard it made look AC4 a masterpiece even if it was just a better than average game. combat still sucked, underwater sections are a fucking chore and there is too much collectible clutter. still, next to AC3 it’s the pinnacle of fun and coherent game design.

    #9 3 months ago
  10. freedoms_stain

    AC3 is one of the few games I’ve ever played over a year after launch where I regularly had to google for work-arounds to glitches.

    #10 3 months ago
  11. Hunam

    “Apparently, a large action section before the final boss fight was cut two weeks before Assassin’s Creed 3″

    This is so obvious, they give you a big talk about attacking the fort from the ground whilst the ship shells from the sea, then you just black out and end up at the final boss.

    It was such a pile of shit.

    #11 3 months ago
  12. Takeshi

    What’s amazing is that it still manages to sell well.

    #12 3 months ago
  13. dtyk

    @12

    Brand recognition baby. Though you only get one grace card. If they had messed up AC4, they would’ve been screwed. They knew that too.

    #13 3 months ago