The Assassin’s Creed team makes setting decisions based on interesting time periods and does not “bind” itself to game mechanics, according to Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag director Ashraf Ismail.
Speaking with IGN at the BAFTA Game Awards, Ismail said despite the popularity of naval battles in Black Flag, the Assassin’s Creed team doesn’t choose the next iteration based on the popularity of game mechanics.
“With Assassin’s Creed we always say that history is our playground,” he said. “When we chose the pirate setting, obviously it meant naval battles had to be a core element of the game. The questions are always about what time periods we go into, but that’s a decision based on whether these time periods are interesting for fans, interesting for us as developers, and what it’d mean for the game mechanics.
“We don’t bind ourselves to game mechanics, but we really look at what is interesting historically speaking, and what game mechanics that naturally brings up. Hopefully then, the fans love and enjoy it. I can’t really talk about the future of the brand or where it’s going, I won’t even acknowledge that a game is in the works.
Ismail said didn’t wish to discuss “the future for naval [battles], but he was pleased the inclusion in AC4 was a hit with players.
“It was a risk for us to make it part of the core of an Assassin’s game, but people really took to it and loved it, which is really gratifying for us. Whatever period in time we choose, that’s what dictates the kind of mechanics we put in the game, not the other way around.”
Ubisoft has three Assassin’s Creed games in development, all part of its annual release plan for the franchise.
During E3 last year, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said there were three Assassin’s Creed games in the works, one of which was presumably Black Flag, and the development teams were provided enough time to create different iterations in order to curb franchise fatigue.
“We are making sure the teams who are creating the different iterations have enough time—two years, three years, so that they can take risk and they can change the concept enough so that it can be appealing and fresh,” he said. ‘Our job is to make sure the teams have enough power, enough energy and enough time to take the necessary steps to create a high quality game.”
Guillemot said in a prior financial call the AC franchise was part of Ubisoft’s annual release plans.