Assassin's Creed Brotherhood: 'It's better than AC2'
17th Nov 2010 | 11:51
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood stealths its way into the shops this Friday, November 19 - and the first reviews are massive.
In our review we went for a score of 92%, praising Brotherhood's brilliant sandbox and solid Assassin-building gameplay.
Before reviewing the game this month, we travelled to Rome to meet the dev team and play the game in its most natural surroundings - and we took our dictaphone with us.
In the third and final chat in our series of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood interviews, producer Vincent Pontbriand shares his final thoughts on the epic action game.
How does it feel to be finished?
Nervous, you never know. We try our best, we put in as much effort as possible and then the game needs to ship. The window of opportunity for these big games is Christmas, so it needs to be out on shelves by a certain date. If you do retro-planning this is it, the end of September early October is it. So we're nervous.
The game feels done. We always have ideas for improvements - we wish we had ten more years - but we have to stop at some point though right?
The post-release DLC for the last game wasn't received well. Is that something that you intend to do better with Brotherhood?
We wish to. I think people felt cheated at the impression that there was stuff that didn't make it into the game. It's frustrating since I can understand that view but it wasn't our intentions at all.
We want to give more of the game so we have plans for post-launch DLC. It's a mix between maintaining shelf life, which is going to be easier with multiplayer I think. It's obvious what you can do with that. It's harder to expand it story wise in terms of single-player because otherwise you never have closure, you have to re-open doors if you know what I mean. It's a calculated risk.
Then on my side people want to go on vacation so I have to manage who gets to go, who gets to stay and work on that.
What's the reception been like for multiplayer - what are fans saying?
Very positive. We're extremely satisfied with early results, it's an ambitious addition and we surprised a lot of people. The reception at E3 reassured us and then gave us a boost to step up and add even more.
Have you made any significant changes as a result of the beta?
Most of it relates to signs and feedback. People get the core gameplay loop, it's just balancing and everything you need to show on screen for feedback. Stuff like score, next target, are you being spotted, are you anonymous - there's a lot of information we need to show without stuffing the HUD. A lot of it revolves around that but then there's smaller details, looking at what we can do to improve that.
Does Brotherhood drop any hints story-wise as to where the series might go next?
We rely a lot on the present day story to do that. You always like to see the place for future games and keep a little bit of mystery. That's one of our specialities, it's a little of both where we plan for the future but keep it mysterious. We have that but with some margin to change our mind.
Do fans need to have played previous games to understand this one?
We try our very best to make each game accessible individually but it is a franchise. Could you start Lost from season 3? Yes, probably but you'd be lost for a while and eventually pick it up.
In order to play the full story of Desmond, it's preferable to play previous games and this one because it pushes the story further.
As far as the series goes, df you have an ending planned or do you prefer to keep your options open for the sake of creativity?
Both. We have a master plan, specific moments we know we want to explore and we have a good idea where this is going. In between we like to keep flexibility so we take one game at a time. It needs to be a commercial success in order to finance the next one. If we're allowed to we'll try to keep it going for as long as it interests people.
Does historical accuracy ever constrain you?
I was a graphic artist before a producer and what I learned was that you are more creative when you have constraints. If you're free to do what you want you don't know where to begin, with specific guidelines and constraints you can think outside the box and that has been the case with us. It adds a lot of complexity in production but also helps us root this game in reality.
In your opinion is Brotherhood better than the last game?
I think it is. I'm not trying to sell it, I think this is the best one. As a team we're more and more comfortable with our games, we're learning how to use it and exploit its strengths more and more. It's not perfect yet but it's getting better and better.
The AC franchise is already massive, clearing 20 million units. With those kind of numbers do you think the series can grow in popularity?
Our universe is still young but it is growing every year. We're opening doors like multiplayer, setting it on the Templar side of the universe and we already have done some books, comics and games on other platforms.
It's growing and if we're smart we can diversify even more and really make this into an epic franchise.
So you still want to explore other parts of the universe?
Yes, I think it is very rich. The Animus, which I think is the best idea ever, allows us to go anywhere anytime.
For fans worried about the departure of creative director Patrice Désilets, what can you say to assure them?
What I can say is that we were sad to see him leave. He is a personal friend so it was a shocker for us. If you look at it I might have done the same thing; he was at Ubisoft for a long time and hadn't explored anything else so he felt the moment was right to do that.
For us, Assassin's Creed is a team effort on the creative side, he was the creative director but was working as part of a team. He didn't come up with all the ideas himself, there is a fifteen person core team. We're fine.
So it's sad but there's no real damage done?
No, after 15 years we really have a project culture, we know ourselves well enough and people working on it know it well enough that we could have offshoots with a lot of different people.