Despite not being a numerical sequel and releasing only a year after the series’ last outing, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is not Assassin’s Creed 2.5, Ubisoft says.
“It’s not a mission pack. It’s not a 2.5,” associate producer Jean-Francois Boivin has insisted to Eurogamer.
Rome — Brotherhood‘s setting — is three times the size of Florence, Boivin points out; an environment that’s ‘technologically challenging’ to pull off, “just memory wise.”
“And you have these new features, these new elements that bring a new twist and a new angle to Ezio’s story.”
“There are a lot of core features we worked on. We brought a lot of new, deep and vast features – the old Rome upgrade system, the economic system – the Brotherhood is a game in of itself.”
How do you fit all that in 12 months? Boiving elaborates: “First of all we have extremely stable tools. We’ve been building Anvil [game engine] for six, seven years now. It’s extremely stable. We have loads of tools that work super, super well.
“As you’ve probably read everywhere, Assassin’s Creed 2 had hundreds and hundreds of resources all over the world. But then when you start submitting you ramp down a lot. We didn’t do that. We just stayed right up there and kept our production velocity, starting right away.
“We already knew we wanted to do Rome. So the graphics team stayed the graphics team – bang, start building Rome really quickly. We know all our technical and design guidelines. How to build a city so Ezio can do some free running? The AI guys – how you can improve on NPC AI? How can we improve on the horse? How can we improve on the fights? We started working on that right away.
“Then the storyline. We already knew it was Ezio’s story, and Patrice Désilets [now departed] already knew what the story was. So it was quick for us to do a story blueprint. Maybe two weeks after the release of Assassin’s Creed 2 we already had the story down, and we probably started writing a few pages of script. Casting was already underway.
“The operative word here is velocity. And we still have people helping us. Our Singapore office is still working with us. The studio in Quebec City is helping us. It’s a question of keeping going and making a full game in a year.”
Brotherhood‘s out in November.