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Assassin's Creed was dumbed down and lacked variety, say Assassin's Creed devs

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It's always interesting to hear what developers have to say about their games once the hype machine has rolled out of town and they feel they can speak a little more candidly. During a recent visit to Ubisoft Montreal to see Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Patrick Plourde and Vincent Pontbriand, two members of the AC development team, both spoke without a hint of PR bullshit about the original Assassin's Creed.


Above: The original Assassin's Creed. There was lots of this

On the subject of Assassin's Creed being a 'big' franchise, Plourde (who is game director on Brotherhood and worked as game designer on the original AC) said:

"Ever since Assassin's Creed got revealed, the hype went through the roof. So we've always had to deal with that. With the first game we knew it had some weaknesses, but at the same time we didn't want to go out in public and say 'don't expect the earth'. So that was challenging."

Plourde also discussed some of the shortcomings that resulted from creating such a hugely ambitious game as the original Assassins Creed:

"We wanted to push the envelope in all areas - we didn't want regular cut-scenes, we wanted to climb every wall, have two alternate realities... maybe that was a lot of stuff to get right the first time. So we succeeded with the core, but there wasn't enough variety, the missions had problems, the exposition wasn't the best..."

He admitted that he thought the first game was too heavy and serious for its own good:

"We went too epic with AC1 - it was traditional 'save the world' style. The mistake we realised and corrected in AC2 was that even with epic movies there needs to be an element of stress relief, comedy relief. It's not necessarily normal that people are as formal as they were in AC1... I think the pressure on the team during Assassin's 1 made everybody a little stiff. The atmosphere in which games are designed, it's reflected in the product."


Above: Too epic? Too stiff? Too epically stiff?

Vincent Pontbriand, producer of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, also spoke about the first Assassin's Creed when asked where he thought the game figured in the 'games as art' debate:

"We wanted to do something way more serious with AC1 than what the project ended up being. Ultimately the more mainstream a game is, the more it sells. With Assassin's Creed the more buzz we got, the more mainstream interest in the game ramped up. So we ended up dumbing it down a bit to make it more accessible."

And was that 'dumbing down' an order that came from higher up the chain of command?

"It's both. We realised it ourselves on the dev team, but higher up Ubi's philosophy is definitely to have accessible, finishable games."

And there we are - some honest, straightforward talking about the original Assassin's Creed from the developers at Ubisoft Montreal themselves. We'll be posting the complete interview with Patrick Plourde and Vincent Pontbriand later in the week.

October 18, 2010

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16 comments

  • oryandymackie - October 19, 2010 7:06 p.m.

    I think the first game was better than the second. The 'stiffness', and 'formality' these guys speak of made the game a more serious affair than the first. Throw in the moral implications of your targets in the game - always a good plot point - and ACI was a much darker affair than its brother. P.S, Altair may have been an utter fool, but he was cooler than Ezio.
  • JohnnyMaverik - October 18, 2010 10:45 p.m.

    ...I could have told you that.
  • Redeater - October 18, 2010 9:31 p.m.

    In other breaking news WATER IS WET!
  • frmonth - October 18, 2010 9:23 p.m.

    Assassins Creed was the game that came free with my Xbox (back when it was brand new) and I could not believe the graphics in it. My friends came round and we would be like OMG, you could climb on anything and that was amazing to however all the stupid stiff cutscenes where you are kind of tied to a character was so boring even through OMFG new console eyes.
  • MyNameIsMyName - October 18, 2010 9:17 p.m.

    GASP! I had no idea, thanks for he news flash Ubisoft. BTW I just got the worst CAPTCHA ever, it was a smear of letters literally and then a word.
  • batmanboy11 - October 18, 2010 8:14 p.m.

    I hate AC1. I like AC2 though.
  • nadrewod999 - October 18, 2010 7:18 p.m.

    AC1 might have been a little repetitive, but AC2 rocks, and Brotherhood looks like it will follow in AC2's footsteps, just leaving bigger impressions in the ground for AC3 to follow.
  • tomtatoe - October 18, 2010 5:33 p.m.

    Sure it was dumbed down, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't the entire problem. Making something simpler doesn't automatically mean it has to be repetitive - that was the fault of poor game design. But hey, at least Assassin's Creed paved the way for the pretty awesome Assassin's Creed II. I'm happy.
  • spawny0908 - October 18, 2010 5:26 p.m.

    Damn right the first one was too serious. Everyone in that game needed to get laid seriously!
  • Crabhand - October 18, 2010 4:56 p.m.

    I was epically stiff while playing AC1 ohohohohoho. But really, Assassin's Creed wasn't really the best it could have been, but I was still sucked into it like I am with any creative retelling of history. If someone makes a game where I get to throw dice across the Rubicon, I'll eat it up.
  • ChrisCultista - October 18, 2010 4:52 p.m.

    PETER MOLYNEUX! GET THE FUCK OUT MY UBISOFT MONTREAL!
  • Clovin64 - October 18, 2010 4:49 p.m.

    I loved Assassins Creed more. Even though graphics are not what matters in games, I was still dissapointed when I saw that AC2's graphics were a massive downgrade from AC1.
  • lovinmyps3 - October 18, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    I still love the original Assassin's Creed. Great game, if it was a bit repetitive.
  • shadowreaper72 - October 18, 2010 4:12 p.m.

    No wonder I thought the first Assasin's Creed sucked complete ass. I thought the game was horrible. Still I heard that the sequel is better so I guess I'll give it a try.
  • jim2wheels - October 18, 2010 4:09 p.m.

    I think we all know what market the dumbing down was aimed for...
  • db1331 - October 18, 2010 3:54 p.m.

    "So we ended up dumbing it down a bit to make it more accessible." This happens all the time. Look at Call of Duty and The Elder Scrolls.

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