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Assassin's Creed Brotherhood - Director and Producer talk dumbing down, milking it, co-op and AC3's setting

GR: Good work with the Brotherhood presentation at E3!

VP: (laughs) I don’t know how I did...

GR: Really? Were you nervous?

VP: You know, I really don’t like those things. When I was young in school I hated presentations, I was the most terrible pupil in class. I was super shy, but because I talk about what I do now it’s easier than improvising when I was at school.

GR: That’s funny, because I thought Ubi had stumbled upon a great natural successor to Patrice and Jade...!

VP: I try to be super serious in what I do. I prepare, but I wouldn’t intentionally put myself out there.

GR: Did you not put yourself forward?

VP: I had the option of sending someone else, but I figured I kinda had to do it.

GR: Well, it’s good for your career.

VP: But I’m not career driven. I just want to make good games. I’m a creator. I was actually a 3D artist at the beginning...

GR: I was chatting to Cliff B, the guys at Bungie. There aren’t all that many mouthpieces for the gaming industry, most people seem reticent to come forward. Cliff has a rep that’s good and bad, but at least he’s out there. Do we need more people like him?

VP: Why not? I think we need those kinds of figures; they put a name on the industry. Otherwise, for those outside of videogames, we’re just all a bunch of nerds

GR: Where does AC sit in the whole ‘games as art’ thing?

VP: 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 AC the more buzz we got the more the mainstream interest ramped up – and so we ended up dumbing it down just a bit to make it more accessible...

GR: Did that order come from higher up?

VP: It’s both, we realised it ourselves on the dev team, but higher up Ubi’s philosophy is definitely to have accessible, finishable games.

GR: Talking of Lineage, is that paving the way for Ubi and Hollywood – especially after the PoP Thing? Could Assassin’s be Ubi’s Prince of Persia going forward...?

VP: It will happen one day; Ubi will eventually make a movie out of one of its game series for sure. We’re just very afraid that, y’know, so far there aren’t a lot of movies that showcase gaming in a good light.

GR: PoP did okay, no?

VP: It was the most ambitious so far, but still... I don’t know. It could have been a Pirates of the Caribbean level success, but maybe it was the casting, something else...

GR: I think what it might be is that it’s stigmatised by its association with videogames...

VP: Really? Just that...?

GR: I still think the public are very negative about gaming movies, and I say that as a huge evangelist for the importance of games nowadays.

VP: Do you think most people knew that film had a gaming background?

GR: Well most pieces written about it mentioned the fact!

VP: Eventually it will work out, like it did for superhero movies. The first ones were crap – I remember Captain America! It was b-movie. But then X-Men came along, Spider-man, Watchmen...

GR: Maybe it’s about budgets...

VP: It’s not about money, it’s about creators respecting a franchise for what it is, understanding it. Putting an angle that works. Retelling the story of Spider-man, for instance... that was a super smart move.