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Assassin's Creed 2 Video Interview Transcript
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 01:11pm 26/06/09 | Comments
Here's a full transcriot of AusGamers' video interview with Assassin's Creed 2 Associate Producer, Vincent Pontbriand...

Click here for our full video interview.

AusGamers: We're here with Vincent Pontbriand, associate producer on Assassin's Creed 2, and he just run us through a demo of the game. Vincent, the game looks absolutely amazing. One of our first questions, and a question many people are wanting to know is, why Venice?

Vincent Pontbriand: Well, first of all it's not only Venice. We're showing Venice here at E3 because we thought it was one of the coolest environments we could show to impress people, and to show off the Italian renaissance. Venice is very typical of the renaissance, but there are also other Italian cities renowned for that, so you'll see Florence and a few more interesting areas to explore - and a few surprises as well.

AGN: A big question we have with the location then is, I guess you won't be travelling between areas on horseback like the first game... can we expect maybe gondolas or something?

Vincent: You'll be looking at gondolas, for sure. Venice being Venice, there's water, canals and boats so we couldn't avoid having gondolas and boats and having the ability to get on them and use them as part of the different missions you'll have.

AGN: It was said the game-world is bigger than Assassin's Creed, will it be a seamless transition between areas? Or will there still be loading between cities?

Vincent: Yeah, there'll be loading areas. But the idea is to make sure each environment is complete with its own urban and countryside parts. Cities in general are larger than AC1 and they're not as symmetrical as AC1, either. We wanted to stay close to historical accuracy; for example Venice today still has six districts and it has been like that for centuries, so we wanted to recreate that in the game and each district is unique so we kept that as well.

AGN: So in terms of NPC AI and guard AI, how much has changed since AC1? There were a lot of systemic actions and reactions throughout - how have you approached this to create a more organic sense of AI?

Vincent: When we set out to create the sequel, there were a lot of things we really wanted the AI to be able to do. We could have tried to just build on top of our previous technology, but we decided to recreate the entire AI system from scratch. So it's much more flexible and each individual NPC in the game has different states they can switch to. So now we have a lot more happening, it's a lot more dynamic and we have all this emergent behaviour, which sometimes even surprises us because it looks like a living and breathing system. You have more citizens now; guards have new and different abilities - some are actually going to be able to challenge Ezio either in fighting or free-running or even in his social skills. Some guards will be paranoid and will be looking for you (even when you're hiding), and you'll have a certain reputation you're going to have to maintain in the various cities so it's going to be very dynamic.

AGN: One of the things that was frustrating about the first game was that Desmond Miles seemed like such a cool character but he was such a rigid avatar. Moving him around the lab didn't feel natural - I mean you could steal the professor's pen but what could you do with it?

Vincent: The separation between past and present will be more blended, if you will. Instead of a few moments where you visit the present, you'll have fewer of those but they're going to be more action-packed. And the present is going to be more there with you as you're doing your past missions; you'll hear people from the present monitoring the Animus and giving you hints when you need them.

AGN: Okay, that all sounds very cool. So how about Leonardo da Vinci - you mentioned in our demo he's going to play a big part; he's basically like "Q" from James Bond. Now we saw the flying machine he made (which was destroyed) - will he make you another one? Or was it just that single instance? Will all gadgets overall have singular uses or will they manifest dynamically?

Vincent: Leonardo was always good at prototyping, so he's probably going to have a few of those [gadgets] to get it right for when you need it for an important mission.

AGN: So we might be landing the flying machine a bit further down the track?

Vincent: (Laughs) let's hope so - for Ezio's sake...

AGN: As far as Ezio himself is concerned, when you guys unveiled the game you said he's this charismatic "player", if you will. Will we be seeing much of this come out in the character? And how will it affect missions? Also, how does the mission structure work now - are we still moving from a single hub?

Vincent: First of all as you said, Ezio is indeed a more charismatic, more extravert kind of person. You'll learn a lot from his earlier years at the beginning of the game and you'll understand where he comes from and why he's the way he is, and just what happened to him to make him change. Because he wasn't born an Assassin like Altair was - Altair was born into the Assassin's Brotherhood, while this guy [Ezio] just happened to become one for a reason. And so all of that is tied to the narrative and how the missions will be played. It's a more progressive experience and as you go on you'll learn more skills, you'll meet more and more friends, allies and enemies as you go. Each time Ezio finds one of his targets and kills him, he'll learn more about a larger conspiracy and he'll understand that it's more than just a personal vendetta - he'll have to collaborate and work to find the ultimate truth.

AGN: Now beyond Desmond Miles and the fact that Altair is Ezio's relative - will there be other elements from the first game coming across? Will events that you made happen in the first game show up as after-effects in Assassin's Creed 2?

Vincent: There will be a lot of ties between AC1 and AC2 - a few surprises... but I guess you'll learn more in the coming weeks. But I guess... well it's a shame to lose such a cool character as Altair, so we wanted to make sure there's something still living of him in AC2 (smiles)...

AGN: Okay... well that's awesome, thanks very much Vincent.

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