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E3 2011: Assassin's Creed: Revelations Developer Video Interview and Transcript
Post by trog @ 08:46pm 06/06/11 | Comments
AusGamers sits down at E3 2011 with Alexandre Amancio, Creative Director on Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

Watch the full video interview embedded above or click here for the 720p HD version

AusGamers: Hi guys, welcome back to AusGamers, you’re here with Stephen Farrelly. I’m here with Alex who just ran us through a pretty awesome demo for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

Alex, let’s get right into it. One of the things you mentioned through the demo was the idea that these characters have evolved. We saw a little bit of that in the combat, you could slow down a little bit; you could use eagle vision and a combination of the smoke bombs and stuff. Can you run us through the evolution of the combat?

Alex: Yes, you mentioned the hook bite, that’s just one of the elements that we’re adding; systemic elements that will not only bridge navigation and combat and make combat a more fluid part of the navigation but also make it a bit more direct. Ezio is older and wiser, he’s less flash and more direct, to the point. We also changed... you know in Ezio brotherhood you also had secondary weapons available to you too but it was all mapped on you holding a button for two seconds which was sort of against the fast-paced nature of combat. What we did here was open up the combat tree by adding a different button for secondary weapons so you could be fighting with your hook blade, turn around, tap the button and throw a weapon – a bomb on another character. So it really makes combat more fluid. It opens up the complexity of the combat. It was there but it’s much more accessible now with this new layout.

AusGamers: So obviously there’s more tactical recourse for players. What about being able to call in the other assassins? A lot of people complained in AC: Brotherhood it almost seemed like a cheap way to get through bottlenecks that should have been there for you to get your way through.

Alex: The relations between the assassins and Ezio is different than in AC: Brotherhood. For example, because in AC: Brotherhood, he’s setting up his own brotherhood, he’s recruiting people, you’ll also get to do that but there is a different sort of feeling to it because you are in a different city. Yousef - the character you saw in the demo - is actually the leader of the assassins in that city. As the mentor Ezio outranks him but he acts more like the general... a bit more distanced in Brotherhood. So you can still call upon them and sometimes Yousef can have them come in and help you during tight situations, but the actual balancing of that is a bit different.

AusGamers: So you won’t be managing those guys on your own anymore. Are we talking, this is just Ezio (and obviously Desmond), as you said, manifesting their fates?

Alex: You mean narratively?

AusGamers: Yeah, obviously there was an RPG-like component to AC Brotherhood; is that going to be here as well?

Alex: Yes it is. In Assassins we have a strong tradition of building upon what we’ve established in previous games and adding on top of that. Which means the game is becoming monumental; it’s becoming systems on systems. What we’ve done with Revelations and we’re working hard on doing is trying to consolidate all those different features. By that I mean we’re creating more links between all of the different systems so that they become more of a core experience if you will. If the systems are too spread out and too disconnected you can complete the game by bypassing very important elements.

By consolidating and connecting all of them, it feels as if they are all part of the same narrative and by completing this narrative you are touching on all of these things and complexity. It’s still there and it’s even bigger.

There’s an element we really haven’t talked about at E3, we’re going to talk about a bit later, and it’s called the Assassins Dens. They have two parts to them, first of all it’s a completely new system - we’re adding a new low level system, a new interaction with your assassins in the city but we’re also adding a different interaction when you send your assassins off on missions outside the city (a sort of Mediterranean game play). Also, on the second sort of pillar with the Dens, we’re consolidating a lot of the systems from Brotherhood like the Borgia towers, the Brotherhood, the city improvements and we’re connecting them into this whole new mega system and again making it contextually and part of the main narrative.

AusGamers: Was that also to break up gameplay following the same trail over and over again? I don’t want to use the word repetitive because neither of the last two games were repetitive but they did have systemic gameplay components that followed each other and maybe just a little bit too closely.

Alex: Yeah, that’s always a risk with open world games and it’s definitely something as we add on stuff, we’re really trying to redefine how we set it up to the players so that we never get that sort of feeling of repetitiveness.

So what we’re doing is, I’ll give you a concrete example of what one of the approaches is we’re taking; We used to have crowd missions, you were running around a city, the character was highlighted, you can chose to interact with that character and he will offer you a side quest. What this can do is really give you a feeling this city is somewhat static and has these set up characters throughout it. We’ve removed that and what we’ve added is what we call City Events. As you’re moving through the game, either completing main quest elements or side quest elements or just exploring for ingredients you might encounter characters in the middle of an action

AusGamers: Emergent gameplay?

Alex: Exactly, and that is happening, it’s much more immersive, the city feels more alive. So it will feel less like you’re completing task after task and it’s going to feel more organic. One of the key elements we’re going to be adding are bombs. It’s not just the bombs but the bomb crafting element. By basing our economy on ingredients rather than money where you have too little at the beginning and too much at the end, we’re mixing in ingredients with that.

What happens is this encourages you to search through the city to find these elements then you can combine to create bombs. So again it adds a little bit of variety and chaos into the systemic world. The bombs themselves, how we designed them, the approach we took is we’re not giving you dozens of bombs that you can pick and choose and use. We’ve given you a system to craft bombs that actually will interact directly with the different gameplay and pillar systems of the game which allows you as a player to manipulate the game to your own liking.

I’ll give you an example: if you are a stealth player and you’re a strategic player, you might want to create a setup where you kill a guard, you place him strategically in a place where you know guards are going to pass by, you place a tripwire bomb. When other guards pass by, they’re going to notice the body and come and explore, as they get closer they set off the tripwire and boom, you’ve created a booby trap. If you’re a stealth player and want to move around strategically you can do that. If you’re a very aggressive player and like to rush your enemy and you hate chases, create chase breakers. So you really get to modify the game and adapt to your own play style which was really key for us.

AusGamers: I think we’re running out of time so one more question: the trailer looked fantastic and obviously we see a lot more variety and location including that great shot of him just walking towards those mountainous regions. In terms of the exploratory value, you guys focused on cities and Italy for the last two games; what sort of geographical differentiation can we find here?

Alex: You will visit Mousof, the birthplace of the assassins, obviously. Its three hundred years after Altair so it’s changed quite a bit. You’re going to visit Constantinople. We have another city, it’s in the Cappadocia region in Turkey, and it’s an underground Templar city. It’s unlike Rome in ACB which was a city that was taken over by the Borgia; this is a Templar city. This is based on real locations that existed; ten thousand people lived in cities that existed like that for over a hundred years, the Byzantines hiding from the Ottomans, stuff like that. You’ll get to visit stuff like that, so we have three main locations and a couple of smaller side locations.

It’s really an epic game, we focusing and going back to the many locations spread across huge expanses.

AusGamers: And of course you’ve got the Desmond meta-games stuff going on as well.

Alex: Exactly and the Desmond Meta game is sort of set in the low-level abstract animas and then we have Altair.

AusGamers: Well that’s awesome; well we better leave it there. Alex thanks so much the game looks fantastic!

Alex: Thank you.
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