Re­mem­ber­ing the real ori­gin story of one of gam­ing’s big­gest fran­chises a decade on from its de­but.

APC Australia - - Contents -

As­sas­sin’s Creed

The big­gest fran­chises of­ten have the hum­blest of be­gin­nings. For Ubisoft, the road to es­tab­lish­ing a bil­lion­dol­lar brand be­gan in 2003. Pro­duc­tion had wrapped on Prince Of Per­sia: Sands Of Time and a team of as­pir­ing de­vel­op­ers, en­gi­neers and pro­gram­mers were im­me­di­ately tasked with tak­ing the beloved ac­tion-plat­former to the next level, en­vi­sion­ing a se­quel that was bold, ex­pres­sive and in­no­va­tive. It didn’t go as planned and they may have ac­ci­den­tally killed the se­ries en­tirely. But what arose from the ashes was far greater and more po­tent in the mar­ket­place, with the power to en­tice au­di­ences out­side of videogames, its al­lure seep­ing out into ev­ery­thing from cin­ema and comics, to toys and anime.

As­sas­sin’s Creed was born out of Prince Of Per­sia: As­sas­sin, a game framed around a young boy, a prince, with spe­cial pow­ers be­ing cap­tured by a dan­ger­ous new threat to Jerusalem. You were to em­body the role of a deadly as­sas­sin, hell­bent on se­cur­ing the prince’s safe pas­sage home to the throne. The core con­cept came from the mind of Sands Of Time cre­ative di­rec­tor Pa­trice Désilets, in­spired by tales of Has­san-i-Sab­bah, an Eleventh cen­tury mis­sion­ary who was said to have founded the Asasiyun – or as we know them to­day, the as­sas­sins.

Ubisoft liked it, but was ul­ti­mately con­fused: why had Désilets and a small team of 20 spent a year in pre-pro­duc­tion on a ti­tle that didn’t fea­ture the Prince in a lead­ing role? In­stead of scrap­ping it en­tirely, Ubisoft al­lowed the Sands Of Time vet­er­ans to con­tinue on the road it had started down and, in Novem­ber of 2007, we had our first taste of it: As­sas­sin’s Creed landed and gave us an in­sight into the gen­er­a­tion’s most ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment, the ad­vance­ment of the open-world sand­box.

Across the game’s three-year de­vel­op­ment cy­cle, the team had swollen from 20 to 120; the Scimitar en­gine had been cre­ated from scratch (known now as Anvil, a vari­a­tion of it


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