When Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood was dated for release almost 12 months to the day after Assassin’s Creed 2, many pundits expressed fears that the franchise would become Ubisoft’s Call of Duty – the publishing equivalent of Santa Claus, shoved out into the cold to wow the kiddies on a yearly basis.
If you’re one of those pundits, here are two things to reflect on: (1) Activision’s high intensity release schedule hasn’t exactly brought Call of Duty to its knees, or at least not yet, and (2) as far as Assassin’s Creed is concerned, Ubisoft is happy to take things slow. Like a Venetian assassin stalking a well-defended prelate, perhaps.
So said Brotherhood’s Associate Producer Jean-Francois Boivin when we prodded him on the subject at a preview event yesterday. ‘It’s not going to be one a year,’ he observed flatly. ‘It’s a hard question to answer because we’re not doing it one a year.’
Brotherhood was born of a wish to capitalise on the lasting popularity of Assassin’s Creed 2 in particular, Boivin revealed. ‘This made sense to us because it’s the continuing story of Ezio, and it’s still very fresh in people’s minds. A lot of people are still playing Assassin’s Creed – we have the data, online and whatnot, of the people who sign in and they’re online – we know a lot of people are still playing the game, we know that people are still buying the game. The story’s still fresh, so it makes sense to us to release it that quickly.’
Boivin thinks putting a lot of time pressure on a franchise is a bad idea, especially a franchise as storied and substantial as Assassin’s Creed. ‘I don’t think it’s a service to the license to release something every year, I think a license like anything in life needs to breathe and resource itself once in a while.
‘You can’t force a tree to grow more rapidly than it should, if you’re ploughing a field year in and year out, one day your earth is going to have nothing, so you have to let it rest. The same thing is true for every living thing in the universe.
‘So there’s definitely going to be a gap between this opus of Assassin’s Creed and the next.’
Read the full interview with Boivin here, and watch out for our hands-on soon. Game’s out for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 on 16th November.