It’s an upsetting truth that sometimes, really great ideas just don’t work. Even when they’re mine. Case in point: while playing a multiplayer build of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, recently on show at a preview event in London, I was struck by how wonderful it might be to add drop-in co-op to the single player.
Just imagine entering into another assassin’s game, tracking him patiently through the world and excavating his Adam’s apple with a wristblade right on the verge of some key objective. Or conversely, helping him to spruce up run-down parts of the city of Rome. Bloody marvellous.
When I broached the topic with the game’s Associate Producer, Jean-Francois Boivin, he was a little less enthused. It seems the random interventions of other players wouldn’t really gel with Assassin’s Creed’s tightly conceived story arch.
‘You have to come back to the universe of Assassin’s Creed and what Assassin’s Creed is, because Assassin’s Creed is the story of Desmond Miles and a machine called the Animus in which he relives his ancestors’ genetic memories,’ Boivin explained. ‘So to justify something like co-op, you would have to have in our universe with Desmond, the assassin and the Templars… you’d have to find subjects that had ancestors in the same time period, as for example in this case Ezio, in the same area and have a separate Animus.
‘Once again, you have to be smart about it – it’s a very complex universe. It’s very easy to find logic holes, and once you do you become cheap. And we’re not cheap, we want to stay true to the complexity of the universe, and I think that’s what makes Assassin’s Creed a very fine game and a very unique game, the overarching storyline of it.’
Boivin was prepared to admit however that the idea in itself, considered apart from questions of narrative, had merit. ‘The co-op on a pure mechanical angle is super-interesting, and what you say about other people having an influence on the city and whatnot, whether it be positive or negative, as a player is super-interesting.
‘But it doesn’t make sense. And if it doesn’t make sense we can’t do it, we won’t do it.’ Can’t say plainer than that.
Read the full interview here, and look out for Brotherhood on 16th November.