If you haven’t noticed certain annual patterns in most video game series by now, then I’m afraid you’ve been under comparable living circumstances to that of Patrick Star: under a rock, that just happens to be under the sea. Call of Duty comes to mind, and frankly, I’m getting a bit drained by the series. I am seriously contemplating on skipping the next installment.
Another game that’s started to mimic such annual release patterns is the killer series that is Assassin’s Creed. Since 2009, they’ve followed a consistent schedule. For the first couple years, fans haven’t said much; however, the complaints are starting to form.
Back in 2010, Ubisoft Montreal's Jean-Francois Boivin expressed similar concerns, stating the series could do with a break. "You can't plough a field every year. Once every three years - or once every something - you have to let it breathe,” said Boivin. “You have to let the minerals back in. I think it's the same thing with any license, really." I wish the developers of many “rushed” series could take that analogy to heart. “The excitement is a lot less than it used to be. You want to keep people excited. You gotta make people miss it a bit. It's like, 'Oh man! I'm so happy it's back!' But if you keep force-feeding to people then people are like, 'Yeah, enough of your Assassin's Creed," marked Boivin. “We can see a lot of the music games that are releasing year after year - the interest is a lot less than it used to be.”
Although he expressed such concerns, he cushioned the statements by saying, “Business can come back and override everything I say because at the end of the day it's about selling games,” which just happened to be the case. Boivin made those statements prior to the releases of many Assassins’ Creed titles that launched strong and continued to sell huge amounts of copies.
Yves Guillemot, the main guy over at Ubisoft, wasn’t very amused by Boivin’s words. He later addressed those remarks, and said they were “from the production team" and "the decision is not theirs." Ouch! Furthermore, Guillemot doesn’t see the same issues that Boivin brought up.
When asked if the fans would grow tired of continuous Assassin’s Creed games, Yannis Mallat, the man in charge of Ubisoft Montreal and Assassin’s Creed, simply replied to Eurogamer, “No.”
"The players will tell us. Right now there are more and more coming into the franchise, so I don't see that day,” said Mallat. “It's our breakthrough. When you have quality content, the frequency of coming out with the game is not an issue at all. On the contrary, people expect more and more of that content. So it's natural to be able to provide that content. The gamers are happy and it's our job to make them happy."
Take this how you may, but the annual releases of Assassin’s Creed titles will not come to a halt. "When we say we are annualizing the franchise, we don't say the teams only have one year to work on a project," Mallat stated. “Assassin's Creed is mature enough in terms of reaching the critical mass of players and community, but also in terms of envisioning enough content for years to come, and in terms of technology to sustain all that.”
Mallat went on to add, "And more importantly, it's mature enough in growing the talent and the core teams so we can have several core teams working on the next one and other projects on the brand. That's why every Assassin's Creed has one dedicated core team working more than one year on their projects. We call that a roadmap. It takes into account the creative content - the settings, the where and what - the technology and the team.”
Whether or not you may approve of an annual release for Assassin’s Creed isn’t a concern, apparently. While there are a few and rare gamers, myself included, who grow tired of a rushed series, the scales are unbalanced. We are outnumbered by the masses that don’t mind a new Assassin’s Creed game each year. Unless there’s a colossal boycott by every gamer to get the point across, Ubisoft will continue.
Mallat wasn’t done yet. He addressed Boivin’s farming analogy. "On the farming analogy, it is true you need to have the soil resting for a season so it can then produce more, but it's because it's the same soil.” Come to think of it, his words make a powerful amount of sense. "What I described with the roadmap is we have several teams. So they are resting. The team that has delivered Assassin's Creed 3, they're not working on Black Flag. They're resting,” alleged Mallat. “They are refreshing their minds and then working on something else that is not announced."
When you consider things from a business perspective, the annualizing of the series is justified. There is an obvious demand for the games, so it’s only right that the developers provide the supply. That’s the basis to economics, folks. Sure many of us are growing tired of the Assassin’s Creed series, but that shouldn’t discredit the developers. If they continue to innovate and change the series and push the boundaries each year, then I won’t be as bitter. As long as the same game isn’t being re-skinned with a couple measly additions and features, I don’t see an argument as to why they should stop.
Written by Nadeeja Wick @ www.nextgenupdate.com
Saturday, 30 March 2013
16:13 No comments