Assassin's Creed sequelization put in context by Ubisoft

"Assassin's Creed is a franchise, like Mario or Resident Evil, that will have ups and downs," says Alex Hutchinson

Assassin's Creed is essentially Ubisoft's Call of Duty - a game that has seen a major entry for the past few years and sold well in each incarnation. While some have been critical of annualizing the franchise, Assassin's Creed creative director Alex Hutchinson doesn't see anything wrong with the tactic.

"Since when is something less amazing if you get a new one every year?" he said to CVG. "If Breaking Bad was shown twice a week I'd watch it twice a week. If Radiohead put out an album every six months I'd gladly buy one every six months."

Hutchinson says that the business of AAA gaming practically demands that sequels be produced, given the investment required to make those experiences. "If people want these massive triple-A blockbusters, people will have to accept that we have to make our money back somehow," he said. "It's rare that you'll make your money back on the first one. Assassin's Creed 3 is a huge undertaking - we went back to basics on a number of things, including tech."

"Any revenue that a publisher can get to make riskier projects is cool with me," he added. "People say it's the dark side of capitalism but it's more like communism; we have big projects whose success pay for the little projects."

The creative director noted that while Assassin's Creed was originally conceived as a trilogy, it's evolved into more than that now. "The way we see Assassin's Creed now is as a franchise, like Mario or Resident Evil, that will have its ups and downs. It wasn't the original plan to be an ongoing series, no, but it became the plan. The curse of success, for want of better phrase."

"But if you can keep a series interesting and fresh then I don't see why it shouldn't go on. Nintendo has been great at reinvigorating their franchises, as have other Japanese companies, so we feel we can too," he concluded.

More stories

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot takes 30% pay cut

Company still at "high risk" of losing talent, but gender balance slowly improving

By Marie Dealessandri

Ubisoft issues statement of support to women and LGBTQ+ communities

Company to also host live stream benefitting LGBTQ+ youth crisis prevention organization, The Trevor Project

By Jeffrey Rousseau

Latest comments (9)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago
"If Breaking Bad was shown twice a week I'd watch it twice a week. If Radiohead put out an album every six months I'd gladly buy one every six months."
The problem with this is quality. Showing something, or releasing something, on a more regular basis puts pressure on the creative teams behind the product. Radiohead putting out an album every 6 months would require them to work everyday, 8 hours a day? Maybe more. The quality of song-writing would suffer. The quality of playing would suffer. People would stop buying their albums, if they continued to produce poor quality material.

Now think of it in the context of gaming, an industry which already has issues with sequel quality, and crunch.

Less really is more, you know.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 17th August 2012 11:08pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Prendergast Process Specialist 9 years ago
I'm there with Morville on this. Squeezing more out of your franchise will burn it out in all senses. Assassin's Creed, Guitar Hero and Call of Duty are not like Mario or Resident Evil..... Neither of those last two burned themselves, their ideas or their welcome out through pushing constantly. Big Mario games tend to happen naturally and, while some of them aren't are good as the others you don't tend to feel like they're ever full of "stuffing" to make them last longer...
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 9 years ago
I disagree with every single analogy that he makes in this interview and it makes him sound like an outright liar.
What he really means to say is:

"We make a new Assassins Creed every year because it makes money and we like money. Also, despite several case studies to prove the opposite we will bring out a new game every year because people need to buy Christmas or spend Christmas money so brand recognition linked to past quality far outweighs the current title's quality. In short, we'll ride this wave until it's done."
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (9)
Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 9 years ago
Metaicritic scores (averaged over all three platforms): AC: 81, AC2: 89, AC Brotherhood: 89, AC Revelations: 83.

So why is the quality of the AC games so much worse than other games with similar scores?

Looks to me as if the Ubisoft folks have done some hard work to keep the quality of the game up through its various iterations, and have been reasonably successful in doing so. So yes, they're right that you can pump one out every year.

(As an aside, I'm no huge fan of the series, though I have played about half of AC1, AC2 through, and a bit of Brotherhood. But my not being in love with it shouldn't get in the way of the objective facts on the ground, which are that the series gets good reviews and good sales.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 20th August 2012 1:55am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 9 years ago
With you on that Morville. When they dragged out the AC2 story arc I just got more and more tired of it (plus the DLC...and losing out on exclusives to different retailers).

As much as I like the series I want to see it end on a high note instead of them ruining a great franchise.

They've made some improvements on the series overtime sure, but as mentioned before why is it being compared to Mario? The brands are on completely different ends of the spectrum. Just sounds like making excuses and digging to cover up for 'yeah we just like money' in my opinion.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 9 years ago

So i guess releasing crap is acceptable for the assasins creed franchise? I think each and every game should be developed and polished with care. Not release a half assed assasins creed to make the yearly deadline. This comment really sucks.

The last thing Assasins creed has going for it is Story. I think its something they had done a long time ago. But when the story is finshed, i think the Assasins Creed Franchise will die. I really do like what ive seen of ACIII. But dont know what else they can come up with afterwards. i think a 4 or 5 year break will actually be good for the franchise.

I remember when it took that long to get a new Zelda or Metroid game. And everytime they came out, they were masterful. But now nintendo went on to juice those franchises and thats why we got, spirit tracks and half assed metroid prime sequels. i dont really think these games could be all they can be because they were released through a small time window.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 20th August 2012 2:52pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 9 years ago
Where is the risk in selling the same game 4 times?
Since AC1, only features were added to the game (and animations yeah), but it remains the same game over and over again.
I bought AC Revelations last month and I didn't have to learn a single thing about it (except for bomb crafting: What a revolution)
Same assets, same gameplay, same ennemies, same mecanisms, same everything.

I think that what morville described is already happening to AC.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 9 years ago
Man, if you're all trying to come across as a bunch of artistes who have no connection with either the critics (who rate what you call "crap" eight and nine out of ten) or the gamers (who buy massive quanities of what you call "crap"), you're doing a great job. But this "the world is wrong and I am alone in my artistic rightness" thing is getting about as tedious as an Xbox 360 vs. PS3 fanboy flame war.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 9 years ago
I bought AC Revelations last month and I didn't have to learn a single thing about it (except for bomb crafting: What a revolution)
Don't forget the hook claw, that's years of innovation for you! :P
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.