Assassin’s Creed Unity Interview: Ubisoft Talks Multplayer, Next-Gen Development, More

We got a chance to chat with the studio behind the first next-gen only Assassin's Creed game, Assassin's Creed Unity. The title is coming exclusively to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, and is set during the time of the French Revolution. 

Ubisoft is pushing the envelope and taking advantage of the power that next-gen affords it by implementing cooperative multiplayer, a new traversal system, and a whole lot more. Check out our conversation with creative director, Alex Amancio for the inside scoop.

GR: With Assassin’s Creed Unity being set in Paris, you seem to be giving up a large element of the gameplay loop that had players so enthralled with ACIV Black Flag, namely island-to-island naval traversal. While improvements have been made to the intelligent traversal system, what else are you doing to ensure players always have something entertaining to do in Paris?

 

Alex Amancio: Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag was a milestone in the Assassin’s Creed brand, as it managed to offer a systemic open-world with countless side activities. Our ambition on Assassin’s Creed Unity was nothing less than to redefine the Assassin’s Creed experience by offering this same level of freedom, but through the core experience of the game itself.

Assassin’s Creed Unity replaces the Caribbean by the multi-layered city of Paris, the Jackdaw and its impressive customization by Arno, his dozens of skills and hundreds of gear elements and weapons. Assassin’s Creed Unity lets you explore the streets of Paris, engage in Arno’s redemption quest, try out any number of the Brotherhood missions with your friends, or engage in any one of the countless quests, such as the Murder Mysteries, Contracts, Heists or Nostradamus enigmas. Anything and everything you do contribute to Arno’s path to becoming a master Assassin.

And with crowds of more than 5000 NPCs, iconic landmarks, countless interiors to discover, a huge underground network and dozens of crowd events, we have managed to create the most complex reconstruction of a living, breathing city ever undertaken in an Assassin’s Creed game.

 

GR: Can you talk more about how multiplayer works when searching for cooperative partners in-game? We know that missions may or may not offer a cooperative element, so how seamless will it be for players to transition over to a multiplayer mission when exploring the game world?

Amancio: A unified experience between single and multiplayer activities is central to Assassin’s Creed Unity. To ensure this, there are multiple ways in which players can engage in the Assassin’s Creed Unity cooperative Shared Experience. Players can start any Brotherhood or Heist mission by simply walking over to its location in the game world. They can also use the in-game map to trigger any one of these missions that has been previously discovered.

If any of the player’s friends begins playing Assassin’s Creed Unity, they will be notified by an onscreen message. Additionally, a ghostly version of any friend currently playing a Cooperative mission will be present in every in-game tavern, so all a player has to do is walk into a tavern and interact with the character, and be automatically teleported to the active mission.

Our matchmaking is simple and intuitive. Also, in order to cater to both single-player and multiplayer fans, players will be able to set their session to either “private” or “public”.

Continue to page 2 for the second part of our interview.

 

​GR: While Black Flag asked players to draw a more definitive line for themselves between Templar and Assassin, how is that overarching conflict handled in Unity? Will a player's own sense of what it means to be an Assassin be reflected in the game or does Unity bring the order back together for the revolution in France?

Amancio: More than any other Assassin’s Creed game, the player will be confronted to the two opposing ideologies embodied by the Assassins and Templars. And like the French Revolution, Assassin’s Creed Unity is a game of contrasts. There is no good or evil, only varying degrees of extremism.

Players will follow Arno in his path from novice to master Assassin, experience his various successes and failures, his moments of triumph and of doubt, and through it all, learn what it truly means to be an Assassin.

GR: How are you handling the present-day element in Assassin’s Creed Unity? Will it be more of a side element like in Black Flag or will it have a more integral and significant role in the overall narrative like earlier entries?

 

Amancio: As the first Assassin’s Creed dedicated exclusively to this new generation of consoles, Assassin’s Creed Unity’s ambition is nothing less than to introduce the present day experience for a new cycle of Assassin’s Creed games.

I won’t go into any specifics for the moment, but one thing I can tell you is this is a great starting point for newcomers to Assassin’s Creed.



 

GR: How has it been making the first next-gen only Assassin’s Creed game? Are you finding it liberating to not have to worry about scaling to older hardware? Are you feeling pressured to really knock it out of the park and deliver that next-gen experience?

Amancio: Our ambition with Assassin’s Creed Unity was tremendous. For this reason, we decided from the get go that Assassin’s Creed Unity could simply not exist for the previous generation of consoles.

The specific definition of what it meant to create a truly next-generation Assassin’s Creed was something we would work at for four years. In the end, it was a complete reinvention of our core pillars (navigation, combat, stealth), of our world and mission structure (for more player freedom), the addition of 4 player cooperative play, and the introduction of a new narrative cycle that would serve as a new beginning for the next cycle of Assassin’s Creed games.

Do we feel the pressure to knock it out of the park? Every single day… but pressure keeps us at our very best.

GR: Can you speak to the development process for Xbox One and PlayStation 4? We’ve seen a lot of multi-platform games run better on PS4 than Xbox One. Will that be the case with Assassin’s Creed Unity as well? Is one platform easier to develop for than the other? Do you have a specific lead platform?

Amancio: The team is working hard on optimizing the performance of the game on all platforms in order to deliver the best Assassin’s Creed experience possible for this new generation consoles, and PC. In other words, we pushed both consoles to their very limits.

 
Assassin's Creed Unity launches on November 11th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Stay tuned to GameRevolution for all things Assassin's Creed as we near its highly-anticipated release this fall.