Update: Assassin's Creed 3 Dev Exposes Development Woes on Reddit

Update: Assassin's Creed 3 Dev Exposes Development Woes on Reddit

Assassin's Creed 3

A Redditor who claims to have worked as a developer on Assassin's Creed 3 is speaking out about the title's numerous production problems.

[Disclaimer: Like most things on Reddit, this is story is extremely difficult to verify. We reached out to PreludesAndNocturnes, who did his best to confirm his identity without disclosing any personal information. But your skepticism is healthy.]

Today, a Redditor named PreludesAndNocturnes penned a lengthy article about his work as a developer on Assassin's Creed 3. According to the post, AC3's development was a never-ending train wreck of miscommunications, unrealistic expectations, and a constantly fluctuating development team.

"The coordination of resources between all of these teams separated by thousands of miles and differing time zones was a damn joke," he said, "and at the same time studio resources were constantly stolen for work on Watchdogs and Far Cry 3."

Mr. Nocturnes worked on the game's single player mode, which was being continuously revised as the team's deadline approached. "Stuff like the homestead economy, weapon crafting, hunting, and the late-game set pieces were all heavily ignored til the very end of development, " he said, "and no time was given to polish them or make them cohesive. A large action set piece near the Haytham boss fight was entirely cut 2 weeks before we went gold. On top of that, some vital cutscenes anims and audio weren't implemented until about 3 weeks before gold."

Obviously, the strain of a yearly release schedule means that creative expectations are constantly being tempered by deadlines. But it sounds like Ubisoft was forced to sacrifice major gameplay and performance elements due to a serious lack of top-down leadership. PreludesAndNocturnes specifically mentions the Desmond missions being a "disgrace" because a team of inexperienced employees handled that content. Also, AC3's newfangled engine, the AnvilNext, was designed with next-gen consoles in mind and never performed efficiently on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Through it all, though, PreludesAndNocturnes says that he cherished his time at Ubisoft. "Working there was a great experience," he says, "despite the bullshi*t."

Update: I was able to connect with PreludesAndNocturnes on Reddit. He did his best to verify employment at Ubisoft without accidentally disclosing his identity. He also admitted that some of his post may have been a little hyperbolic, and wanted to make sure that people weren't getting the wrong idea.

"I feel I may have been in the wrong to go off on a rant ..." he wrote in the original thread's comments. "I didn't mean to knock Ubisoft either as a brand or as a team of human beings (who obviously deserve my respect). I have no doubt that every single man and woman at Ubi did their absolute best on that project, and will continue to do so on future projects. No one was actively trying to cause harm. And obviously the industry and the medium is just really tough, but we do it because we love it."

Source: Reddit

Permalink

I know it's not really verified at this point, but this wouldn't shock me.

It'd also make the whole "we're only putting out yearly games as long as we can assure quality" thing look bad, so for their sake it'd better be false.

Well it sucks for Assassins Creed fans if true but I am happy if they did reallocate resources to Far Cry 3, it shows if they did. The PC version of that game is amazing, one of the best shooters in recent years for me.

beautiful environments, slightly weird but plausible story and great gunplay and freedom of gameplay that doesn't penalise you for being either stealthy or all guns blazing like some games that never get that balance right.

even when part 3 wasnt as good as previous titles or now even part 4, it was still a good game. the naval missions were just fun and at least we dont have desmond anymore.

farcry 3 all fine and good, only i dint like it that much. dint even bother to do the side missions and just wanted to finish off the story.

I never could figure out the homestead stuff, and the last few hours of 3 were KOTOR2 levels of choppy and weird, so I can pretty easily believe this. Too bad too. I'm one of the few that like the modern world stuff and was really looking forward to a good resolution to Desmond's story, instead of the half-assed sequel bait we got.

5/5 says The Escapist.

The late game set-pieces really were a pain in the ass. Like the guy said, it was an unpolished mess.

And gosh, that ending..

Well, it would certainly explain why it was such a buggy, incoherent mess with so many completely unconnected systems.

Why wasn't I a big fan of AC3? It's over-reliance on the American War for Independence as plot filler.

Almost everything is deliberately tied in, in a ham-handed way. Mechanics worked fine, but the plot needed work. Ezio had very little to do with that particular time in Italy, but he was there and had some influence.

Connor was seemingly involved in every major incursion on whatever coast the game was based on.

That's my view on it anyway.

Altair was a great character because of his development, Ezio is still the best one so far, Connor felt like halfhearted 'white-shaming', and Edward was a guy who wanted to find fortune, but found himself. The tale of the Jackdaw perfectly emulates this.

Interesting, but I doubt we'll ever know for sure. Stuff like this has to be reported anonymously to avoid backlash, and Ubisoft isn't likely to say it's true. It all comes down to whether Ubisoft plans to outright deny it, or if they are just going to remain silent which is most likely.

At the end of the day though it doesn't much matter, #3 will be remembered as one of the weaker installments in the series it appears, and it's already made up for it with the response of "Black Flag" it seems, so it doesn't seem likely that it will matter much in the long run.

Having just played through AC 1 all the way through AC 4 (I had some catching up to do), 3 did stand out as feeling the most scattered, but it was still an enjoyable game. Maybe because all I was doing is pushing ahead on the story missions I didn't ignore all the disconnected systems, but it really did end up feeling like the entire purpose of 3 was to get the engine ready for it to really shine in 4.

As much as I liked Black Flag, and it's one gorgeous game to boot, I think AC Revelations is still my favorite of the series so far.

To be honest, the ending was horrible to Desmond's story, but the story and gameplay for Desmond was the best out of any Assassin's Creed game. They should hire more inexperience developers.

This what happens when your management decides to whore out their IP for the sake of making money. Good luck creating Assassin's Creed Pharaoh's Bloody Revenge, ugh.

Well we all know it is one of the most god-awful games ever made last-gen so we don't really need a Reddit post to tell us what we already knew! :3

That poor franchise :(

Josh Engen:
Also, AC3's newfangled engine, the AnvilNext, was designed with next-gen consoles in mind and never performed efficiently on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4.

I think you mean Playstation 3 there.

This would explain why AC3 was such a buggy, incoherent, disconnected mess of a game. We got Black Flag out of it though so they're mostly forgiven.

aw man, i just bought this for 10 on the Wii U. oh well, sure I'll atleast get value for money

I'm not terribly surprised. AC3 had awesome ground work, but everything else felt rushed out the door. Ubisoft needs to realize that you're probably better off sticking to *one* quality multi-million opus per year. I know costs are rising and AAA gaming more or less needs more and more smash hits in order to keep justifying the tech bloat - but I'd really rather have one set of games that are cohesive than titles which are produced every year but bring little else to the table than repeated bugs and performance issues.

A chief example of this would be the EA Sports label. Yearly releases and zero refinements on the long term, mostly because going back to the drawing board or designing a new engine requires too much work for yearly releases.

I actually liked a lot of things about AC3. The crafting and homestead stuff, however, I agree was complete BS. Now I know why.

Not surprised.

ACIII was the most shallow out of the entire series, and this just confirms it; the hunting was pointless, as was the trading and the set pieces(aside from naval warfare, obviously).

What bothers me more is that the the odour of ACIII still lingers somewhat in ACIV, so if someone could provide insight into the development of Black Flag, I would be more assured if it is the game's fault of being shallow, or just me.

Though speaking as someone who has played and bought all of the games(aside from I) I find the former unlikely.

On the plus side, someone along the way learned what was wrong and AC4 turned into the best game of the series, so theres that.

james.sponge:
This what happens when your management decides to whore out their IP for the sake of making money. Good luck creating Assassin's Creed Pharaoh's Bloody Revenge, ugh.

To be fair, Black Flag was a great Pirate game. If they just decided to have Assassin's Creed be "Excellent game about a random time period and place" I would be perfectly fine with that. Whatever happened with ACIII, they learned enough to make Black Flag a much better game.

Verified or not, it's not easy to simply say "Oh this guy is full of shit." when you look at AC3. It was a fuckin' joke of a game. The story was shit, the writing was shit, the gameplay was shit (Seriously...I preferred to manually select who I wanted to attack individually while deflecting other attacks, not play goddamn Batman. At least give us an option for the next. Because that shit was still in 4)...the only thing about that game that wasn't bad was some of the Naval missions. It did nothing but reek of convoluted, half-baked pies. 4 seemed like a lot more effort, care and interest was put into it (Even though the present day stuff was bollocks, and the writers should all be replaced by better writers, as they should've been since 2).

Taking resources from another clone of Assassins Creed 1 to make Far Cry 3 sounds like a great idea.

mysecondlife:
5/5 says The Escapist.

The late game set-pieces really were a pain in the ass. Like the guy said, it was an unpolished mess.

And gosh, that ending..

There is a roughly 100% chance that whomever reviewed it didn't play the game in its entirety before posting. It's rather hard to finish a game as long as that, and still deliver your content on the same day.

Crazy Zaul:
Taking resources from another clone of Assassins Creed 1 to make Far Cry 3 sounds like a great idea.

To say it was a clone is incredibly far fetched, even if it wasn't the series standout.

Josh Engen:
PreludesAndNocturnes specifically mentions the Desmond missions being a "disgrace" because a team of inexperienced employees handled that content.

Interesting. I always felt that the Desmond missions, especially the Brazil level, were the most enjoyable aspects of the game due to it's return to more stealthy aspects. Then again, AC: Revelations and 3 were really forgettable in terms of narrative and gameplay.

shadowmagus:
On the plus side, someone along the way learned what was wrong and AC4 turned into the best game of the series, so theres that.

Somewhere between ACIII and ACIV, someone must have realized that creating a design document before you start development is less of a "would be nice" and more of an absolute necessity, particularly if you're well and truly committed to an annual release schedule (and not running millions over budget, etc.). Project management is one of the most critical skills in any enterprise, and one of the most overlooked.

Falterfire:

james.sponge:
This what happens when your management decides to whore out their IP for the sake of making money. Good luck creating Assassin's Creed Pharaoh's Bloody Revenge, ugh.

To be fair, Black Flag was a great Pirate game. If they just decided to have Assassin's Creed be "Excellent game about a random time period and place" I would be perfectly fine with that. Whatever happened with ACIII, they learned enough to make Black Flag a much better game.

As much as I enjoy Black Flag as a pirate game I still hate it as a stealth title. I don't know whether Ubi has any idea where to exactly go with AC at all, they are testing variety of gameplay concepts and still retain that horrible modern day plot line while all what AC really needs is crouching, less monotony and more stealth.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here