Interview: Assassin’s Creed 2

Game Director Benoit Lambert on Batman comparisons, Ubisoft recruitment drives and the Ponte di Rialto.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, September 30, 2009

Death from above.

Death from above.

So it’s just like a toy we give to the player – you can play with it, upgrade it, try to find secrets in it. It’s something that we really like – it’s not as big as what you can find in Fable 2, that’s not the objective – but it’s in an investment in the future. You pay things into the villa and it you get a return later on.

VGD: Most people were bowled over by the free-running and wall-climbing in Assassin’s Creed, all those context-sensitive animations. What would you say are the biggest attractions this time round?

Lambert: I would say two things. Firstly the mission variety we have – we had nine assassination missions in Assassin’s Creed 1, you have around 130 missions in this game. So the mission variety is big. The second thing is what we call “acting 2.0” – all cinematics are really scaled up, the cinematics at the start of the game are really amazing.

Especially while playing missions, you really feel the character going from a young guy to an old assassin in 30 years – you play through 30 years of his life – so you really feel the evolution. And I think also that the synergy we find between gameplay and story, and how we bring logic and features to the player – we really try to tease the player with things, making sure that he learns everything properly, like with new moves, that he’s going to test it with a big challenge. So it’s an evolved progression.

The original Assassin’s Creed was a very upscale product, I would say, in all honesty. Lots of games today – even undoubtedly great games – are just about shooting, or lots of shiny metal. And people like that, and it’s fine, it’s good to have those games. But Assassin’s Creed is more about something else. It’s subtle – the graphics are subtle, the gameplay missions are subtle, the storyline is very nice, very fun.

Leonardo da Vinci's glider. Probably not that historically accurate, this bit.

Leonardo da Vinci's glider. Probably not that historically accurate, this bit.

VGD: I guess you can’t talk much about Desmond Miles…

Lambert: It depends on your question!

VGD: Have you expanded on the classic adventure-style mechanics which characterised his sections of the first game?

Lambert: So yeah, can’t talk much! But yes, you’ll handle Desmond Miles more in AC2 than you did in AC1. The start will be that you escape Abstergo, and… yeah. I can’t really talk about it but you will play as him more. You won’t play like a crazy lot of things, but you’ll be surprised.

VGD: Benoit, thanks for your time.

Assassin’s Creed II is out on 20th November. Our preview will hit the streets soon.

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