How Assassin's Creed IV Is Being Created by Seven Different Studios

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How Assassin's Creed IV Is Being Created by Seven Different Studios

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Sadly, the metric of division is not "one studio for each of the seven seas."

The development of a AAA video game is always a serious undertaking, and often one studio will divvy up the content and outsource some of the work to another studio. Ubisoft Montreal, primary developer of the Assassin's Creed series, is very familiar with this process - every game since the original Assassin's Creed has been a joint effort by two or more studios. For Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the developers are getting a tad more ambitious - Black Flag will be the product of no less than seven separate studios' combined efforts.

With so many cooks in the kitchen, it's quite a logistical challenge to keep the original vision of the game intact. Ubisoft Montreal is taking the lead again, and Ubisoft Singapore (the studio responsible for the naval battles in Assassin's Creed III) has earned a central role as well. The two of them will be focusing on the design of the single-player game, with support from studios in Kiev and Quebec. Meanwhile, Ubisoft Sofia is handling the modern components of Abstergo Industries and their continuing schemes. Studios in Annecy and Bucharest are in charge of multiplayer.

Part of the challenge of dividing Black Flag's content involves its new sandbox design. While Assassin's Creed III was clearly split into on-foot missions and naval battles, Black Flag aims for a more mingled style of gameplay. "It's a cohesive world," explains lead game content manager Carsten Myhill. "Whereas before we had a land game and a sea experience joined together, because we've created this cohesive universe we can't really split things up as simply as we have in the past, so we're going for more of a mission-based split this time."

While it may sound like a surefire formula for a disjointed campaign, the developers at Ubisoft's assorted studios think they can pull it off. "We've adopted this multi-studio approach now since Assassin's Creed II so it's a well-oiled setup that we have," Myhill assures. "It sounds very complicated and I'm not saying it's not a challenge - it requires incredible talent and organization to get it done, but we know how to do it."

We'll be able to see how well the seams are hidden when Black Flag sets sail on PlayStation 4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360, and PC later this year.

Source: Edge

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I am extremely skeptical. This just sounds like an utter clusterfuck waiting to happen.

And if the game doesn't live up to expectations, watching the blame game will probably end up as entertaining as the game itself.

One developer for every Sea.

AntiChri5:
I am extremely skeptical. This just sounds like an utter clusterfuck waiting to happen.

And if the game doesn't live up to expectations, watching the blame game will probably end up as entertaining as the game itself.

Didn't AC3 have like 7 studios and turn out unpolished and pretty much unfinished (those who will inevitably disagree I urge you to go play Ac2, then Ac3 unpatched and tell me that it's an improvement) because it's dev time was barely a year?

I like the idea, but I don't think it will work.

The end credits are going to be horribly, horribly long... :O

Eruanno:
The end credits are going to be horribly, horribly long... :O

Hell, it's going to take 2 and a half minutes just to get through the opening logos.

Cuz it worked so well for Aliens: Colonial Marines, right?

AntiChri5:
I am extremely skeptical. This just sounds like an utter clusterfuck waiting to happen.

And if the game doesn't live up to expectations, watching the blame game will probably end up as entertaining as the game itself.

You mean like SimCity with its horrific bugs clusterfuck?

Or Aliens Colonial Marines style?

Lvl 64 Klutz:

Eruanno:
The end credits are going to be horribly, horribly long... :O

Hell, it's going to take 2 and a half minutes just to get through the opening logos.

My exact first thought, Asscreed 3 was bad enough in that aspect.

DVS BSTrD:
One developer for every Sea.

no. we need now three more for the Elven-kings under the sky and Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die...

I read the tagline under the article title: Sadly, the metric of division is not "one studio for each of the seven seas."

This would have been an awesome idea. Creating one engine to work with, then handing the project to 7 different studios each to make a story about one of the 7 seas. Give the central characters general personalities and goals, then let the studios take them in whatever direction they desire. They can even mess a little with the gameplay, weapons, character design, etc as long as it all stays close enough to the central theme to remain believable. Of course each sea would have to be self contained in order to not conflict with the other stories. Also differences in style might not mesh well if the character is allowed to jump between the different seas (unless they find someway to make that part of the story/gameplay).

I'm not sure if games can do this, but I know films can. Four Rooms was a great movie that followed a single character (Ted the Bellhop) through his first time on overnight duty. There are 4 stories and each story is handled by a separate director. The styles of each room are obviously different and the stories having little to nothing to do with each other. However, the end result is an entertaining, bizarre movie. I consider it one of my favorites, and would be interested in seeing if a video game could pull a similar stunt and be successful.

Seven studios. I cannot even begin to describe how crazy that is.

It's like cell architecture all over again.

Well I may as well pick out a movie to watch for when the credits roll at the end of this one then.

Andy Shandy:
Well I may as well pick out a movie to watch for when the credits roll at the end of this one then.

Finally, something to beat out Lord of the Rings - Return of the King's credits! The wait is over.

OT - I like the pirate idea... 7 devs not so much. Of course, I never have played an AC game. I doubt this will change that.

And all seven of them could hear my sigh of frustration.

Seems like it'll be a good time for me to check out the first Assassin's Creed, at any rate.

Either this works out REAL well and we got a pretty good game and everyone is happy

OR

This turns out to be a complete cluster fuck and it ends up even more un-polished than AC III. We will get some laughs from the fallout though, like simcity and all.

Can we vote already if we want a skip through the credit option or not?

Phahahah,I guess Ubisoft is completely oblivious that a game needs FOCUS!
Nope,we must have over 1000 people working simultaneously on it to show off ALL the things the current consoles are capable. Mini-games AHOY!

Well it can't be as bad as AC3, so perhaps at least one studio will do one part correctly and give us something decent for a brief bit of playtime.

It's gonna feel kinda schizophrenic which is what I got from playing Assassin's creed 3. I wish it would find it's roots and work on ya know improving the overall gameplay of killing people.

Fanstastic. After Aliens:CM "collaboration" and how that game turned out, i will not pre-order this game.

Well aren't you all barrels of rainbows and sunshine today? -.-

Yes it's 7 Studio's, but they aren't separate company's that don't talk to each other, it's not Like EA Started it, then it went over to Gearbox, and then Epic Games...This is all Ubisoft, 1 company, with 7 studio's, all talking to each other on what should go here, and what this should look like. Sure it sounds complicated, but if they have been doing this since the second game then i have no complaints, sure the 3rd game is definitely the weakest out of them all, but it's by no means a bad game...

Now for something a bit more positive, seen as though you are all clearly going on your periods. :P

I really do hope they pull this off, it's about time we got a decent pirate game.

The only thing i am worried about is Naval battles and the apparent 50 locations (i assume they will be islands) i hope they make each location feel different and not just copy and paste everything.

Also, hunting whales...HELL YEH

Well good thing to know, now I won't buy AC4 until I see how the final product turns out. Given the current trends of multiple studios making games very inconsistent and bland as balls, I have a feeling AC4 will be no different. It is probably 7 studios to avoid non-stop crunch time from the yearly releases.

It's going to be one hell of a producing job to keep things moving at a steady pace....

"How Assassin's Creed IV Is Being Created by Seven Different Studios."

Badly, one assumes. AssCreed 3 was what it says on the tin. Ass. I don't know why they keep thinking that announcing a stupid number of studios are working on it does it any favours.

Yes, fantastic. Because seven different artists painting a single picture is often the best way to achieve a cohesive, focused final product.

I'm sure that's oversimplifying things, but if AC3 was developed in a similar vein and is an indicator of things to come, then it doesn't seem unlikely this has something to do with it.

Having recently started playing AC3, all I can say is I do not care.
While I don't think the naval battles in AC3 where the only good thing (I'm very much enjoying the whole thing) the naval battles are certainly their own special kind of fun. I was afraid it would be a nightmare to control and just not be very fun, but they nailed it.
Such a blast.

Building a whole game around that mechanic cannot disappoint me.

Yeah, with AC3 I'm officially done with the series. I loved the first game, the second game even more. Even Brotherhood was a game that I really enjoyed. But Revelations was crap and AC3 was even worse. I don't care who the protagonist is (in the memories or in the "present"), truly this series is dead to me.

The only way to ressurect it is to simplify, get back to the basics that made the first two (well, the first three for me at least) games so much fun. I just can't imagine there being that many skyscrapers in the middle of the Carribean...

Way too many side/bullshit/fluff features in the last two games for them to be entertaining. I play to shank people with hidden blades, not lay the foundation for a frickin' township.

And this is why console development is borked.

There's nowt wrong with getting a couple of studios to share development, or to bounce development ideas off each other. When it works well (Luigi's Mansion 2, Metroid Prime) it can work very well indeed.

But when you've got 7 studios working on a game, you've officially crossed into bloated, over-budgeted omnishambles territory. This sort of thing is the reason why console games frequently need to sell in the multi-millions just to break even.

Conversely, a handheld game like Fire Emblem: Awakening can sell a few hundred thousand copies, and be called a smash success.

Something has gone wrong here. I know Ubisoft have said in the past that they've had hundreds of developers working on the AssCreed series, but this is just stupid. Not only are they running the series into the ground, they're needlessly bloating its development costs to ludicrous proportions. This can't end well for Ubi. They've been posting bi-annual losses on and off for the last couple of years, and this sort of extreme-budget development model is not going to make things any better.

While I agree outsourcing can be dangerous to the game (look at the reaction to Deus Ex: Human Revolution boss fights) I feel as though most people are being a little too negative. Yes there were un-polished section in AC3, my game in particular has a HUGE bug which makes the playing as the eagle section IMPOSSIBLE to 100% sync complete as the screen goes bright white. However, I feel there is a very noticible split between the AC fans as it seems half of the people disliked AC3, and others (like myself) thought it was a great edition. The only thing I can ask for is that whoever is designing the big assassination missions makes is so we can plan it ourselves and kill them stealthily like in AC1. Lets hope that 1 to 2 devs working on the single player heed the message coming from literally EVERY AC fan and take that advice (I'll probably still love the game, but freedom to kill how I want will always add bonus points and longevity).

Zombie_Moogle:
Cuz it worked so well for Aliens: Colonial Marines, right?

Of course, A:CM was developed by multiple separate studios with next to no real relation to each other. Meanwhile, all of the studios working on AC4 are owned, managed, and directed by the same parent company. Even if that parent company is Ubisoft, it's got to count for something, right?

RatherDull:
Seven studios. I cannot even begin to describe how crazy that is.

It's like cell architecture all over again.

okay i can kinda of get your point what's cell architecture?

First of all, let me start by saying I LOVED AC3. It's my favorite of the series, near perfect.
But this game..does not ring well. Aside tons of other issues that I can list, this is not a good thing.
The lack of focus is not a good thing, but rather the opposite. There is not one directive vision for the game. Look at revelations, supposedly 5-6 studios were working on it. It turned out to be the worst of the series.

Huh. That's pretty cool. Will definitely be interesting to see the final product with this in mind.

Sorry, you guys did this on AC3 and totally blew it. It's a hot mess with some definite good bits, and some definite horrible bits, and a total lack of cohesion and awareness of what the hell our central mechanics are. It's got a good plot (heck, I even liked the prequel bit with dad), but it is a very bad _game_. The naval battles were great, though totally out of place, so I can see why you're emphasizing them. But what crap are your other six studios cramming in there? Oh right, WHALING.

What was the name of this series again? Whale Assassin 2013?

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