A former Ubisoft developer has expressed frustration at the development of 2012’s Assassin’s Creed III claiming it to be a “mindf*ck of an experience.”
The developer, talking in a thread on Reddit claims the development of the third numbered entry of the Assassin’s Creed series was a wreck due to “ridiculously unrealistic expectations and constantly tacked on features by producers [and] the creative team.”
To fit in with Ubisoft’s aim for an annual release, the game couldn’t be completed by Ubisoft Montreal alone so to get it done, Ubisoft used other studios. “The game was worked on by a large majority of the Montreal team as well as Ubi Quebec, Ubi Annecy, Ubi Bucharest and Ubi Singapore,” the developer explains.
“Between 500-600 people touched the game before its release. Contrast that with teams like Naughty Dog and Sony Santa Monica, who operate with 8-100 (maybe 200 during crunch).”
The large teams were hardly in contact either the developer reveals. In particular, the portions of the game set in the present day with semi-protagonist Desmond Miles were handled by a separate “B-team” who “were rarely in communication with the main gameplay teams.”
Perhaps the most interesting piece of this story to take away here is that the former employee also tells that the development team was so large not everyone knew exactly what was in the game.
“But we couldn’t really say anything, and the higher ups basically stuck their fingers in their ears and convinced themselves that they were amazing,” he/she says.
“A disturbingly large portion of team members had no idea about the majority of the Homestead, Caravan, and assassin crew side missions. There was basically so much content that even approaching release, plenty of grunt workers like myself on the ground were finding new features they didn’t know existed that needed more attention.”
“Upon completing the story, there’s an origami-crane node collecting mini game that unlocks that I’ve NEVER seen covered or mentioned in any gaming blogs, reviews, or fan vids,” the developer further mentions. “Most of us didn’t even know it existed.”
“That’s how random and disjointed the design was. Everything was documented on the company wiki of course. The impenetrably deep, confused, several-thousand page wiki.”
In the months leading up to the game’s release, Ubisoft Montreal showed off its new AnvilNext game engine to a heavy extent. According to this developer, “It was a widespread opinion that AC3 was just a massive tech demo for AnvilNext, in anticipation for AC4 and future projects.”
The engine was designed for next-gen and PC games further down the line rather than a core focus on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
There’s quite a bit to read about in the Reddit thread which you can access in the link at the top of this story including insider information about the game’s story DLC; The Tyranny of King Washington but to conclude it all, the developer said “while the Ubisoft work atmosphere is actually quite calm and respectful in comparison to other larger devs in the industry, the time constraints of an annual release, too many teams to coordinate, and new engine all created a perfect storm of bullshit.”
George Sinclair is an editor for Analog Addiction, the home of the latest news, reviews and previews. You can find George on Twitter and his blog on IGN. Be sure to follow the OFFICIAL Analog Addiction Twitter as well!