Assassin’s Creed II and the Developer Dialogue

Assassin's CreedIt’s often gratifying as a gamer to hear that developers do listen to the complaints we have against their games. As small as we can sometimes feel against the pull of design committees, release dates and budget crunches, having a developer say that he’s heard our opinions and is taking them into serious consideration feels like a victory well deserved.

One of the games that has come out in the past couple of years that has seen the most amount of griping by the community at large is Assassin’s Creed. While the game found almost universal acceptance among its players, there were still a few points of contention which people felt needed to be addressed for the inevitable sequel. Things like the repetitive nature of the side missions and the over-all sameness of the actual assassinations were among the biggest criticisms raised against the game.

This is where the conversation with the game’s developer springs up. It’s not as literal as sitting down at a table with the design staff and reading off a list of grievances and what you would have done differently, but it can sometimes have the same effect. The best part is that when developers listen and change things, they’ll sometimes try to get us to differ our views by making us take a harder look at the tropes we’ve come to expect from games.

Take for example the collectible flags from the first Assassin’s Creed. There were hundreds of those damnable things, but they yielded no in-game rewards for picking them all up. Well, to hear Patrice Desilets, creative director on both Assassin’s Creed games, tell it, that was part of his dialogue to the player. He says that he doesn’t quite understand the need for collectibles in games, so offering no rewards for hours of flag hunting was his way of making the player examine the necessity of random collectibles.

Of course, it’s debatable whether this is an effective method of trying to change people’s minds about the accepted standards of video games, but it’s an interesting way to make your opinion heard as a developer.

This is a new method for designing games, one that I feel I can get behind. Like all burgeoning ideas, this one takes a little refinement, but Patrice seems to have a good grasp on where he should change his opinions about the games he makes and where he feels the need to stand his ground. With the internet being the powerful communications tool that it is, gamers can make their voices heard to developers all over the world. The only problem is sifting the good ideas from the chaff, but if you look hard enough, the real gems do tend to stick out.

All this talk about the metaphorical conversations between game developers and their audience has got me thinking. If you guys could sit down with a developer that has shown promise but has under-delivered on their games, who would it be and what would you say to them? Which game franchises do you think could benefit from a little more gamer feedback?

Source: Kotaku

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

9 thoughts on “Assassin’s Creed II and the Developer Dialogue”

  1. Well, I can’t exactly answer your questions at the end, I would like to say I like what Patrice Desilets said about the flags. – When I found out there was no reward for collecting them, I didn’t bother. However, some people like getting their “100% complete” thing to brag to their friends etc.

    But hang on a second, I thought collecting the flags / killing the templars unlocked other memories?…

  2. I never thought that they added anything, so I just took what Patrice said as read. Turns out they added a bit to your sync bar, but they were mostly there for the point of collecting them.

  3. I cant see why everyone is so damnably excited for this game. The first one wasnt that good. Okay story, repetive missions, flawed stealth play, and easy fights.

  4. Because Ubisoft is making a bunch of awesome changes to make AC2 way better AC1, I really think it’ll be the best platformer action game to date. I’m totally psyched for the new economy system, weapons, city, and continuing story, and it makes me proud to be an AC fan.
    Modern Warfare 2 has done a similar thing of listening to their fans: their twitter suggestion box. Everyone was asking for a perk allowing for two weapon attachments, and FINALLY we have it! I’m sure IW found the perfect way to balance the double-attachment perk, and I think it should not allow you to have Overkill. It only makes sense. But there are also other things like golden camo (Bling) for all weapons, no Juggy and HOPEFULLY no Last Stand/Second Chance. I don’t mind Martyrdom, and apparently IW has figured out a way to make Martyrdom less noobish – that’s how they put it, but we’ll see. Anyway, I really see MW2 being incredibly omgasmic all over my face mainly because of their communication with their huge and avid fan base. I can’t wait for AC2 and MW2.

  5. @ Cossack, keep in Last Stand!
    Also, AC2 looks awesome and the Dynasty Warriors Devs should listen to their fans. How about good graphics and online play? It would be like COD but with swords and fancy hats!

  6. @Anthony: That’s why it said “almost universal”.

    I like that they’re taking our opinion into account–I liked the first game quite a bit, and if they’re massively upgrading the second like so, then I can be reasonably excited for it.

  7. Wow, are they really coming out with all that shit? And why should i beleive what the hell the developer says? Lionhead hyped Fable to be the biggest and best RPG ever, and it fell short. Just because a demo looks okay and a developer says there game is the best doesnt mean it is.

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