Assassin’s Creed III & Liberation: Two Peas in a Pod

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Electronic Theatre ImageToday Electronic Theatre brings you the concluding part of our extensive interview with Matt Turner, writer on the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed III videogame. Discussing the finer points of Assassin’s Creed III’s technical prowess, Turner also takes the time to discuss just how Assassin’s Creed: Liberation fits into the mythos of Assassin’s Creed, and how it connects to its home console brethren.

Both Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation are scheduled for release later this month, with the PlayStation Vita outing considered the sister title to the highly anticipated home console edition of the franchise. Electronic Theatre ImageAnd for good reason, as Turner suggests how the two lock together to expand the tale of Assassin’s Creed in the same way as the transmedia projects appearing in graphic novels and short movies. The final part of Electronic Theatre’s interview with Matt Turner follows below, and stay turned for much more Assassin’s Creed III content over the next few weeks.


Electronic Theatre: Assassin’s Creed III is pushing the envelope even further than previous Assassin’s Creed in terms of visual fidelity. Was it a conscious decision that that had to be done or was it just a by product of the generation getting older?


Matt Turner (MT): Yeah, I think it’s a combination of the two. We definitely wanted it to be better on all fronts, and graphic fidelity was included in that, but I think that the experience that our technical team had from building four other worlds, and the knowledge that we had, and the engine and what the consoles could do and all that stuffElectronic Theatre Image also contributes to the ability to tweak it and push it even further. I think those two things together allowed us to do some pretty special stuff in terms of the vistas and the character models and the animation. Connor’s animation, that is pretty wild. Like he has such incredible variety and you know different environments and when the snows deep or when it’s raining, when he’s in a tree, or with the buildings, or when he’s fighting with weapons. There’s not a single animation about Connor that’s the same as any one of Ezio’s. It’s brand new and the fluidity in the way that he moves is I think even better. So I think all that stuff, our experience plus our goal to make him even better together allowed us to do it.


Electronic Theatre: So were you involved in Assassin’s Creed: Liberation at all?


MT: No I wasn’t, that was a totally different team. I did read the stories as they were coming through and gave my thoughts on them but I wasn’t a writer.


Electronic Theatre: Was there any collaboration between the two teams during development. Was there anyone that you worked with on Assassin’s Creed III?


MT: We always try and share information and make sure everyone knows where these things are going, for one, for the peace of mind, for knowing what’s happening but also just to have other ideas coming in on projects. People in [Assassin’s Creed: Liberation] would read our scripts and let us know what was going on so it was very collaborative. But I wouldn’t say that we were, you know, I wouldn’t go over there and sit with the team and tell them what to do, that’s not how it works.


Electronic Theatre: So Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is set a few years before…


MT: It’s the same period.


Electronic Theatre: So will we see some plot threads from Assassin’s Creed: Liberation bleed into Assassin’s Creed III?


MT: There’s a couple of… I don’t want to do any spoilers… a couple of things that tie in, but it’s more just the period and… but it’s a different part of the states obviously, not ‘states,’ what was the colonies and it’s just a different kind of story in the same environment which I think is kind of neat.


Electronic Theatre: So is it a case of, if you play Assassin’s Creed: Liberation you will get a smile on your face when you see certain things happen in Assassin’s Creed III? A kind of wink and nod situation.


MT: I don’t know how much of that stuff got in actually so, I haven’t had any visibility on it towards the end so… hopefully.


Electronic Theatre: In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations the multiplayer was like a step aside from the main campaign. Obviously I understand that it’s a Electronic Theatre Imagedifferent team that’s been working on the multiplayer but has there been much collaboration between single-player and multiplayer?


MT: Yeah. Narratively they’re different worlds, you have to understand that right because when you’re in Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed IIAssassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Assassin’s Creed III you’re playing Desmond. It’s a very specific narrative device that drives it forward and we remain very true to that. The very function of multiplayer doesn’t translate into that same thing so it’s a different beast in its construction but yes, all the characters they have and the choices they make, we always consult on them, we always talk about them. It’s all about keeping that high way of information, the world wide web, you know, keeping avenues open so that people feel free enough to comment and make sure that things are at least it has to feel like it’s in the same universe.


Electronic Theatre: So were there points in development where you sat there and thought this will be really good for the multiplayer team and you could put that in their direction?


MT: We would totally send them an email and say we thought this would be interested. Or we would read a character breakdown and say we want to try this and then they would send us things and say we’re going to do this and what do you think so there… and they would play builds of our game and say that’s kind of interesting, what if we use this. So there was always… I think it’s something that was harboured from the team from the beginning was this idea of being open and being open to positive criticism. Being able to have people give you feedback on anything and the game business specifically is really important. I think the team did a really good job of like pushing that out and making sure that people were in that mindset.


Electronic Theatre: Were you involved in the naval combat?


MT: I was, very much so, yes.


Electronic Theatre: There’s a rumour going around, doing the rounds as these things do on the internet, that the naval combat was originally designed as a spin off almost, maybe a digital title?


MT: Not to my knowledge, no. We started way back, we were looking at the American Revolution and this war was basically won at sea and if we want to portray it accurately we’re going to have to have some representation of that and that means being on a boat, and if you’re going to be on a boat you’re going to want to drive it so let’s see if we canElectronic Theatre Image do this thing. So we got these Singapore guys going out and building really early prototypes to see what we can do and it didn’t take long before they had something that we were like ok this is interesting, we can do this. And from there it crystallised and as far as I’m aware it was always meant to be in Assassin’s Creed III as part of the American Revolution narrative and I think it fits really well with what we’re doing.


Electronic Theatre: Was it there right from the start when you said this is Assassin’s Creed III or was naval combat always part of the plan.


MT: It was a desire from the start, and in the very beginning we weren’t sure if it was possible because it was a big, technically we have fluid dynamics and waves and organic weather systems that are dynamic and ships and cannons and smoke. It’s pretty crazy.


Electronic Theatre: It does seem like an entire step apart. It’s almost like a whole new component. Well it is a whole new component…


MT: Yeah exactly it is but I think in an interesting way it remains true to the original Assassin’s fantasy where you were like, I’ve always kind of like equate the Aquiller, which is the ship you have to Connor’s hidden blade but it’s sea. It’s a weapon that he uses in a different context so it’s navigation, it’s combat and there’s a little bit of stealth in the there, when you’re using the ship and using the weather and trying to come up on people. I think it remains true to what Assassin’s Creed’s about but it’s a whole new fantasy and I think that’s really exciting and I think we’ve managed to weave it in there pretty well so that it’s really part of the fabric of the story.


Electronic Theatre: So obviously Connor is a man of many talents being able to pilot this ship.


MT: Well yeah, that’s part of the story you learn how he gets it and how he learns to pilot it. So I’m not going to spoil that but there’s definitely in the main thread you’ll learn how Connor gets it.


Electronic Theatre: Is it a situation of… as you learn to do it is the same point which Connor learns?


MT: Yeah, it’s made as organic as possible for players so it doesn’t feel like it’s wedged in there. But it was definitely something we were aware of and we wanted to make sure it was clear he learned this at a very specific point of a reason.


Electronic Theatre: Where do you see Assassin’s Creed going from here?


MT: Where do I see Assassin’s Creed going from here? That’s a tough one. I think a lot of that depends on where the industry goes with the next generation of consoles. I’d like to find out what that’s going to be but I think that’ll definitely have a massive impact on where all franchises are going, Assassin’s Creed being no exception. I am a big fanElectronic Theatre Image of the historical aspect of it so I hope that it remains in there. I think that it’s just going to continue to evolve itself and become… I’d like to see it be more connected maybe, on an online sense, who knows if that’s possible, I’d love to see it, I think it would be interesting for the game. I think it would be interesting but I don’t know if it’s something that’s going to happen. I think a lot of it depends on where we’re going to go with technology.


Electronic Theatre: When you say ‘connected,’ do you mean like an MMO type situation?


MT: I don’t know. I just mean like being able to communicate with your friends in the game. I don’t know, I don’t really know what that even means. I see the industry moving that way in a pretty important sense.


Electronic Theatre: So presumably you already have story ideas for that…


MT: I don’t know, I’m not that far ahead, no. Honestly, I’m excited just to see… this’ll come out, Assassin’s Creed III and we’ll see how people respond, if it’s positive presumably they’ll be something else, I’ll be excited to see what that is but I really don’t know.


Electronic Theatre: So are you looking forward to the launch I take it?


MT: It’s been two and a half… almost… it’ll have been three years when it comes out so it’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears in this baby and right now we’re in that anxious stage where people are finally playing it and we’re getting like “do you, do you like it?” “Do you think it’s good?” “Please.”


Electronic Theatre: Well I’m sure the response is going to be just as positive as it was with previous titles.


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