We have a special holiday edition of On the Level where I had a chance to talk with not one but two former Game Design graduates, Elliott Walton of GD14 and Braden Bahen of GD09. Both of whom recently released Assassin’s Creed: Rogue working as Level Designers at Ubisoft Quebec.
Is it nerve-racking to be working on an existing franchise with such a large established fan base?
Elliott Walton: Absolutely! That being said I don’t personally tend to concentrate too much on those aspects during production and instead just focus on creating interesting gameplay and situations to put the player into. We usually have an overarching storyline to pay attention to that spans multiple titles, but one thing I love about working on the franchise is the excitement of presenting the next location and characters. For me it keeps things fresh and interesting. Of course we will always have to work with constraints but that can really be said about any title whether it is a new IP or a very established franchise such as Assassin’s Creed. That being said, announcement dates and release dates are always exciting and nerve racking for me.
Braden Bahen: Yes and no. You certainly can feel the pressure online from the fans to provide them with the best Assassin’s Creed game possible. AC fans are an intelligent bunch who want to experience great stories and interesting historic periods inside a rewarding game. They are also vocal about what they love and what they hate in games. The pressure can sometimes get to you and you can get frustrated but its part of the job, frankly.
I frequently check out /r/assassinscreed and read through it to get a sense of what the really passionate fans have to say at the moment. There are often lots of good points I agree with and lots of good points I disagree with but you can’t please everyone. At the end of the day we all want to make the best game possible and that’s what keeps us pushing on.