Jade Raymond talks Assassin's Creed

Look at that smileEverybody loves Raymond. Jade, that is. I mean, how could you not? In a male-dominated industry, it is once in a blue moon that a female producer emerges to bring us one of the most ambitious and eagerly awaited games of a console generation. Plus, she’s absolutely beautiful, plays the SH*T out of videogames, and is named Jade – that’s awesome.

Okay, now that my Jade love has been revealed to the entire internet, I can tell you all that the Assassin’s Creed producer recently sat down with Joystiq to talk about gameplay design, player immersion, personification of land mines, and…flower boxes(?) in the upcoming title.

When questioned as to how players will be able to identify with the very strong main character, Altair, rather than feeling like simple spectators, Jade replied:

One of the ways we’ve managed to do that is in the hood.

…it allows…for the players to project themselves a little bit more onto Altair. Since you don’t necessarily see his face, he becomes you much more easily. I think some of the other things we’ve noticed is when a main character has a lot of flashy, idle moves — you know, a main character might stand around doing stuff that you feel in that situation you wouldn’t have done that. It takes away your ability to relate to the character, so we made sure that the idle moves were subtle.

The other thing is keeping control within cinematic events, so it’s never like the character just goes into a cinematic and does a bunch of stuff. The character is still always being controlled by the player and moves to the place the player wants to go. You’re never pulled apart, saying "Okay, now I’m watching my character and he’s doing a scene and this is what he’s doing and he’s acting it out." You always have the same control over him.

The discussion moved on to the often-examined "crowd-based gameplay," when Jade drew a parallel between more traditional gameplay elements and the crowd design in Assassin’s Creed:

Other examples in a crowd might be be drunk guys stumbling around. They react like a traditional level design ingredient — think of mines that placed in levels. The drunk guys will push you over if you get close to them, and that’s something that will also cause you to stumble and draw attention to yourself, especially if they push you into, for example, someone carrying a crate. There’s all of this gameplay that comes out of it. We were inspired by how crowds really react and were thinking of game standards — things like fire traps or bombs — and trying to think, what would that be personified like? What would the archetype for that be?

As for the "flower box" distinction, Jade said:

Our creative director, Patrice Desilets, talks about this game not as a sandbox game, but as a "flower box" game. [laughs] Which, to him, means it’s got the sandbox elements of freedom and the ability to do your objectives how you want and in the order you want, but the strong story element that keeps everything tighter than usual. It’s not as disparate as Grand Theft Auto where the story elements only come together a bit. The story here is super important — every side mission that you have and every investigation brings you a little bit closer to the deep story and that’s the thing that pulls you along and keeps you headed in the right direction.

Of everything, it is the drunkard analogy that provoked the most thought for me. Human beings are far more dynamic than your typical land mine, and it makes me wonder what other sorts of hazards certain individuals might represent.

Assassin’s Creed certainly sounds like it is going to be awesome, and you can bet that I’ll be picking up a copy come November.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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