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View Full Version : City authenticity in Assassin's Creed



SofaJockey
08-19-2015, 05:02 PM
This thread takes as its inspiration, this Kotaku article (http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2015/08/19/assassins-creed-cockneys-how-ubisoft-is-recreating-victorian-london-for-syndicate) about how Ubisoft have found a balance between the authenticity of Victorian London and gameplay.

As a resident of London, I'm looking forward to enjoying finding my way around, and recognise that for gameplay reasons, railways may connect Paddington, Charing Cross and Fenchurch Street stations, which in real life, they don't.

How accurate do you feel Victorian London needs to be?
And for residents of Paris, the Caribbean, Boston, Florence, Rome and others, how much of the reality or spirit of a location have Ubisoft been able to capture for you?

D.I.D.
08-19-2015, 06:08 PM
I'll live with it, I expect, but it is disappointing when you find out things don't match up. I love what Rockstar did with GTA V, but I have friends in part of LA that's less than an hour's walk from Downtown LA, and it's not in the game at all. It shouldn't matter because it's only an approximation and it's a fictional version, but I still feel the loss of that district and wish I could drive there.

I guess if they were magically able to do all of London then they could leave the train routes where they were, but when the game is just doing a small chunk of the city then they have to alter the trains to make them useful to players.

VestigialLlama4
08-19-2015, 06:30 PM
This thread takes as its inspiration, this Kotaku article (http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2015/08/19/assassins-creed-cockneys-how-ubisoft-is-recreating-victorian-london-for-syndicate) about how Ubisoft have found a balance between the authenticity of Victorian London and gameplay.

As a resident of London, I'm looking forward to enjoying finding my way around, and recognise that for gameplay reasons, railways may connect Paddington, Charing Cross and Fenchurch Street stations, which in real life, they don't.

How accurate do you feel Victorian London needs to be?
And for residents of Paris, the Caribbean, Boston, Florence, Rome and others, how much of the reality or spirit of a location have Ubisoft been able to capture for you?

Bear in mind that these games are set in the Past!!!! Things change in say, twenty or thirty years, leave alone two or three centuries (or in the case of AC1, nearly a 1000 years). So as far as measuring "authenticity" and "recognition value", it really depends on your sense of time and place. If you are looking for something touristy to get a general outline, then the games are accurate. But more than that, then its doubtful. The New World games, AC3 and Black Flag didn't have that touristy fascination, so you had a more general sense of frontier life. So Boston for instance aside from the hills and Fanieul Hall is not too recognizable but unmistakable it has a strong sense of the past.

In the case of Victorian London, it might be closer to home for Londoners than it is for people who played UNITY, since Paris is a city that has changed repeatedly and drastically in the last two hundred and twenty five years whereas London hasn't changed to nearly the same extent in the time frame between then and now. If Syndicate actually cares about period and setting, it might prove authentic compared to the evil game that is UNITY which is so full of contempt for history that its not in the least bit authentic but it does provide a lot of the touristy recognition value. From what I've seen of SYNDICATE, the game is too clean and pretty. This is an era of slums, dirt and filth and the game is still too touristy to be authentic. There's more grit in the pages of D-ckens, leave alone Alan Moore's FROM HELL.

For me authenticity is not just city but also social details, like it should not be possible for Jacob Frye, who looks like an uncouth punk to be able to freely move across the whole city or the social stealth allow him to blend among crowds. This is a very strict class based society after all. Also this was a time of a great deal of immigration from Europe, Eastern European and others, many of them Jews and Russians, so the background crowd should show diversity. But from what we see, we don't get that at all.

BananaBlighter
08-19-2015, 10:15 PM
I got really scared for a second when they said '30 times larger than Unity's Paris' rather than '30% larger'.

D.I.D.
08-20-2015, 09:58 AM
To be authentic, some areas should be relatively clean because they're new. It's far more "touristy" to expect the place to look as uniformly grimy as popular culture representations often make it out to have been. This is a city under dramatic renovation on a scale that would never be possible nor easily tolerated today: streets smashed down to make wider streets, whole communities moved so a train station or a major factory can rise up in their place, new parks being created. It's also a city that unquestioningly believed itself to be the best in the world at this time, not the self-deprecating place of today, and much more care was put into building it to fit the part. Yes, there will be slums, and there will be areas blighted by pollution and neglect. There will be dark, spooky-looking parts of the city surviving from previous ages. But it's not automatically wrong to see relatively bright, attractive places compared to popular representations of ****ens adaptations and comic books, even in working-class areas. Some of these locations are newly-built housing developments for factory workers, and there were many industrialists who took their role as public benefactors very seriously indeed.

We'll need to know which districts we're looking at before we can begin to get a handle on accuracy.

Sorrosyss
08-20-2015, 12:49 PM
I can imagine the amount of effort to make the city 100% accurate would be immense. Scouring records, photos, paintings - it would cost a fortune to research, let alone the customised texturing work that would be needed.

I feel happy with the approximation we are given. So long as it fits thematically, and the major tourist points are pretty accurate, I think it's fine. I'm a fellow Londoner, and the Tower of London gameplay video didn't really match up with the exterior that I saw when I last visited, but... I'm still happy with what they have produced.

VestigialLlama4
08-20-2015, 04:53 PM
I can imagine the amount of effort to make the city 100% accurate would be immense. Scouring records, photos, paintings - it would cost a fortune to research, let alone the customised texturing work that would be needed.

The research wouldn't necessarily cost a fortune. Alan Moore didn't sell his soul to write From Hell, the greatest Victorian-Era narrative of the last twenty five years. If they want to get the research right, it would have to be on the level of Black Flag, which was very well-researched indeed by Darby McDevitt. If you actually read up on the Pirate Era after playing the game, there are all kinds of little details that they got right.

What would be expensive is of course asset creation. To get the Victorian London really right you would need to make as big a leap as AC3 over AC2 in terms of radically new urban open world gameplay. Right now what they're doing is continuing the streamlining after UNITY.


To be authentic, some areas should be relatively clean because they're new. It's far more "touristy" to expect the place to look as uniformly grimy as popular culture representations often make it out to have been.

Actual books, sociology and research confirm that London was pretty grimy and gritty especially the mid-Victorian period. Some areas of course were quite nice. The fact is the grittiness itself is prettied up in most period movies, thanks to BBC snobbery. SYNDICATE on the whole resembles Guy Ritchie's SHERLOCK HOLMES, a very prettied up grit-fest.


This is a city under dramatic renovation on a scale that would never be possible nor easily tolerated today

Didn't Hackney get mauled for the Olympics?

Jessigirl2013
08-20-2015, 05:02 PM
For me the streets need to be WAAAYYYYYYY BUSIER.

Its like they've forgotten its London!:rolleyes:

D.I.D.
08-20-2015, 05:22 PM
Actual books, sociology and research confirm that London was pretty grimy and gritty especially the mid-Victorian period. Some areas of course were quite nice. The fact is the grittiness itself is prettied up in most period movies, thanks to BBC snobbery. SYNDICATE on the whole resembles Guy Ritchie's SHERLOCK HOLMES, a very prettied up grit-fest.

Thanks mate, I read actual books too. So do the BBC, and so do AC's advisors, I expect. "Snobbery", indeed. Astonishing lack of self-awareness with the invective as usual, 10/10.


Didn't Hackney get mauled for the Olympics?

Hackney's getting mauled in general. Gentrifiers got their claws in it.

SofaJockey
08-20-2015, 06:27 PM
For me the streets need to be WAAAYYYYYYY BUSIER.
Its like they've forgotten its London!:rolleyes:

I looked into that, the site of the demo at that time of day would have been fairly quiet, being a business district and early evening,
though other parts of London would indeed have been much busier

GunnerGalactico
08-20-2015, 06:33 PM
We've only seen one section of London so far, perhaps the other sections would be busier.

Xstantin
08-20-2015, 06:53 PM
I liked Paris even though it wasn't 100 per cent accurate.
For now I just hope it's easy to get around without the minimap so I'm not really asking for much
I'll probably switch to night/rain asap if cheats are still around though

GunnerGalactico
08-20-2015, 06:58 PM
I liked Paris even though it wasn't 100 per cent accurate.
For now I just hope it's easy to get around without the minimap so I'm not really asking for much
I'll probably switch to night/rain asap if cheats are still around though

I especially loved the interiors, too bad they were one of the main causes for frame freezing.