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View Full Version : History Lessons: The Road from Assassin's Creed III to Far Cry 4



Jexx21
06-25-2014, 08:07 PM
I know that this article is primary for fans of Far Cry 4, but it's an interview with the Creative Director of AC3 and FC4, Alex Hutchinson, about both games, and I feel like it's worth it to watch.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2014/06/25/history-lessons-the-road-from-assassins-creed-iii-to-far-cry-4.aspx

I haven't seen the entire thing yet and I'll update this post with my impressions when I finish.

Update:
Was really interesting to learn that his primary lesson with what happened with Assassin's Creed 3 was to control the scope and ambition of the project, and that they were sure that they were going to get time to polish the game that they didn't really get. Also interesting to hear that a lot of the reviewers who gave AC3 more favorable reviews were those who played more of the side content.

I really like the guy, he seems to have a lot of passion for what he does.

Sushiglutton
06-25-2014, 08:50 PM
Interesting interview! Will watch again tomorrow and give some more thoughts on it.

Jexx21
06-25-2014, 09:37 PM
Also, tweeted him about it:

http://i.imgur.com/0AJpa0c.png

SpiritOfNevaeh
06-25-2014, 10:09 PM
Awesome! I like him too. He's cool <3

Jexx21
06-26-2014, 12:21 AM
So, no one else finds this interesting?

I-Like-Pie45
06-26-2014, 12:24 AM
So, no one else finds this interesting?

itz cus itz arx hugginsons

hii run assassinating past hero creed seriz wit assassinating past hero creed tri game

unlike savirs lord patrick ashrap n amancipated

Jexx21
06-26-2014, 12:25 AM
what?

Kaiser, I think you had too much catnip today.

Wolfmeister1010
06-26-2014, 12:32 AM
Things like dynamic encounters survived until late august before they had to take them out. They must have not even started working on them yet, likely there just for demos. The game was far to big for that little amount of time. Although I love black flag, I would GLADLY shove that game back into oblivion for a crossgen AC3 with an extra year's dev time.

I-Like-Pie45
06-26-2014, 12:33 AM
Things like dynamic encounters survived until late august before they had to take them out. They must have not even started working on them yet, likely there just for demos. The game was far to big for that little amount of time. Although I love black flag, I would GLADLY shove that game back into oblivion for a crossgen AC3 with an extra year's dev time.

yes but then it would be a game about saving the world in 2012 released in 2013

Jexx21
06-26-2014, 01:10 AM
Y'know, that point made sense to me back in 2012/early 2013, now I just don't care. We played a game that took place in 2012 before 2012, why can't we do so after 2012?

Oh, right, gotta play up that Mayan Calendar nonsense.

Wolfmeister1010
06-26-2014, 02:16 AM
yes but then it would be a game about saving the world in 2012 released in 2013

I honestly wouldn't care at this point.

Jexx21
06-26-2014, 02:34 AM
Should have pushed AC3 back till 2013, Black Flag could have been this year's Comet, and Comet could be pushed back to 2015 giving it an extra year of development.

Except Comet might be a Connor (hopefully Connor/Aveline) game, so not sure about that.

SpiritOfNevaeh
06-26-2014, 07:17 AM
Should have pushed AC3 back till 2013, Black Flag could have been this year's Comet, and Comet could be pushed back to 2015 giving it an extra year of development.

Except Comet might be a Connor (hopefully Connor/Aveline) game, so not sure about that.

Agreed with all points here.

Actually took the time to watch the interview. This just backs up my claim of him being an awesome asset to the Ubisoft company :D And I'mg glad he's proud of his work.

Sure he's made some mistakes about AC3, but what matters is you learn from them so they don't happen again :p

And maybe a Haytham game? YES PLZ!

I wonder if he's working on Comet...

Jexx21
06-26-2014, 07:31 AM
I doubt he's working on Comet, as he is the Creative Director of Fallout 4.

EDIT:

I mean Far Cry 4. Not Fallout 4.

God I wish Fallout 4 would be announced.

GreySkellig
06-26-2014, 12:10 PM
I do hope Hutchinson comes back to the AC franchise at some point. He had a pretty incredible vision for AC3, and despite all its glaring flaws (whether brought on by time pressure, the challenges of building a new engine, or just the dev team's mistakes), there was something in that game that really stuck with me. More than any other Assassin's Creed game, it felt like a particular time and place. As a historian, yeah there were a lot of bits that ticked me off a bit. But there was a lot of obvious love that went into that game's atmosphere, and that's why I keep firing up my copy every now and then, in spite of the game's weaknesses.

Jexx21
06-26-2014, 05:02 PM
Yea, Hutchinson seems to have a lot of great ideas.

JustPlainQuirky
06-27-2014, 06:22 AM
Why is everyone not emphasizing the fact that Hutchinson randomly said that a Haytham Sequel might happen??

That's pretty big news IMO...

Jexx21
06-27-2014, 07:37 AM
Because he said it in a joking way?

GreySkellig
06-27-2014, 08:32 AM
Why is everyone not emphasizing the fact that Hutchinson randomly said that a Haytham Sequel might happen??

That's pretty big news IMO...

I definitely would not call it "news". He expressed a half-joking interest, likely because he knows a lot of people called out for a Haytham game. Even if he said "Yeah, I 100% want to make that game," it doesn't guarantee the shot callers higher up would let him do it. I'd be surprised if AC introduced its first Templar protagonist by backtracking 3 or 4 years to an old character.

Not that I wouldn't have been totally into a Haytham game, but I think that ship sailed with the announcement of Unity. (Unless he's in Comet)

ze_topazio
06-27-2014, 04:55 PM
I still want that game about Haytham in Constantinople saving his sister.

JustPlainQuirky
06-28-2014, 07:29 PM
Eh, he was laughing but it sounded like there was genuine interest. The fact that he brought it up outta nowhere two years after ac3's release just excited me i guess. I guess I'll put that in my bucket of dreams. :rolleyes:

@ze

they could even recycle some assets from Revelations lol

RatonhnhakeFan
06-30-2014, 04:00 PM
I definitely would not call it "news". He expressed a half-joking interest, likely because he knows a lot of people called out for a Haytham game. Even if he said "Yeah, I 100% want to make that game," it doesn't guarantee the shot callers higher up would let him do it. I'd be surprised if AC introduced its first Templar protagonist by backtracking 3 or 4 years to an old character.

Not that I wouldn't have been totally into a Haytham game, but I think that ship sailed with the announcement of Unity. (Unless he's in Comet)That's the thing, if the leaks are correct Comet will be in AC3/4 timeline with characters from both returning. The protag is rumored to be a Templar named Shay so yeah, not Haytham, but it could've been him, he may even appear in the game as well.

In any case, AC3 big problem was the Haytham twist. As cool as it is, the entire game suffers from it heavily unfortunately. They should've dropped it period

JustPlainQuirky
06-30-2014, 04:02 PM
^you mean comet. not unity.

but i disagree. I like templar Haytham. :o

RatonhnhakeFan
06-30-2014, 04:04 PM
but i disagree. I like templar Haytham. :oSo do most people. But was it worth 'sacrificing' the rest of the game for him? Nope

Hans684
06-30-2014, 04:12 PM
So do most people. But was it worth 'sacrificing' the rest of the game for him? Nope

I'm guessing you are happy to have killed him then, revenge is best served cold.

JustPlainQuirky
06-30-2014, 04:14 PM
sacrificing the game? I didn't have any big problems with the game. it's my fav AC game

RatonhnhakeFan
06-30-2014, 04:18 PM
I'm guessing you are happy to have killed him then, revenge is best served cold.

Doesn't make a difference whether he dies or lives, "the damage is already done".

Hans684
06-30-2014, 04:24 PM
Doesn't make a difference whether he dies or lives, "the damage is already done".

True, "It's all a matter of perspective. There is no single path through life that's right and fair and does no harm.".

UniteUnderPower
06-30-2014, 04:42 PM
He's definitely not my favorite creative director yet. I really feel like he was the one that was responsible for the slacking-off in the modern-day section of the game. Everything that he said before Assassins Creed III released signaled that he really did not care much about the modern-day section of the game and wanted to put little to no attention on it. I can't respect him for that. Alex Amancio seems to be a bit different though, as he seems to really have passion for creating an equally great modern portion and historical portion to Assassins Creed, which is something that I really love about him.

Jexx21
06-30-2014, 04:45 PM
Uh, what? What did he say before AC3 about the modern day?

AC3 has had the best modern day so far so I find hard to believe that Alex doesn't care about it...

RatonhnhakeFan
06-30-2014, 04:46 PM
Uh, what? What did he say before AC3 about the modern day?

AC3 has had the best modern day so far so I find hard to believe that Alex doesn't care about it...

Seriously, if anything he accomplished MD not sucking completely. It's a different topic that it STILL wasn't amazing, but compared to all other MD sections in previous (and later) AC games, AC3 was positively acceptable.

Jexx21
06-30-2014, 04:49 PM
I actually think that AC4 has the second best modern day. So don't get me started on that.

JustPlainQuirky
06-30-2014, 04:50 PM
I liked AC2's modern day a lot because it incoorperated the bleeding effect into gameplay elements where you essentially follow an after-image.

It was a nice way to tie in MD with the past

UniteUnderPower
06-30-2014, 05:12 PM
Uh, what? What did he say before AC3 about the modern day?

AC3 has had the best modern day so far so I find hard to believe that Alex doesn't care about it...

AC3 had the best modern-day so far in an Assassins Creed game to date imo. Don't get me wrong. BUT, before the release of AC3 I remember him constantly talking about how Desmond lacked as a character and how there was a less of a focus on the modern-day portion than the historical portion due to the historical portion being the most popular part. I find that the modern-day only improved due to the work of Corey May and another guy I recall seeing an interview from before the release of AC3(can't quite remember his name). This was one of the things that turned me off AC3 slightly before the release.

Jexx21
06-30-2014, 05:17 PM
He was talking about the games before AC3 when he said those things...

I remember because the team as a whole was saying that there was more modern-day in the game than ever before, and there was.

UniteUnderPower
06-30-2014, 05:22 PM
He was talking about the games before AC3 when he said those things...

I remember because the team as a whole was saying that there was more modern-day in the game than ever before, and there was.

Whether there was more or not is pretty questionable. At the point of AC3, they seemed to throw Desmond into the animus almost too quickly if that makes any sense. I really feel like the Desmond storyline was quite rushed in AC3 actually. Like they were trying to get it over as quick as possible.

Jexx21
06-30-2014, 05:25 PM
there was definitely more, no doubt about it..

Yes, they did put a lot of his AC3 development in Black Flag, I'll admit that, but those two combined developed his character more than the other 4 games did.

Anyway the fact is Alex Hutchinson never said anything bad about modern day and he said he wanted to do more with it compared to previous games, which the game did.

Dome500
06-30-2014, 05:35 PM
Nice interview so far.

But what he says at ~ 3:25 - 3:45 about how people got used to be "spoon-fed".... well, IMO it is not a solution to continue this trend. It is important that we start separating the "beginners" difficulties (with spoon-feeding) from the "experienced" difficulties (without that stuff) and enabling HUD-options and difficulty options is one way to do it. The problem today is a lot of games take your hand WAY too much (a thing that always annoys me personally since I am more the trial&error learning type and the explorer). If you keep spoon-feeding the people or try to find a compromise between spoon-feeding and freedom then this is not going to work and to be honest, the guys used to spoon-feeding will feel lost and the experienced players will feel annoyed (because the game is intrusive and forces their hand). So the right solution to work AGAINST that problem is to actually create different difficulty/HUD options or to just go the hard way and not spoon-feed people.
Because the more the people are "spoon-fed" by games the more they get used to it and the less independent they will get and the more games will start spoon-feeding them more. A vicious circle.
Sure, he is right, you need to find a balance between "too obvious" and "too hidden". But in the end I think the best way to go is to let the player adjust the settings so it fits the best for his personal preferences. Subtle hints are okay, a 30 seconds dialogue reminding you of all the types of missions you can make or a 2-hour tutorial session are not the way.

He should also keep in mind (besides that Reviewers =/= players which he definitely got right) that some people did not do the side missions in ACIII for different reasons.

1. Some didn't like Naval
2. Most side content (aside from the homestead missions) just had a bad background story or none at all, especially assassination missions were executed poorly, courier missions were boring and the brawler missions felt disjointed to the narrative (like some of ACIIs content where you had the feeling it was only there to have some additional content (would have fit better to AC4 (you know, because pirate fits to fistfights and stuff) than to ACIII and it needs to fit)

So those 2 points have to be kept in mind.
Collectibles were also pretty much the same (feathers, almanac pages)
And the underground was... well, not puzzle-heavy enough and did not have lots of other content aside from walking through the sewers.

Pretty unfair what he says later on. The way he talks you get the feeling that we are only a noise to blend out and that in the end we do not know that development costs money and that time is limited. We are WELL aware of that.
He also seems to have the opinion our opinions here on the forums are not representative for the player audience. IMO you get no better representation than here. Not even the play testers are so involved into the series than the hardcore fans are. And there are a lot of pretty polar opposites here on the forums covering a wide spectrum of standpoints. IMO the best thing they can do is to listen to the "noise" we make.

Of course you have to sort out, you have to ignore some and you do not have infinite time to sit here and listen. But then again, we have Community Developers and Managers and Moderators to report the important feedback and as long as they are in the planning and early development phase they should definitely listen to feedback as much as they can, maybe even post ideas using an anonymous account to see how people would react in case they are not sure if their idea works or will be well received.
I understand that there comes a point in development where not many changes can be made, where a game has a general state and big changes will come at a too high cost, and that from that moment on you can only listen to minor cosmetic, technical and polishing-related feedback that can be executed faster. And I also understand that there is time when development is basically finished and the only things left are bug-fixing and QualityAssurance.

But BEFORE those phases they should definitely take feedback here seriously and should also see us as representative for all kinds of nations, ages and as the BEST representative of the general Assassins Creed audience, alone for the fact that we take our time to create and account here and write down pages after pages of our ideas not only trying to consider how to make the game better (because we are that passionate about it) but also trying to keep in mind the resources and limited time the developers have and the problems that could be created in other parts of the game by including the ideas we have. That is my opinion.

His "less can be more" comment is good. I agree with him there. I think what he says is Quality over Quantity and I like that. I think it is 100 times more worth if you have a game with medium content but excellent story and gameplay quality as well as variety than to have LOTS of content which is however very repetitive and has a mediocre story.

Dont like what he says about Connecting the Far Cry franchise.
I think one of the GREAT things about Far Cry was always that you did not have to have played the previous games to understand the new one. What connected the Franchise was the gameplay mechanics the freedom and the way the world worked. There were even similarities in the scenarios the protagonist were put in. In the end however I think it was cool that there was no real story connection because you could just pick them up and play whichever you preferred. And that is what is cool IMO in contrast to Assassins Creed (no offense I like AC but like he said, it restricts development. And not only that, it also restricts the way the player experiences the game if you connect the Far Cry stories. I hope they will NOT do that.

You know, for me it is always tedious to have a game that forces you more or less to buy all major games from the franchise. Dont get me wrong, I like "being a fan", but in the end you feel that need that you HAVE to know that backstory and that is especially problematic the more the story is tied together and it is really terrible if you know the story of one of those games is okay and important for the next ones but the gameplay is crap. So in the end you end up struggling with yourself if you should buy it or not. In addition, the more complicated and connected the story the harder it is to get the story right, for which AC3 definitely serves as negative example IMO.

I liked that Far Cry did exactly NOT do that. That way the game could be reviewed and evaluated for what it IS ON ITS OWN and not for what is is within the franchise, also you could just play any far cry game without having played another one. Would be a shame if that would be gone. IMO Ubisoft has enough "fanbase games", they also need one that gives you a particular kind of gameplay but does not have a story connection. There will still be fans, but the FREEDOM is more and the feeling when playing them will be completely different. If all Ubisoft games start being the same "we-always-continue-the-story-so-you-buy-every-game" games then I as a customer would probably start searching for other games. I mean yeah, sometimes its fun to be a fan of something. But then again, I also like my franchises that are not connected in terms of story or the franchises that are only SLIGHTLY connected (like Splinter Cell 1 - 3 for example (SAR, PT, CT))

ACfan443
06-30-2014, 06:07 PM
Uh, what? What did he say before AC3 about the modern day?

In various interviews with Corey May prior to AC3's release, when asked how many of the loose threads from the previous games would resolved, Corey stated several times that he was trying his best to provide satisfying fan service for the hardcore MD fans, but that Alex pushed to remove portions of the present day content from AC3 and 'save it for future games'.

There was an entire thread about it a couple of years ago.

Jexx21
06-30-2014, 06:13 PM
huh, must have missed that

Jexx21
06-30-2014, 06:15 PM
I think he means he wants to connect the Far Cry franchise more in a way that there are recurring characters or themes or the way the game works rather than having an actual connected narrative.

Think of the way Grand Theft Auto works. You don't need to play the previous ones to jump into the new ones, yet they're still connected games.

Farlander1991
06-30-2014, 06:39 PM
In various interviews with Corey May prior to AC3's release, when asked how many of the loose threads from the previous games would resolved, Corey stated several times that he was trying his best to provide satisfying fan service for the hardcore MD fans, but that Alex pushed to remove portions of the present day content from AC3 and 'save it for future games'.

There was an entire thread about it a couple of years ago.

Considering that most of what we've got in AC3 is shaky executed at best when regarding to tying up loose ends, I don't think that was a bad decision, it would've been even a bigger mess with more things jammed in.

Jexx21
06-30-2014, 06:45 PM
saving it for future games isn't a bad idea either tbh

I used to be on the bandwagon that modern day should be 40% or something of the game... I no longer care about that, just as long as the content is interesting and fun to me.

ACfan443
06-30-2014, 08:45 PM
It is a bad idea. This kind of practice only serves to drag on tired old plot lines that should have seen resolution within one or two sequels, rather than focus on entirely new ones. By the time AC10 is released, who the hell is even going to care about closure to some inane subject 16 ramblings from ACB? The bulk of present day fans have already stopped caring about the overarching narrative given how little the games have done to provide satisfying answers within an acceptable time limit. Either tie up the loose threads while the story is still relevant, or don't bother at all.

I don't want to see stale old plot lines endlessly dragged on not knowing which of 100 AC sequels one of them will finally be resolved in, and I'm sick of the shoddy, frustrating, botched and unmitigated disastrous present day storytelling from the later games and particularly AC3 (for which Alex is partly responsible for). The sooner present day is watered down to total insignificance, the better.

SixKeys
06-30-2014, 09:28 PM
Hadn't watched this interview until now. Thanks for posting. Alex was surprisingly honest about his experiences with AC3, and I can see he still stands behind many of his decisions for that game. I can respect that, even if I didn't enjoy the game as a whole. I agree with his thoughts about holding back on the scope if it means making a more polished game, and the general idea of allowing players to discover content on their own instead of spoonfeeding it to them. I'm wondering what exactly he thinks of as side content. Everybody praised naval and the tombs which were technically side content, but when most people think about side content in AC3, they think of the terribad delivery quests, assassination contracts, crafting and Homestead missions. Like the interviewer suggests, I don't think in those cases it's about players not finding the content, it's about them disliking the content.

Jexx21
06-30-2014, 09:32 PM
When I think of AC3's side content I think of the great Naval and Homestead and Liberation and Peg Leg missions, I don't even consider the assassination contracts or the delivery quests to be side missions because they suck so bad.

Alex was obviously referring to the characters that furthered the development of Connor and his personal story as well as the Colonial Order.