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View Full Version : The 1-year development cycle is killing Assassin'c Creed



luckyto
11-11-2014, 09:51 PM
It's time to be honest. There hasn't been a GREAT Assassin's Creed since AC2, since the one year development cycle was introduced, and yes, Black Flag too.

Yes, I have enjoyed every single game. I loved Black Flag. But every one has been plagued with bugs, glitches or game mechanics that needed more fine-tuning. In ACIII, I loved the story at a high level and the combat, but the mission design was poorly lacking and the story felt incomplete and short-cutted. Brotherhood was polished, but really small in the amount of content it delivered, and rarely did the story fully tie in each assassination target well. Black Flag introduced awesome naval and brought back open-ended assassinations, but still had some mission design issues and the combat took a plunge. ACR was just a mixed-bag. And now Unity.

Joystq writes, "Despite starting from such a well-established foundation, however, Unity does not feel finished. Technical hiccups abounded during my time with Ubisoft's trip through Revolution-era France – hiccups that ran the gamut from mundane and distracting to annoying and game-breaking.

Rapid descents along the faces of buildings would sometimes send me clipping through structures, leave me floating in mid-air, or drop me through the bottom of the world into a hellish abyss of white. NPCs appeared to float in mid-air while others wielded invisible weapons. Twice, Unity crashed entirely, requiring a full restart of the software. In one mission, restarting from a checkpoint inspired in protagonist Arno Dorian the philosophy of pacifism, as he refused to attack the soldiers cutting him to shreds - which is to say that although I had my weapon drawn, I could not target or attack any enemies, and I had to let myself die in order to try again."

These examples are the classic result of a rush-to-market. Of a game that desperately needs another 6 months to a year in the oven.

On the whole, Unity will have things that will be great --- like the assassination missions. I'm sure that I will enjoy it. I've enjoyed and loathed parts of every title. But the hard truth is that Assassin's Creed isn't a Triple AAA. It's an A title, at best. It's not a $60 game, it's a $30-$40 game. It will never be GOTY because Ubisoft won't invest in making it a great game, just a "good enough" game.

LoyalACFan
11-11-2014, 09:54 PM
The games are not developed in one year, the dev times are staggered so each game gets at least a few years in the oven. Except maybe Rogue.

SlyTrooper
11-11-2014, 10:02 PM
Hah, there is no 1 year development cycle. AC3 had 3 years, ACIV had 2 years & AC Unity has had 4. It was only ACR that had less than 2 years (& maybe Rogue).

SHADOWGARVIN
11-11-2014, 10:05 PM
lol. There is no one year development cycle!

MCRMJ
11-11-2014, 10:19 PM
One year cycle, two or three, why are these glaring technical issues happening on every release? Some of them have to be engine specific (the falling/floating with arms in air glitches have been in nearly all the releases).

A game three years in development should not be as technically unsound as Unity is being reported as (not just reported, I've just watched two different streams with various glitches). It's like they spend two years on art, setting and all the other stuff then rushing the rest. I certainly hope the issues are things that can be ironed out in patches.

And for the next instalment I'd rather them just release it when it's bomb proof. Sod the yearly release, I can wait an extra month or two if it means we get a solid game.

m4r-k7
11-11-2014, 10:25 PM
Its weird. I dont remember AC 1, 2, Brotherhood or Revelations having even 1/2 the amount of bugs that AC 3, 4 and Unity seem to have. I don't know if its because of the complexities with this New Anvil engine or what but Ubisoft seriousily have to fix or work out how to deal with the engine. I would rather them somehow figure out how to get the AC 2 engine working on next-gen and developing the games with that. I don't know if that is possible because I have no idea about game design, but there is something wrong with this Anvil engine as ever since AC 3, the games have been riddled with bugs (AC4 was much more polished though)

Whilst I love getting a new AC game every year and I know they on average take 2 - 4 years to make, I think we should get a new AC game every 2 years or so. I know Ubisoft won't do that as AC is money for them, but they really need to get their act together in terms of AC games. I mean Far Cry, Splinter Cell and Watch Dogs had much less bugs than AC game has so it must be something with the engine they use.

In fact I would love them to stop making new AC games for about 2 to 3 years and instead give us a remastered edition of AC 1 and AC 2 to fill the gap instead, and then they can come back and wow us with a new game that has had more figuring out the complexities of this new-gen engine.

Sushiglutton
11-11-2014, 10:28 PM
Well said, agree fully!



The games are not developed in one year, the dev times are staggered so each game gets at least a few years in the oven. Except maybe Rogue.


Hah, there is no 1 year development cycle. AC3 had 3 years, ACIV had 2 years & AC Unity has had 4. It was only ACR that had less than 2 years (& maybe Rogue).


lol. There is no one year development cycle!

I wish people would stop saying this, because we don't know at all what that actually means. It can be that someone went to the library and borrowed a book about the French Revolution four years ago. Or that they wrote "Paris" on a whiteboard somewhere in Montreal. It means NOTHING.

Farlander1991
11-11-2014, 10:30 PM
Skyrim, non-yearly game, 3 years in development. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQkd7afLBNk) (and that's just a small fraction of those!)
GTAV, non-yearly release 4 years in development. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn6RF6rXmjk)
Red Dead Redemption, non-yearly release 5 years in development. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC0lKwttOj0)

Here's the truth: an open-world game is going to have tons of bugs. Be it RPG, action, or anything. I mean, even linear games have plenty of bugs, now imagine when there are just so many systems.

Non-yearly AC1 and AC2 had ****tons of bugs as well. But people were like, 'okay'. But now that the games are yearly people for some reason are much more 'HOLY **** BUGS YEARLY RELEASES MUST STOP!!!!!!!!'



I wish people would stop saying this, because we don't know at all what that actually means. It can be that someone went to the library and borrowed a book about the French Revolution four years ago. Or that they wrote "Paris" on a whiteboard somewhere in Montreal. It means NOTHING.

No offense, but it means EVERYTHING.

We know that ACU started with a core team of future leads figuring out how to make the game (both technically and what it's gonna be) after ACB finished. Yes, it's not a full-on development, but pre-production is incredibly important.

Sushiglutton
11-11-2014, 10:35 PM
No offense, but it means EVERYTHING.

We know that ACU started with a core team of future leads figuring out how to make the game (both technically and what it's gonna be) after ACB finished. Yes, it's not a full-on development, but pre-production is incredibly important.



I'm not denying pre-production is important. What I'm saying is that we don't know what they were doing, how many people were working on the game, how specific they were etc etc. All we can judge is the finished product.

m4r-k7
11-11-2014, 10:39 PM
I thought I heard in an interview that they properly started working on the game 2 years ago in terms of putting the game together. I think it took them two years to come up with idea's and initially set up the engine. Then they used the final two years to properly make the game.

Fatal-Feit
11-11-2014, 10:40 PM
Hah, there is no 1 year development cycle. AC3 had 3 years, ACIV had 2 years & AC Unity has had 4. It was only ACR that had less than 2 years (& maybe Rogue).

Here:

3 - 3 1/2 years

IV - 3 years

Unity - 4 years

Revelations - 10 months

Rogue - Apparently 3 years, as it was developed alongside IV

2 - 1 1/2 years

Brotherhood - 1 year

Both Brotherhood and Revelations were developed within a year.

luckyto
11-11-2014, 10:43 PM
How can they possibly devote their full team to the making of one Assassin's Creed while that team is making another Assassin's Creed? It's not possible. Full resources are only given to the games for a limited window. Planning and pre-production and concept work does not development make. Yes, three years ago, a couple of people had a meeting and came up with this idea. For a year, that idea bounced around inboxes taking shape. Then in year 2, the pre-production team comes on and solidifies it... writes story, does concept work, and lays the groundwork.

But the last year is a mad dash to production. EVERY SINGLE GAME HAS BEEN PLAGUED WITH PROBLEMS THAT SHOULD BE FIXED IN PRODUCTION AND TESTING. Every single one. Every single game has had a whole host of issues which it would not have had if it was given the full treatment. Every single game has had mechanics or side content which needed additional work. Scenes and story content missing to fill in the story. Every single one.

So you can say that the game has been developed for three years. Ubisoft says so. But the proof is in the pudding, boys.

----

PS and no, AC2 and AC1 did not have **** tons of bugs. Open world games may have more bugs, but not tons of bugs. It's not even the bugs. Everything is short. Every game has had something - that even if it wasn't a bug --- needed more work to be polished.

ACfan443
11-11-2014, 10:45 PM
Here:

3 - 3 1/2 years

IV - 3 years

Unity - 4 years

Revelations - 10 months

Rogue - Apparently 3 years, as it was developed alongside IV

2 - 1 1/2 years

Brotherhood - 1 year

Both Brotherhood and Revelations were developed within a year.

AC4 was 2 years, they began work on it in late 2011, AC3 was 2 years and 10 months, they began work on it in January 2010.

SlyTrooper
11-11-2014, 11:03 PM
Rogue - Apparently 3 years, as it was developed alongside IV
I struggle to believe that. Rogue looks really good, but it's not because of a long dev cycle.

Farlander1991
11-11-2014, 11:09 PM
How can they possibly devote their full team to the making of one Assassin's Creed while that team is making another Assassin's Creed?

Mate, it's not 'Assassin's Creed team is 600 people, since we're making 3 games let's give 200 people to each'. It's 'We've got 3 games in development, we need to allocate 200 people to this one, 300 to this one and 400 to this one. And we can do this because we've got 10,000 ****ing people working in our companies. And we'll need more at this point in time, and by that time Far Cry 15 is finished so we'll take 100 people from there as well which will fit perfectly into the plan and schedule. Etc."


Planning and pre-production and concept work does not development make. Yes, three years ago, a couple of people had a meeting and came up with this idea. For a year, that idea bounced around inboxes taking shape. Then in year 2, the pre-production team comes on and solidifies it... writes story, does concept work, and lays the groundwork.


While true, pre-production is still more than that.


But the last year is a mad dash to production. EVERY SINGLE GAME HAS BEEN PLAGUED WITH PROBLEMS THAT SHOULD BE FIXED IN PRODUCTION AND TESTING. Every single one. Every single game has had a whole host of issues which it would not have had if it was given the full treatment. Every single game has had mechanics or side content which needed additional work. Scenes and story content missing to fill in the story. Every single one.

Oh yes, if only games post-ACB were given full treatment like AC1 with its repetitive side-content, a whole area that's got nothing to do but collectibles, lack of side-content in general, a combat system that's broken by one mechanic, and slow pacing. If only they'd be given full treatment like AC2 with its wonderful broken pacing in the second half of the game, amazing filler content in main storyline, a quarter of sidecontent being nonsensical, characters like Rosa and Ugo disappearing into nowhere and characters like Machiavelli appearing out of nowhere (and a bunch of other wonderful things happening with character treatment), combat that got more boring and broken. And the yearly AC4 of course didn't have the most meaty and diverse side-content out of any AC game, a story that's crafted and paced better than pretty much every other AC game as well, of course it didn't have the most stealth opportunities in the whole series.

Yes, yearly development cycle has got problems. The two biggest ones are: a) community feedback is implemented with a delay, and b) modern day story is trickier to plan to be coherent. And when a project is something as ambitious as AC3 then inability to postpone is a big one. But when a game's well planned and well-implemented, it's well-planned and well-implemented, yearly releases or not.

king-hailz
11-11-2014, 11:15 PM
Even though the development cycle is long having a new game and having different studios working on different things is ruining this franchise!

Before every person would have a clear direction to go in, there is clear progression in the story! The game play gets better and things get fixed quicker because they see feedback and then start working on a game!

You can bet your *** that many problems unity has will be fixed after the next 2-3 games!

luckyto
11-11-2014, 11:22 PM
But it's not well implemented. It hasn't been since AC2.


PS That "broken" AC1 game had a fraction of the resources, both money and personnel, as AC Unity and got better reviews than ACIII and Unity. Not bad for a concept title. Jus' sayin.

LoyalACFan
11-11-2014, 11:25 PM
But it's not well implemented. It hasn't been since AC2.

AC4. Whether or not you thought it fit the AC universe, it was an incredibly well-rounded game.

luckyto
11-11-2014, 11:31 PM
Yeah, but the combat was a step-down from AC3. They had issues with the NPC enemies on the ship and how they reacted in the fight space with the player. How many times did you fight on a ship and have some quirky thing happen? The combat needed refinement. I loved the game. Played it more than anybody on my friend's list. But even it had issues.

Farlander1991
11-11-2014, 11:38 PM
But it's not well implemented. It hasn't been since AC2.


PS That "broken" AC1 game had a fraction of the resources, both money and personnel, as AC Unity and got better reviews than ACIII and Unity. Not bad for a concept title. Jus' sayin.

I didn't call AC1 broken. Just one of its mechanics. Also, no, ACIII actually has got higher critic reviews than AC1 and so far Unity's equal (but it's still early to tell where the critic response will go). But that's just score comparing which I really don't like. My point is, both AC1 (which was my favourite AC until AC4 came along) and AC2 had their own hefty share of problems (in all senses - technical, design-wise, narrative) that could've been fixed with more time, resources, planning, whatnot. Heck, technically speaking, AC2 had horrendous view distance, NPCs poping in left and right, low quality textures, and lots of other things, and yet for some reason NPCs popping in in Unity is a travesty that clearly has never happened in AC games before >_< You can use AC1/AC2 for plenty of arguments, but trying to prove that non-yearly releases are more well-made and don't have a certain noticeable amount of technical, design and narrative problems is not one of them.

Rugterwyper32
11-11-2014, 11:42 PM
Yeah, AC4 had issues, but I found myself having the same amount of issues with the first 2 games, though I'll roll with 2 because I think we're all clear by now on the failures of 1, good as it was. Combat in AC2 was a stepdown from AC1 all the same, it had probably one of the most ridiculous decisions for the series which is not being able to replay main missions (I wouldn't have minded it if the first game hadn't done it before, but it did) and in terms of how a lot of content worked it wasn't implemented all that well: You had a last minute collection which made the Sky Temple Key collection from Metroid Prime 2 look like the most fun thing around, side missions were for the most part pointless and boring, and you had an entire city that pretty much had no point unless you had the DLC (Forli) and you had the mountains which you went through once and only mattered if you wanted to get treasure chests. Frankly, we could've done without those 2 areas, or at least cut the mountains and make Forli more meaningful and cut down on some Venice content which just dragged on. That's on top of my mind. And I like AC2 a lot, it's a pretty fun game (though it's my least replayed of the series) but man.