Jade Raymond is about as far removed from the stereotypical games developer as you could possibly imagine – an elfin, size-zero brunette with an infectious giggle. Yet, implausibly, she’s also the producer of the PS3/Xbox 360 game Assassin’s Creed
With a background that includes a computer science degree, followed by programming for Sony and producing for EA, she moved back to her native Montreal, initially working on Prince of Persia
, before getting the chance to sink her perfectly formed teeth into a new IP, in the form of Assassin’s Creed
Even at last year’s E3, it was instantly obvious that Assassin’s Creed
is hugely promising. Set in the Middle East in 1191, just at the start of the Third Crusade, it casts you as Altair, a demoted Master Assassin trying to prove himself after a job went pear-shaped. With gameplay that includes climbing and incredibly athletic free-running, stealth, interacting with AI crowds, information-gathering through a variety of nefarious means and even horse-riding, it’s a pretty ambitious effort, and it’s something of a visual feast, too.
Following a long period of silence from Ubisoft Montreal regarding the game, gossip naturally surfaced that it was running behind schedule and so on. Luckily, at the recent Ubidays event in Paris, Raymond was on hand to insist that it will be ready for this Christmas, and that we lucky journos will be able to get hands-on experience in July. For that reason, Ubisoft didn’t demo the game live, choosing instead to air a rolling video. But Raymond did perform a public Q&A, in which she went into an awful lot of detail regarding all aspects of the game. Sadly, she was only answering questions put by an approved moderator, rather than us, but for once, he did a pretty good job – and this is the outcome.
Could you give us a quick overview of Assassin’s Creed’s
As the title implies, you play a master assassin, Altair. The inspiration for the story came from the Clan of Assassins: they’re a real historical group, that came to be around the Third Crusade – around the time the game takes place, the summer of 1191, to be precise.
You start as a master assassin with all your abilities, and you mess up your first mission. So, you go back to see the head of the assassins and he downgrades you to the beginner rank, takes away all of your stuff and says that, in order to regain your standing within the assassins, you have to prove yourself. So, your mission now is to stop the Third Crusade – just a little easy mission… You have to take out these nine key guys who are profiting from the war, and help the public, because they are the ones who are suffering.
So, you go out on this quest to cross the Bulbul, and then it takes you through Jerusalem, Damascus, Acre and the countryside in between which is ravaged by war. As you take out your targets one by one, you discover that there’s something a little bit different going on – somehow, the targets are somewhat related and, eventually, that leads you to a revelation about what your actions are.