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 Assassin's Creed  10? 'I hope so,' says Ubisoft's Detoc
Assassin's Creed 10? 'I hope so,' says Ubisoft's Detoc Exclusive
June 8, 2012 | By Leigh Alexander

The core market isn't shrinking, says Ubisoft North America executive director Laurent Detoc -- it's just there's only room for high-end games. And if you own one of those brands, as Ubi does with Assassin's Creed, there's no such thing as too many sequels.

Does that mean the company would make an eighth, ninth, tenth installment in the prolific Assassin's Creed series? "I hope we will," Detoc told Gamasutra at E3. "I also hope we'll be able to branch out from within the franchise. It's very simple to me: There's no such thing as not being able to annualize a franchise. If it's good, people will come."

He also says the company's mobile and social strategy must be very prescriptive, and embrace the idea that what consumers want from a game experience is contextual and situational. Detoc likens it to film and television, where sometimes one might want an ad-supported 30-minute program at home, and at others one might be ready to pay for an experience at the movie theater.

The game industry has an advantage, though, in that it can leverage one product across multiple platforms (Ubisoft's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has a Facebook companion in Ghost Recon: Commander). "We can make these games collaborate and communicate and use one to help the other," Detoc says. "But we also need to concentrate on making these products that stand on their own."

Ubisoft says it'll lend as much support to Nintendo's Wii U and other new technologies as it has in the past; having had a strong Wii strategy paid off for the company earlier this generation, and getting a jump on new hardware maximizes the time developers have to learn a platform.

"We're very supportive of Wii U, and we leave it to Nintendo to go and sell millions of machines," Detoc says lightly. "With the Wii, it was a sound choice for us to have been very supportive."

In Detoc's view, the hardware trend that seems to hybridize tablet and console gaming isn't a response to the tablet trend, but rather a continuation on what console-holders with portable platforms have been hoping to do for some time.

"It's a natural evolution of how we engage players; we're just taking advantage of new technology," he says of the hardware industry. "If it ties in with tablets, even better -- why not? It gives [consumers] the flexibility to play how and when they want; it's an all-you-can-eat menu."

But signs of massive transition are still everywhere. "The hardware is going to be replaced, and it's been a very long cycle," Detoc reflects. "I think that's partly an issue because there's been some fatigue from gamers who want the excitement of new hardware; they want to see that evolution."

Even the period after a new platform launch is still exciting to gamers because of the software leaps and bounds that can be seen early on. "Whereas now, the games just have to become bigger and bigger, rather than shine versus last year's games. [The industry] needs to finish this cycle properly and then start a new one," he says.

"I totally see HD gaming staying at the forefront of the industry," Detoc adds, explaining how one of his friends' first thoughts upon seeing the Watch Dogs presentation video was that it should become a movie. "That tells me we are getting into a level of expertise in production value that's making people dream, and it will only be exacerbated. To me, HD gaming is going to be very healthy for a long time."

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Ron Dippold
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If you want AC to reach 10 you'd better change it up enough.

Gameplay changed enough from I to II, and it looks like II to III, to keep things suitably fresh.

But you were seriously milking it with the other AC II games, and if AC III (main line game, not all the annualized spinoffs) doesn't finish off Desmond's story, I am out. Risk of franchise fatigue is very real here.

Luca Alesini
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I have Revelations installed but no will to complete it.
It has not changed enough from Brotherhood and it seems to be simply navigate the same game in a different city.

The bombs are interesting but they seems more of a mini-game than anything else, also considering that to make them you are forced to basically loot every body, and every crane and every box.

I like exploring and I want exploring to be rewarding, but that transform it into "exploring for necessity" also you're basically going around slaughtering without a real reason the guards on the roofs.

I think ACIII can be a chance for interesting changes since the setting is in the outdoors more than in a city. We will see.

Luis Guimaraes
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I thought AC3 would have Desmond in Shanghai or something, but now as much as AC2 was for me the best game I played on X360 (most weren't even worth it), I didn't play any of the spin-offs and am really not interested in the sequel so far...

Andrew Wallace
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The worst part of this article isn't how he shamelessly discusses his plans to grind out carbon copies of what was once a creative and fun game for the sake of maximizing profits; the worst part is that it's a good plan.

Ali Afshari
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I'm inherently against the idea of annualizing franchises. I would prefer longer dev cycles so the teams can refine things and that the players are really able to get the most out of each release. However, Assassin's Creed is crack to me. If the games are fun, refresh gameplay every once in a while, and tell an interesting story, I'll keep buying them. Some may feel (and deservedly so) that the games are too similar, but the formula works for me as a fan. I just bought the Vita yesterday because of AC Liberation. They have a strong foundation that allows them to go anywhere for settings, characters, events, etc. I just don't think they should rush with sequels and the like.

Kirk Nedreberg
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I'm with you when it comes to AC being crack. It's the only franchise I've purchased every game, got all the achievements, and have no intention of stopping buying each one in the future. It's also the only competitive MP experience that I not only find tolerable, but thoroughly enjoy.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Im not speaking about AC specifically, but one thing Ive learned is that people will always complain sequels are too similar with insignificant changes. Then when you change something significant, you get nerd rage because its not the exact same game anymore. I dont have all the answers, all I know is that its a very, very, very thin line to walk for developpers.

TC Weidner
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designing via excel spreadsheet.

Gil Salvado
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As long as they come up with new IP's like Watch Dogs, I don't mind if they go for annual versions of Assassin's Creed. I don't have to buy them after all, if there's so much else new out there.

Eric Geer
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So far I've only played one of them. I'm all set. Probably won't delve into the other 3 that are out or the other 6 they "hope" to release.

Bryan Ferris
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Of course you can always annualize a franchise. Of course, if you think that it will retain the quality that attracted people in the first place, you're a bumbling moron that should be fired (if you just think it'll remain profitable, you are sadly correct).

This is why I want to own the IP of all the games I create. So that disgusting things like annualization for the sake of profit over games doesn't happen.