SDCC 09: Assassin's Creed 2 & Hollywood: Convergence!

Shot of the filming of Lineage, courtesy Games Press

Thursday at Comic-Con International: San Diego, Ubisoft previewed what they have built around their highly anticipated sequel, Assassin's Creed 2.  Moderator Paul Semel introduced the panel, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat, Hybride Technologies CEO Pierre Raymond, AC 1 and 2 script writer Corey May and Assassin's Creed: Lineage film series co-scripter William Raymond.

Semel then ran the first trailer for AC2, where new lead Ezio kills a man during an elaborate dance on the streets of Renaissance Venice, then stalks another pray almost into a trap, but instead Ezio reveals a rudimentary firearm in his gauntlet and makes his kill from a safe distance.

Semel then handed off to Mallat, asking him about how 'convergence' will play a role in the release of AC2.  Mallat wants to blend gaming and filmmaking and to that end Ubisoft acquired Hybride and produced Assassin's Creed: LineageLineage is a live action (with CG sets) film series exploring the background of AC2's Ezio.

May then started the E3 demo, making his way along the canals on Leonardo Divinci's flying machine, demonstrating the jumping-down kill, the double kill, the hide-in-a-hay-cart kill as well as fighting with foes' weapons and using smoke bombs to make getaways.  May also promises 15 modular mission types and a faction system that you can use to gain aid in your missions.

Afterward Mallat returned to the film series, which will feature Ezio's assassin father and set up Ezio's mission in AC2. Raymond chimed in and said that making the films in-house made both them and the game better by sharing resources. He says that sets seen in the films will even be seen in game as they are the same builds.  Clips were then shown of middle-age men performing mo-cap conversations on a green-screen stage.  Mallat finished by stressing how keeping

everything in-house is how tie-in media should always be made, so that the property's creators will stay involved.

The floor was then opened to questions.

-Why the Renaissance and not China or Brooklyn?  Reymond can't tell exactly why without spoiling, but the settings for AC games must be times and places where great powers or all types were in flux, like the Crusades and Renaissance.

-Will there be a HUD?  Yes, it was just turned off for the demo

-Where is Desmond?  Reymond says AC2 picks up right where AC1 left off; it's all Desmond's story.

-Other historical figures in the game?  "Tons" and as accurate as we can make it, as historians and experts were hired.

-Where did AC idea come from?  Mallat says it was once the sequel to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, but the content was so rich it could sustain it's own game.  May chimes in and gives a book called "Alamut" as a big source of inspiration.

-Will blue memory blocked areas return?  May: they are necessary for the game's story but will be implemented in a more 'mallable' style

-What about the symbols in Desmond's room?  Reymond can only promise an explanation one day

-Will a toolset be made available for modders?  Mallat recognizes the growth of user content, but doesn't want to 'smooth out' the tools that made AC2 for home use.  Maybe someday.

At the end, they invited an Ezio cosplayer on stage and he pretended to kill Mallat. With a chief panelist "dead," the panel was officially over.

Press Release Information Follows:

ABOUT ASSASSIN’S CREED II:

Assassin’s Creed II is the product of over two years of intensive development by the original creative team behind the Assassin’s Creed brand. In a vast open world environment, the game invites players to incarnate Ezio, a privileged young noble in Renaissance Italy who’s been betrayed by the rival ruling families of Italy.

Ezio’s subsequent quest for vengeance plunges players into a captivating and epic story that offers more variety in missions, surprising and engaging new game play elements, diverse weapons and a profound character progression that will appeal to fans of the original Assassin’s Creed as well as entice players new to the brand. Assassin’s Creed II is scheduled to launch on November 17, 2009 for the PLAYSTATION® 3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the PC.

The short film series, entitled Assassin’s Creed II: Lineage will be released for Holiday 2009. Three short movies will focus on the story of Ezio’s father, Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, will preclude the Assassin’s Creed II storyline and will offer fans insight into the Assassin’s Creed II storyline and characters.

For more information about Assassin’s Creed II, please visit www.assassinscreed.com.

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