IncGamers’ Tamer Asfahani crossed the Atlantic to get to Montreal for a look at the almost final code of Assassin’s Creed 2.Speaking to game director Benoit Lambert, producer Sebastien Puel and level designer Francois Roughol, you can expect to hear about things you may not have expected, as well view some never seen before in-game footage.Tamer Asfahani: We’re here in Canada at Montreal studio for Ubisoft. We’re here to look at Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed 2, and Avatar. We’ll be getting an opportunity to play some of the games but we’ll also have the chance to speak to the guys behind the games to figure out what’s been done. We’ll also be speaking to fellow gamers and fellow journalists to see what they think of the games.Sebastien Puel, Assassin’s Creed 2 Producer: Ezio is very different. He’s from the end of the 15th century in Italy, he’s cultured, he’s got a lot of panache, he’s Italian. But at the same time when he’s an assassin and when he’s going for the kill, he’s very focused, and I think he’s still a mysterious character but with a human side that is much more developed in this game.Benoit Lambert, Assassin’s Creed 2 Game Director: Like, so first, like as a developer, when you start like a sequel, when you have a strong character in AC1 it’s quite difficult. I think it’s a big development choice, a big risk, when we say, okay, we’re going to take someone else. Because it’s true that Ezio has far more depth than what Altair had. Altair was interesting, but it was difficult to, you know, go beyond the mask […] while Ezio shares more about his intimacy and shares more about his emotions.Lauren Wainwright, Consolemonster.com: Ezio is way sexier. *laughs* He is! Your face…SP: Obviously we’re trying on bringing much more diversity to the game. Assassin’s Creed 1 has a very strong gameplay basis, and now we want to add a lot of depth to that and a lot of diversity. On the mission side, on the fight side; everything in the game is now deeper, bigger, the scope is absolutely huge, we have a long game, we have a lot of things to do in the main path and outside of the main path.Francois Roughol, Assassin’s Creed 2 Level Designer: So the story is more well-written, it’s delivered quite brilliantly through our missions, and our missions are a lot more diverse, and you can do many different things. It’s really up to you, the player, to decide what you want to do and what tools to bring with you.BL: And if you want to do all the side quests and the secret locations, and all the glyphs, and all the puzzles on the side, I think you have a good 35-40 hours of full gameplay. The big thing with a game like Assassin’s Creed, when you have this open world, you’re following your objective, and very easily you’re distracted by something else, so the time can add up pretty fast.Richard Walker, Strategyinformer.com: Just that great gameplay that was in the first game is there, but there’s so much more of it with the side missions, and the variation they’ve put in the game now. It’s really all come together properly this time.SP: So I think the main challenge was really to build them and then fill them with a lot of gameplay. So now you’ve got the crowd missions, you’ve got the side missions, you’ve got all those collectibles, you’ve got the villa, so you’ve got a lot of different layers of gameplay in the same type of open-ended environment.Philipp “Pip” Doms, Ubi Moderator German: The money system, to use money. It’s really cool. To buy new things, to upgrade your boots, or your weapons, for example. So it’s really nice.SP: Having an economic system changes the game a lot, because you’ve got much more options for your assassination. You can buy more ingredients like smoke bombs, for instance, or poison blade. New types of weapons like warhammers or axes. And all this means that you’ve got much more possible strategies for the fight, for the assassination. So basically, you’ve got the same open-ended world, with much more ingredients to play with.FR: The choices that you make impact the rest of the game. It all depends on the money you have, on what stores you visit, what you decide to buy, and what’s actually available at the time. So that actually, as far as the level design is concerned and how that impacts the player, we just wanted to give as many options as we could.SP: We started thinking about having this money and economic system by looking at a time period. That was something that was emerging: very important banking has been invented in these cities at this time period. So we wanted to have all these integrated together and make sure that the player can buy a lot of different things, and change his experience buying a lot of different things. So you can buy armours, you can buy weapons, and you can buy a lot of stuff – elements to improve your villa. So you can even buy paintings from the Renaissance, and you can improve your villa by buying new buildings. By doing this you will have a more beautiful villa, and more people visting your villa, so it will bring you back even more income.{PAGE TITLE=IGTV: Behind The Scenes – Assassin’s Creed 2 page 2}Dan Webb, Xbox 360 Achievements: It’s harder to free run, I think, with the slanted roofs rather than the setting of the original, but I think that’s part – it’s another challenge in the game.Jake Reardon, Xbox Canada: Yeah it looks beautiful, really good draw distance. You can really see the intricate architecture in the cities and just climbing stuff’s fun, and that was what I liked about the first one. Except it seems like they’ve made it a little more challenging – you have to kind of pick your spots or you’re going to jump off and kill yourself, which is not good.PD: The first scene when you grow up, when you climb up with your brother on the church, and then you see Florence – it’s really nice.DW: Even if you just stop and look around at all the statues, and they’ve been beautifully rendered. I mean the textures are great. There’s no more beggars around so they won’t knock you and punch you. It just seems to be a lot more alive. The people are doing different things this time around, and you’ll just walk down the street and it feels like it’s a city, rather than just people walking, kind of thing.RW: A lot of people didn’t really like the combat in the first game. I mean, I did, and it’s kinda more of the same again. I like that you can grab weapons now and there’s lots of weapons to find, and you can also buy stuff, like you can upgrade your armour and your weaponry as well, which is going to add a lot more depth to the combat. When you start buying stuff and building up your arsenal it’s going to be pretty spectacular, I think.SP: Actually, when we think about the Italian Renaissance we very often have this image of painting and architecture. That was there and was very important but it’s really a time of war, a time of crimes, and politics were basically murdering people very often. So we’ve got this gruesome time period that we want to exploit.FR: We just try and we visit some major events that occurred around the time, so probably, in Florence you may know that Lorenzo de Medici was… they tried to kill him, and that didn’t work, but no-one knows why it didn’t work, and obviously we may have an idea as to what happened exactly, and you may have something to do with it, so this is the extent of the political aspects of the entire thing.SP: We worked with historians who checked our work at several moments. It could be the script, could be the architecture. Of course, the events, to make sure that we get the essence of the political events.FR: The flying machine that da Vinci has actually invented could not work, and does not work, but we created a new, different version, based on the Assassin’s Creed story, that actually is able to fly.SP: We worked very hard with people in Italy to make sure that everything we do makes sense and sounds really real. There is nothing in the game that everybody can do is playing in Italian. I think our Italian version is great. Brilliant.DW: I mean I’ve been playing it for about an hour and a half, two hours now, and I’ve not done the same mission type twice.TA: Co-op? DLC? Multiplayer? Are we going to hear anything about this?FR: We haven’t made any plans, we haven’t announced anything, we are looking at many different things for the continuation of the brand. Whether it’s Assassin’s Creed 3, whether it’s Assassin’s Creed 2, I know that we really want to actually support this game and support this release. Post-release we’ll have many different plans and I’m sure you’ll hear more from us when we have something ready to announce.BL: Is multiplayer an interesting path for Assassin?SP: This franchise has a lot of potential. The Animus allows us to do anything we want, whether it’s talking about multiplayer, whether it’s talking about additional missions, whether it’s talking about additional content – whatever it is, the Animus is a perfect tool for that. What are the plans for the coming years? We’ll let you know in a few months.BL: I think in a future iteration, we will need to ask ourselves the question of what we want to do with this. I personally think that we will keep this strong solo experience, but we must not overview or underestimate what we can do with online functions.Find out more with our in-depth hands on preview right here.

    Paul Younger
    Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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