Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has been in development for nearly two years, and is spearheaded by Ubisoft Montreal, the veteran AC studio. Ubisoft pulled out all the stops for AC4 and has support from 6 other Ubisoft studios in locations across the world.
MyGaming caught up with veteran Ubisoft developer Antoine Fortier-Auclair, who has worked on AC4, to discuss the franchise and South Africa’s importance to Ubisoft.
With Assassin’s Creed IV undergoing a huge milieu change to the theme of piracy, MyGaming asked whether it was a daunting task to do such a leap in the franchise.
“We actually found through research that the setting was a lot more appropriate than you think at first,” said Fortier-Auclair. “Some of the core elements of the franchise are about the fight for freedom and against empires, and that is exactly what pirates are all about.”
Assassin’s Creed is now more than a game franchise, and has extended into multimedia with comics, digital novels, and short movies; so MyGaming asked whether it was difficult to keep continuity and secrets in the Assassin’s Creed stories with all the different mediums being developed simultaneously.
“We actually have people whose job it is to make sure that everything fits well together, and that no fan can ever come up to us and say ‘hey, you messed up here or there’,” said Fortier-Auclair.
“We like consistency and history is our playground with the AC franchise, so there’s a lot of eras and stories to be told, and we have to make sure that we have people to make sure it’s taken care of.”
With regards to SA as a gaming market, Fortier-Auclair said that South Africa is very important to Ubisoft and is considered one of the rapidly growing territories in the world.
“South Africa is growing and its very important to us,” said Fortier-Auclair. “It’s also very important to me, I’ve met fans here and seen the look on their face when they hear what we’re working on, and we don’t want to let the SA fans down.”
“There are a few Ubisoft employees in the London office who are either from South Africa or who have lived here for a very long time, so it’s also nice to have that connection.”
Fortier-Auclair was also very complimentary of South Africa and the warm welcome he received, saying that SA has a lot to offer in terms of a game development location, and a destination in general.
“After hearing my accent, a South African fan came up to me and asked if I was a developer. I said ‘yeah’ and told him what I work on, and he asked if he could shake my hand. It may seem small but was mindblowing and made my weekend.”
“The fans have been great in SA and after coming here and getting the response we have, I feel refuelled and have a sense of purpose going back to the studio,” concluded Fortier-Auclair.
Ubisoft has confirmed that the fourth primary instalment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Black Flag, will launch on PC on 22 November, Xbox One on 22 November, and PS4 on 29 November.
It’s unfortunate that the PS4 has now been delayed in SA until 13 December, but good news for PC gamers who will get the game on time.
The current-gen release dates are 1 November for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, and the Wii U version is coming on 22 November 2013.