The extraordinary tale of how one bored kid led to a five day sprint to implement side missions in the original Assassin's Creed.
The original Assassin’s Creed may have been on the cusp of release in 2007, but a crack team made up of a handful of developers dashed to implement side missions in the eleventh hour all because ‘the CEO’s kid played it.’
Charles Randall, the former lead AI developer on Assassin’s Creed, wove the thread of this extraordinary tale on Twitter earlier today.
Side missions weren’t initially part of Assassin’s Creed. The game was ready to go gold with Ubisoft poised to pass the point of no return and start burning discs for retail when Randall received ‘the news.’
The CEO’s kid played the game and said it was boring, and there was nothing to do in the game.
The word from higher up was clear: Assassin’s Creed needed fleshing out with more content. A conversation with his lead and a few short hours of reflection later, Randall agreed to incorporate side missions from scratch in five days, bug-free.
Randall and 4-5 other developers barricaded themselves inside the main conference building of Ubisoft’s Peck Building in Montréal. What followed was a sprint to create, implement, and bug-fix an entire portion of Assassin’s Creed.
Randall struggles to remember the time spent in the Peck Building with any degree of clarity. He describes it as a ‘blur’ and doesn’t remember even entering or leaving the building so intense was the task at hand.
Nevertheless, the small team succeeded. Those Templar assassinations, flag collections, and Save Citizen missions – all Randall’s work. The fruit of furiously-paced last-minute crunch.
Despite the team pulling off this impressive feat, a handful of bugs found their way into the final build of Assassin’s Creed – unsurprising and entirely forgivable.
One such bug means players can’t hit the full 1000 gamer points in the game even after seemingly downing all the Templar. The only option: restart the play-through from scratch. Randall explains:
So it turns out one of the templar were parented to the wrong sector. If you approached the templar from the wrong direction, he fell through the world and was despawned. Which didn’t give you credit for the kill, but stored him into the savegame as dead. No more spawning. So yeah, if you had to play AC multiple times to get your max gamerscore or whatever, sorry.
As Randall points out, ‘it’s a miracle that the game didn’t just melt your console,’ and given what this team achieved in such a short time, it’s impressive that more bugs don’t exist in Assassin’s Creed.
Although a little fanciful – other factors undoubtedly played a role – we can trace back the divisive bloat all too synonymous with Assassin’s Creed titles to one bored kid. And, it looks like Ubisoft’s latest effort, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, will follow suit.
Next time you’re grinding through yet another tedious string of fetch quests or collecting some obscure knickknacks for an ungrateful NPC, blame that damn kid.
Last modified: September 23, 2020 1:57 PM