There’s a lot more going on with Assassin’s Creed than people may be aware of, Black Flag lead writer Darby McDevitt told Edge Online in a recent interview.
According to McDevitt, the Ubisoft Montreal folks boast that history is their playground. Black Flag’s lead writer acknowledges how Assassin’s Creed fans love trying to figure out where—and when—the series will go next. In order to make that just a bit more challenging, McDevitt revealed, the writers have taken great joy in placing red herrings throughout the games to throw players off the scent.
One thread that fans have latched onto in particular is an e-mail chain in Black Flag talking about possible future settings including Victorian London, Shogun-era Japan, the Wild West, and more. But McDevitt explains the origin of that thread may burst some bubbles.
“The email thread that’s in the game, I wrote that very swiftly in an afternoon but I didn’t realize that Kotaku would write like two huge articles about it,” McDevitt told Edge Online. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that the time periods I picked were not necessarily the ones we were considering, it was just me parodying the ones that the fans had asked for back to them. So the fans generated that list, we didn’t generate that list.”
“I will say that fans definitely think alike,” McDevitt added. “We have the same goals for the series, let’s say. I’ll leave it at that. We always want to surprise.”
Something else the Assassin’s Creed games are known for is continuing to build on aspects that work. While the tower-defense mechanics of Revelations were scrapped after a poor fan reception, the naval mechanics from Assassin’s Creed III proved hugely successful and were directly built upon for Assassin’s Creed IV. But, as Darby is quick to point out, it doesn’t mean every game from now on will have an ocean component to it.
“There’s often ways to creatively use old technology for new things. One of the things that made ACIII’s naval combat possible—and then of course ACIV—is that we were able to have characters climb and walk around on dynamically moving objects,” McDevitt said. “With ACIII we started working on that technology and it fed into the naval combat because the boats are constantly moving as opposed to being fixed to the ground, so all of this technology, it might appear in future games—it might just not be on boats. It might appear in a completely different way.”
Besides the historical setting for the game, wherever it may end up, there is also a major modern day narrative that is constantly being worked on and woven into each new title. But contrary to previous reports, Darby also wanted to clarify that we shouldn’t expect the Templar-Assassin war to end anytime soon.
“The end of the Desmond trilogy changed slightly but it was always intended to end that way. And then about two years ago we planned for another story—there’s been a bit of confusion in that [Black Flag game director Ashraf Ismail] once said that Assassin’s Creed has an ending—that’s not exactly true,” McDevitt explained. “This storyline has an ending, but because all of history is open to us we see the universe as a Doctor Who type thing. There are so many possibilities we don’t want to definitively end the universe, but we can have storylines that have endings.”