Ever since Ubisoft Montreal's Assassin's Creed 2 introduced Ezio Auditore in 2009, the number of studios working on the franchise alone has increased dramatically. For 2010's Brotherhood, four additional studios signed on for support: Singapore, Bucharest, Québec City, and Annecy. For 2011's Revelations, yet another was added (Ubisoft Massive), putting the total at six.
For this year's Assassin's Creed 3, the army of studios has been restructured to four: Montreal, Annecy, Quebéc City, and Singapore.
"Annecy is still doing an evolution of the multiplayer," Creative director Alex Hutchinson explained to Joystiq. As we already know, Ubisoft Annecy is working on some form of -- potentially co-op -- multiplayer."There're a few things that are being done in the Québec studio. So there's an evolution there," he said. Despite prodding, he wouldn't reveal what specifically that tease meant. "We cannot talk about specifically what they are working on." The Québec studio assisted with level design (among other things) in the past two Assassin's Creed titles.
Even though an army is attached to Assassin's Creed 3, it's Montreal that has been focused on the project for the past two and a half years. "80 percent of our team have come through from AC1, AC2. A lot of them didn't do ACB or ACR 'cause they were working on AC3," Hutchinson said. "The turnover has actually been scarily low for a franchise that's been going for seven years. You still have the same lead writer who wrote the first words on AC1, you have the same guy doing the navigation that did AC1."
"At its core," Hutchinson said, "it is a Ubisoft Montreal game." He told us, "The thing with other studios is that they have different skill sets. At the end of the day, it's what makes it sometimes harder to manage the game, but it also makes the game richer." It's a formula that, thus far, has worked astonishingly well for Ubisoft. We'll find out if the company strikes gold once more this October when Assassin's Creed 3 launches.