Assassin’s Creed III is perhaps the most ambitious entry in the series so far, taking place more in rural environments rather than urban landscapes. It’s going to be the biggest investment in Ubisoft’s history and Ubisoft senior vice president of sales and marketing Tony Key realizes there’s risk in that.
“We assess the potential and the quality of a product long before we’re announcing the thing. We understand what we have, and while we’re not flawless in our projections – we’ve had plenty of games that didn’t meet our expectations – we firmly believe that this is a really good bet,” Key explained. “And our goal is to grow the brand. We are one of the elite brands in the industry, but we’re not the biggest – there are a few brands that sell more than Assassin’s Creed so we know that there’s room for this to grow. So we’re getting behind it with bigger development resources and bigger marketing and our goal is to significantly grow it from where it is right now – so not just a little, a lot.”
Despite the many resources that are being poured into the game, that doesn’t alleviate the fact that Assassin’s Creed III will be the fourth major release in the series in as many years. “Any publisher who says that they don’t worry about burnout is probably not being honest,” admitted Key. “There’s always the worry about burnout because consumer tastes change, trends come along that cause you to evolve things in certain ways, so you always have to be forward thinking about your brand and where you’re going next with it.”
“You certainly have to strive not to do the same thing every year. You don’t have to completely reinvent the brand every year to be successful on annualizing, but you do need to bring something new. And so, with Assassin’s 3 that’s not an issue at all – the thing is completely new,” Key emphasized. “It was started the day that Assassin’s 2 shipped, it was in another section of the building from where Brotherhood and Revelations were being made, it took a different path with different tech and so they started right from that first day to do a true and honest sequel.”
“Brotherhood and Revelations were both really good products, but they were derivative of the second game, but the public responded very well to them because they were high quality, they added a lot of cool features, they evolved the character – and when people fall in love with a character they don’t necessarily want to throw that away after one game. So Ezio had a good run with three strong outings and now people are ready for a new guy,” he concluded.