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Rush Job: Why Assassin's Creed III Sets A Bad Precedent For The Annualized Series

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Showing 1-25 of 30 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 5, 2012 5:11:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 5:11:45 PM PST
Waldo says:
From: Game Informer

When we traveled to Ubisoft Montreal to see Assassin's Creed III for our cover story last February, the development team surprised us by saying the game was already in alpha stage. This means the game was feature-complete and fully playable a full nine months before release - not exactly a common occurrence in our industry, especially for an open-world game where the disparate feature sets often come together at the last minute. Given that one of the team's primary goals was quality, this aggressive schedule would seemingly provide them an unprecedented amount of time to debug. After playing the game for a handful of hours, it's clear Ubisoft Montreal's plan unraveled sometime between that visit and the launch of the game.

As Miller eloquently pointed out in his review of Assassin's Creed III, the game has a lot to offer. I've always enjoyed the historical settings, science fiction narrative, and satisfying hidden blade combat, and Assassin's Creed III builds on each of these pillars in meaningful ways. But even after downloading the major patch, the pervasive glitches and poor mission design have chipped away at these pillars to the point where they are starting to look unstable.

As The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, and Assassin's Creed III prove, glitches are common in ambitious, sprawling games. Though they occasionally shatter the players' sense of immersion, strong story and gameplay can overcome these hiccups. Sloppy mission design, on the other hand, is much harder to survive, and Assassin's Creed III is littered with missions that could have benefited from more play testing.

On one mission early in the narrative, Samuel Adams said he was going to show me the underground passageways in Boston. I waited patiently for him to lead the way, but he never started moving. After restarting the mission and experiencing the same thing, I realized the game was telling me one thing and expecting me to do another. Despite Sam's claims to the contrary, I was supposed to find my own way to the marker on the map.

In another instance, I was riding on horseback with a famous revolutionary throughout the countryside to rally the patriots without alerting the redcoats. When I saw some British soldiers crossing a bridge, I veered into the wilderness to find a spot to ford the river. After wading into the water, the horse wouldn't go any further, presumably because the water was too deep. When I tried to turn around and get back to dry ground, the horse wouldn't budge. I eventually gave up and jumped off the horse. The steed worked his way to dry land on his own, but my revolutionary partner just stood there waist deep in water, showing no interest in joining us. Again, I restarted the mission. This time I successfully avoided the awkward fording, but when we were racing from settlement to settlement he would tell me to go one way while pointing in the opposite direction, instruct me to get off my horse then yell at me for doing so, and offer no helpful clues as to which house I was supposed to approach.

Help! I'm falling through the world!

These are just two of several examples that Game Informer editors have griped about the mornings after extended gameplay sessions. The questionable execution extends beyond mission design and into the basic gameplay and economic systems as well. From the confusing trade interface to a touchy interaction system that won't let me enter a building or start a mission if I'm too close or too far away from the objective point, rarely does an hour go by that doesn't have some sort of problem arise. Given more time, I feel like the talented team at Ubisoft Montreal would have fixed these issues.

When I experience pervasive issues like this, it makes me greatly appreciate publishers who embrace delays for the sake of releasing refined games. Take-Two continually maddens financial analysts when it postpones high profile games like Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, and BioShock, but the resulting games prove that giving the developers the time to get the games right pays off in the long run. Rather than rush Assassin's Creed III to retail for the holidays, Ubisoft should have recognized these problems and given the development team more time to work out the kinks. Most all of these issues would have been easily correctable with a bit more time, and it would have helped the team reach the quality goal it spoke of when we first met with them last February.

Putting out two games in a row that some perceive to be a drop in quality isn't a good way to keep fans coming back to an annualized franchise. Assassin's Creed has so much going for it, and Ubisoft needs to take better care in protecting the reputation of a franchise it has worked so hard to build. Though a delay may have hurt in the short term, the long-term benefits of releasing a series of high-quality games should be the overruling factor. The record pre-order numbers proved that people had high expectations for the game. Those fans would still be waiting eagerly a month or two later.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 5:17:02 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 22, 2013 5:32:42 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 5:19:07 PM PST
What rating did GI give the game? Anybody know?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 5:20:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 5:25:08 PM PST
DVvM says:

(This is what metacritic is actually good for, being able to efficiently find what everybody said about the game.)

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 5:21:01 PM PST
Waldo says:
Did ya read the WHOLE article. They are talking about NOT how the games were released between the other AC games, but on how they rushed this latest game out w/o taking care of all the major bugs first!

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 5:22:19 PM PST
R. TypO says:
If 9 months isn't enough time to debug, how much time would be?

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 5:45:03 PM PST
StriderNeo15 says:
"On one mission early in the narrative, Samuel Adams said he was going to show me the underground passageways in Boston. I waited patiently for him to lead the way, but he never started moving. After restarting the mission and experiencing the same thing, I realized the game was telling me one thing and expecting me to do another. Despite Sam's claims to the contrary, I was supposed to find my own way to the marker on the map."

This mission was quite annoying. I didn't bother restarting though, a quick google search is all you need.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 5:56:52 PM PST
I have to admit that what they say is true. The game has a lot more bugs than the previous offerings. Its scope is amazing, though. I haven't encountered anything gamebreaking yet, and one solid patch would remove stuff like that scripting error with Sam Adams (I just assumed he was piss-drunk).

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 5:57:51 PM PST
Ehhh. Sam was just drunk again. He makes promises when hammered he never ends up keeping.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 5:58:39 PM PST
This article seems kinda pointless based on the glowing review they give it.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 6:01:18 PM PST
Waldo says:
Skyrim ALSO got glowing reviews even when they *itched about all the bugs, no matter what platform it was on!

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 6:13:12 PM PST
FOGE says:
What's a "Rush Job"? Is that when a girl rushes a job? Like a quickie?

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 6:16:27 PM PST
Waldo says:

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 6:26:21 PM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 6:27:56 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 22, 2013 5:32:43 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 6:45:55 PM PST
"AC1 was awesome."

If "awesome" now means "terrible," sure.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 6:49:33 PM PST
DVvM says:
Actually, in the the classical sense of their meanings "awesome" and "terrible" are very similar.

"inspiring great apprehension or fear" versus "causing or likely to cause terror."

That's not what we mean these days when we use those words, but it's what they used to mean!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 6:54:20 PM PST
Both sound like perfect descriptions for AC1. :)

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 7:00:22 PM PST
Dukeshire says:
I really liked ACII. I got to the end and then my ADD kicked in. I got pretty far in Brotherhood and enjoyed it. Have not played Revelations yet. So far I am enjoying both ACIII games.

Anyone know how long ACIII is supposed to be?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 7:03:05 PM PST
C.W. says:
I'd guess if you're doing most of the side stuff, probably 30-35. If no side stuff, probably 20-25.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 7:07:04 PM PST
Dukeshire says:
I put about 25ish in ACII and that was doing a lot of the side-stuff. This is good news. It will keep me busy for some time. This and Halo 4....I am good to go until early next year when we get another crop of great games like DSIII, Bioshock, Aliens and Gears.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 7:12:40 PM PST
yeah I've been running into quite a few bugs/glitches on PS3 version. It makes you wonder who their quality control was, but it's still a good game nonetheless.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 9:42:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 9:43:25 PM PST
Kirksplosion says:
And see, I didn't have any hesitation during that part. I just started moving along and lighting torches (as Adams had mentioned), so this "issue" didn't crop up. Also didn't have the same problem during the other mission he mentioned. I did try to cross a deep stream, the horse refused, and I just turned and went on my merry way. And Revere always made it clear which house I needed to go to - had nothing like the above experience described. Guess I should just be thankful I'm not seeing of this stuff others are yet.

I do agree with the author about the confusing trade interface. I hardly want to mess with it or crafting at this point...

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 6:13:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012 6:15:03 AM PST
McAwesomeo says:
It wasn't a rush job, but I have encountered a lot of the bugs the author of the article mentioned. Many little aspects of the game feel unpolished or lazy. As I pointed out in another thread, I can walk through the table one of my recruits are sitting at, the way people contort themselves to speak because when they're sitting you pretty much have to be behind them, the hilariously bad lip synching outside of cutscenes and wooden gestures while speaking, the inability to check club goals in the DNA tracker and the assassin management is horrible. There are more but I think that's enough. The game simply doesn't feel finished.

No game is perfect but I just wonder who let these slip through QA. Or if they caught them and decided they weren't bad enough to fix. The thing is, these bugs don't stop AC3 from being a very good game. It just makes it a very good game with some really annoying flaws.

Edit: And as for the river part, nothing swims except your character. And, yes, the AI is stupid for Revere. But you're not supposed to be dismounting until you reach the houses. Just another bug they should've caught.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 6:35:07 AM PST
StriderNeo15 says:
My problem was before getting into the tunnel.

The waypoint was guarded, and Adams made it sound like I was supposed to avoid the guards and find the entrance somewhere else so I was just wandering around the city for a bit hoping something else would trigger.
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  30
Initial post:  Nov 5, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 6, 2012

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