GDC Day Three: New Design Concepts in Ubisoft's Project Assassin

The last conference I attended at GDC 2006 was a Ubisoft presentation about their upcoming game Project Assassin. The conference was a very interesting look at how they’re attempting to change previously established (and maybe what some would consider fundamental) design elements in games to give...

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The last conference I attended at GDC 2006 was a Ubisoft presentation about their upcoming game Project Assassin. The conference was a very interesting look at how they’re attempting to change previously established (and maybe what some would consider fundamental) design elements in games to give an experience that is more organic and intuitive. So for example, something like the double jump is… well it’s standard, and I’ve played enough games with it that if I played a platforming-intensive game that didn’t have a double jump then I might be put off by it.

But double jumping doesn’t make sense, and to a person who has never played a game before, double jumping doesn’t seem obvious and/or reasonable. With principals like this is mind, Ubisoft is hoping to change the face of (what they kept referring to as) next-gen gaming, and I can only presume that one of their main considerations is that this paradigm shift will get new demographics involved in video games. Because gamers are flexible, we can learn new systems in new games at the drop of a hat, “What I can’t jump in this Goldeneye game? That’s cool, I’ll just do other stuff instead.” But others might not be so inclined to learn how to play a game if they weren’t all that interested in gaming in the first place. Presumably the push toward realism both in terms of graphics and design elements will hook these people. At least I’m guessing that’s Ubisoft’s reasoning.

Anyway Project Assassin looks cool, at least in the early stages, though everything we saw was really early. It seems like the main mechanic of the game will involve sneaking or casually walking into an area, being real disruptivelike (my guess is it has something to do with the title), and then having to deal with the chaos and aftermath of what you’ve done. So it’s almost like the two aspects of Capture the Flag (if you play Capture the Flag like I do) where you’re trying to be all sneaky at first to get over to the enemy’s base, but once you’ve got the flag and your jig has been given up, then it’s run like a bat out of hell. Yeah so it looks cool.

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