Why Assassin's Creed Is Just Now Getting Co-Op

Ubisoft senior producer says, "Because it's very complicated to do."

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Co-op is finally coming to Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series through this year's Assassin's Creed Unity for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Some fans have been calling for the mode for a while now, so why is it just happening now, in 2014? According to senior producer Vincent Pontbriand, introducing co-op to the stealth-action series is a major technical undertaking.

"Because it's very complicated to do," Pontbriand told CVG. "Assassin's Creed was always a single-player game to begin with. It took us three games to introduce PvP. It was in the same universe but you were playing as a Templar avatar in a very separate game mode. In Unity, we set out to unify all these game modes into a single experience."

"That's when we decided that co-op should be the next main focus but in order to do that we had to rebuild all of our systems to allow them to be replicated over a network and working online," he added. "So it took years of development to reproduce and redraft all of our sandbox features for a shared online experience."

Four players can journey through Assassin's Creed Unity's campaign together, as shown in the game's E3 2014 demo earlier this month. This year's game, however, will not have a competitive multiplayer mode.

As for why Ubisoft waited for the seventh installment to create an Assassin's Creed game set in Paris, Pontbriand said the populous nature of the city mandated extra processing power, which the Xbox One, PS4, and PC can deliver.

"We could have tried to do it earlier. We have a roadmap of ideas. We try to have a long-term vision for this brand, and the French Revolution was always part of our plans," Pontbriand said. "The thing is, Paris is a very, very populous city. Even in the eighteenth century there were more than a million people. So we needed to have the technology to allow us to have these dense crowds. This requires a lot of processing power which is available now with the new consoles."

For example, Pontbriand pointed out that the Notre Dame cathedral alone in Assassin's Creed Unity took an entire year to build. "That's just a crazy amount of work," he said.

Assassin's Creed Unity launches October 28 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The game is definitely not coming to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but Ubisoft has strongly suggested that some new Assassin's Creed game will be available on those platforms this year.

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