Oh, and the new issue's onsale tomorrow too. :) Just in case we forgot to mention that yesterday. Which we didn't.
Q. So, you've based the game on some serious historical fact. What advantage does this give you?
By grounding a story in reality, you increase its credibility. Suspension of disbelief becomes easier because it's happening in our world. You're exploring cities that still exist today, encountering infamous individuals whose names everyone knows, witnessing battles that really occurred.
At the same time, because our setting is far removed in time (this is nearly 1000 years ago), there's plenty of freedom to tweak people's personalities and motivations. It's fun to explore the idea that something else was happening beneath the information gleaned from historical textbooks. People are also fascinated by history's mysteries and the Templar Treasure was ripe for exploring. What did the Templars find beneath Solomon's Temple? Why did they want it? Where is it today?
The same can be said for the Assassin's themselves. We know a little bit about them, but their very nature made them a secretive, manipulative bunch. Most of what's known comes from third hand accounts. These were very likely orchestrated events, carefully planned by the Assassins to ensure a specific, controlled image was portrayed. Who were they really? What motivated them? What secrets were members given access to as they rose through the ranks? These were all questions we get to play with in the story. And the answers are pretty interesting.
Q. We bet. So, given all the questions you're raising, and the various factions at work, presumably you're driving at producing characters we gamers really care about?
It's a tragedy that videogames have largely failed to illicit real emotional responses from their players. This is something that cinema has been able to do very well thanks to great writing, acting and directing.
But it should be easier for games than it is for a movie. When you watch a movie you're watching an actor fall in love on the screen or kick someone's ass, or be afraid - so there's a bit of a disconnection between the audience and the story. In videogames, you are that person. You are the one up there on the screen. Since the physical connection between character and player is strong (through the controller), the emotional connection should be even stronger.
The problem is that most games don't take advantage of this potentially powerful emotional connection. Most games have focused solely on graphics and gameplay and never made any room for an emotionally powerful story. This stuff isn't mutually exclusive, so we aim to change that. Games can (and should) have it all.