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Ubisoft Montreal Boss Yannis Mallat

Studio head talks Assassin's Creed and making movies

Assassin's Creed: Lineage will be one of Ubisoft's first meaningful forays into the world of movie making when it hits the internet later this month.

Developer Ubisoft Montreal's worked closely with it's film-making team - including recently acquired special effects house Hybride - going as far as dual-casting actors for both the short films and game.

We recently sat down with Ubisoft Montreal president Yannis Mallat to talk about Assassin's Creed, upcoming motion devices and the developer's film-making future.

What does Lineage and the live-action stuff mean for Assassin's Creed? Why do it?

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Mallat: We're doing it for several reasons. It's very important that we are proposing an enhanced experience for players. When you watch the movie and then play the game, you'll have a much bigger emotional impact than if you just played the game.

Because the movie puts you into the world of Giovanni - Ezio's father - and thus into the world of Ezio and his family. There's teasing of conspiracies that happen to Ezio's father and the ruined families of the Italian Renaissance. When you play the game you understand all of this and make the connections. You have a solid attachment to what happens to Ezio.

I watched the movie and played the game and then during one particular moment I was like, 'whoa'... I didn't realise myself I'd be that attached, and that's thanks to the movie.
Another reason is because the convergence strategy that we have laid out demands that we make movies to learn new things, also for making better games.

How much does the chances of doing similar live-action stuff for other games depend on the success of Lineage?

Mallat: Yeah, it's important for sure. In Assassin's Creed II you'll see for yourself that we've been listening to the fans - that I promise - and we're going to be doing that for all the products that we do including Assassin's Creed: Lineage.

Could you use these live-action shorts to bridge the gap between future Assassin's sequels?

Mallat: Probably. That is definitely not out of the question. Yes.

Ubisoft has already partnered with Peter Jackson and now it's working with James Cameron on Avatar. Are there any other movie directors you'd like to work with?

Mallat: Without being too pretentious I would welcome the reverse of the question and ask any and every good director, 'do you want to work with us?'

And going full circle, Disney's Prince of Persia movie is hitting cinemas next year. What is Ubisoft planning for the launch of that?

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Mallat: You have to know that Disney has the rights for Prince of Persia and we know through Jordan [Mechner] what's going on but we're not that involved.

What does the launch of that film mean for you guys? Obviously it's going to give your game a lot of exposure...

Mallat: I can't comment actually, at the moment (laughs).

With Ubisoft now making short films and obviously owning the 300 special effects house Hyrbide, we imagine it'd be a lot more involved in an Assassin's Creed film if it happened?

Mallat: Yes definitely because - and that's an 'if' question - Assassin's Creed is a Ubisoft brand. I think that exactly what Assassin's Creed Lineage is showing is that we want to learn and we are making movies.

So again, we're not being pretentious and saying we're going to produce a long feature on Assassin's Creed tomorrow, because this is not trivial stuff. But we want to get all the benefits of learning, knowing and getting our creative staff, tools and processes to evolve.

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