We recently travelled to Rome to play Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood in its most natural surroundings.
Like all business trips, though, we didn't just sit around playing video games and sipping gin and tonics (ahem) - we also managed to get some of Ubisoft Montreal's key personnel in front of our dictaphone for a chat.
In the first of our series of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood interviews, we talk numbers and strategy with senior international brand manager, Eric Gallant.
Can you assure our readers that this is a proper Assassin's Creed release - a full experience?
In terms of the scope of the game it is the biggest we've ever made for Assassin's Creed. The single player campaign has the same depth as AC2 in terms of gameplay. With the multiplayer layer that we've added it makes the game the biggest Assassin's Creed game so far in terms of scope. So yes, it's a full game.
What's great about the way the production team is working is that they listen a lot to the consumer's feedback, it is very important. People would be amazed to see how much they read, look and listen to feedback - we also conduct consumer studies on our side after each game. They have a lot of experience with the franchise too so they're adding new gameplay features, so from my perspective it is going to be the greatest of the three in terms of experience evolution.
The fact that we're introducing multiplayer is very cool, so I'm personally looking forward to playing the entire game because I did play most of it section by section, but I'm looking forward to playing the entire thing.
We hear your marketing budget for Brotherhood is going to be even bigger than AC2?
I don't know. In terms of budget there are so many different divisions for marketing...
But if that is true, is the larger budget reflected in your sales expectations for Brotherhood?
Of course. We have high expectation for the franchise, it is the biggest Ubisoft franchise. There are five studios working on the game so we're taking it very seriously, of course that means marketing support too. We're making sure that we have the proper support for the game, but I can't talk numbers because I don't have that view. We are spending a lot to support a game we think has the potential to generate a lot of sales for us.
The last two games have done phenomenally well, generating millions of sales. Are expectations higher for this?
We definitely have high expectations and standards for this game. Based on the scope we have we hope we will grow our fanbase. If you look at the fact that multiplayer is something totally new that we're adding, we are hoping to capture a new set of fans.
What's missing from this that is required for an numbered Assassin's Creed sequel?
The mindset for the team and the vision for the franchise is that a number is attached to a new Assassin and a new time period. Currently because we are keeping ourselves in the Italian renaissance and to the story of Ezio we didn't want to put a number on this game even though it's the most complete game so far.
It's really about the vision of the franchise that for us that a number equals a new Assassin's and a new time period, that's the only reason why we didn't number it. Internally though this is the considered as the third game in the series, we see like a new season of 24. It's still the same main character but a new adventure but with all the depth of the previous season.