Assassin's Creed Brotherhood parkours into the shops this Friday, November 19 - and we're excited.
Ahead of our review you can read what we thought of the game in our extensive AC: Brotherhood preview, and for a more in-depth dissection of its features and additions, you should also eye up our in-depth Q&A.
We recently travelled to Rome to meet the dev team and play the game in its most natural surroundings - and we took our dictaphone with us.
In the second in our series of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood interviews, we talk story and historical accuracy with lead designer Patrick Plourde. If you missed it, check out our chat with senior international brand manager, Eric Gallant.
Brotherhood takes place almost entirely in Rome. What makes a great Assassin's Creed city?
I think there's a certain flow in how the level design is absorbed by the player; the readability of the city, the fluidity of movement in it is the most important thing as a low level mechanic. For example in AC2 the easiness of getting on rooftops makes the difference in if people enjoy missions or not. So that is a big part of it, I think there needs to be character so we can depict certain vibes.
Venice is unique because it was four stories high and lots of canals with water. For Rome it's a blend of countryside inside the city that makes it stand out and unique. You can go from a place where it's sparse with fields and slowly go back to a more urban area, that's what makes it stand out other than just the size. If it was just the size I don't think it would matter.
If you compare Rome to Jerusalem, what makes it stand out? That's the most important thing in designing the city.
Does historical accuracy ever get in the way of creativity?
Yes and no. It adds constraints, for example in our story Leonardo Da Vinci worked for Cesare Borgia during the time of our game. You can look at that as a negative and a positive. The question is why would Leonardo work for our worst enemy? But it opens up possibilities because you can't have Leonardo just available at anytime like during AC2.
We have to treat him differently, he's still a friend but we won't have access to him as easily, it changes the relationship but adds possibilities. In our case he's been building war machines for Borgia against his will and is asking Ezio to destroy them and the plans, it gives us those exotic missions.
History is funny. There are a lot of coincidences that worked in our favour. For example Bartolomeo d'Alviano the mercenary leader, he was in Rome and part of a great family so he's going to be in the game. The relationship between the Borgia is easy to write stories for. So yes you have strict dates but those constraints can be more of a strength than a limitation.
There are cities in the game other than Rome. How much can you tell us about that?
It's not going to be AC2 - Rome is where 90% of the game happens. They're not the focus, their purpose is single use. We're returning to Venice and Florence but with a different angle. Hardcore fans are going to discover some stuff about Ezio with those cities so it's a nice little treat for fans.
We're assuming there was historical incentive to take the story to Spain too... ?