Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood of Venice - Interview
The Pandemic's impact on the project
ATA Team, May 28th, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic, one way or another, affected more or less every company and project in the last few months and the upcoming Assassin's Creed Brotherhood of Venice tabletop game suffered a similar impact as well.

We recently reached out to the team behind the game to have an update on the development and to discover some of the inner workings behind the game, as we draw near the end of the preorder phase.

1. Firstly, we are very thankful to have you back for a new interview. The first question is
really about the global pandemic situation. Has your team working from home affected the project much?

Hi guys! Thanks for having us back in ATA! As a matter of fact, the pandemic situation did affect a lot the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood of Venice project because it made our manufacturer in China close their facilities for a while, which led to the delays we announced (the delivery of the game is planned for the end of the year). But those were necessary measures for the safety of everyone, and nothing is more important! Speaking of home office, it did not affect the project much. Everyone in the team is used to working remotely from time to time, so we made the most of the situation: being quarantined at home gave us more time to polish the gameplay, check and double-check and triple-check everything, and so on. The only thing that is harder with Covid is having playtests with fans and the Ubisoft teams, because of sanitary reasons of course. But we’re dealing with it. The project is almost 100% ready to be manufactured.

2. We understand that most of the miniatures are manufactured out in China. Have the factories now since returned to production?

Yes, our manufacturer has progressively gotten back to work, they are working on their new organizational process and we’re having regular updates on the timing projections.We will have to give them our final numbers for every piece of Assassin’s Creed product in order to launch the manufacturing process for good in the coming months.

Alessandra Bastiano Claudio Daria

3. Iteration is obviously one of the key steps, and play testing often finds new and interesting problems to solve. Were there any specific challenges you faced from first testing?

There are so many points we improved, and for all aspects of the game! We would not say that there were any major challenges as the gameplay was already solid when we started the Kickstarter campaign. The biggest changeswere on the Creed vs Crows expansion, because it is competitive: some things had to be changed and balanced.

4. We have seen you recently showed the print tests for the cards and rule book. How difficult is it to perform and validate tests within the current pandemic situation?

To be honest, it goes pretty well… if you find the good partners, suppliers, carriers. For instance, we were supposed to receive the White Box (the goal of the White Boxes is to check final component quality, dimensions and number of elements, and also to allow us to organize the content of the box in the best possible way) early, by the end of March, but sadly the delivery was delayed and to this day the original shipment is still being held at a warehouse in Montréal, awaiting delivery... BUT, thanks to our manufacturer, they could produce a second set and send it through a different carrier, who delivered it in time!

5. Creating brand new characters into lore is always a challenge, but we note that you have been sharing information on specific heroes and villains across social media. What sort of process is involved in this?

"Annoying bard" Event
It can definitely be a challenge to create new characters that make sense in such a detailed universe as the one from Assassin’s Creed. The exact process depends heavily on the persons involved in the creation. On Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood of Venice, our Story Designer, Fabrice, comes from the tabletop role-playing world and as such, he starts with a text high concept. Often, that will include some references to the character’s past to explain their personality, a pattern of social relationships, goals and motivations, the existence of a secret if meaningful to the character and finally some hints to their visual appearance.

We will make a quick validation with Ubisoft before the artists start to work. Depending of artists, the character will go through sketching, black and white drawing, coloring, and texturing.

Fabrice will then go back to the text and create a detailed biography for the character, with some information that ca be released to the public and some that might need to be kept secret so the character can fit into other narratives within the Assassin’s creed universe later.

The prerequisite for the creator is an excellent knowledge of the universe and franchise (Fabrice was Assassin’s Creed Initiates creative director, and it definitely helps), but also an appreciation of how fans will react to the character, and that is where science stops and art begins. 

6. Naturally the final product is going to be available in multiple languages. Is the translation done within the team itself?

We are working with freelancers for this task, both translators and proofreaders. The game is being translated from French into English, Spanish, German and Italian. We do not have all those skills within the team itself – but we try to do all our communications in both English and French.

7. We note that the miniatures come unpainted. Would you perhaps be interested in offering specific painting sets as an accompaniment package?

Yes, the miniatures come unpainted and if you see some painted models on social media, they are Angel Giraldez’s amazing work, which shows the “miniature painting” potential of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhoof of Venice. Painters will love it! Anyway, speaking of this accompaniment package, since painting is not our specialty, we’d rather not go for a specific painting set. Angel Giraldez (and many others) have a more useful advice on this. Fans will probably do amazing tutorial videos once the game is out.

Felon Pitigliano Agile Guard Horseman

8. Will there be any kind of software to accompany the game? Perhaps an interactive rule book as a phone app or such?

"Messenger" Event
We will collaborate with Dized to have interactive rules in their app. We will also have voices for missions introductions and conclusions. And of course, you can also play the original Assassin’s Creed soundtracks during your games!

9. Has work continued on the expansions, or are those on hold until the main release is completed? (Perhaps we might know the mystery 4th Modern Day Assassin for the Tokyo XXI expansion?)

We won’t say a word about the Mystery Boxes!    The expansions are being developed simultaneously so they can be part of the main release. Some people preordered the “all-in” pack called Master Assassin, with the core game and all the expansions included (more than 200 minis in total).
Tokyo XXI expansion
They expect the full content to be delivered at the end of the year. So the expansions are ready too. We used the extra time Covid19 gave us to focus on them, like for example on Tokyo XXI recently! It is really refreshing to play in the present with new characters, equipment, events and skills!

10. Naturally the Kickstarter project was a big success, and now you are opening up main preorders until May 31st. How excited are the team to reach this landmark?

This is really cool to reach new players, those not familiar with Kickstarter or who missed the campaign. This is also a stage where the game components are almost final, and we can see things coming from the manufacturer. After more than 3 years of work on the project, this is very gratifying!

11. If the project reaches its sales target, do you have any future plans beyond the expansions? Extra packs of characters? New settings?

That would be great, but let’s finish this game first.    We will deliver a lot of content for Assassin’s Creed®: Brotherhood of Venice (4 boxes, with 50 scenarios in total!). This should let us enough time think about what to do next. We also want to provide new content for our first title, V-Commandos, that should be our next step.

If you are interested in the game and haven't pre-ordered it yet, you can do it at this link.

comments powered by Disqus