Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood doesn’t just mark the return of Ubi’s tentpole series next month – it sees the publisher renew efforts around online gaming.
As well as featuring co-op and versus multiplayer, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot says the game helps the firm beef up its strategy around map packs and DLC.
“It’s more and more in fashion to play with friends – Call of Duty showed that – But it’s very important that our properties can be played online and offline, play alone and then play with friends,” says Guillemot.
Could Asssassin’s Creed turn into a subscription-based service, the model many say Call of Duty will switch to?
“I’d say that CoD is already charging customers for its service as Activision are already launching DLC regularly – customers are already buying content,” he says. That’s a model that will work for Assassin’s Creed.
“[Ubisoft] will try to make sure that players get a great experience first and foremost – and if we have lots of cost involved in ensuring that, we charge. The way to charge it is with optional DLC.”
DLC arrived for the previous Creed, but in the form of single-player episodes that extended the story.
“They were successful at the level we expected,” Guillemot remarks – a statement that all but says ‘so so’. But you don’t need a French shrug to confirm the sentiment: “Offline DLC packs are generally not as successful as online DLC. The problem with offline is that many people don’t finish games, so when you give them more levels they ask, ‘I still haven’t finished the game, why should I buy that?’”
Hence the appeal of the map pack model: “When everyone is online, they experience new things as a community – that encourages them to buy more.”