When Assassin’s Creed was released back in 2007, a slight lack of optimism rung out through the industry.
Sure, it looked great, but with fresh IP struggling in the All Formats chart and the tsunami of franchised releases that came during Q4 (including Need For Speed, FIFA and Super Mario Galaxy) how could it compete?
More fool the doubters. Ubisoft knew that the game was something slightly special – but even the publisher must have been surprised at the game’s success.
A No.1 spot in the All Formats chart and many awards later, the title is possibly the biggest ‘word of mouth’ hit of the decade.
So it’s little surprise that the title’s fan base is baying for a sequel. And after two years’ hard work, Ubi is ready to give it to them.
Gone are the Middle Eastern Crusades setting of the first game – replaced instead by a sexy Renaissance Italy open world environment. The game invites players to take control of Ezio – a privileged young noble in who’s been betrayed by the rival ruling families of Italy.
Ezio’s subsequent quest for vengeance plunges players into an epic story that offers more variety in missions, diverse weapons and the sort of character progression that typified the first game.
“The development team have methodically reacted to all of the feedback from the original Assassin’s and we’re confident that review scores will reflect this,” says Ubisoft’s James O’Reilly. “The challenge is in showing that AC2 is a true sequel and a genuine development on the first iteration. Our marketing campaign is focused on highlighting the these developments and ensuring that both retail and consumer confidence is high in what AC2 will deliver as a game play experience.”
CREED ALL ABOUT IT
Ubisoft’s marketing campaign for Assassin’s began months ago – reflecting an epic promotion for an epic release.
“Our objective was to create real buzz for AC2,” adds O’Reilly. “We used PR and digital to kick-start awareness and supported this with tactical advertising spots on TV and online around key events and content releases. Pre-order initiatives were also set up earlier to help build demand.”
Ubisoft is confidently unflustered by other Triple-A releases this Q4: “Assassin’s Creed was the fastest selling new IP in video game history,” adds O’Reilly.
“We’ve established a brand that is strong and unique and the demand is there for a sequel. “AC2 has all the qualities needed to be a stand out game regardless of the competitive landscape.”
This November, Assassin’s Creed returns to market as an established multi-million selling brand, and with a real chance of troubling the top of the Christmas All Formats chart.
'SIN THE BAG
Ubisoft’s marketing campaign for Assassin’s Creed II is almost as epic as the adventure itself. Highlights include:
– Premium position advertising in specialist and mainstream magazines from early October
– Online advertising across specialist websites from end of October to release and mainstream websites in release week
– Teaser campaign running in conjunction with FIVE’s The Gadget Show and Virgin and Sky throughout October
– Extensive TV launch campaign on terrestrial and multi channel from early November to December
– LoveFilm envelopes sponsorship during releases week
Ubisoft’s James O’Reilly explains: “All areas are equally as important as they form part of our 360 degree engagement strategy. We’ve spent a lot of time on both the TV strategy and the creative execution, as it is the best way we can inform and engage a mainstream audience.
“We’re pushing everything that makes AC2 unique – the engaging narrative driven storyline, the Renaissance period, the beautiful gameplay and stylish combat. Ezio embodies many of these qualities so creatively the focus is on him.”