Ubisoft Reckons Assassin’s Creed could Be As Big as GTA Someday

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Ubisoft UK Marketing Big Cheese Murray Pannell believes Assassin’s Creed could possibly be as big a franchise as blockbusters GTA and Halo one day.

"To be honest, I’m not sure we’re there yet,” he told Eurogamer "But I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t get there at some point in the not-too-distant future. That’s about longevity and building decent products, properly marketed, and getting the name out there.”

"I believe with the success of Assassin’s 2 we have now got an opportunity to position ourselves as one of the true triple-A blockbusters. Are we as big as things like GTA and Halo and things of that nature? Possibly not at this point. But I think we are uniquely poised now as a property, as a franchise, to certainly consider ourselves one of the must-have games whenever a game launches on Assassin’s Creed in the franchise."

Assassin’s creed II sold 9 million units in the last year- 6 million short of GTA IV’s 15 million, so it’s not quite on the same level, but 9 million is a staggering amount of units considering it’s a relatively new franchise.

Ubisoft plans to aggressively market the franchise in the future.

He said: "It’s fair to say Assassin’s 1 promised a lot and slightly under-delivered in terms of gameplay. Assassin’s 2 promised even more and actually this time delivered on it. And I believe quality of the game will be a fundamental part of positioning ourselves in that blockbuster franchise space.

"As marketing director, it’s part of our role and responsibility to position it from a consumer point of view as one of those big blockbusters through decent marketing campaigns. One thing we’ve been doing already is advertising Assassin’s: Brotherhood on TV this summer, three or four months before launch. That only helps position it in consumers’ minds as, ‘This is a big game I need to consider as one of the true blockbuster franchises’."

And a blockbuster is exactly what they’re expecting the game to be. Pannell expects Brotherhood to outsell Assassin’s Creed II.

"In terms of expectations, people should certainly see this as a full price product with as much depth of gameplay if not more than the version we brought out a year ago. We’re certainly positioning it that way. We’re investing in the product in that way. And in terms of our expectations from a sales point of view, we’d see it doing at least as well as Assassin’s 2, if not, ideally, better."

I still consider Assassin’s Creed to be one of the most overhyped, under-serving games in existence, but the much better sequel certainly made up for a great deal of the original’s flaws. With Ubisoft promising that they had no intentions of milking the franchise – even skipping releasing an Assassin’s Creed game next year – I’m beginning to expect great things from the team.

What do you think? Is assassin’s Creed a strong enough franchise to topple giants like Halo, Call of Duty and GTA from the top of the heap?

Last Updated: July 12, 2010

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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