Producer Karl von der Luhe speaks to GamingBolt on all things Rogue.
2014 is a rather unusual year for Assassin’s Creed. For the first time ever, Ubisoft will be launching two different games from the same franchise. One exclusive to current and the other available only to last gen. Assassin’s Creed Rogue, like Black Flag will once again be set in the wide seas, but with a few changes in gameplay mechanics.
In order to know more about the title, GamingBolt caught up with the game’s producer Karl von der Luhe. Check out his response below.
Ravi Sinha: Assassin’s Creed: Rogue focuses on Shay Cormac who has been betrayed by the Brotherhood and now serves as a hunter for the Templars. Does this shift in perspective allow for a wholly different tone or is Cormac still very much between the worlds of the Assassins and Templars?
Karl von der Luhe: Assassin’s Creed Rogue is a game about the shades of grey. Assassin’s Creed is about much more than just simple right-and-wrong confrontation. Both Assassin and Templar Orders operate within the realm of moral ambiguity, and we’re exposing this — more clearly than ever before.
Our fans have been asking for experiencing the “other side” of the story for a very long time now. We decided that the timing is perfect to introduce the Templar point of view fully. For us the developers this was obviously a very exciting challenge. At the end of the day, it is quite infrequent to be given the creative freedom to make a game about the point of view of the “bad guys” in a major franchise. I believe that our ambition to portray the Templars as a complex and rational organization which upholds high ideals and goals was quite successful and our players will be able to explore even deeper the complex universe of Assassin’s Creed.
"AC Rogue spans three epic and diverse game worlds: The icy North Atlantic naval world, the hybrid River Valley and the timeless city of New York. That sense of exploration that was so appealing in ACIV Black Flag is back, with varied locations to explore and a huge number of activities to tackle.
Ravi Sinha: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag added a rather interesting twist to the overall story with the addition of the Sage, a third party that played both sides to his advantage and who represented the First Will. Will we see any more mention of the First Will in Rogue?
Karl von der Luhe: A story trailer was recently released for AC Rogue, with many interesting hints and clues into the story and how past characters and settings play a part. We don’t want to go into any further details currently to make sure there are still many surprises for the player. Three questions we want to leave unanswered until release are “What makes Say turn his back on the Assassins”, “How does the present day in AC Rogue play out” and “How does the storyline of AC Rogue link into AC Unity”. Stay tuned for the game’s release in November!
Ravi Sinha: How big is the world compared to Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, which gave us a wide open ocean with several activities and various land masses to explore?
Karl von der Luhe: AC Rogue spans three epic and diverse game worlds: The icy North Atlantic naval world, the hybrid River Valley and the timeless city of New York. That sense of exploration that was so appealing in ACIV Black Flag is back, with varied locations to explore and a huge number of activities to tackle. In terms of land based areas to explore, AC Rogue is in fact bigger than ACIV Black Flag, with the River Valley in particular having huge ground locations that span multiple gameplay opportunities.
Ravi Sinha: Since we’ll be hunting Assassins in Rogue, how does the AI match up to the player? Will it be able to match up to the potential a player has for blending in with crowds and silently assassinating enemies?
Karl von der Luhe: One of our main goals from the very beginning has been to make the player experience the Templar point of view. In order to do so, we made sure that everything the player has been able to do in the past while playing previous instalments of Assassin’s Creed now can happen to her or him. This means a lot of heavy enhancement and reworking of the AI systems of the NPC’s. Additionally, in order to make sure the behaviour of your opponents is fluid and does not follow a predefined, scripted path, we put a lot of efforts to create systemic behaviours and reactions — for the Assassins, for the guards, for the crowd, even for the animals. This adds a new layer of interaction and possibility for a huge number of emergent behaviours which will differentiate Rogue quite significantly.
"More weapons, with different strengths and weaknesses, means more choice for the player. In the context of a vast open-world game, this is equivalent of providing the player with the means to find and enjoy her or his style -- from total offense to complete stealth, from ranged attacks to close combat, and anything in between.
Ravi Sinha: What inspired Shay Cormac’s air rifle and grenade launcher, especially since so many enemies in the franchise rely on close quarter combat (which the Assassins are skilled at)?
Karl von der Luhe: More weapons, with different strengths and weaknesses, means more choice for the player. In the context of a vast open-world game, this is equivalent of providing the player with the means to find and enjoy her or his style — from total offense to complete stealth, from ranged attacks to close combat, and anything in between! The different weapons — be they ranged or close combat ones — are giving the freedom to everybody to have as much fun as possible, their own way.
Ravi Sinha: How will ship-to-ship combat work with the added element of enemies boarding at the same time?
Karl von der Luhe: When designing AC Rogue, we had three key considerations on how naval combat would evolve. First of all, the protagonist is a Templar, with access to new weaponry such as burning oil and the puckle gun. Having Assassins as your enemy means that certain ships can ram and board the player ship, with Assassin Captains jumping on your deck and quickly eliminating your crew! Secondly the naval world is set amongst the icy waters of the North Atlantic with icebergs, ice sheets and blizzards having real gameplay impact. Finally having the 7 year war as the historical backdrop means there will be much naval warfare between British and French warships. The player is aligned with the British and can engage in systemic events to help defeat the French in Naval clashes or freeing POW ships.
Ravi Sinha: For that matter, how will the arctic environments figure into both the third person elements and naval combat?
Karl von der Luhe: Yes, the player will be both sailing through Arctic environments and exploring them on foot. New Arctic land locations include long lost frozen shipwrecks and ice caves – beware of the local wildlife as Polar bears wander these locations!
"We are confident in the scope and breadth of AC Rogue. Fans of the series and newcomers seeking a AAA action adventure game on Xbox360 and PS3 this November will be surprised and delighted by the experience we are offering.
Ravi Sinha: For players who have invested tons of hours into Black Flag, why should they play Assassin’s Creed Rogue when the core mechanics are more or less the same (with the ship sailing and naval combat)?
Karl von der Luhe: Playing as a Templar is a new and unique experience, especially on land. AC Rogue has multiple gameplay innovations and emergent situations to explore, and hunting down renowned assassins is a really exciting challenge. Furthermore the story is deep and compelling and will have the players questioning the roles of the Assassin and Templar orders more than ever before.
We are confident in the scope and breadth of AC Rogue. Fans of the series and newcomers seeking a AAA action adventure game on Xbox360 and PS3 this November will be surprised and delighted by the experience we are offering.
Ravi Sinha: Assassin’s Creed: Rogue won’t have any multiplayer or co-op elements like Black Flag and Unity respectively. Will it be a tougher deal to present to longtime fans of the series that loved the multiplayer and are looking forward to the co-op that Unity presents?
Karl von der Luhe: We made the executive decision early in the production to fully focus on a single player experience playing as a Templar. This has allowed us to create an uncompromising experience that will more than live up to expectations of the fans, especially with the unique storyline.
Ravi Sinha: C Rogue will end the “North American Saga” of the series, how will it segue into Assassin’s Creed: Unity with regards to story?
Karl von der Luhe: To be revealed when gamers play the game! We don’t want to spoil this surprise.
Ravi Sinha: Is it safe to assume that this will be the final Assassin’s Creed on the PS3 and Xbox 360?
Karl von der Luhe: We have nothing to communicate concerning the future of the Assassin’s Creed brand.
Ravi Sinha: What kind of DLC and post-launch content can we look forward to with Assassin’s Creed: Rogue?
Karl von der Luhe: We have no DLC or post-launch information to share at this time.