If you were to place a copy of Assassin's Creed: Unity next to an Xbox 360, the clingfilm would flinch back, then split and pucker into an angry, growling mouth. Ubisoft wants to make a fresh start on next generation consoles, see, and that applies as much to the game's engine as the new parkour mechanics and mission types.
According to creative director Alexandre Amancio, the developers have had plenty of time to reinvent Assassin's Creed's supporting technology. "Keep in mind, this game has had almost a four year development. Before we even started the content or anything it was almost a year of development of technology and features and stuff like that."
Naturally, this pre-dated the announcement of the Xbox One. "Even before that, we were speculating," Amancio continued. "And saying, 'OK, let's do this and it should be possible, let's start and we'll readjust once we start the actual game'."
The developer hopes to address a number of long-running irritations in the process of overhauling the tech, though Amancio was unable to specify which. I think guard AI needs a tune-up, personally. "We know of these things, it's all a question of the time and complexity of how to fix them. Sometimes it seems like a small thing but when you open the hood it's like, 'oh, really, it's connected to that!'
"So for this game, because it's the first from the ground up next-gen title, we essentially had to do most of the systems from scratch. Which meant that 'now we have to re-do that, we might as well do this' - it was that sort of thing."
Unity doesn't feature playable female avatars in co-op, for not especially convincing reasons. I've written a blog about how reversing this decision would be good business for Ubisoft. In other news, another new Assassin's Creed game appears to be wending its way to Xbox 360.