Looking back at the Assassin’s Creed series, it’s almost funny how one of the biggest franchises in gaming started out by receiving a modest 7.5 out of 10 from IGN. The first Assassin’s Creed game proved to feature interesting exploration of Crusades era cities, different (if wonky) combat, and way too many repetitive side missions, which had you either hunting down Templars or collecting countless flags strewn about.
According to Charles Randall, who served as Ubisoft’s fight system AI lead on Assassin’s Creed, the game only had side missions because “the CEO’s kid played it,” and they were implemented only five days before the game was due to ship out to stores.
In a Twitter thread early Saturday (first reported on by Eurogamer), Randall explained the odd story.
By Randall’s account, Assassin’s Creed was pretty much ready to ship without any side missions. This apparently changed when the CEO’s children took the game for a spin.
“So we’re all ready to ship the game, first submission goes pretty well, and then…the news…the CEO’s kid played the game and said it was boring and there was nothing to do in the game,” Randall said. “Oh yeah I forgot the key part. We have to put all these side missions into the game in five days, and they have to be bug-free, because the build is going to be burned directly to disc and released to retail.”
Randall says he and a handful of others spent five days in the main conference building of Montreal’s Peck Building, a former textile factory where Ubisoft Montreal was located, all trying to implement the seemingly impossible task of adding the side missions.
“Anyway, the rest of it is a blur, but I know that it went super well, because we did it,” Randall said. “We managed to implement all of it in 5 days. And it was bug-free… almost.”
“But I know it’s a miracle that the game didn’t just melt your console or whatever,” he added.
One major bug did manage to slip through. One Templar assassination side mission featured a target that could fall through the world and effectively die, but the player wouldn’t get the credit for the kill. This meant that if players wanted the perfect 1,000 Gamerscore, they’d have to start the game over.
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“So it turns out one of the Templar were parented to the wrong sector,” Randall said. “If you approached the Templar from the wrong direction, he fell through the world and was despawned. Which didn’t give you credit for the kill, but stored him into the savegame as dead. No more spawning.”
Randall also admits that a bug where two assassins would spawn if you had two controllers plugged in was “probably my fault. You’re welcome.”
These days, the Assassin’s Creed series has so much in-game content that some fans have criticized it for being too bloated, leading to conflicting messaging from Ubisoft on whether or not Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be bigger or smaller than the absolutely immense Odyssey.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Assassin’s Creed Valhalla previews.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/saxon man for IGN.