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Inside the Studio – Live Team

04/26/2018 12:00 PM

The Assassin’s Creed Live Team is involved every step of the way to maintain and improve the integrity of the game experience.

We sat down with Live Producer Philippe Lalande and Live Content Director Bruno Guérin to learn about the Live Team’s role, from past games to pre- and post-launch.

Could you share with us what the Live Team does?

PHILIPPE: The Live Team follows the players’ experience when the game is launched. First, we work with the development teams to integrate online and live features inside their game.

Then, we make sure that everything is ready once the game is about to launch so that we have servers with the necessary amount of capacity, and we have a schedule with the activities we’ll be running once we’re live.

In the post launch, we’re there to make sure that we can activate planned activities, and that we can communicate about them through our community managers and developers.

Lastly, we bring the feedback from the frontline at customer support back to the development team so that they can integrate new features or fixes to the game.


How do you prepare for a game before it launches?

BRUNO: On the design side, we start working within the production team as early as we can. On Assassin’s Creed Origins, for instance, we started 2-3 years before the game was out.

We talked with the game team to understand the type of game they were making and find additional features to accompany the player in their journey.

Our goal was to make Assassin’s Creed Origins a lively game where there’s always something new to see and anticipate on the horizon, and where other players aren’t completely invisible in your experience.

How was Assassin’s Creed Origins different from previous releases?

PHILIPPE: We explored a variety of live activities throughout the years. On Assassin’s Creed III we had something called Animus Syncing, which was a gameplay feature where a player could hide packets of information in the game and other players would go and seek them. At the end, it unlocked some gameplay cheats and a hidden encrypted message.

Then, on Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, we introduced shared gameplay moments. We could activate, inside the game, new gameplay that appeared at the same location for everyone at the same time for a set amount of time.

For Assassin’s Creed Origins, we looked back at those games and applied our learnings to create a much bigger online and live experience.

BRUNO: What we did in Assassin’s Creed Origins is a mix of reoccurring events—such as the daily quests, the “Image of the Day”, the Avenge Quest, or the Trials of the Gods—and some surprises here and there.

We had specific events with new content, such as Horde Mode, which re-uses elements that exist in the game, but we made it a bigger and better version for players who want to get challenged. We also introduced quite a few bonus quests to keep pushing narrative content that our players enjoy.

We know our players really enjoy playing in this gigantic world, and we wanted to bring even more fresh and exciting content to them.


I spend as much time with Photo Mode as I do playing the game. What were your ideas behind this feature?

PHILIPPE: We asked ourselves how we could make Photo Mode a better and more immersed tool inside the game experience, how we could use our knowledge of online technologies and make the Photo Mode part of the game’s social experience. That’s how our Photo Mode in-game world map came into being.

BRUNO: It’s not the first photo mode ever in a video game, but in my opinion, it’s the most community-oriented, and the most socially-engaged. That’s what’s the most striking about the feature.

We’re really lucky on Assassin’s Creed that we have such a creative community. Every time there’s a challenge to create fan art, cosplay or anything like that, the community responds positively, and we thought this would be a good tool to enable their creativity within the game itself.

How is the Live Team involved when it comes to previous Assassin’s Creed games?

PHILIPPE: When new project starts, we collaborate on identifying the online, social, and post-launch strategies, we participate to the current game’s development and operations, and we work with our past games to maintain the integrity of the game experience. We are supporting all the back catalogue games since Assassin’s Creed II.

If a game had multiplayer, we ensure that players can continue playing multiplayer even five, six years after release. While for previous games, we had to stop triggering our Live Events, we’ve been able to automate a part of it so that those events can continue on their own. For Assassin’s Creed Origins, Trial of the Gods will keep taking place every week and Daily Quests every day.


You monitor the games to ensure players can keep coming back and experiencing those worlds.

PHILIPPE: That’s actually how the Live Team came into place. When Assassin’s Creed Revelations was shipped, the Live Team was created as a technical team to support the post launch of the game.

We ensured that our maintenance took into account the multiplayer features in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Then we evolved into a team that could supply gameplay, so we started that on Assassin’s Creed III and continued to grow.

BRUNO: We now do a better job at anticipating what the game is going to be like a year after it’s launched. We ensure that all of the additional experiences that we bring into the game post launch still make sense and are still available to those who arrive late or those who keep on playing or return with New Game+.

To finish, and most importantly, what is your favorite feature in Assassin’s Creed Origins?

PHILIPPE: The feature that appeals to me the most is the Trial of the Gods because it’s definitely gameplay that’s exotic compared to the rest of the game. All the features are really exciting in terms of the community side of things. What I want is to continue to push how online can be used in games, even in single-player games, to improve their experience.

BRUNO: I have to pick two, actually. I’m a bit biased about this, but the Nomad’s Bazaar – the daily quest – is a good accomplishment for our team because we are not necessarily versed in making gameplay content but we really pulled it off and created the feature from scratch.

Personally, my close-to-the-heart favorite is Photo Mode. We were cautiously optimistic about it, but we weren’t prepared for how successful it became. We have more than 55 million photos taken to date.

It’s great because we make content for players, and there’s no better reward than when your community enjoys and keeps on using the feature that you put together.


We hope you enjoyed learning about the Live Team with Philippe Lalande and Bruno Guérin.

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