Eurogamer: Did you want to implement multiplayer from the very beginning?
Jean-Francois Boivin: For a few years now we've been dabbling with the idea. For us it was not a question of just slapping on multiplayer. It had to fit in the universe... We needed it to respect the pillars of our game: navigation, social stealth, fighting. So we went to the drawing board a couple of times...
It's refreshing. There's a huge dichotomy between ultra-hardcore multiplayer fans and hardcore fans of single-player. We're winking at that by, single-player would be the Assassins' story, but the multiplayer is the Templars' story. It's Abstergo's story. At the beginning of ACII, when you escape from Abstergo you have these animuses, and we're winking at what's to come.
Essentially, Abstergo is recruiting subjects and downloading or uploading genetic memories into their brain so the bleeding effect can take place. They can train in order to become Templars with assassin skills who fight fire with fire. That's the whole premise of it.
Eurogamer: Is Brotherhood's multiplayer primarily for the players who know what they're doing, then?
Jean-Francois Boivin: They'll definitely be rewarded if they know how to play Assassin's Creed and they play it in a finesse way. Being an assassin is about being a blade in a crowd. The original Hashshashin - that's what their job was, to assassinate people, to make political coups without anybody knowing what happened. All of a sudden somebody's dead, and you don't know who did it.
In the multiplayer you will be rewarded for stealth kills plus acrobatics, as opposed to just running around everywhere and trying to kill people. If you run around and you're right in somebody's face and there is a whole bunch of people there and you just stab him in the throat, you'll get a hundred points. If you, for example, decide to stay on a bench for three minutes and wait for your target to pass by and then kill him, then you'll get a stealth bonus.
So that one kill will give you more points than if you just ran around for three minutes trying to kill people. It rewards those who play with the environment, who play with the blade in the crowd concept.
Eurogamer: Numbers pop up on screen when you kill somebody. Did you look at Call of Duty when designing Brotherhood's multiplayer?
Jean-Francois Boivin: Well, first of all, Call of Duty did not invent that.
Eurogamer: But it popularised it.
Jean-Francois Boivin: Call of Duty popularised a lot of things, just by the fact that it's very, very popular. They're a great licence. I can't compare myself to Call of Duty. It's such a fantastic game, especially the multiplayer aspect. It would be dishonest for us to even try to do what they do.
We wanted to be ourselves and just stay ourselves. That's another thing - we went back to the drawing board a lot of times and said, "What actually works?" We did some playtests. If the resemblance is there, it's because people feel comfortable with the way that information is presented to them. If it has some resemblance, it's directly related to that more than, "Oh look at what these guys are doing, let's just copy these guys."