Upcoming stab-em-up Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is not Assassin's "2.5", Ubisoft has insisted.
Brotherhood, due out on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November, comes only a year after Assassin's Creed II, which we liked very much indeed.
As a result some fans of the successful open world action series are sceptical about the game, which includes multiplayer for the first time.
Despite having only a year to create Brotherhood, developer Ubisoft Montreal has been able to make a game even bigger than its predecessor, outspoken associate producer Jean-Francois Boivin told Eurogamer.
"It's not a mission pack," he said. "It's not a 2.5. It's set in Rome, which is three times the size of Florence, which technologically is a challenge to do, just memory wise. You have this enormous playground to play with. And you have these new features, these new elements that bring a new twist and a new angle to Ezio's story.
"It's about Ezio teaching others how to become assassins. There are a lot of core features we worked on. We brought a lot of new, deep and vast features – the old Rome upgrade system, the economic system - the Brotherhood is a game in of itself.
"Plus we're bringing everything people loved about Assassin's Creed II. We took each feature and said, 'How can we make that feature better, or give it a bit of spice, a bit of Tabasco, or a bit of baby oil so it flows a bit better?' We will be extremely successful in convincing fans once they have the controller in their hands. Then the question is going to be, 'How did they do it in a year?' That's going to be the question that's fun to answer later on."
Boivin said Ubisoft Montreal was able to develop Brotherhood quicker than previous Assassin's titles because it had already established many of the base tools required to build the game.
"First of all we have extremely stable tools. We've been building Anvil [game engine] for six, seven years now. It's extremely stable. We have loads of tools that work super, super well.
"As you've probably read everywhere, Assassin's Creed 2 had hundreds and hundreds of resources all over the world. But then when you start submitting you ramp down a lot. We didn't do that. We just stayed right up there and kept our production velocity, starting right away.
"We already knew we wanted to do Rome. So the graphics team stayed the graphics team - bang, start building Rome really quickly. We know all our technical and design guidelines. How to build a city so Ezio can do some free running? The AI guys – how you can improve on NPC AI? How can we improve on the horse? How can we improve on the fights? We started working on that right away.
"Then the storyline. We already knew it was Ezio's story, and Patrice Désilets [now departed] already knew what the story was. So it was quick for us to do a story blueprint. Maybe two weeks after the release of Assassin's Creed 2 we already had the story down, and we probably started writing a few pages of script. Casting was already underway.
"The operative word here is velocity. And we still have people helping us. Our Singapore office is still working with us. The studio in Quebec City is helping us. It's a question of keeping going and making a full game in a year."
Boivin's comments mirror those of UK marketing boss Murray Pannell, who told Eurogamer he expects Brotherhood to outsell Assassin's Creed II.
Ubisoft showed Brotherhood off to press at E3 2010 last month. Christian Donlan was there for Eurogamer.
Two weeks ago Boivin told Eurogamer he doubted 2011 will see the release of an Assassin's Creed game, although Ubisoft mega man Yves Guillemot later poured cold water on the suggestion.