Interview with Jade Raymond, producer of ‘Assassin’s Creed’.
Jade raymond she is one of the few women in a production role in the video game industry. His professional career includes time at Electronic Arts, IBM and Sony Online, and he is currently at Ubisoft leading the production of his new release: ‘Assassin’s Creed’, a huge project with four years of development behind it and a team of 300 people in charge of its realization.
On the occasion of the presentation of the game in Madrid last Friday, we had the opportunity to interview her and learn more about the game and its role in the industry.
What are the sources of inspiration to create a game like ‘Assassin’s Creed’?
It is based on many different sources. The original source is a fictional book, ‘Alamut’, a novel by Vladimir Bartol that talks about the order of the assassins. As we read it, we realized that we wanted to recreate that medieval world.
Who is Altäir?
He is a master assassin. He begins the game as someone very confident in himself, in fact he is overconfident. But as the game evolves, he begins to understand the assassins creed. He is a great hero, for him everything is allowed, he can run, jump anywhere, master any weapon … he really is a great character to play with in a video game, because we really realize that there are no limits, we dominate the town.
How does the player interact with the environment, with the crowd?
Well, the crowd is very interesting because it brings life to the city. The city is not only the buildings, but also the people who inhabit it. We wanted to give the game a certain tourism aspect, for people to interrupt our path, to react to our actions. We want a crowd that is an obstacle.
About the environment, we created a tool from scratch that allows us to climb on each surface, so that everything that was more than two inches long is something you could grab onto, interact with. In some games your goal as a player is to find the right path to your goal. In ‘Assassin’s Creed’ the entire city is open, and you create your own path.
Why set the game in the Crusades?
The Crusades are a very interesting time in history, but it is also a topic that can be very controversial. We were aware of this from the beginning, which is why we worked with many cultural experts and historians, to make sure that our data was correct and we had different perspectives. We wanted to group all the historical data together and treat it with respect, but this is also a work of fiction, there are things in the game that did not exist and our ultimate goal is to play and have fun.
What about the strange “Matrix effect” in the game? Is the game really set in the Middle Ages?
Ah! Well … when we created ‘Assassin’s Creed’ we weren’t just creating a game, we were creating a franchise. It is something that happens often, that you start working on a game and then, suddenly, as happened with ‘The Matrix’, you say ‘well, we are going to do a second part, a third part’ and you have not foreseen it .
We spend a lot of time creating a superior “meta story” that encompasses the game, so that if more games are made, they fit together.
Anyway, it is something that I am not going to talk much about because we want the player to discover for himself.
As a player and producer of the game … Do you think it is a product that can attract women, who do not tend to opt for this type of title?
Well, I don’t believe in the division between ‘men’s games and women’s games’. It would be like saying ‘these are games for Spaniards and these are games for French’. I personally have always liked fighting and action games. My favorite game in the last five years is ‘Resident Evil’, which is not what would be considered a game for girls. I have a great time playing ‘Assassin’s’ and I think the level of detail, the depth of the story, and the action of the game can be interesting for everyone.
I would love if in the future some girl told me that she decided to dedicate herself to video games after playing ‘Assassin’s Creed’
Being one of the few women in production positions in the industry is something that attracts media attention. Is that an advantage or a disadvantage for the game?
Well, it’s true that the game is getting a lot of attention. It is also true that I am asked many questions about being a woman in the industry, but I wish that one day it was not a question anymore, and it was something normal. I mean, it’s normal to talk about the game as a producer, but I would like it to be normal to talk about the game as well even if the producer was a woman.