Assassin's Creed II Comic-Con 2009 Panel ArchiveBy Sterling McGarvey - Posted Jul 23, 2009
[1:42] Sterling M: "Welcome to the Assassin's Creed II: Videogames & Hollywood Converge Panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2009. This is Sterling McGarvey, Sr. Reviews/Previews Editor, and I'll be providing you with all of the blow-by-blow insight from Ubisoft!"
[1:44] Sterling M: "The line for the panel bordered on obscene. People are still piling in, even though it's scheduled to start in just a few minutes. It goes without saying that there's a massive interest in Ubi's sequel here in San Diego."
[1:47] Sterling M: "It looks like the crowds are going to shut off soon and the panel's about to begin. I've already seen one guy dressed as Altair and one as Ezio."
[1:48] Sterling M: "And yes, TwitpÌc is done. "
[1:48] Sterling M: "And we're off. It's a trailer, and lots of applause."
[1:49] Sterling M: "Looks like it's the same trailer from E3 with the assassination of the Venetian nobleman."
[1:50] Sterling M: "Crowd goes nuts when Ezio stabs the first guardsman."
[1:50] Sterling M: "Girl screams "fatality!""
[1:52] Sterling M: "Rapturous applause as Ezio shoots his dagger into the nobleman's chest."
[1:54] Sterling M: "Gaming journo extraordinaire Paul Semel is moderating the panel. Introduces Yannis Mallat, president of Ubi Montreal, Pierre Raymond of Hybrid Technologies, Corey May, scriptwriter of both AC titles, and William Reymond, the film series co-scriptwriter."
[1:54] Sterling M: "Mallat takes the mic: it's his first Comic-Con, and he's happy to be here. First time interacting with the fans. It's meaningful to him, and it's important to share meaning with the audience."
[1:55] Sterling M: "Two years ago, Ubi started its own digital film facility, Ubisoft Digital Arts."
[1:56] Sterling M: "As it developed, it started a partnership with Hybride, who did digital effects for films like 300 and Sin City."
[1:56] Sterling M: """Today, we're going to see the convergence of Hollywood special effects and the gaming industry, says Mallat."
[1:57] Sterling M: ""True convergence is what happens when we reach peoples' minds" says Mallat."
[1:58] Sterling M: "Raymond is on: It's impressive to see a company outside of Hollywood that's an important storyteller."
[1:59] Sterling M: ""Ubisoft is using CG characters like live actors, and the difference between what Hollywood is doing and what we're doing is getting more alike.""
[2:00] Sterling M: "Mallat: "They're leveraging gorgeous visuals with characters with a lot of depth... for the fact that's it's so rich, so character centric, Ubisoft has put a lot into its next gen pipelines and engines, and it's helped create a game that no one has seen before."
[2:01] Sterling M: "Screenshots of behind the scenes content with green screens."
[2:01] Sterling M: "Corey May is about to give a live demo of the E3 build. Crowd goes wild."
[2:03] Sterling M: "Corey explains the effects and more ways that Ezio can weave through crowds. "
[2:04] Sterling M: "I never noticed the crowds, such as firebreathers, within the general public."
[2:04] Sterling M: "May is showing off how to assassinate from a ledge. Ezio hangs from a ledge, stabs the guards, and yanks him down, Sam Fisher style."
[2:05] Sterling M: "As Ezio climbs to the top of a tower, he finds Da Vinci's flying machine."
[2:05] Sterling M: "Crowd goes wild."
[2:06] Sterling M: "Overheard near me: "I'm so buying this already.""
[2:07] Sterling M: "May indicates the game will feature a full day/night cycle. He fast forwards to daytime to show off Ezio's rooftop kills."
[2:08] Sterling M: "May's having trouble getting off the ledge. Someone yells "Right Trigger." Crowd laughs."
[2:09] Sterling M: "After Ezio swandives into the bale, we see how he can perform kills in the hay,."
[2:09] Sterling M: "Also, he can take enemy weapons and use them against guards."
[2:09] Sterling M: "The combat is even more brutal than the first game, as he jams a lance into an enemy."
[2:10] Sterling M: "Altair's character was a bit of a brash jerk, and apparently, Ezio will be a bit different."
[2:10] Sterling M: "He'll be more flamboyant, in some way."
[2:10] Sterling M: "Ezio performs the hit, escapes the guard, dives into a Venetian canal, and he's free. Crowd applauds and whoops."
[2:11] Sterling M: "May explains that Ubi wanted to tell the story in new ways, hence the idea to partner with Hybride."
[2:12] Sterling M: "The filoms tell the story of Giovanni, another assasin who's linked to Ezio."
[2:13] Sterling M: "It's all part of conveying the broad scope of Assassin's Creed's storytelling."
[2:14] Sterling M: "Mallat: "We could have asked another company and outsourced that stuff. But the true convergence I'm talking about, that will make you understand things about the IP, that kind of stuff could not have happened without putting creative people in the same circle.""
[2:15] Sterling M: "Mallat: "I can tell you that when you play the game and see the film, you will understand, because there's a deeper quality because creative people collaborated at the same table.""
[2:16] Sterling M: "May: "If this were bad, I'd say it, since I'm a very cynical person. I promise you sincerely that this project will live up to our high standards.""
[2:17] Sterling M: "Mallat: "On our way to making these projects, we're learning a lot about how to make better games.""
[2:18] Sterling M: "He continues: all of the study that went into touring Italy to study the history and weaponry, and even the actors, led to great gains for both the film and game."
[2:18] Sterling M: "The casting of the film, and the visual pipeline has taught the game development side a lot."
[2:19] Sterling M: "On the other hand, Pierre borrowed some of the in-game engine to drive the green screen backdrops for the film."
[2:20] Sterling M: "Raymond indicates that the level of quality in the game as source material helped more than comics or past films had."
[2:20] Sterling M: "Raymond rolls some footage of facial scanning and mo-cap behind the scenes to demonstrate how the data was used both for the game and for CGI doubles."
[2:21] Sterling M: "Mallat: Ubi is sharing resources for the sake of sharing consistency for both game and film so that it's more credible to discerning audiences."
[2:22] Sterling M: "He continues hammering home the point a quote from a colleague that "1 + 1 = 3."It's not perfect math, but it describes the benefits of working so closely with another team and sharing resources."
[2:23] Sterling M: "Raymond says that it''s crucial for Hollywood to work more closely with the gaming industry to share technology and pipelines to make the process of tie-ins even smoother."
[2:24] Sterling M: "More behind the scenes of computers and green screen filming so that we can see the idea of the backgrounds that will be integrated later."
[2:25] Sterling M: "Raymond explains that directing on a green screen is more difficult when there's the degree of action that the AC film uses."
[2:26] Sterling M: "He talks specs: 15 day shoot, 500 scenes shot, 1800 shots done, 2 cameras that generated 91 hours of tape, 21 actors, 61 actors."
[2:27] Sterling M: "Showing off an exclusive trailer of the behind the scenes filming."
[2:28] Sterling M: "Fight choreography and makeup effects look pretty good. Lots of attention to detail, it appears, from weapons to costumes."
[2:29] Sterling M: "Mallat: This is the biggest undertaking we've invested in the medium. It's the same amount of investment as if we'd shot a feature film. Raymond says that a few more weeks of shooting would've produced a feature film."
[2:30] Sterling M: "Mallat: Ubisoft is already anticipating the convergence of film and games. That's why they're preparing with short films like this. Ultimately, it's up to the fans to decide if they're doing a good job."
[2:31] Sterling M: "Mallat gives a shout-out to Assassin's Creed's Twitter."
[2:32] Sterling M: "Fan question time: Why Italy and not China or...Brooklyn?"
[2:33] Sterling M: "Mallat: We have a defined story arc designed to keep fans into it."
[2:33] Sterling M: "Whereever we set a game, it'll have something to do with the story arc."
[2:34] Sterling M: "May: it's the next logical perspective. You'll understand the connection between the Holy Land and the Renaissance."
[2:35] Sterling M: "Guy dressed as Solid Snake asks why the sudden shift from Desmond Miles to Ezio."
[2:36] Sterling M: "May: It's still Desmond's story. He's back and you'll see him very soon."
[2:36] Sterling M: "A history buff asks whether we'll see more historical figures."
[2:37] Sterling M: "May: so many characters Ezio encounters are historical figures. People on the Internet will tell us how awful we are, but we've worked hard to be accurate."
[2:37] Sterling M: "Logistically, there were two historians, one for architecture, and an Oxford historian."
[2:38] Sterling M: "William Reymond explains that writing the film was no easy task, either. They paid a lot of attention to detail."
[2:39] Sterling M: "New question: how was AC conceived, and how did Ubi greenlight it?"
[2:40] Sterling M: "Mallat: After finishing Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, he worked with a few other studio members on a fairly out-there idea. They decided to build the IP from that. It's based on a book about assassins, as well."
[2:41] Sterling M: "Kid who's too young to buy the game himself asks about the blue barriers. Will they be there this time?"
[2:42] Sterling M: "May: the artificial barriers will be intact, but more malleable. there's got to be borders, though."
[2:42] Sterling M: "Fan asks about the symbols in Desmond's room, and how much they'll be explained."
[2:43] Sterling M: "May says that they'll be explained. What you think they are isn't exactly what they are. They'll be explained."
[2:43] Sterling M: "Mallat calls up the costumed Exio onstage to check out the blades."
[2:44] Sterling M: "Costumed Ezio "shanks" Mallat. Big applause and laughs."
[2:44] Sterling M: "Gamer wants to know if PC version will allow user-created toolset."
[2:45] Sterling M: "Mallate: Tools are the key to making good content. But the tools aren't accessible for the average Joe yet. Their focus is on entertainment more than user-generated content."
[2:46] Sterling M: "Looks like it's a wrap."
[2:47] Sterling M: "Thanks for reading the Assassin's Creed II Liveblog, and be sure to check out http://www.g4tv.com/comiccon for more coverage!"