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Adding a crouch button to Assassin's Creed is no joke, says dev

"We rewrote like 6 million lines of code for this," says Ubisoft's Alex Amancio when referencing the company's work adding a stealth mode to its upcoming Assassin's Creed Unity.

Alex Wawro, Contributor

October 6, 2014

2 Min Read

"One single feature is easy - to press a button and have the character go into crouch. It's all the different hundreds of systems that tie into that that become complex."

- Ubisoft's Alex Amancio highlights the development effort that went into allowing the Assassin's Creed protagonist to crouch. Sometimes the smallest changes to a game can make a world of difference. Changing the time between shots of the Halo sniper rifle by 0.2 seconds, for example, or affording Assassin's Creed players the option to crouch. "I mean, we rewrote like 6 million lines of code for this," Assassin's Creed Unity creative director told Joystiq, presumably exaggerating just a smidge. "It's not a joke." Amancio goes on to lay out some ways in which allowing players to signal their intent to be stealthy -- in effect, adding a "stealth mode" to a long-running series that has so far done without despite being predicated on themes of subterfuge and assassination -- forces Ubisoft's developers to reconsider the design of everything from the enemy AI to the series' free-running movement systems. "Our navigation seems very simple and very accessible, but to do this, it means that the system is calculating, before you're actually moving, where the possibilities of where you're actually going to go," says Amancio, referencing common complaints that the Assassin's Creed automated pathfinding system often frustrated players' attempts to remain hidden. "By creating the stealth mode, what we're actually doing is changing the way the navigation is working, because we know that you want to be stealthy." Amancio's comments offer some interesting insight into the way that seemingly simple design decisions can have massive development costs, and can be read in full over on Joystiq's website.

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