Assassin's Creed 3 blends narrative writing and mission design in equal and cooperative parts to create its final product, according to a recent panel at GDC.
Level design director Philippe Bergeron and consultant and scriptwriter Corey May spoke about the combination during "Balancing Act: Narrative and Mission Design in Assassin's Creed 3." The game undergoes several different stages, beginning with basic conception. After details on the era, protagonist and location have been decided, the game goes through several "blueprint" steps. While May begins writing key scenes that take place in the "white room" segments of he game, the mission designers also begin their work.
Shortly after, the two elements team up to begin molding the game into a cohesive unit. This match up is so important that missions will actually be cut if they don't fit. It's important that in-game missions and narrative "reflect a mutual understanding," May said.
"This is really critical because it's our firm belief that while the writers are obviously the story tellers of the game, so are the mission designers," May said. "I firmly believe that mission design is a form of story telling, and their contribution is equal."