Possibly the most anxious man on planet earth sits next to me, and runs his hands through his hair. Alex Hutchinson, the creative director of Assassin's Creed 3, looks exhausted, the byproduct of three consecutive days spent showing his upcoming game to literally hundreds of international press.
Possibly the most anxious man on planet earth sits next to me, and runs his hands through his hair. Alex Hutchinson, the creative director of Assassin's Creed 3, looks exhausted, the byproduct of three consecutive days spent showing his upcoming game to more than 100 international press.
He tells me it's good to be here, in this theater and hotel complex in downtown Boston, the setting of a massive publicity event, but he's ready for the game to be released. What will happen to Assassin's Creed and his massive development team after that?
"The franchise can go in many different directions and it'll be much healthier for it." As for the team, they will now disperse through the company, taking on different roles on future projects.
"Some people are moving to different stuff in the universe," says Hutchinson. "Some people are doing other stuff at Ubisoft. The amount of people and the type of people you need to start are the different than the people you need at an end of a project."
What about him? "I'd love to do more Assassin's Creed stuff," says Hutchinson. I ask if he's ready for another three-year project. "At this point, not if it started Monday," says Hutchinson, laughing. "But I always say that, then you go away for two weeks, and then someone says I have this idea, and you're like that's really cool, let's give it a shot."
The creative director brings the conversation back to what's on his mind. Assassin's Creed 3. He says the review scores can't come soon enough. They are the albatross around his neck, restraining him from euphoric enthusiasm.
I ask him if he's worried now, or if he was ever worried while making the game. "When you lay it out linearly you realize it's huge," he says. "We might have made a monster. I think it's fun as well. It's kind of a nervous excitement." The game, he says, is huge.
"There's still a bunch of stuff in there people don't know about, which is fun. The idea that games can still have surprise left in them, that games can still have sense of wonder and discovery, I find really attractive" He compares it to his childhood, back before the internet, when you didn't know what awaited you in a new game.
By the end of the conversation, Hutchinson seems to have relaxed. A publicist appears and points him into a crowd of onlookers. Hutchinson stands, runs his hand through his hair once more, and lets out a long breath. The moment reminds me of something fitting he said when we'd first sat down: "I'm ready for my holiday."