*Slow motion dramatic walk*
Hello and welcome to the first installment of what is to become a series of Assassin's Creed: Wiki community interviews. A series dedicated to putting questions to the community's most prominent members as well as some of the Assassin's Creed development team.
This week we've got YouTube commentator, XboxGameZone junior editor, and Assassin's Podcast co-host Andrien Gbinigie, AKA - EscoBlades. So without further ado, let's get straight to it.
- Subject_16*: Hi Andie, you've been involved in the "business" for quite a few years now. Can you talk us through your involvement and progression within the computer games industry? Which experiences do you value the most? Are there any warnings you can offer to others intent on going down a similar path? Where would you like see your career venture in the future?
- EscoBlades: I got my break in QA testing, and I truly believe this has been of great help as I've progressed. However, I really got going in the industry when Player Affinity offered me a PR position and a chance to be their games podcast co-host. It was in those positions that I made a ton of contacts and developed my skill set considerably. When I left Player Affinity, I joined XboxGameZone as a contributor. I also started to focus on providing video guides and commentaries on YouTube. I was very lucky to have good friends who helped me progress in both. Eventually, Machinima took notice and offered me a Directorship, and Partnership on YouTube. I also got promoted to Junior Editor status on XGZ.
- 16: Is there any advice or warnings you can offer to others intent on going down a similar path? Where would you like see your career venture in the future?
- EB: If I was to give advice to anyone looking to get into the industry, I'd give that which was given to me when I was starting out. And that is find something you are good at, and then find a way to do it on the internet. Network as much as you can, make friends and avoid burning bridges if possible. Learn from those better and more experienced than you, and work on improving yourself. And always have a clear goal in mind. For me, I'd eventually want to move into the fields of video games Community Management or Marketing.
- 16: You currently work as a Junior Editor for XboxGameZone. Undeniably a difficult sector to try and establish a foothold in. Can you speak about some of the lessons you've learned while working as a journalist? And in a wider context, what do you feel are the core problems affecting games journalism as a whole? How you feel these problems can be rectified?
- EB: It is a cut-throat sector of the industry, no doubt about it. Everyone is fighting to build up their core readership, and get as many page hits as possible, while maintaining a high level of journalistic integrity. For the most part, there is a mutual respect amongst games journalists. In terms of problems...I think many of the established players are having to adjust to the changing landscape. "Bloggers", video reviewers and the titanic shift from print to online media have taken many by surprise. Ultimately, I feel the overall standard of games journalism needs to rise. Only then can this sector of the industry be taken as seriously as the rest.
- 16: Now, Assassin's Creed time. You're renowned in the community as one of the "Masters of Multiplayer". You're unique play style and tutorials have made you a popular choice for both old a new players to seek guidance from. But with popularity, comes expectation. Do you ever worry that you won't fulfil your audience's wants? How do you deal with negative criticism?
- EB: I always worry that I won't meet the expectations of my audience. I like to think that it keeps me grounded and always striving to improve my craft. I'm honoured that I've been able to help many players improve their game, and hope that I can continue to do so. With regards to negative criticism, I am comfortable enough to take that which is constructive. I'm also learning to mellow out when it comes to dealing with trolls and unsavoury viewers.
- 16: Can you address how you feel about the differences between a "great player" and a "great teacher". What separates one from the other?
- EB: I've said it many times, not all great players can be great teachers. And vice versa I guess. A great player knows the ins and outs of a game, is very familiar with its mechanics and limitations and can use them to his or her advantage to dominate their opposition. However, a great teacher has the ability to impart that information to those who need guidance most, in a clear and understandable way.
- 16: Like its predecessor, Revelations' multiplayer has been experiencing a barrage of technical problems as of late, causing widespread frustration within the community. Talks of a boycott have done little to show support or faith in Ubisoft's maintenance team. Is this lack of faith just or unjust? Where do you stand on this issue?
- EB: Fans always want the best product for their money. Lack of faith might be a strong term, but it is certainly justified. Ubisoft's track record when it comes to communication with the fans hasn't been stellar. And this is across all franchises. I would love to see things improve for sure, and I have faith that they can. But it all starts from upper management understanding how gamers operate, and what they need. Only then can the freedom to keep fans happy filter down to marketing, PR and the ComDevs.
- 16: Have you always been such a big fan of the Assassin's Creed series or was the inclusion of multiplayer what attracted you to the games?
- EB: I've been a fan of Assassin's Creed since the original game. However, I really got involved in the community when AC2 was released. The inclusion of the unique multiplayer in Brotherhood furthered that.
- 16: Who is your favourite protagonist in the franchise and why? (inclusive of comics, graphic novels etc).
- EB: My favourite protagonist has been Ezio. I think it is mainly because we have seen his development from start to finish. Most fans like me have formed some sort of connection with the once carefree Italian, who went on to become the Mentor of the Order, and a symbol of hope for many Assassins and civilians alike.
- 16: And with light, there must be darkness. Who is your favourite villain or anti-hero in the franchise and why?
- EB: I'd like to say Cesare, because he was one ruthless SOB, but my favourite villain has to be Daniel Cross. He's a stone cold killer, as has been shown in The Fall. The efficiency with which he dispatched The Mentor and brought the Assassin Order to their knees was unbelievable.
- 16: What is your favourite game in the series and why?
- EB: Assassin's Creed 2. To date, I feel it was the game Ubisoft took the most care with, and the one I enjoyed the most in terms of narrative, setting and gameplay mechanics.
- 16: Looking beyond Assassin's Creed III, and away from the possible locations it will be set, where would you personally like to see the series go? Any guilty pleasures?
- EB: I'd love for the game to be set in Africa. Mainly because I was born there, and I think it would be a fantastic setting. A lot of the elements on which the Assassin's Creed franchise thrived on are present in Africa I feel.
- 16: How important do you feel social networking sites like facebook, twitter and YouTube are in a community like ours?
- EB: In this day and age, instant communication and dissemination of information is vital. Social networking can be extremely powerful when used right, bringing fans, developers and publishers closer together, and fostering stronger community links.
- 16: You co-host "The Assassin's Podcast" with Ubisoft ComDev - David Rancourt. To date we have seen a variety of some of the community's most prominent members discuss a multiplicity of topics regarding Assassin's Creed. It's a unique opportunity for members of the community to converse with the Dev team. What can we expect to see from future podcasts?
- EB: The podcast looks to get stronger in 2012. We are working on some great community initiatives, and getting fans more involved. Ultimately, our core focus will be on promoting and driving intelligent debate and conversation on all things Assassin's Creed, and providing another platform for members of the community to access the developers beyond the traditional methods.
- 16: Well that's it for today Andie. Thanks for joining us.
- EB: No problem guys. The pleasure was mine. Anytime.
Next week we interview MagnitudeX, founder of community channel GamersBeverage. Leave your questions in the comments and I'll be picking the best of them to put to Magnitude. Don't be afraid to ask a few hard-uns either guys. Let's make this thing exciting. :P
Hope you enjoyed it.