Brotherhood makes a killing in Europe

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has sold over 1m copies across Europe in less than a week, publisher Ubisoft has told MCV.

The swift success of the game makes it the publisher’s fastest-selling game ever in the European territories, and overall the publisher’s biggest franchise.

To date, the Assassin’s Creed games have sold in excess of 20m games. The series is on course to have sold 30m units by the end of 2011 – just in time for the fourth game, which hits late next year, said Geoffroy Sardin, EMEA chief of marketing and sales at Ubisoft.

If you compare [the 1m in a week] with last year’s ACII sales this is a big jump – so it’s a great achievement,” he told MCV.

It’s the best launch in the history of Ubisoft’s European sales, and our best-selling launch title ever.”

The game features a lengthy story following on from last year’s best-selling ACII – but also adds a unique multiplayer mode for the first time.

Apart from the big marketing campaign that we started a few week ago, and which continues over the coming weeks, the main reason the game has succeeded is that we transformed the brand from a single player one to a multiplayer one,” Sardin commented.

Ubisoft research shows that 60 per cent of all AC: Brotherhood purchasers are playing the multiplayer mode – and many of haven’t played other Assassin’s Creed titles.

The multiplayer mode attracts new players – when we track who is playing the multiplayer we can se they are new to the franchise,” explained Sardin.

It is the first time we have added such a big multiplayer mode to an action franchise – but we’re seeing people play a lot and regularly, so clearly they do enjoy it. The activity on forums is very happy.

But of course we have a good history and expertise with multiplayer – in Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell – so we knew what we were doing. There are other franchises that would benefit from that, but I can’t say which ones just now. The next big multiplayer game for us is Ghost Recon – that will be massive.”

However Ubi isn’t just talking up its next big multiplayer game: an active DLC plan is in place to keep Brotherhood players happy and ensure the AC franchise remains prominent.

A free DLC pack adding a new game mode and map hits on December 14th, and Sardin said more will follow – although the firm hasn’t yet decided if all will be free.

Rival action franchise Call of Duty has built a lucrative sideline in premium DLC sales accompanying big-ticket annual retail releases.

Speaking of which… Sardin said the Black Ops boom hadn’t hurt chances for Ubisoft’s game, which launched just a week after the new Call of Duty. And, like CoD, retail can expect another big AC sequel for 2011.

He explained: Yes, Yves [Guillemot, Ubisoft CEO] mentioned it last week in our financials – and more details will be forthcoming. But what I can say is that next year we will have another big Assassin’s Creed game.”

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