Assassin's Creed II was one of the very few titles of late 2009 that wasn't intimidated by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 . And not only did ACII succeed, it ended up selling almost 9 million copies.
Due to the immense popularity, Ubisoft believes their critically acclaimed franchise will be just as big as Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto "in the not-too-distant future." UK marketing boss Murray Pannell told Eurogamer that while AC hasn't quite reached GTA's lofty pedestal, he still sees no reason why Assassin's Creed couldn't achieve similar popularity. It's about "longevity and building decent products" that are "properly marketed," he says. Let's not forget that Assassin's Creed II holds the record for landing the most magazine covers ever. Added Pannell:
"I believe with the success of Assassin's 2 we have now got an opportunity to position ourselves as one of the true triple-A blockbusters. Are we as big as things like GTA and Halo and things of that nature? Possibly not at this point. But I think we are uniquely poised now as a property, as a franchise, to certainly consider ourselves one of the must-have games whenever a game launches on Assassin's Creed in the franchise."
Now, 9 million copies is downright amazing, although we should probably mention that GTAIV has sold over 15 million units to date. But Pannell says Ubisoft will continue to market the hell out of AC, and that certainly includes the upcoming Brotherhood installment, which is set for a November launch.
"As marketing director, it's part of our role and responsibility to position it from a consumer point of view as one of those big blockbusters through decent marketing campaigns. One thing we've been doing already is advertising Assassin's: Brotherhood on TV this summer, three or four months before launch. That only helps position it in consumers' minds as, 'This is a big game I need to consider as one of the true blockbuster franchises'."
And yes, they do expect the new title to sell even more than ACII but we'd like to point out that it will require the backing of the critics, as most games always do. Assassin's Creed II was much-beloved by reviewers, and so was GTAIV although at this point, GTA might be able to sell based on name-brand alone. AC isn't quite there yet.