Ubisoft sends 'Assassins' to Facebook

French videogame titan Ubisoft is expanding the world of "Assassin's Creed" to Facebook, breaking down the barrier between play on consoles and at the hot online social network.

"Project Legacy," available free for play at Facebook, is Ubisoft's first "companion game" crafted to let gameplay achievements at a social network pay off in console versions and vice versa.

"It's basically a back-and-forth mechanism for passing value between games that are complementary in the same universe," said former Microsoft executive Chris Early, head of Ubisoft's freshly-created digital publishing team.

"By tying the games together, we have people extend their experience."

Accomplishments in "Project Legacy" result in virtual money or experience points that can be sent to a player's guild of assassins in "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood" being released November 16 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 videogame consoles.

"Project Legacy" play can unlock special features in the soon-to-be-released third title in the blockbuster "Assassin's" franchise. Progress in "Brotherhood" will reward "Legacy" players with access to new content.

"Brotherhood" will continue the Renaissance period tale of betrayed nobleman Ezio Auditore Da Firenze, a descendent of the Altair character who starred in the original title.

Ubisoft also announced it is building a massively multiplayer online (MMO) pet simulation adventure game spinning off of its winning line of "Petz" videogames.

The "Petz World" MMO will be designed to reward families playing as a team, with progress by parents or children resulting in rewards for each other's in-world characters.

"Now, we are all members of the same family playing together in a way that complements each other's play," Early told AFP during Ubisoft's first Digital Day event featuring glimpses at new online game offerings.

"I have big hopes for that concept."

Ubisoft last year launched a UbiFriends gaming portal at Facebook. The portal's first offering was a "TickTock" game that playfully challenges Facebook users to show how much they know about their friends.

Videogame makers have been increasingly turning to digital offerings as game distribution shifts increasingly online and play at online social networking websites booms.

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