Ever since the official revelation that Assassin’s Creed III would be set in the American Revolution and then the subsequent screenshot leaks, people have been pretty excited about the game. Ubisoft was probably hoping the new setting would stir up some renewed interest in the game, and so far, I think they’ve been pretty successful.
Here’s a break down of what we know about the game thus far:
- The protagonist, Connor Kenway (also known by Ratohnhaké:ton, his birth name) is a half Mohawk, half English Assassin. Creative Director Alex Hutchinson has said: “We didn’t want the Native American lothario. He’s quieter, and he’s driven by a general desire to help people.”
- Another quote from Hutchinson about Connor: “In the end, we decided that he was a Native American joining a western European organization. The narrative of the game is that the Assassins arrive in America, and he joins them. He has to wear the suit, but he brings along things that he’s comfortable with.”
- Connor is not part of the American Revolution, per se. Rather, he’s fighting a separate war that just happens to cross paths with the revolution at times. The Assassins and Templars will be duking it out on both sides of the war.
- Still told through the Animus with Desmond.
- Settings include New York, Boston, Philadelphia and the forests of the Frontier.
- Some historical events, such as the Battle of Bunker Hill, will be featured.
- Connor’s combat won’t differ too much from the past assassins, but it will feature new attacks and animations.
- Example combat moves include: using a “dart rope” and a tree to hoist enemies in the air and wielding dual pistols.
- Hutchinson adds, “We rebuilt the combat from the ground up to allow two-handed combat everywhere.”
- Yes, you will be able to use the trademark hidden blades.
- You can now fight enemies on uneven terrain.
- Fog and snow, especially when deep, will affect gameplay.
- Wild animals will be present from deer (used as hunting targets) to bears (who will occasionally attack you).
- The “leap of faith” into a haystack move is still present in AC3.
- Not all buildings will have interiors, but some will serve as nice short cuts when being pursued.
- There will be a multiplayer mode and probably some co-op as well.
PC vs. Consoles
- There will be Wii U-specific features. The touch-screen controller will serve as a “link to the Animus,” with a map and navigation tools readily available as well as an encyclopedia of information on various things at your fingertips. Furthermore, you will be able to select weapons from the touch screen and access “Eagle vision.”
- PC won’t be getting as much love. Hutchinson says: “We’re definitely supporting PC, we love PC, but I think it’ll be PC with a controller. I don’t see us investing hugely in a mouse and keyboard setup. I think if you want to play on PC and you want to play Assassin’s Creed, you have a controller.”
Playing with History
- Ubisoft is trying to stick to historical fiction, not fantasy. So, about 80% of the named characters were real people. But…
- You will not see much of Benjamin Franklin. He was in France for most of the American Revolution, so that’s where he’ll be in the game as well.
- Hutchinson notes, “Every assassination target is a real person who dies at the right time at the right place. How they died we’ll let you get a little bit artistic.”
Other Cool Tidbits
- The animations have been upgraded, resulting from the use of a motion-capture system that records vocal, facial, and body movements at the same time. War scenes are also impressive, with thousands of NPCs realistically fighting it out and dying left and right.
- The actor voicing Connor is of Native American descent.
- The members of the Mohawk tribe speak in their native tongue in the game (so yes, subtitles).
- Connor is Desmond’s ancestor.
- NPCs are much “livelier.” They’re much more aware of who and what is around them, and Ubisoft has made an effort to try to prevent AIs from repeating actions.
- You’ll often enter scenes in the middle of the action, so it doesn’t feel like the NPCs were just waiting around for you to show up.
- Dogs play a role, whether as just background fodder or to help you by sniffing something out on a mission.
- Unkillable children! Hutchinson says: “We wanted them in the world, and we don’t think there’s any awesomeness in letting people kill kids. And even if you did it accidentally, or you did it once to see what would happen, it sort of colors your experience of the whole game. And it’s slightly distasteful. So we were just like… lock them out.”
Hutchinson further explained some of the changes in AC3 from the other AC games:
“There are a lot of things we’re changing radically, because we feel like the mechanics were awesome but were starting to feel a little familiar. With Ezio, we felt like every game added more and more tools. So we’ve removed a bunch of those that should just be allowed to be cool things that Ezio did. So we don’t have the hook blade, we’re not doing the den defense. We’re radically changing the Brotherhood, so you don’t have the idea of recruiting dozens and dozens of Assassins to help you out — it’ll be much more personal. You won’t be buying or upgrading Rome, but there is an economy system and a concept of ownership in a big new system we’re building. The fast-travel system is getting an overhaul because we don’t want you buying aqueducts in Boston. We’re combining a bunch of mini-stores into bigger general stores. Every mechanic should have at the very least a new coat of paint, and all those that don’t fit the period or aren’t things that we enjoyed as much are disappearing.”
Finally, Hutchinson made it a point to really emphasize all of the work going into this game. The game took nearly three years to develop and Hutchinson said: “I’m really sick of shipping the first drafts of games. Our goal is to ship Assassin’s Creed 3.5, not just Assassin’s Creed 3.”