It's been a whirlwind 72 hours for fans of the Assassin's Creed franchise. Following a teaser posting on the official Assassin's Creed Facebook page that a "major" announcement was en route, leaked box art confirmed what many fans had been hoping - that, as previously rumored, Assassin's Creed 3 would be set in the American Revolution.
Confirmation of an American setting for the next trip into the animus was quick to follow - only to be outdone by more leaked media content in the form of actual screenshots from the game. Now, in addition to all that intriguing eye candy, we're finally getting some concrete details about what to expect from the actual Assassin's Creed 3 gameplay.
The details come courtesy of a posting at NeoGaf that outlines the upcoming Game Informer article (the same one that provided first confirmation of the American Revolution setting - via the magazine's cover). Included are a number of intriguing pieces of information - too many to simply list out here.
As a result, we've compiled the best tidbits below; however, head over to NeoGaf for the full list (including mild story SPOILERS) or wait and read the article when the new issue of Game Informer hits shelves later in the week:
- New hero called Connor/Ratohnhake:ton (pronounced Ra-doon-ha-gay-doo). He has an English father and Native American mother.
- A new traversal approach that has players leaping and climbing trees and mountain cliffs.
- Combat is focused on putting you on the offensive and based on speed/momentum. The main character has thousands of new and unique animations (no carry over from other titles) to support the new combat system. There's no more target locking, it just automatically detects your target. Counter/defense are the same button to prevent turtling.
- Connor is in the heart of major battles, and they can now have a couple thousand guys on screen, whereas before it was capped at about 100.
- There will be all sorts of wilderness in the game referred to as the Frontier. The map of the Frontier is 1.5 times bigger than the entire map of Brotherhood.
- The world changes as time passes, so a field where a battle happened in one year may just be a series of empty encampments a few months later. The entire world will change with seasons, so the cities and the wilderness will all exist in both Summer and Winter settings.
- You can now leap over wagons or slide under obstacles, including navigating over and around moving objects. The free running stuff also has you jumping through windows to trees and then on top of church roofs.
- This game has the longest development cycle since AC1, and has twice the production capacity (in terms of work hours) and budget of Revelations.
As mentioned, these are only a few of the details posted over at NeoGaf. That said, without even looking at the more spoilery elements or in-depth information about weaponry, enemy behaviors, etc in the full report, one thing is very clear - Assassin's Creed 3 is set to be a major overhaul to a franchise that has, despite a great story and fun gameplay, been gliding along without too many new ideas in the last few installments. While it's unfair to simply say that AC: Brotherhood and Revelations were merely Assassin's Creed 2 expansions, given the amount of refinements to the core gameplay as well as a robust narrative that allowed players to grow with fan-favorite assassin Ezio, there's little doubt that gamers are ready for a major change-up in the third installment.
Ubisoft appears to be delivering on those expectations and, more than anything else on the list, the most intriguing updates seem to be in the combat mechanics department - by far one of the least satisfying aspects of the prior games. While the combat was serviceable enough to move from encounter to encounter, many battles simply devolved into defensive "wait and see" counter attacks that killed a lot of Ezio's mobility. This round, it sounds as though it'll be a lot easier to go on the offensive and navigate the battlefield with fluid momentum.
Dynamic season effects as well as the increased scale of both the world map and NPC numbers also hint at some extremely immersive set-pieces and large-scale battles that should provide some intriguing opportunities for fighting -especially given that new combat system.
Assassin’s Creed 3 releases on October 30, 2012, for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates.
Source: Game Informer [via NeoGaf]