When a game developer is lucky enough to strike gold in an industry as fickle and saturated with high quality franchises as can be imagined, changing things up generally isn't the next step. With Assassin's Creed having already enjoyed four different entries that pleased fans and expanded the player population, breaking new ground is exactly where they're headed with Assassin's Creed 3. But according to the minds behind the series at Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed 3 looks to be making all the best changes, both from a gameplay standpoint and as an artistic expression.
Anyone who has stood before a group of toddlers and been instructed to "tell us a story" knows that weaving an entertaining tale is no simple task. Constructing one that begins with the Crusades, detours through the Italian Renaissance and ultimately crosses into the new world while increasing in intensity and drama at every turn is downright impossible. Yet Ubisoft seems set to bite off a story unlike any we've seen before, following the life of a Mohawk of mixed parentage driven to avenge his people alongside the birth of a nation.
Needless to say, now would not be the most relaxing time to hold the position of Director of IP Development on the Assassin's Creed team. That role is currently occupied by Tommy Francois, and it can only be a good sign that in the months leading up to the release of said American adventure, Francois seems filled not with apprehension, but excitement.
It's easy to list the changes that will be made to the gameplay itself, from the new variety of melee and ranged weapons to the colonial American settings of Boston and New York. But when speaking to VG24/7 Francois makes it clear that the changes being brought haven't just been years in the making, but will allow the developers to explore themes previously unavailable.
Have a look now:
Considering the new protagonist and subject matter, it isn't hard to see how AC3 will examine serious racial and national questions that previous heroes could not. Having more triple-A games that explore the contradictions and grey areas of 'social justice' is something that every mature gamer can get behind, and Ubisoft's past examinations of American politics promises some interesting content in the future.
In terms of gameplay the developers seem to have already considered many of the potential problems cited by fans, from small American cities to enemies armed with muskets. As Francois notes, the reload times of period muskets mean that players will likely only have to manage a single dodge before moving in for the kill. While the Frontier sections of the game may conjure images of Red Dead Redemption or Skyrim, the reality will likely be far more contained.
That's better than nothing though, and the idea of pelts riddled with bullet holes being worth less than those derived from clean kills is compelling, to say the least. The same skepticism must be reserved for the climbing and navigation of the treetops themselves, since we're betting that the tree-running glimpsed in the announcement trailer is more for cinematic impact than realistic gameplay.
Questions still remain, but with over half a year remaining until launch more information will be on the way before long. How do you feel about the new direction Ubisoft is headed? Are you convinced that AC3 is receiving the time and energy it deserves, or are the developers selling the groundbreaking aspects of the game a little too much?
Assassin’s Creed 3 releases on October 30, 2012 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. A Wii U launch has been confirmed though an official release date has yet to be revealed.
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