With Assassin's Creed ranking among the top intellectual properties of the gaming world, keeping fan hopes low for the upcoming Assassin's Creed 3 is almost an impossibility at this point. That being said, new images and game details are pointing toward major changes and improvements to Ubisoft's existing formula. From historical figures to new plot details, Assassin's Creed 3 just keeps getting better.
Within less than a day after the announcement/leaks every AC fan knew that the American Revolution would serve as backdrop to this game's dose of espionage and conspiracy, but exactly how the historical period was going to be utilized has been unclear at best. We know that new protagonist Connor is Native American and will be running into more than a few founding fathers throughout the game, but new details point to even stronger historical inspirations than some may have thought.
According to images and information released by Spanish gaming site GremiodelasSombras, up to 80% of the people featured within the campaign of Assassin's Creed 3 will be based on real figures, with French General Lafayette the latest to be confirmed via concept artwork. Lafayette's membership serving under George Washington makes his role within the game's story easy to guess at, and his success in increasing French support ultimately leading to American victory possibly hints at plot events.
While historical accuracy is being adhered to quite strongly where people and officers are concerned, the size and scope of the game's cities aren't quite as faithful. One concern voiced by fans has been the lack of major cities or skyscrapers in colonial America during the 18th Century, and luckily Ubisoft has solved the problem by depicting a Boston that is three times larger than it actually was during the events of the game. Accompanying a larger city is improved AI that keeps NPCs performing varying tasks, seeking aid from the player, and even acknowledging Connor's presence occasionally.
Fears that the game's world would be too small for a series this large should be somewhat assuaged by Ubisoft's creativity with the facts, as should the claim that the campaign of AC3 will be 20% longer than that of Assassin's Creed 2. With new story details comes the reveal that betrayal and vengeance seem to be preferred themes for the development team, with Connor's place in the American Revolution both personal and culturally significant. Apparently the game begins with Connor's village and family being slaughtered, with the young boy being instructed to seek refuge among The Assassin Order in America. Tasked with avenging his family and building a place for the Mohawk in the new country being formed, Connor's place in the larger war could carry even more significance than previous narratives.
Before we move on to gameplay and combat changes, take a look at exactly how the wilderness of the American frontier will look and feel in Assassin's Creed 3, and what a faster, stronger and more cunning protagonist means for combat:
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Previous trailers and screenshots painted Connor as an extremely dangerous and stealthy warrior, and growing up among an American Assassin Order is sure to be different from the previous Brotherhoods fans have experienced. Connor's escape to the Order itself goes a long way to explaining that hand-crafted Assassin tomahawk, and new information also lists a Chinese Rope Dart as part of the new protagonist's arsenal. The long-range weapon will allow Connor to eliminate enemies silently from above, and is an unforeseen nod to the Chinese Assassin appearing in Assassin's Creed: Embers.
The enemies that Connor will be dispatching will be primarily British Redcoats - as can be seen in all of the media released to date - but other Native American tribes will also be doing their best to end Connor's attempts at vengeance. If true, that could mean any number of things for the overall plot, but in terms of gameplay the inclusion of warriors more similar to Connor than European soldiers guarantees different enemy behaviors.
With the presence of a custom tomahawk, pistols (which may possibly be dual-wielded), bow and arrow and Rope Dart, the chances of the Hidden Blade being seriously utilized is seeming less and less likely. The preferred tool of the ancient Order could still make its appearance with plot significance, but with four games already utilizing the blade which is essentially a one-trick pony, we're not exactly disappointed.
With these tweaks to the combat systems comes significant changes to the control scheme used for free-running. The speed and ease with which Connor navigated the treetops in the game's announcement trailer proved that players would be in for a surprise, and apparently the amount of traversal possible is also significantly different than in the past. Rather than having to make a miles-long detour to ascend a single hill or cliff-face (we're looking at you, Brotherhood) Connor will be able to climb "whatever you see." Whether that is actually accurate or a bit of an exaggeration, the wilderness screenshots above show plenty of tree trunks and cliffs large enough to assume that climbable objects will outnumber those of previous games.
The development team at Ubisoft is definitely addressing concerns that the AC formula was getting stale with this new information, and with as strong and stand-alone a plot as Connor's quest for vengeance alongside the birth of the United States, it's easy to see why they believe Assassin's Creed 3 is a good starting spot for new fans.
Ubisoft has earned the benefit of the doubt at this point, and with Desmond's mission hopefully adding to what could be a potentially groundbreaking portrayal of the American Revolution we're more than a little excited. What's your take on the new details and images? Is the series moving a bit too close to other third-person 'mature' titles, or does this seem to be the direction Ubisoft has been heading all along?
Assassin’s Creed 3 is scheduled for a release on October 30, 2012 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
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