Ah, the forest. The sanctum sanctorum of nature’s unbridled beauty. Whispering pines. Whistling winds. The clanking of creek water as it trickles through the veins of creation’s heart. It’s blissful serenity at its zenith.

And in the snowy winters of the Northeast Corridor, it’s also the perfect place to prance around in a silver cloak and stab your unsuspecting prey in the face.

While previous Assassin’s Creed III art drawings and screenshots have shown how our new Native American protagonist, Connor, would use the abundant and diverse terrain of the forest to ambush his Redcoat adversaries — often slicing them up with a tomahawk a la Mel Gibson in The Patriot — we knew from Ubisoft’s admitted Red Dead Redemption inspiration that hunting wild game was of equal importance to hunting the Most Dangerous Game. We just haven’t seen it in action yet.

The latest crop of screenshots for Assassin’s Creed III, originally published on All Games Beta, doesn’t change that — there’s no fighting off wolves or escaping the clutches of a giant grizzly bear. We are, however, given a beautiful picture of how forest navigation and wild animal hunting might work. As Connor walks closely in step with a doe, perches up on a tree limb, and dangles off the face of a rock, some intriguing possibilities are brought to mind in a game where trading pelts is a vital part of the world economy.

Assassin's Creed 3 Deer Connor Forest

It’s unclear whether or not Connor is actually hunting the deer, but if he is, it’s appropriate that he looks to be wielding a tomahawk as opposed to a musket or a flintlock pistol. A recent Assassin’s Creed III developer interview detailed how riddling a carcass with musket balls could severely devalue its pelt when brought into town for trade.

Those who remember the cinematic AC III reveal trailer might also remember Connor nimbly leaping — almost sprinting — from tree limb to tree limb as the camera swept around him. Our gameplay preview at PAX East saw how such fervent movement is indeed feasible, and the screens would certainly back that up. Environments appear teeming with outhanging tree branches and protruding trunk notches to the point where Connor can keep his feet off the ground almost entirely. We’re guessing the final gameplay build ends up finding some sort of middle ground between Tarzan and the sedentary posture Connor can be seen assuming here, but Ubisoft seems deeply invested in its new traversal design structure.

All in all, there’s a lot left to be revealed about AC III — and Ubisoft is likely hoping it stays under wraps until the game gets closer to its October release. If you still need to get caught up, though, be sure to check out all of our AC III coverage, including details on new controls and 4-player co-op, speculation on Templar conspiracy theories, and insight on Desmond’s biggest role yet.

Ranters, we know that the forest is a huge part of the AC III experience. How would you like to see the woodland environments and their traversal play out?

Assassin’s Creed III releases on October 30, 2012, for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

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Source: All Games Beta