Assassin’s Creed 3 is almost here, with the recently-released launch trailer reminding the world that the adventure will be the biggest and best title in the series so far. But while some may already see the third numbered release as the final chapter of the current story, Ubisoft says this is just the beginning. And it’s that promise that has enticed more players than ever to sign up early for another walk through the pages of history.
In fact, Ubisoft announced today that Assassin’s Creed 3 is the most pre-ordered game in the company’s history, more than doubling those of last year’s Revelations. At this point, the outlook for the series couldn’t be any brighter.It’s not completely surprising that AC3 has earned a larger groundswell of support and excitement than previous games, given its setting and story. Relying on a patriotic, American crusade for justice is automatically easier for a North American audience to get excited about than a deep-dive into the intricacies of the Medici family and Italian Renaissance.
While some may have feared that such a politically-charged plot and a Native American hero would be a bit unattractive to the average consumer, the numbers show that first and foremost, gamers are hungry for strong characters and inspired gameplay. The pre-order bonuses certainly haven’t hurt, but extra content and missions can’t be responsible for the increase alone.
The pre-order sales mark means the expectations for AC3 are even higher than some might have predicted, so the pressure on Ubisoft Montreal couldn’t be higher. But according to the French publisher’s senior vice president of sales & marketing, Tony Key, the studio is sure the game won’t disappoint:
“Assassin’s Creed III is one of the most anticipated games of the year and this impressive pre-order mark is just a hint of the game’s potential […] When players discover the new features, historical period, characters and gaming experience that the development team has worked so hard to create, we’re confident that they will agree that this is the biggest, best Assassin’s Creed game yet.”
Ubisoft has spoken to its unique nature as a “triple-A dinosaur” in the gaming industry, with more time and money at their disposal than most developers are allowed. In hindsight, the somewhat diversionary plot lines of both Brotherhood and Revelations may have been worth the wait. Those titles could be seen as stalling Desmond’s story, but they provided Ubisoft Montreal three years to develop one game. And so far, the time looks to have been put to good use.
We’ve been spending our time waiting for the release of Desmond’s last stand coming up with some outlandish predictions of our own, but the sales of AC3 were never really in question. But to hear just how much confidence has already been placed in the game’s ability to deliver is a bit unexpected. It would seem all that money spent on advertising has clearly paid off.
Obviously the increase in pre-orders isn’t simply a reflection of how many new players have been convinced to get in on the Assassin’s Creed series moments before it climaxes. The developers have maintained that despite it taking four games to get us to this point, AC3 is a good place for players to jump in. It’s hard to image the game being less enjoyable for a newcomer, especially since Connor’s life from childhood to a full-grown Assassin forms a complete story all on its own.
It’s hard not to be optimistic about the increase in pre-order numbers, and what it could mean for Assassin’s Creed 4. We have our own hopes for a game built around the French Revolution, but a story that bold can only be told if the team is given enough time and resources to do it justice. Ubisoft gave their Montreal studio just that, and the results are already showing to take the series to heights never experienced before. Could this mean Assassin’s Creed might escape the watering-down of annualized releases?
We’ll keep our fingers crossed. What do you think of the pre-order numbers breaking existing records? Could this increase in pre-orders be enough to reshape Ubisoft’s formula, assuming AC4 will also be given a lengthy development cycle for next-gen consoles?
Assassin’s Creed 3 is released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 30, 2012. A PC release is scheduled for November 20, with a Wii U version on November 18.
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