The developers at Ubisoft are no strangers to historical fiction or accuracy, having made the Crusades and the Renaissance come to life in the Assassin’s Creed series. Yet those setting were almost always in the background, providing a place and time for the main characters, not shaping and directing them, and certainly not bending to their will.
With Assassin’s Creed 3, that’s all changed. A new setting that will be influencing nearly every facet of the story, and a new hero that may help turn the war in one side’s favor means tackling more than a few touchy subject. To give an insight into the numerous challenges posed by Assassin’s Creed 3, and the excitement of those tackling them, Ubisoft has released a new documentary series online. Sit back, and enjoy the first two episodes of ‘Inside Assassin’s Creed 3’ now.
The first episode of ‘Inside Assassin’s Creed 3’ focuses on the new protagonist, Connor, and his role in the American Revolution, again emphasizing the team’s commitment to not just having a minority leading figure, but imbuing that figure with a sense of realism and cultural legitimacy. The First episode shows that Mohawk will be spoken in Assassin’s Creed 3, straight from the hero’s lips. Even Connor’s Mohawk name, RatonhnhakÃ©:ton is s touchstone for his experiences as a half-British, half-Mohawk man, roughly translating to ‘a life that is scratched.’
We’ve known that Connor’s journey would be taking him through historical battles (on both land and sea), but Creative Director Alex Hutchinson sets the record straight for what fans will experience. Connor’s goal, as stated, will be to “assassinate key historical figures at major battles, at major events during the Revolution.” Assassin’s Creed 3‘s previous cinematic trailers have shown that Connor is more than capable of navigating a battlefield to eliminate his targets, and now we know that he won’t be wasting his time with footsoldiers.
Whether this means that Ubisoft has mined the history books to find notable heroes who fell in battle, and will now attribute their deaths to Connor’s handiwork, or invented new enemies for him to take on is unknown, but either one guarantees a blend of history and creativity worthy of good historical fiction.
The developers also take the time to place much of the doors opened for AC3 on the development and refinement of the new AnvilNext game engine, capable of doing justice to the previous games’ mechanics, while introducing even more. A vibrant, open world that reacts realistically to the player and wildlife is a massive leap forward on its own. But the fact that the developers seem most excited about what the AnvilNext engine means in terms of storytelling and gameplay, not merely graphics, is an encouraging sign of their overall motivations.
Lest it be forgotten, Connor is a soldier in a war that extends far beyond his own lifetime. That means plenty of violence and combat, against British soldier and Templar alike. Episode 2 of ‘Inside Assassin’s Creed 3’ places the spotlight on Connor’s skill with a blade, and his unique – yet historically accurate – approach to warfare. Have a look:
Given his starring role in not one, but three Assassin’s Creed titles, the fighting style of Ezio Auditore is the one that most fans will immediately remember when considering the franchise’s brand of combat encounter. While the Italian nobleman’s style of sword-fighting was both brutal and gruesome, it never ceased to be graceful, calm, and above all, patient.
That style simply won’t work in a war as brutal and close-quarters as the American Revolution, and Connor most definitely won’t be relying on it. Aggression, surprise, and speed are his tools in a fight, and he is undeniably a master of them. The results are immediately apparent in extended gameplay walkthroughs, with Connor already seeming to be the most deadly and vicious character Assassin’s Creed has yet encountered. From a pure moment-to-moment gameplay perspective, Connor’s variation of combinations and weapon attacks offer far more entertainment value than Ezio’s one-two-three-one-two-three finishers.
While all of the series’ historical protagonists – and Desmond, for that matter – have found themselves outnumbered and outgunned in their fights. Yet the historical setting of AC3 offers a new perspective on Connor’s guerilla tactics, since they actually reflect the real war.
No one would know better the Native American strategies of striking hard and fast, only to retreat until another day better than Connor. In an age when messages of attack needed to be carried in person by survivors (assuming there were any), Connor’s timely attacks against Redcoats out of their element in the American wilds could have a significant effect on morale and numbers. Being able to really feel the difference being made would be a nice change of pace, since Ezio and Altair were both minor players in much larger wars and conflicts. Connor, it seems, will be driving events in a much more literal way.
Nobody is questioning Connor’s skills, or the historical accuracy of his weaponry and fighting style, but his motivations are still the stuff that great fiction is made of. We’ve got our own theories on what and who will be guiding him in his fight, but expect that to be discussed in the next episode of ‘Inside Assassin’s Creed 3,’ releasing next week.
Assassin’s Creed 3 will be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 30, 2012. A PC release is scheduled for November 20, with a Wii U version also planned.
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