Okay, now that I’ve had my little joke I will actually tell you some of the new features and systems that will be present in Assassin’s Creed 3 which I will combine with some awesome screenshots and a little video which introduces our new protagonist Connor/Ratohnhake:ton (that’s his native American name).
A few of the details that have recently been discussed and revealed about Ubisoft’s latest free-running sandbox game have already been seen by people on the NeoGAF thread that I posted several weeks ago (before the official reveal even!) but the new features have now been described in greater detail by the team at Ubisoft and the IP development director Tommy Francois.
Now the first thing that is mentioned is the scale of the game and the importance. This is Ubisoft’s most ambitious and biggest game to date and they’ve been working on it for the last three years. This is driven home to make sure that people know that Assassin’s Creed 3 will not just be MORE Assassin’s Creed 2. Which is a justifiable view really, Revelations definitely felt like more of Brotherhood, which in turn was simply more of Assassin’s Creed 2. I, and I think I’m not alone here, was a little worried that AC3 was announced to have a release date this year as it seemed that Ubisoft would again simply be churning out more of the same in order to milk the cash cow. But judging by their claims, I’m hoping that won’t be the case in the slightest.
The next detail to mention is the setting. Now we know by now that it will be set in the American Revolution period, from 1753 to 1783 to be precise, but there is mention of the focus of the game being on “[the revolution] that mattered”. What this suggests, to me at least, is that while the game may feature the large battles and conflicts of the War for Independence, it might simply be a backdrop for the game with the plot not really focusing on the revolution at all. Of course THAT is simply speculation, but it’s nice to imagine that we won’t spend all our time fighting Redcoats.
The next mention goes to the Frontier wilderness in which around 30% of the game will take place. First off, it is about 1.5 times the size of Rome from Brotherhood, so already the game is much bigger than previous installments (although I’m not sure how that compares size-wise with Assassin’s Creed 2). It’s not simply the boring and pointless wilderness like in the original Assassin’s Creed. Here the wilderness will be carefully crafted so that the game never slows down or loses it’s “Assassin” feel. The cinematic trailer (see the bottom) shows Connor leaping through branches like Tarzan and I think we can expect the game to flow pretty similarly. The design team apparently wanted to make travelling through it “fun” so they invested time in designing the WHOLE landscape… Sounds good to me!
Moreover the map will contain animals and threats and resources to be harvested, in fact one thing that I can think to compare it to is Red Dead Redemption which was released after the team at Ubisoft starting making the game. Supposedly there are going to be “magical moments with animals” as well, but whether that means there will be random encounters or certain special fights I don’t really know. Skinning animals has no announced purpose yet (although selling it and/or crafting gear from it sounds reasonable) but it will actually be more sophisticated than the system in RDR in that the way you actually kill the animal changes the quality of the skin you gain from it. If you sneak up on the deer/wolf/bear and take it down with your blade you’ll get a better skin than if you just shot the damned thing with your pistols.
Special mention also goes to the new weather and season system. NPCs and the gameplay both change with changes in the weather. Snow in the wilderness, for example, causes your character to run slower and causes chases to become more cumbersome and difficult. Soldiers also will apparently act and appear cold, wrapping themselves into their clothes perhaps or being more oblivious of their surroundings. However, on the other side the snow makes your footsteps nearly silent and provides more places for your assassin to perform reality-defying leap of faiths. Also, should you somehow only injure an opponent you can now track it through the snow by following the trail of blood spatters it will leave in it’s wake… Although how anything would ever escape alive is a mystery to me…
More than this fog and rain causes different effects of their own. While fog seems to simply be there to change the look of the towns and forests (I’m not sure whether it actually does anything yet), rain on the other hand causes combat to turn in your favour as the enemy’s muskets will be unable to function in the wet weather.
The cities too will be different and more industrial. Wider streets and busier crowds will both be the name of the day, with the former providing extra difficulties for a game in which leaping from rooftop to rooftop is the main point of the game. Ubisoft will apparently overcome this through the use of trees and markets and perhaps lampposts about the place to make the sure the free-running still flows.
Also, this will be the first AC in which you will actually be able to enter buildings and come out the other side. While it’s not been announced how many building you can enter or whether it’s only under certain circumstances it definitely gives the sense that the game is becoming even more open and awesome and makes it easier for you to make it your personal playground.
There is MORE as well!
There is a simple cover system to allow you to perform Arkham-esque corner take-downs and assassinations and the like.
You will be able to do leaps of faith into moving objects, such as a bale of hay in a cart.
Foliage, and I imagine other chest high things, can be used for stealth and sneaking.
There will be small “micro-quests” which are similar to the random encounters of RDR, such as pursuing a thief, hopefully they will make more use of this than they did in previous games as random encounters just make a game feel more alive and vibrant.
As part of the game IS set during a war you can expect to see battles and even take part. While most of the major conflicts will apparently take place at a distance and won’t have the same level of detail as the rest of the game they still ought to be something rather awesome to see. Explosions and formations and cannons and muskets flying every which way!
While Connor himself wields duel pistols alongside his hidden blade, bow and arrow and tomahawk enemies will most often use muskets and bayonets. The advantage with these guns for the assassin is that they take a very long time to reload providing you with an opportunity to close the distance and make sure they understand why shooting you is a mistake. Although I assume this also means attacking groups of 20 or more in the open might prove to be more than a little foolhardy.
Bears are easier than in Skyrim and RDR as they can be killed with one brutal stab to the heart. But of course, nobody is better at killing than an Assassin…
NPC civilians will move closer to you in cities making it feel more vibrant and alive, trying to make it feel you are in the hustle and bustle of the major cities of New York and Boston.
You will, FINALLY, be able to climb rocks and rock-faces with some freedom.
Connor supposedly will have a “rope-dart” which will act as a sort of zip-line thing. It’s mentioned that this will be used to fling himself across the battlefield at speed, but I wonder if it will also be used for travel.
80% of speaking characters in the game are real historical ones, people like George Washington immediately spring to mind.
The game will also have a massive graphics upgrade from previous games with extra attention being placed upon facial expressions and details. A great deal of effort has gone into putting more muscles around character’s eyes and mouth to make in-game cut scenes be more life-like and realistic. To be honest, I never really doubted that there would be an increase in the graphics of AC3 of some kind and besides the visuals of the previous games have usually been rather pretty anyway!
Finally, Ubisoft have apparently spent more time and more man-hours on this game than any other game in the series so I think we can expect the game to look good, feel great and have an extreme level of polish… I simply CANNOT wait!
By the way, all of this was stolen from Rock, Paper, Shotgun if you are interested as to my sources.