Moving Assassin’s Creed outside the urban playground seems like a dramatic departure, and that’s precisely how Ubisoft Montreal likes it.
“We wanted to offer something that’s really fresh. We wanted to get outside the cities,” creative director Alex Hutchinson told GameInformer of Assassin’s Creed III’s forest setting.
“Early on we thought okay, if we’re gonna provide not just a new context and a new hero, but a whole new playground, a whole new area to explore, than what better than the American north east?” he added.
“In the period in which our game is set, the American Revolution, it’s like this half untouched wilderness where weather and winter is terrifying, where tress and forests are still ancient. There are populations who live out in the woods that haven’t seen western civilisation necessarily. We have all these great features to play with and I think that big chunk on its own is going to feel really fresh.”
Additionally, Hutchison feels a forest setting address a fault both in the Assassin’s Creed series and in many other games.
“I always thought it was funny that the one thing you couldn’t climb in AC was the one thing I have climbed in real life, which is a tree,” he said.
“There’re plenty of games with forests but the forests are just collections of assets, they’re just trees and you walk around them. The fact that it’s a tree doesn’t matter.
“It could be a lampost, it could be a box, it could be anything. Whereas if we can make trees and the wilderness as much a playground as Altaïr and Ezio made cities, then I think it’s huge.”
Despite this push for a new direction, Hutchinson feels the Assassin’s Creed franchise isn’t growing fatigued.
“The brand is healthy; there’s a big audience that cares about it,” he said.
“We didn’t want to tear it down. We’re not in one of those franchise situations where you need to reset, hit the reset and go back to the core.”
Assassin’s Creed III is due on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in October, with a Wii U version in the works and a PC release likely to surface some time later.
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