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Connor goes loud: Assassin’s Creed III gets first showing

Monday, 26 March 2012 17:00 GMT By Stace Harman

Can the turbulent backdrop of the American Revolution match the passion of the Renaissance era? Stace Harman attends the Assassin’s Creed III unveiling in London to find out.

ASSASSIN’S CREED III

Assassin’s Creed III features new protagonist Connor Kenway, of English and Native American descent his birth name is Ratohnhaké:ton – pronounced Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon.

Stepping away from the civilised, sun-bathed Renaissance streets, the game’s biggest star is its rugged wilderness which features new gamplay elements and a whole ecosystem of wildlife.

Weather will also play its part, with fog, snow and rain affecting Connor’s options for both traversing the environment and choice of combat strategy.

Connor will find himself helping both the Colonies and Revolutionaries during his adventure. IP development director Tommy Francois describes Connor’s motivations, “We had Altair who was focused on duty, Ezio was about revenge and Connor is very much about justice.”

Assassin’s Creed III has been in development for two years by Ubisoft Montreal and a number of supporting internal teams.

It’s hard to fault Ubisoft for releasing three decent-sized, well-constructed games in the space of 24 months; especially as Ezio’s trilogy featured such a rich, multi-layered narrative with the optional depth of hidden puzzles, conspiracy theories and numerous side-stories.

In fact, it borders on being churlish to knock the publisher’s efforts; but such have been Ubisoft’s endeavours to launch yearly updates to the franchise since 2009’s Assassin’s Creed II, I find that I am one such churl; sat amongst those for whom familiarity with Ezio’s bloody tale of vengeance has ultimately bred contempt.

More than most then, I’m excited by Assassin’s Creed III’s promise of a new protagonist and storyline, set against the more naturally stunning vistas of the raw and brutal American Revolution. Sitting down with Ubisoft’s gregarious director of IP development, Tommy Francois, it’s apparent that he’s excited too.

“When you move from something that you’ve put so much into, such as Ezio, you’re scared you’ll miss him,” he begins.

“However, we’ve just taken Ezio through a trilogy of games and are ready for something different and it’s important to note that this game has been in development for well over two years.

“We have all the Assassin’s teams working on this game, right back to Prince of Persia Sands of Time and Assassin’s 1 and 2. The reason I mention that is to acknowledge that yes, it’s important to appeal to new fans, but it’s also important to show existing fans that we care about them. We have to show them love for every second they spend in the Assassin’s universe because they are only a click away from another universe.”

And so, the challenge for Ubisoft Montreal and the handful of worldwide teams that are working on the project is to create an experience that stays true to the spirit of the franchise, while at the same time pushing its boundaries.

The vast expanse of the wilderness and Connor’s traversal of it are perhaps the most obvious and visually arresting ways in Ubisoft is looking to evolve the series. The AnvilNext game engine offers the chance not only for a more natural interaction with the environment – that sees Connor hurdling over waist-high obstacles and vaulting from fallen logs and boulders – but also the opportunity to shoot and integrate full-performance capture of acrobatic motion, facial expression and vocal work as one coherent whole.

Wild at heart

Although both New York and Boston will feature, populated with NPCs that will interact more convincingly with Connor and with each other, it’s the rugged wilderness of the American frontier that captures the imagination and proves one of the game’s biggest draws. The harsh winter of the reveal-trailer will eventually give way to other, more forgiving seasons, bringing about a change in both weather conditions and the behaviour of Assassin’s Creed III new cast of characters: wildlife.

“At the time we created the target gameplay footage that featured hunting, it was brand new and there hadn’t been too many games with wildlife,” Francois remembers.

“Then a few months after we created footage, Red Dead Redemption launched and we had to endeavour instead to innovate in other areas. But we do still have a full hunting system.”

Assassin’s Creed III: Debut trailer.

Only the simplest of details of the hunting system have been revealed and so we know that animals can be skinned for rewards, with a pelt acquired via a clean kill with a blade yielding greater recompense than that of an animal brought down by musket fire.

Picking off stray members of the animal kingdom may be considered child’s play, however, compared to facing off against a squad of soldiers with access to firearms. Fortunately, Ubisoft Montreal’s research and attention to detail means that only the initial shot of a musket need be avoided before closing the gap to engage in the assassin’s trademark close quarters combat; such was the reload time of 18th century muskets that it would take over a minute to be ready to fire the next shot, and evidently an assassin who is light on his feet can rupture a great number of jugulars in the space of a minute.

To wreak this bloody misery on his enemies, Connor, like his ancestors, is equipped with the iconic wrist-blade, as well as a host of weapons suited to his background and environment. A dagger and tomahawk constitute Connor’s close-range weapons, a brace of pistols offer a medium-range but noisy option and the bow and arrows slung across his back grant a long range and, crucially, silent method of taking down man and beast.

The white elephant in the animus

The presentation shown to the assembled members of the press focuses very much on the great wilderness of the frontier, the changing weather system and the improved animation and vocal performance of key characters. Little of city life is shown off, though it’ll clearly play an integral role in Connor’s tale but there’s one key and divisive individual who is entirely absent from the presentation; the one man that arguably makes all of this historical gallivanting possible.

“Having Desmond in the Animus allows us to give [Assassin’s Creed] an extremely edgy, breakthrough visual style,” insists Francois. “It allows us to have the visual glitches and embrace our culture completely.

“There are no plans to drop the modern part and the Animus or Desmond, quite the contrary: we will make Desmond more of a hero and we will make it more fun. We’re doing everything in our power to make sure that the execution of that part of the mythos is getting better and better.”

Desmond’s story has undoubtedly been the weakest thread of the Assassin’s Creed canon to date, and Ubisoft Montreal are going to have to go some way to convince players, both old and new alike, that his contribution is more than that of mere facilitator for Connor’s more dynamic, exciting and believable tale.

But stranger things have happened and if just one half-English, half-Native American man can have a significant impact on an entire war, perhaps the legion of story-tellers, animators, coders and artists at Ubisoft can convince us that Desmond’s tale is one worthy of our time. Perhaps.

Assassin’s Creed III is due for release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 31 2012. Dates for the PC and Wii U versions are still to be announced.

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15 Comments

  1. Gheritt White

    Game Of The Year, for sure.

    …well that or BioShock Infinite, I suppose.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. DSB

    Did you just compare Assassins Creed to Bioshock?

    OHMYGOD.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Gekidami

    Just got an e-mail about the games CE’s. Apparently theres a ‘Join or Die Edition’ & ‘Freedom Edition’:
    http://www.micromania.fr/imagesprod/48463/48463_p1_collector.jpg
    http://www.micromania.fr/imagesprod/48469/48469_p1_AC3_FREEDOM_EDITION_MOCK-UP_FR_Micromania-1.jpg

    I’m sure better pics are out there.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Ercarret

    There was a shitload of info under the video? I missed that completely. :P

    Looks interesting. I don’t really know what I think of the new setting, but when I saw some of the concept art in the video I at least saw a huge potential. It looks very different from the previous AC games, and four games in, that’s a good thing.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Sam Clay

    I was lucky enough to see the same presentation Stace did. Here are my thoughts…

    “Oh…myy..gawwdd” :)

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Sadismek

    @3 Thank you a thousand times. Now I have to decide which one I will get… That medalion looks freakin’ awesome.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. NeoSquall

    I just got the “Connor goes loud” joke, very clever :P

    Also I’ve already made up my mind on which edition I’ll get, I think Connor will find good company between my “Master Assassin Ezio” and my “Revelations Ezio” :)

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Sadismek

    ^I don’t have Master Assassin Ezio or Revelations Ezio, because they don’t ship that in my country (Damn me.). But I will sure as hell try to get this one. I would kill for that Alex Ross-drawn steelbook case.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. LOLshock94

    http://i.imgur.com/8QmIp.gif

    #9 3 years ago
  10. LOLshock94

    wait hes called connor….such a stupid name

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Edo

    Come on dude,are you guys seriously going to make us wait till E3 for some gameplay footage!??!

    #11 3 years ago
  12. NeoSquall

    @11 If we’re lucky enough we’ll have it by E3, or else we may have to wait for the GDC D:

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Edo

    “The highlight of the Boston section is what is called a chase-breaker. Connor has barged past some Redcoat guards, who give chase. What would be a standard run through an Assassin’s Creed city’s street changes radically when a woman in a second-story window opens some shutters to breath in the fresh air. Connor, clambering over a stall in the middle of the road, turns 90 degrees to his right and runs through the open window, shocking the woman. He zips through the interior of her house and out the window on other side, losing his predecessors in one of the coolest moments an Assassin’s Creed development team has ever shown to the press.”
    This particular detail sounds so freaki’n awesome!!

    #13 3 years ago
  14. nani17

    OMG a new Assassins creed didn’t see that coming can’t wait to buy my climbing glove. All i need now is a new call of duty or a Halo and my gaming year is complete lets hope we get them.

    Milk games FTW

    #14 3 years ago
  15. LOLshock94

    Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon. hehe it said gay

    #15 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]

  • The Crew two-hour demo now available in US, tomorrow in the UK

    Ubisoft has announced a free trial of its driving MMO The Crew will be available tomorrow, March 25 in the UK. It’s live today in North America. For current players, the Vintage Car Pack and Vintage Live Update, including a new PvP mode, are now available. The Vintage Car Pack included the Chevrolet Corvette C2 […]

  • Minecraft Mass Effect Mash-Up and Pattern Texture Pack out from today

    A Mass Effect Mash-up pack and the Pattern Texture Pack will release on PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita today in North America and tomorrow in Europe. The Pattern Texture Pack is also available for Xbox consoles today. The Mass Effect Mash-Up pack contains the Mars Facility from Mass Effect 3 plus textures and craftable items […]

  • The Talos Principle expansion pack Road to Gehenna announced

    An expansion for The Talos Principle has been announced titled Road to Gehenna. The expansion follows the narrative of Uriel, Elohim’s messenger, as he explores a “strange, hidden part of the simulation” on a mission of “mercy and redemption.” Uriel is attempting to free the souls of the damned “at all costs.” Road to Gehenna […]

  • Twitch Plays Pokemon finally catches ‘em all – even the rare Mewtwo

    Twitch Plays Pokemon players have captured all 151 original Pokemon which were included in a modified version of Pokemon Red, and this includes the rare Mewtwo. It took 39 days for Twitch players to catch ‘em all. Have a look at the impressive feat for yourself below. Thanks, Polygon.

  • GameStop will have limited units of Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL back in stock

    Those who missed out on the Limited Edition Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL will have another opportunity to purchase it outside of eBay. Tomorrow only, GameStop stores in the United States will have four units in stock, according to and internal memo sent to Kotaku. This is every store in the country, and again, only […]

  • Second phase of Fortnite closed Alpha launches today

    Fortnite’s second closed Alpha test will go live this afternoon, according to the official website. Those currently participating will have until April 14 to test the online aspects for 12 hours per day (noon -12am EDT). All progress from the previous Alpha test will be wiped, and other changes are listed in the patch notes. […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Jaws of Hakkon out now on PC, Xbox One

    As promised yesterday, the single-player DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Jaws of Hakkon, is now available on PC and Xbox One. It will run you or £11.99 or your regional equivalent. The new content expands the land of Thedas with mountainous regions and forests, and it is full of “vicious enemies.” Players will also be […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer shows Ascendance gameplay

    Activision has released a new gamepay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to support the Ascendance DLC which releases next week. Ascendance, will release first on Xbox consoles March 31 and includes the next chapter of the Exo Zombies Saga, Infected, along with four new multiplayer maps: Perplex, Site 244, Climate and Chop Shop. […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight will be a digital only release on PC – report

    It appears Batman: Arkham Knight will not see a physical release on PC, according to ShopTo. The retailer was told by its buyer the Rocksteady game will only be released on PC in digital form. ShopTo is currently double checking the information. If accurate, it is unknown if this will be case in North America […]

  • Bloodborne patch focusing on load times, performance optimizations in the works

    A patch for Bloodborne which will address load times is in the works, Sony has said The load times were one of the issues noted in Digital Foundry’s report on the From Software title. Sony told Eurogamer the patch would also explore other issues as well. “The development team is currently exploring another patch for […]

  • Gearbox would “love” to have entire Borderlands collection on current-gen

    An Xbox One and PlayStation 4 version of the original Borderlands game is something Gearbox Software is interested in, according to studio boss Randy Pitchford. Speaking in the latest Major Nelson podcast, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said should Borderlands: The Handsome Collection prove successful, 2K Games might consider a current-gen version. “The fact that The […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork shows the catacombs, dock, more

    Over the weekend we posted Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork along with news of a retail release in Europe. Today, we have better quality images of said artwork to share with you. Enjoy. The standalone prequel will be released digitally on May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in North America, and digitally on […]

  • Slender: The Arrival terrorizes PS4 and Xbox One this week

    In case you forgot, what with Bloodborne out today and other high profile releases of late, Slender: The Arrival is out today on PlayStation 4 in North America. The scary game will arrive on Xbox One tomorrow, March 25, and in Europe on PS4. Slender: The Arrival is an expansion on the original Slender game […]

  • World of Warcraft’s WoW Token rollout slated after launch of patch 6.1.2

    Blizzard has announced it will start rollout its WoW Token option in the weeks following the launch of patch 6.1.2 on March 24. WoW Token allows players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard will release WoW Token first in realms serving North America, Oceania, and Latin America and will expand […]

  • The Evil Within: The Consequence dated for April, teaser video released

    Part 2 of Juli Kidman’s adventure in The Evil Within will arrive next month with the release of The Consequence. Above is a brief teaser showing some of the “madness” Kidman will encounter. The Consequence will arrive on Tuesday, April 21 on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. European PlayStation players will […]

  • Bloodborne sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate” per performance analysis

    Bloodborne has been analyzed by Digital Foundry and according to the report, even with a 30fps cap the game sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate.” The game’s day-one 2.69GB update 1.01 is “essential” as it contains improvements to game performance and stability and the frame-rate tests run by Digital Foundry were in single-player […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews round-up

    Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews are out in the wild so we decided to catch a few of them for you. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The collection packages Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel along with each game’s DLC content on one disc. Better graphics and […]

  • Evolve, Forza Horizon 2, WWE 2K15 are this week’s Deals with Gold

    Evolve, Forza 2 Horizon and WWE 2K15 are just some of the games which are part of this week’s Xbox Deals with Gold. You can also pick up the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Pro Edition for 20% off as well as the standard edition for 33% off. For the Xbox 360 crowd, there’s also […]

  • Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles now available starting at $250

    Microsoft is offering a discount on three Xbox 360 bundles with prices starting at $250. The Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles feature various content such as a Kinect, 500GB console bundle and one month of Xbox Live Gold. Xbox 360 500GB Spring Value Bundle: comes with Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare download and Fable […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege beta sign ups now open

    Ubisoft is letting everyone register for the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege closed beta. Rainbow Six Siege is due for a closed beta sometime this year. Ubisoft has opened registration to everyone. All you need to do is enter your preferred platform and log in using your Uplay account. You will be entered into a waiting […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Exo Zombies map Infection is creepy

    The upcoming chapter in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Zombies mode is called ‘Infection’ and Activision has been slowly revealing bits and pieces about it. A few teasers have been dropping ahead of Ascendance launch this month. The teasers are about the second episode in the Exo Zombie story, Infection. First off, the map. […]

  • This is the Bloodborne press kit in all its glory

    Bloodborne is a gorgeous game so it’s only fitting that the press kit it came in is a reflection of that. The pictures capture the many amazing bits of the Bloodborne press kit. A press kit is what’s usually sent to the reviewers alongside the review copy. They’re usually very ornate and almost all of […]

  • This Hearthstone turn is taking over 40 hours and you can watch it happen

    A very smart Hearthstone player has rigged his game to make one turn take over 40 hours, and it has been going for over 22 already. Hearthstone player Mamytwink set up a game against his friend to try and achieve the record for the longest turn in Hearthstone ever. Basically, Mamytwink set the game up […]

  • The Witcher 3: Geralt’s beard grows over time, but not Gandalf-long

    The beard of The Witcher 3 protagonist Geralt will grow over time, but you can trim it if you choose to. As part of a recently published impressions piece by German magazine Gamestar (translated by NeoGAF), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developers revealed that Geralt’s beard will in fact grow over time. Not content with […]

  • Sony mistakenly abandons Bloodborne trademark in the US

    The administration side of Sony Computer Entertainment has not been in the best of shapes recently. Sony has abandoned four game trademarks yesterday, one of which is for Bloodborne. The trademarks were all registered with US Patent and Trademark Office. All of the games trademarks pertain to unreleased games and Sony would’ve had to either […]

  • Payday 2 will be supported until 2017

    Payday 2 developer has announced that it will continue to support the game for the next two years. Payday 2 developer Overkill has revealed today that it’s planning to support the game until 2017. What this means is that more free content as well as paid DLC are in the works for release later. Payday […]

  • These are the top Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare weapons, according to the developer

    Based on their overall kill-to-death ratio, what are the best guns in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Developer Sledgehammer reveals the top 5. Sledgehammer’s Michael Condrey has revealed on Twitter the top 5 weapons in Advanced Warfare based on their overall kill-to-death ratio. Here’s the list: ARX-160 – Hole Puncher Ameli – Heavy HBRa3 – […]

  • H1Z1 has sold more than 1 million copies

    H1Z1 has already sold over 1 million copies on Steam. H1Z1 may still be in Early Access on Steam, but it has already sold more than 1 million copies. Daybreak president John Smedley announced on Twitter earlier. H1Z1 launched in January and instantly became a hit. The game has consistently been on Steam’s top 10 […]