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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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    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront dev reveals planet Sullust

    Sullust, a planet that has not been previously shown, will be featured in one of Star Wars Battlefront’s maps. Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE revealed today that planet Sullust will be one of the game’s locations. The planet was mentioned in the films and other Star Wars works, but was only shown today. DICE posted […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: Tower vendor changes

    House of Wolves will change the inventory of some of Destiny’s vendors and add new roles to others. Here’s everything that has been announced so far. You know that House of Wolves will bring a new social space to the game in the form of The Reef. But did you also know that the good […]

  • Nintendo apologises for Amiibo shortages, will reissue some out-of-stock figures

    Nintendo released a statement today to apologise for fan’s frustrations in finding some Amiibo figures and promised to handle distribution better going forward. Nintendo has been criticised recently for its lack of communication when it comes to new Amiibo figures. Something which has lead fans to not know if certain figures are limited to some […]

  • Halo: MCC “a black eye for us,” Halo 5 won’t suffer the same fate, says franchise director

    The development of Halo: The Master Chief Collection was of an “outrageous complexity,” which was one of the reasons it suffered a horrible launch. None of that will happen with Halo 5: Guardians, according to Frank O’Connor. Frank O’Connor, Halo franchise development director opened up to Xbox Achievements about the difficult task of developing The […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: weapon Reforging explained

    When House of Wolves drops in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to change the stats of some in-game weapons. This process is called ‘Reforging’. Alex goes over all the details Bungie revealed about the new Reforging system. This covers the materials you need, the weapons that can be reforged and much more. Make […]

  • GTA 5 PC: control the in-game phone with your iPhone using this mod

    GTA 5′s latest mod lets you control the in-game phone with your real-life iPhone. Reddit user Planetleak wanted to see if he would succeed in getting his iPhone to control the phone in GTA 5. He did it and has a video to prove it. It’s not a mod per-se, but it emulates mouse and […]

  • SoulCalibur dev wants to know fans’ favourite characters for “something huge”

    SoulCalibur developers are probably working on a new game, because they’re asking fans to vote on their favourite characters. Project Soul, the longtime developer of the SoulCalibur series is soliciting feedback on fans’ favourite characters. The developer said as much in a post on its Facebook page. “Calling all SoulCalibur Fans! Project Soul would like […]

  • Jason Voorhees doesn’t look out of place in new Mortal Kombat X trailer

    Jason Voorhees comes to Mortal Kombat X starting tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate his arrival. Jason Voorhees, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat X has been given the trailer treatment. Jason is part of the game’s Kombat Pack, owners of which can start using him tomorrow, May 5. Being an iconic horror character, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Dragonslayer DLC announced, free to all this week

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is getting a multiplayer expansion this week. BioWare has announced that all owners of Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive a new multiplayer expansion, for free. The expansion is called Dragonslayer and it’s centred around fighting dragons, hence the name. Three new playable characters will join the roster as you explore an all-new […]

  • Sonder is still happening, and this is the best news of the week

    Sonder is a really interesting-looking new indie adventure, which I am quite excited to remember exists. We first heard about Sonder in late 2013, when its debut trailer introduced us to a Kamai Media’s ambitious vision. In the intervening months Kamai has been hard at work on its space station management sim slash non-linear narrative […]

  • Twitter axes playable Internet Archive embeds

    The dream has died: Twitter has disabled Internet Archive game embeds. Remember how for a few days you could tweet a link to an a game on the Internet Archive and it was playable direct from that tweet? Well, Twitter has cancelled that. All those tweets now just show links. GamesIndustry suspects it has something […]

  • Lords of the Fallen, Divinity: Original Sin developers will reveal new games at E3 2015

    Lords of the Fallen developer Deck13 and Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios have new projects in the works which will be revealed at E3 2015. Publisher Focus Home Interactive is behind both new games. In a French press release [PDF] spotted by RPG Codex, Focus said it will show off the two unrevealed titles […]

  • Rare game announce expected at E3 2015

    Rare’s new game will be shown off at E3 2015, apparently. Rare hasn’t announced a reveal, and neither has Microsoft, but it looks like the news has slipped out anyway. IGN cites a tweet from Rare creative director Simon Woodroffe in which he says that a new project from Rare designer Gregg Mayles will be […]

  • Batgirl expansion included in $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass

    Here’s what you get in the $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass. Batman: Arkham Knight’s season pass was announced last week, but apart from the news that it would cost a whopping $40/£33, we didn’t get many details of what it would include. Thankfully, Warner Bros. has since acknowledged the clamour this caused, as players […]

  • Star Wars Day Xbox sale discounts Force Unleashed, Lego games

    Star Wars Day is upon us, and here’s an Xbox sale to mark it. Microsoft is offering discounts on Xbox 360 games to celebrate May 4. From my desk here in Australia the sale is a bit light on content – two Lego games, plus The Force Unleashed and its DLC packs. Your mileage may […]

  • Here’s hoping this tease means we see Mass Effect at E3 2015

    Mass Effect boss Mike Gamble has shared a teaser image, which we’re more than happy to draw speculative conclusions from. The new Mass Effect game in the works at BioWare Edmonton is a mysterious beast. Judging by how long it’s been in development, it feels like we’re about due for a proper reveal, to clear […]

  • Watch almost a whole hour of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is almost here. Are you ready for old-school shooter action? Wolfenstein: The Old Blood publisher Bethesda livestreamed almost an hour of the Machine Games shooter recently, and has now uploaded the archive to YouTube. Check it out below: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood launches digitally on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on […]

  • Splatoon lacks voice chat to promote a positive online experience

    Nintendo’s multiplayer game Splatoon will not contain a voice chat option in order to “focus on the positive aspects” of online gaming. Speaking in the latest issue of Edge magazine (thanks, GamesRadar), Splatoon co-director Yusuke Amano said personal experience with negativity in online voice chat was one of the main reasons for excluding the feature. […]

  • D4 on PC: differences from Xbox One version, system specs announced

    D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Season 1 is coming to PC, and Access Games has provided a list of features different from the Xbox One version. We’ve pulled most of the changes off the game’s website and posted them below, along with the PC specs. D4 on PC Kinect gesture input controls replaced with […]

  • The Megalodon returns to Battlefield 4 with the latest CTE patch

    The Megalodon Easter Egg in Battlefield 4 may have been removed earlier this year from Naval Strike, but it has since resurfaced on the CTE with the latest patch. I’d make a Jaws reference, but it’s been done to death. The shark is shown in the video on the Paracel Storm map which was where […]

  • Survival horror game Kodoku has a new work-in-progress trailer

    Kodoku, the survival horror title from Carnivore Studio, has a new work-in-progress video available, showing you how the game is coming along. Announced for PlayStation 4 and Vita back in 2013, the game is slated for release sometime this year, and tasks the player with avoiding mythical Japanese ghosts using only magic and stealth. Thanks, […]

  • Current HoloLens prototype has noticeably “tighter” FoV compared to January build

    Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens is still very much in the prototype stage, according to various reports out of the Build Conference. Microsoft hasn’t discussed technical specs with the press yet as nothing is set in stone, but during a hands-on at Build, Ars Technica noticed the prototypes had a “x86 processor, 2GB RAM, 802.11ac […]

  • Silent Hills petition asking Konami to continue development has over 50,000 signatures

    A petition to save the Silent Hills game has been formed by fans in the hopes Konami will change its mind and bring the collaboration with Guillermo del Toro back from the dead. Konami confirmed on Monday the Silent Hill remake from film director Del Toro and Metal Gear’s Hideo Kojima had been cancelled, but […]

  • Attack on Titan has a US release date, title changed in EU over copyright claim

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains will be released under a different title in Europe, according to the publisher, and while a release date has been set for North America, the same cannot be said for fans across the pond. According to Atlus, a copyright claim in Europe has forced the company to publish the […]

  • Yooka-Laylee meets final Kickstarter Stretch Goal in less than 24 hours

    The Kickstarter for Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee sailed beyond its final £1 million ($1.5 million) Stretch Goal overnight, which will allow for a simultaneous release on all announced platforms. Once funded, Yooka-Laylee was slated for release on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One; however, a simultaneous release on all platforms wasn’t guaranteed unless […]