Creative director Alex Hutchinson has said the Assassin’s Creed III team “liked the idea of having a minority” as the lead character in the game, but don’t expect Connor Kenway to be stereotypical Hollywood brave like Tonto.
Speaking with the PS Blog, Hutchinson said the development of Connor, or Ratohnhaké:ton if you will, was “taken very seriously” by the team, and a Native American consultant was brought on board to make sure things were “handled properly.”
“We took it very seriously when we decided to have a Native American assassin, we wanted someone who was one step removed — we didn’t want a Redcoat or a Patriot,” he said. “We also really liked the idea of having a minority as the lead character, especially one that isn’t really represented in popular culture.
“It comes with a lot of risk as well; we’ve hired a Native American consultant to make sure we’re handling things appropriately, and the actor who voices Connor is Native American as well.”
For the first time in the AC series, the protagonist will be able to dual-wield, something apparently required back in the Colonial era, and such a inclusion required changes to be made to the control layout
“We wanted him to feel more like a predator, so all of his combat is two-handed whether it’s tomahawk and knife, or hidden blade and knife,” Hutchinson said. “There’s a lot of new gear, and if you’ve watched movies like The Last of the Mohicans you can probably figure out some of them. But the core combat system has been rebuilt completely. What the buttons do, how they do it, the enemy types, the strategy, and so forth.
“The goal was to create a character who was as nimble and as capable in a wilderness environment as Ezio and Altair were in cities. We wanted to turn the frontier into a 3D playing space of uneven surfaces and slopes and trees….so when we looked at the controls, we thought we could clarify them. Having to hold two buttons at once in order to climb was definitely something we wanted to address.
“In Assassin’s Creed III, if you hold R1 you’ll free run safely. You’ll stay relatively horizontal, so Connor will run past trees and he’ll only take “safe” jumps. But if you hold X as well, then the run becomes unsafe — he’ll try to go vertical, and if he hits the edge of a cliff, he’ll jump. Hopefully it’ll give peoples’ hands some relief, but it’s also a way of telling the game whether you want to take risks or not.
“We’ve managed to unify that new control scheme with our fighting. R1 is always sprint, so you don’t have to lock onto enemies anymore in order to attack them. And if you wanna get out of a fight, you just hold R1 and off you go. We have this idea, too, that Connor is always in motion — that he can assassinate on the run. So we have ways to run past a guard, snatch his musket, shoot his buddy, kill the next guy, and keep on moving.”
Assassin’s Creed III is out in October.