Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 at 1:15 PM by Tim Bowers
I’m going to start this by being honest; I never liked Ezio Auditore de Firenze. I was never a fan, even after three games with him I was still glad when his story wrapped up at the end of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
Maybe it was my fault? I did foolishly play all three games featuring Mr Firenze, one right after the other, in a remarkably short time. The franchise has fallen into a yearly release cycle and maybe without the 11 month gap between games I wasn’t giving myself time to reflect. Maybe it was because I was actually a fan of the first Assassin’s Creed with Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad, and I couldn’t really understand why they’d jumped so far forward and to such an irritating character. Or maybe, and this is just putting it out there, but maybe it was because if you take away the locations, an ability to recruit other assassin’s, a heavily disliked tower defence mini-game and a hook, there wasn’t much really to separate the four games between Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
I’m well aware that I’m in the minority here. The AC franchise has done wonderful things, made truckloads of cash, won awards, inspired a whole generation of cosplayers, but when the credits rolled at the end of Ezio’s journey I was happy to see the back of it.
In November 2011, the same month as Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was released, rumours started that a ‘major’ Assassin’s Creed game was due in 2012. It wasn’t until March 2012 that we started to get more details along with the reveal trailer. Assassin’s Creed III was a reality and it’s taken me a while to get my head around it, but I’m now looking forward to it and here’s why:
It’s fair to say that Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations weren’t true sequels. They were only minor updates to Assassin’s Creed II and as such there was no real change in gameplay between them, you could probably package and sell them as one game and no one would notice. At the time I felt Ubisoft was cheating us out of a decent game; that they had watered down the AC games to accommodate their yearly release schedule, now I know it’s because most of the AC team were actually working on Assassin’s Creed III.
Work on AC III began in January 2010 shortly after the release of AC II. When the game releases at the end of this month it will have had the longest development time since the original AC title. The game will be running on a new version of the Anvil Engine which allows the game to add more detailed environments, plus it can depict up to two thousand troops in battle which is handy considering the new time period.
The Renaissance was an amazing time for the culture of humanity. Art, literature, music, science, all made leaps forward, but other than that not much really happened. The AC II stories were essentially a personal tale of revenge for Ezio, but now that’s done we can focus on something with a slightly more interesting back drop.
Assassin’s Creed III will tell the story of Connor Kenway. A half English- half Native American man who gets caught up in the American Revolution. The game will take place between 1753 and 1783, spanning 30 years of Connors life.
It’s not just Connor’s story that will be expansive, the world we will be playing in is huge. One third of all the quests and missions will be found in the ‘Frontier’. This will be an area one and half times the size of Rome from AC:B. As you’ve no doubt seen from the trailers, this will be a wild area to explore, where you can hunt animals and enemies. The new Anvil Engine, AnvilNext, will also allow the seasons to change; the landscape will be warm and open during the summer months and covered in thick deep snow during winter.
Ubisoft have also promised that the even though the ‘World’ will be big, it won’t be empty, there will always be something to do or get your attention and if exploration isn’t your thing then fast travel makes its return.
One of the most interesting aspects of this game will be the wrapping up of Desmond’s story. Desmond has been the only constant through all four titles. His role has slowly expanded over the games and now we are promised that this latest adventure will conclude the story started in Assassin’s Creed.
Those that remember the story, Desmond ended up in a coma after the events of Brotherhood and Revelations involved finding out a lot of back story about Desmond as he fought to retrieve his memories from inside the Animus. Revelations ended with Desmond sitting bolt upright in the back of a van as the doors were flung open to reveal a modern day scene.
Patrice Desilets, former series creative director said in 2009 that series had always planned to be a trilogy; that Desmond was ultimately travelling back in time so that he could learn the skills to become the ultimate Assassin. So will Desmond’s role be increased even further, will sections of the game take place in a modern setting with Desmond parkour-ing all over a city like New York? Who knows?! Ubisoft have been strangely quiet on what role Desmond will take but what we do know is that the Desmond sections of the AC III story will take place in 2012 and will see Desmond fight to prevent the end of the world as foretold by ‘Those Who Came Before’.
From City to Sea.
Exploration has always been a big part of the AC franchise, but for the last two games that exploration has been focussed on inside one city. Rome and Constantinople were both very nice cities but being stuck in one became dull after a while.
AC III offers us two different ends of the scale with exploration. Firstly we have the cities of Boston and New York. Neither will be on the scale we know today, instead they will be more manageable sizes and traversing them seems less like a chore. The streets are packed closer together, crowds are easier to blend in with, making quick stab and run kills easier; during the night the streets will empty naturally and the dark provides a perfect hiding place for more long range assassinations.
One thing that Ubisoft have been keen to show off is the seafaring sections. They have stated that the entire Eastern seaboard of the United States is open for exploration; Connor will also be able to take command of ships and engage in sea battles with the might of the English Navy. The trailers showing these battles look amazing, but reactions from those that have played them have been mixed. The jury is out at the moment if the Sea sections are a welcome addition or another Tower Defence style gimmick.
English Are Coming:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that no one does bad guys like the English. From films, books and TV, if you want someone to be evil, make them English. Modern games have a wide choice of enemies to pick from, Nazi’s, Terrorists, Aliens etc but none of them can really match the smoothness and charisma of an English bad guy.
AC III will pitt you against, not just one, but a whole army of English. While Ubisoft have already come under criticism over the one sided portrayal of America Vs Britain, Matt Turner, the game’s lead writer has come out and said that it’s not an ‘America Ra-Ra’ story and that Templars will be found on both sides.
For me, personally, I’m really hoping that somewhere in this game, there is a smooth, charismatic, sophisticated English bad guy, hopefully voiced by Alan Rickman or Tim Curry.
So there we are, after four games, Ubisoft have actually managed to get me excited for Assassin’s Creed III. If I’m honest I wasn’t sure it was possible, but with everything we’ve seen so far I can’t wait to get back into the Animus.
Assassin’s Creed III launches on:
October 30th – PS3 & Xbox 360
November 20 – PC
November 18/30 – Wii U.
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