Recently learning that Assassin's Creed 3 has already exceeded developer/publisher Ubisoft's wildest expectations got me thinking. I've been a pretty big fan of the series since AC2 (no offense to the first installment or Altaïr, but that game was just too damned repetitive!), but the subsequent Brotherhood and Revelations may as well have been multi-hour DLC given the titles' similarities. So like the sponge I am, I've been checking up on all available details for the game, and I've boiled them down into the top five reasons the wait for AC3 is nearly unbearable.
New Hero, New Moves
After AC switched gears and introduced Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a new and exciting moveset was put in place. And though Ezio evolved as his character aged and learned, we were left with only slight tweaks to how the Italian Stallion moved and killed. For AC3, the developers have reportedly started from scratch and given new hero Connor an entirely new set of movements and animations numbering somewhere in the thousands. In a recent interview with Game Informer magazine, AC's Creative Director Alex Hutchinson says, “Our goal with the new game is to have no animations from the previous ACs...We don’t want you to see anything from previous [titles] in this game unless we deliberately put it in there.” As Connor was raised within a Native tribe, he will move low to the ground...like a dangerous predator. Yes, homeboy will still be able to climb and parkour it up with the best of 'em, but the new animations will no doubt make way for a brand new killing style—something fans want or should want at this point.
While previous iterations in the AC series have taken place in tumultuous and interesting time periods (Jerusalem during the Crusades, Rome during the Renaissance for example), players have long fallen victim to a certain disconnect. Read all you want about Leonardo's inventions or the power struggles of Constantinople—these things just don't hit home for us idiot American gamers. With the upcoming release, Ubisoft moves the events into 1700s America or, more specifically, the Revolutionary War. New protagonist Connor will play a major role in the events of America's birth by interacting with the likes of the young and untested General Washington, inventor/jack of all trades Benjamin Franklin and more. These are the trials and tribulations that led to America's very existence, and it's no surprise that Ubisoft is culling from actual recorded history. The role that Connor plays is still shrouded in mystery, but we will no doubt learn that many of his missions and actions will eventually lead to our country as we know it.
Thanks to a redesign of Ubisoft's proprietary Anvil engine (dubbed AnvilNext), the developers are shooting for next-gen capabilities in a current-gen market. The AC series has always been gorgeous, but the overhaul to the game's insides surely won't hurt the experience.
Though Connor will spend a fair amount of time shanking fools in the wild, there will be civilized settlements to explore as well. And while cities like New York or Boston will be available for all your building-climbin' needs, forts and settlements scattered throughout the wilderness will add a layer of dimension and variety. It's been apparent since the first trailer that Connor will take to the trees, and the ability to hide among the boughs and branches while stalking your prey is enticing to say the least. Seasons will reportedly play a part as well, meaning that you'll be picking wildflowers in the springtime one day and trudging through knee-high snow before you know it. No word on costume requirements or change of pace thanks to things like snow and mud, but Connor is apparently a badass, and not the type to succumb to something as benign as wet dirt.
The Elements We Already Love
Ubisoft has always done a stellar job of answering fans' prayers. So if you are concerned that the beloved developer is throwing everything out the window, you needn't be. While new mechanics and gameplay are a must at this point, it is highly doubtful that the elements of the series you've grown to love (hidden blade, stealth action, hidden tombs, parkour and some of the most brutal slo-mo kill animations in the history of gaming) will go by the wayside. All changes aside, this is still Assassin's Creed, and the only thing you really have to concern yourself with is what the hell you're going to do between now and October.
Assassin's Creed 3
Release Date: October 30
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Cost: MSRP $59.99 (barring special editions)