Thank you, Ubisoft! A recent demo shown to journalists on the new Assassin’s Creed title means that we get a little sneak peek at what we’ll be playing later this year. Survival techniques, new controls, and weapons were discussed when Ubisoft decided to be a little more forthcoming about their anticipated title.
For starters, a lot of new information has appeared on just exactly who the new Assassin is. Connor, also known by his Mohawk indian name of “Ratohnhaké:ton”, was born in what is now New York to a Mohawk mother and English father. According to director Alex Hutchinson, this was an attempt to work with the idea of duality and culture.
Connor is a far cry from both Altaïr and Ezio, who were both pretty boisterous characters with loud personalities. Connor is, for once in our line of Assassins, calm and considered, and otherwise reserved. This also lends itself to the idea that Connor already has morals established in the right, and will be more of a “freedom fighter” for both his tribe and the Patriots, claims Hutchinson.
The story of Connor will unfold in the backdrop of the French and Indian War, and the Revolutionary War in 1775, as well as the general conflict and political mess that encompassed the duration of Connor’s life in this game - 1753 to 1783. However, the game is more about Connor’s own journey, rather than the larger wars and conflicts that happen throughout the game.
“You’ll see your village destroyed, which will push you to join in the struggle”, says Hutchinson. From here, Connor embarks on his quest for justice for the Native American people in America. However, bleakly Hutchinson points out that despite all of Connor’s efforts, at the end of the day it is based on history, “... we know how this turns out”.
So how will Connor fair in the new setting? Well, he is an Assassin after all, and in light of his comfort zone in the wilderness, Connor is able to succeed in both combat and survival. Using the environment, our new Assassin will be climbing cliffs and trees, sneaking through bush, with quick and decisive movement. In his arsenal, we can expect Connor to carry the well-known Assassin’s hidden blade, as well as the tomahawk, musket and pistols, and knives. Additionally, he will be a dual-wielder.
With the new combat abilities come an improved control system too. Removing the use for locking, the controls will include redesigned camera systems as well as buttons, which will be the same both in combat and outside of combat. An emphasis on battle includes the camera zooming in as the battle gets more heated and close combat down to one-on-one fights, we’re players will be able to enjoy the true grit of the fight.
In an attempt to change up the feel of the game, Ubisoft have employed redesigns of the environments and the way the player will interact with them. While the two main cities are a more frontier style New York and Boston, players will also find themselves stuck in the wilderness, which will be 50% larger than the Rome players knew in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. A large number of missions will also take place there, with a small focus on player exploration.
Those who learned how to hunt animals from Red Dead Redemption will find that animals in the game will not be so easy to come by. This time, actual hunting, with strategy in place, will be required. Yes, that’s right - you will be required to assassinate animals, depending on your purpose for them. This will be a big part of how this element of the game plays out.
Trees form an even bigger element in the game, as this is our Assassin’s new playground. Replacing the buildings and cities we all came to know and learn to traverse like the back of our hand, Connor will be navigating his way through treetops, jumping tree trunks - basically, acting like their own version of Predator, as Hutchinson recalls on the references used for the development team, “we want you to be a terrifying force of nature in that spot.”
With all this wilderness business happening, weather will be a factor in the game, with fog and rain, and snow. When Winter sets in, the snow of the season will affect players and enemies, though Connor won’t be expected to up the ante on his survival skills during the colder season.
The change in the environment means that the developers have had to work extra hard with much of the animations and design. As well as the revamped control system mentioned earlier, animations on his movements will have changed, including the way Connor will fight on uneven ground, the options he has around structures and terrain when he flees, and in general, his movement, which have been largely changed from previous games. Multiplayer will also be making a return if you want to see how well you fare with the new Assassin.
In an attempt to make the game feel more fluid, many elements of the game were played with to make them seem more real. The NPCs in the cities will be more intelligent, such as people chasing down thieves after being stolen from, “... if you have someone dropping things, we want other characters around to be triggered … to potentially steal them, to interact with them, all the sort of stuff to make the world much more emergent, much more believable”. Just as the crowd won’t be as static as they were in previous games, neither will mission givers, as Connor’s presence will be as if he’s entered the scene mid-conversation.
Probably one of the big questions that people have on the game is who you get to assassinate. While details on exactly who you will get to assassinate, it is confirmed that, despite the game sticking thoroughly to historical events, you will be able to kill real historical figures. A great feat for the team at Ubisoft, finding real historical figures that people will be able to kill without deviating too much from history was no doubt a difficult thing to pull off.
More details are sure to emerge as the game gets closer to showcasing demo footage at E3. Hopefully, that won’t be the last of the information we get as we come slowly closer to the October release date. At the moment, I’m pretty curious at this direction of the Assassin’s Creed series, and how Connor fits in. How do you feel about the direction of our new hero, Connor?
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