With all of the hype that has been surrounding the up-and-coming Assassin’s Creed 3 (AC3) game from Ubisoft , I wanted to take a different angle of blogging then just giving a summary about the new title. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much on board when it comes to all of the hype because the title looks amazing (and I’m going to pick up a copy of my own on October 30th). But to that end, I was more curious as to how the game was made because it has been a major, international undertaking to develop and deploy the next chapter in the series.
A recent video on YouTube that highlights a presentation that was giving by key members of the Ubisoft AC3 Development Team provides some great insight into what high-level processes were followed to make this expansive title; which set in Colonial 18th Century North America.
If you don’t want to watch the entire video (below)...
...here are the points that definitely caught my attention:
To develop AC3, it required the expertise of a few hundred people three years to make the game. Offices in Canada (Montreal & Quebec City), China (Shanghai), France (Ancion) and the Republic of Singapore all played a vital part in bringing late 18th Century North America to life down to the most finite detail on both land AND water.
Set during the American Revolution, with attention put on important locales of the time (Boston, New York and the Frontier), the team developed the game all while focusing on three pillars of the franchise: NAVIGATION, FIGHTING and SOCIAL STEALTH.
Within AC3 players will traverse throughout buildings, forests, mountains and even the Atlantic Ocean all while interacting with intelligent, non-player characters (NPCs) that will take the form of American Colonial People and various types of animals; including bears, wolves, pigs, chicken and deer.
The main character that you play as, Connor, is a dual-wielding specialist. Thus a new combat system had to be developed to not only compliment his fighting style, but to also bring to life the conflicts that occur throughout this new, expansive world.
For example, the AnvilNext Game engine that drives the gameplay not only renders the 18th Century colonies in amazing detail. It also enabled Ubisoft to have nearly 2,000 NPCs involved in a single fight sequence – providing a very realistic feel to how battles were fought during this time in North American history.
AC3 is filled with thousands of NPCs that not only interact with Connor; they also interact with each other unlike any other Assassin’s Creed game to date due to, from what I understand to be, AnvilNext’s new artificial intelligence (AI).
But with all of the people and animals that exist in this world, Connor also has the ability to utilize the people and the environment around him in his mission to promote the Assassin Order’s Way of Life (focusing on “Personal Freedom” for all) and demote / eliminate the Templar Order’s Way of Life (focusing on how “society must be controlled”).
Connor can now blend-in between any two NPCs in the world in order to hide from pursuers. He can also position himself at corners of buildings and other structures in order to take cover while he waits for his target. Furthermore, he can hide in tall patches of grass in order to, again, ready himself to either attack his target or wait for it / them to pass by without being seen.
In addition to the three pillars of gameplay mentioned above during the presentation, Universal Themes were also noted.
For AC3 there are three, universal themes that drive the story. They are: Liberty or Death , Power & Slavery and Control & Freedom .
Each of these themes, especially here in North America, are self-explanatory. But one other theme that was mentioned during this part of the presentation was how players will be able to play a character (Connor) that, fictionally, becomes a Nation’s Pioneer .
Granted, this game isn’t about playing someone like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin or even Charles Lee in order to walk in their footsteps as pivotal battles are fought both on the battlefield and in heated meetings / discussions that eventually shaped a Nation. What this game is about is that players will be able to interact with these historical figures unlike ever before.
Ubisoft , or to be more specific, the Assassin’s Creed franchise, has always set the bar quite high for how much historical accuracy they put into this series. Personally as I’ve played all of the previous Assassin’s Creed titles, I am very eager to see exactly how Connor gets to work alongside our Founding Fathers (and then some), as well as, traverse cityscapes, like Boston, that were created based off of maps and other geographic data from the period.
CONNOR, THE FRONTIER AND WEATHER
The three, final portions of the presentation focused on (1) Connor, (2) Frontier gameplay and (3) Weather.
In regards to Connor, the AC3 team spent well over a year developing the look-and-feel of him in order to get his Native American and European heritage just right. They had to make sure that he embodied three subjects (“Native American”, “18th Century” and “Assassin”) because of when and where the game takes place.
Note : From what I’ve seen to date, they have done an incredible job. He has, as noted, the “clean” look of the first Assassin (Altair), as well as, distinct characteristics of Native American dress and weaponry.
The Frontier has been recreated in such a way that highlights not only the “open world” / “sandbox” game type, it also reflects on the same gameplay mechanics of previous Assassin’s Creed games that provided players with the ability to traverse not only streets and paths, but also rooftops and high cables, respectively.
In regards to AC3, there isn’t a lot of buildings that can be traversed over large landscapes (like all of the previous Assassin’s Creed games). So what the Team did was to provide over 1,000 new movements to Connor that enabled him to move seamlessly throughout the millions of trees that stretch across the lush frontier of the period.
Finally, AC3 takes place on both land AND sea. Due to this and the fact that the game spans approximately 30 years , dynamic weather systems were developed and implemented within the game. Players will have to play in both night and day environments. They will have to navigate through low-visibility environments where fog is introduced, as well as, navigate and fight in environments that are riddled with snow and rain.
The newest addition to the Assassin’s Creed franchise is looking to break new records when it comes to innovation and overall, immersive gameplay. With the new technology that has been developed for this title along with a story that weaves its way through the fabric of our American history, AC3 is set to ignite a whole new revolution in the series.
How will you play the new title? Will you play straight through the main campaign or will you try to complete the main campaign along with the side missions that are offered? However you play it, I wish you luck because it is going to be an experience that will test and teach you like no other Assassin’s Creed title has done before.
Thanks for reading.