At Comic-Con 2012, Alex Hutchinson, Creative Director, lead an equally informative and entertaining panel about Assassin's Creed 3. The panel revealed a lot of interesting facts about the development of the game. Here are the five most intriguing things we learned during the Assassin's Creed 3 Comic-Con 2012 panel!
The Weapons Are Going To Be Totally Bad Ass
Setting the game in American naturally changes some aspects of gameplay, and one of those is the weapons available to Conner, the game's Native American lead character. "A native American lead seemed like the perfect fit," Hutchinson explained. Neither British or American, Connor allowed the team to use a main character who was removed fray, but who also had new arsenal of weapons at his disposal.
Conner is a dual weapons specialist, who wields a tomahawk along with other close combat weapons, and mid-range options like a bow and arrow. There will also be guns, so don't worry. One of the tools that caught my eye during the demo was the Rope Dart. It's sort of like a grappling hook with noose on the end of it. Shooting the rope dart over, say, a tree limb, allows you to hang targets silently. It looks incredibly wicked.
With a Native American lead character, it seems natural to wonder whether or not players will be able to use scalping as a kill. Hutchinson addressed it head on: "We had it in for a very short while. There are some horrible histories of colonial towns offering bounties. When we dug into it deeper, we found it really terrifying. We didn't want the picture on YouTube of 100 dead soldiers all scalped."
While the Assassin's Creed franchise is known for open world goodness, complete with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, the American landscape provides an opportunity to broaden the scope of the game.
Three main areas -- New York, Boston, The Frontier -- have been announced, and even those alone offer a vast array of different environments to explore, so much so, that the game had to go through a heavy edit. "It's a lot like a film director. Initially establishing the vision, then steering it through the middle of production, and then editing the game." Hutchinson added "It's a huge explorable space. We really wanted to focus on variety."
Another element used to keep things fresh is the newly coded weather system. "I'm a big fan of weather systems in games," Hutchinson quipped; however, it wasn't all because he's a fan, there was also an element of the weather helping to keep the game historically accurate. "Most of the battles and key events happen in winter." Hutchinson and the team were afraid they'd receive a lot of letters that started with "Are you aware. . ." and go on to slam them for not including snow.
You'll Learn American history. . .The Ubisoft Way
A fictional story woven into the fabric of history, Assassin's Creed takes being accurate seriously. "We look for pivotal moments in history. For us, all of those events are backdrops," Hutchinson remarked. "All of our opinions are in the assassins vs. Templar story."
With historians on staff, the team used a "30 second Wikipedia rule" for anything they put in the game: If you can prove it incorrect in less than 30 seconds, it isn't in the game. The team does have an interesting perspective on American history: "As an Australian working in Canada for a French company. . ." Hutchinson trailed off and started to laugh. It's probably a good thing they hired those historians.
The Assassin's Creed Team Is Working Hard To Keep The Series Fresh
"One rule we had when we started the project was: no retreads," Hutchinson said. "We hope we've hit the same emotions, but in a different fashion"
There are obvious differences in Assassin's Creed, but the development team is not only relying on those to make the game stand out from the rest of the series. While you'll still be able to dive off of buildings, you'll now be able to dive into moving carts and, of course, assassinate from them.
They've also added a ton of side quests, unarmed assassinations and knock out moves, which are all apart of what Hutchinson describes as "layering the experience." Plus, in terms of the knock out moves he added, "You don't have to kill everyone you see." That got a big cheer form the audience.
Climbing Trees Is Just As Exciting As Scaling Buildings
"Out of the city, into the wilderness. It was interesting. One of the first questions we were asked was where are the cities?" Hutchinson said while explaining the move from an urban environment to the wild American frontier.
The trees of all things, posed an especially difficult challenge for the engineering team. Trees are dynamic, meaning, they don't just stand still like buildings. Hutchinson added, "It was just enough for them [the engineering team] to get out and try something new."
However, the wilderness makes sense. When you think of climbing, you don't necessarily think of buildings; chances are, you think of trees. So, while some players may lament the loss of a dense architectural space, it has been replaced by a robust natural landscape. As Hutchinson put it, "You get a sense of the epic wonder of nature."