Assassin’s Creed. Surely, we all have our love/hate relationship with this franchise. How could we not? We go from missions that have us stealthily stalking our prey through the shadows of the night before we penetrate that hidden blade in the victims jugular vein, to side-missions so boring we’d rather stick a knife in our necks and rid ourselves of ever having to be a… oh, I don’t know, virtual flower delivery boy.
That being said, Ubisoft has tried to evolve the franchise with each game, unfortunately, to the point where the story and the mechanics of the game have become too complicated to grasp, especially for those new to the franchise. But with Assassin’s Creed III comes a fresh start, and according to creative director Alex Hutchinson, an opportunity to go “back to basics.”
“I think one of the joys of having a new character and a new universe is that we can strip it back and we can go back to basics,” said Hutchinson at GDC 2012. “I think that there’s an element in the Ezio trilogy… I think it’s very hard when you have a story that’s going from game to game to game, that’s relatively consistent, to remove things. It doesn’t make sense to people logically that in the second game they would lose something that they had, fictionally, hours before, so we’ve had a problem with mechanics that weren’t as tight as perhaps they could have been.”
He added, “it’s a hugely complicated game, it has many different features, it’s a long game, getting people up to speed as quickly as possible is a big challenge. We know we have a learning curve, we know we need to introduce a lot of new mechanics, so what we looked at was reducing the time to assassinate. In AC3, we promise you that within 30 seconds of putting the disc in the tray, you will in fact be assassinating someone. That’s a promise.” We’ll remember that, Mr. Hutchinson.
He also talked about the setting of the game (the late 1700’s during the American Revolution), the ice-cold winters during those years (1753 through 1783) and how a new snow technology will make players very aware of the freezing temperatures they’re in, the lack of historical landmarks over-shadowed by the inclusion of events that took place (such as the great fire of New York or George Washington’s encampment at Valley Forge), and the daunting task of bringing fans of the franchise up to speed while at the same time making this entry in the franchise accessible to new players of it.
Also, did we mention he promised we could assassinate within 30 seconds of putting the disc in the tray? Did we? Oh, we did.