By now you may already have begun your journey to Unlock the Animus, but with Assassin's Creed: Revelations just over one short month away, we've tracked down some of Ubisoft Montreal's development team to provide you some insight into the main themes of the latest instalment.
Creative Director Alexandre Amancio and scriptwriter Darby McDevitt, join us for a look at Desmond Miles' present day situation and explore some of the characters and situations which you can expect to see in the revelations to come.
When we last left Desmond, we were on quite a cliff hanger, what's happening as Revelations begins?
Alexandre Amancio: At the end of Brotherhood, Desmond falls into a coma as a result of a traumatic shock to his system. When Desmond "wakes", he finds himself in a mysterious and surreal dreamscape. Everything he experiences here is a projection of his own mind filtered through the Animus's circuitry: fragmented memories, symbolic representations of his past and present, mixed with Animus signal streams.
What role does the mysterious Subject 16 play?
Darby McDevitt: In Assassin's Creed Revelations, Subject 16 remains Desmond's shadowy confidant, but he is much more forthright about giving him advice and opinions. We think fans will be quite satisfied to see how we have incorporated him into the narrative.
Has it been difficult to blend the modern day story with the other elements of the game?
Darby McDevitt:: Despite Desmond being in a coma for the majority of the game, we have found small but significant ways to invite the present day, "outside world" into Desmond's story. So yes, players will learn the fate of Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca, and Yes, the present day story will move slowly forward, as ever.
How important is the modern day component of Assassin's Creed to the overall story arc?
Darby McDevitt: Since the very beginning of the franchise, Assassin's Creed has always contained a fun mix of Historical Fantasy and Science Fiction, so when it came time to create Revelations we were all very familiar with the themes and concepts; it wasn't too difficult to get into the right mood and start inventing new and wild adventures for Ezio, Altair, and Desmond. And, of course, it is Desmond who anchors all our assassins, so it is imperative that we make the present day story quite strong ... without our wonderful Animus, we would have a much more difficult time weaving all these characters and historical settings together into one overall story... it would seem too randomly chosen, otherwise.
The Animus has always seemed like a character in its own right - is this the last we'll see of it?
Darby McDevitt: The Animus is central to the Assassin's Creed universe. For example in Assassin's Creed: The Fall, a series of comic books written by Cameron Steward and Karl Kerschl, Daniel Cross explores the memories of his ancestor Nikolai Orelov.
What's been your approach to the puzzle elements in Revelations and unlocking its evolving mysteries?
Alexandre Amancio: The puzzle sequence as seen in Assassin's Creed 2 and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood are not coming back for Revelations. However, an all new offer based on Desmond's experience in the Animus will offer to fans a new way to explore the Assassin's Creed universe. Mystery is at the heart of the entire Desmond experience; riddles, signs, symbols, and half remembered dreams. The majority of the game-play in these Animus section focuses on movement, timing, and precision, but we also include some illusion based puzzles inspired by the work of Rene Magritte and Roger Penrose. The main goal here is to encourage the player to think and engage with the environment, not simply pass it by.