Assassin's Creed 3 trailer - Dissected
6th Mar 2012 | 08:51
No wrist-blade? Fake George Washington? Female assassins? The Assassin's Creed 3 announcement trailer is full of awesome CG, which appears to tell a simple story of new hero Connor killing off a few British soldiers and watching a battle.
Look a little deeper, though, and it not only provokes a whole series of questions about the game, it also offers up clues about combat, story, character progression, weaponry, historical context and so much more. Rewatch the trailer here, then read on for CVG's analysis below...
If only there was some clue in this opening scene as to where and when the game will be set. Oh, there it is. So, 1777... It's the middle of the US Revolutionary War, and the Mohawk valley (upstate New York) is at the heart of the conflict.
One more note on the timeline - Assassin's Creed 3 takes place between 1753 and 1783, so this vignette is torn from the middle of the game. Sounds obvious, but expect Connor to have his younger and older years, just like Assassin's 2. Here, he's mid-life...
Enemies? Obviously it's the British, as they're the bad guys in just about everything. Ubisoft have gone on record to say "not all English are evil" in Assassin's 3, but they're certainly the baddies here.
Images fade into Animus style wire-frame renders. It's an obvious point, but it lets us know that we'll be playing as Desmond, plugged into the Animus (the new Animus 3.0 no less). At least at the start... Don't forget, Desmond is growing increasingly closer to his ancestors via the bleeding effect. Will he need the Animus to finish his time as Connor at all?
Flashback to the previous night, and enter our hero, Connor. Interestingly, Connor is half British (his father is an Englishman), so his loyalties will be divided between not only his tribe and his parents, but also the two factions at war - the British Loyalists and the American Patriots.
Connor uses two weapons at once (he's basically Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans). Note how his Tomahawk has the Assassin symbol in the blade. That means it's likely to be a family heirloom, and - given that his mother is the Native Indian - does that mean she was the Assassin before Connor? A female assassin you say? Hmmm...
This flashback shows off some of the combat. Ubisoft have said it'll be focused on attack (not defence and counter-kills) and the CG certainly suggests that. It's likely to follow similar button-prompts to Assassin's 2, Brotherhood and Revelations. Ubi have also said that you can chain kills and perform double-counters, a little like Batman Arkham City.
Wolves! You'll be able to free-roam the Mohawk valley, and will hunt animals like these wolves. Clean, one-hit kills will yield more resources. What resources? Likely armour and weapon upgrades, and pelts you can sell in towns for cash. Think Red Dead Redemption's economy system.
Look - no wrist-blade. Why isn't he using a wrist-blade? Who knows. Early reports insist he has one, so this leaves several possibilities: 1) He doesn't use it as a combat weapon, 2) He gets it late on in the game, 3) It's broken and needs to be replaced. That's all pure speculation. Our bet is that it simply won't be part of his combat options in open fights - he'll save it for silent assassinations.
Two interesting things here. First off, this guy is wearing a mask. So what? Well, he could just be cold but we think he's a rogue soldier of some kind. It's possible he's a templar dressed as a British soldier (to hide his real identity), as we know the Templar/Assassin war - which continues to run through the series - won't be tied to either the Patriot or Loyalist factions.
Off goes Connor, free-running through the trees. This is Assassin's Creed staple, and it'll expand to cliffs, trees and other natural features as well as buildings when you visit hub cities Boston and New York. Interestingly, the Mohawk territory will change according to the seasons, so don't expect snow all game. One thing to note - AC3 uses a completely new animation system, so expect free-running to look, if not feel, a bit different.
See the snow fall off these trees? The weather will actually change the way you fight. Enemies will struggle and slip in deep snow, and you can expect to stay hidden more effectively in the darkness. Will you slip on the snow while you're free-running through the trees? We hope not. That would be irritating.
Time for Connor's close-up. His native name is Ratohnaké:ton, and you can see Mohawk influences in his clothing (here, we see native Indian bands on his arms). You can upgrade your gear throughout the game to make Connor either more native Indian or more colonial. Does that point to a big decision where Connor is forced to choose between the old or new worlds? Will his look change the way people in cities or in the Mohawk valley react to him? Very, very likely.
Take a look at Connor's weapons. He's got a pair of knives (for close combat), a bow (for ranged) and his tomahawk/knife combo (for fighting large groups). He's better armed than any assassin to date, hinting strongly at a more action-focused game.
This conflict is likely to be the Battle of Saratoga. Why? It took place in late 1777, and heavily featured Patriots, Loyalists and native Indian soldiers. They're seen as some of the most significant battles in the US Revolutionary war.
Is the man in the big hat George Washington? Well, who else could it be? Ubi has confirmed he is in the game, but by 1777 his role was mainly the supervision and selection of Generals, so it seems unlikely he'd be at the forefront of the battle shouting speeches. This looks like Ubisoft taking a little historical liberty and banging the patriotic drum. Want confirmation? Well his speech goes like this: "Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance or the most abject submission. We have therefore resolved to conquer - or die." This was one of the real-life George Washington's orders to his officers in July 1176.
See these guys? Apparently the new Anvil Engine, which powers Assassin's Creed 3, can render thousands of them at a time (previously mere hundreds could be displayed). What does that mean? Bigger battles with Connor right in the middle of them. Again, expect it to play out like Last of the Mohicans. "I WILL FIND YOU."
End screen. Note the PC version is TBC - so don't expect it on October 31 - and there's no mention of the Wii U version that we know is on the way either. Shame. On the plus side, Ubisoft showed incredible restraint and didn't manage to spoil this trailer with dubstep.