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Assassin’s Creed III – First look at the Revolution through Connor’s eyes

Fight or flight

Mostly, though, those trees seem to offer a chance to perch above roads and trails, making them a convenient ambush point for British patrols (which never think to look up during long marches, apparently). Once during the demo, we saw Connor use a branch as a way to swan dive into a haycart at the back of a British column, which seems like a convenient way to ambush them later (or just hitch a ride). And while that’s all fine and good, the way he ambushed the Redcoats at other key moments was far more interesting.

See, Connor has a hugely expanded arsenal beyond what Ezio and Altair could wield. He’s got a bow and arrow, for instance, which Hutchinson said would have been far quicker and more accurate than the unreliable muskets and pistols of the day – although he’ll have access to those, too. And regardless of what he’s wielding, he’ll be able to carry one in each hand for two-fisted fighting (and yes, he’ll still have the series’ trademark hidden blades).

But his most interesting new weapon is a variation on the Chinese “rope dart,” which can ensnare enemies from a distance. Here, when perched above a patrol, he used it like a harpoon, first spearing a British soldier from behind, then hopping off the branch while still holding the rope to instantly hang the hapless man.

Both times that happened, the Redcoats responded the same way: with a uniform volley of musket fire, which Connor neatly dodged. Interestingly, gun technology seems to have taken a step backward (into reality) since the rapid-reload rifles of AC Revelations, and the Redcoats’ muskets became useless as firearms after the first shot, forcing them to resort to bayonets or sabers in order to square off against Connor (although one of them apparently hadn’t fired his rifle, judging by the way Connor whipped it out of a soldier’s hands, planted it in the ground and shot it into his face at point-blank range).

Obviously, combat will be handled differently this time around, possibly even in such a way as to break veteran AC fans out of their counter-then-instant-kill habits. However it’s implemented, though, we can say it already looks stylish as hell.

Not clear-cut

Aside from the absurd gripe that colonial America had no cities, two major concerns have risen on the internet in the past month or so, first having to do with the appearance of Connor, the main character. More earnest and openly good-hearted than Ezio, Connor – who players will be introduced to as a young child – adopts European clothing, but adds Mohawk gear and accessories that he’s comfortable with (along with the iconic Assassin hood), creating an odd, patchwork appearance. This, Hutchinson said, reflects his background as an outsider, a Mohawk who doesn’t quite fit in with his own people or with the colonists, and who joins what’s essentially a western organization – the Assassins – out of a desire to help people.

Over the course of the game, Hutchinson said, Connor will witness the destruction of his home village and – when he finds his tribe unwilling to act – will fall in with the Assassins in a bid to fight for human freedom. That leads us to the internet’s other big concern: that Assassin’s Creed III will be a one-sidedly patriotic, kill-the-Redcoats, flag-waving kind of thing.

Above: To be fair, we can see how someone might get that impression

Hutchinson stressed several times during the presentation that, although Connor’s fight brings him in line with the revolutionaries more often than not (and although, at one point during the target footage, using the “Call Brotherhood” command summoned a group of fife-playing, drum-beating patriots to march in formation behind Connor), the Revolution is really just a backdrop. The real war, of course, is the one being fought behind the scenes between the Templars and the Assassins – and despite early appearances, it’s a war that unfolds on both sides of the Revolution, meaning Connor is likely to be brought into conflict with the patriots at some point.

Also, as Hutchinson pointed out, the Revolution itself wasn’t as clear-cut as some people like to think. “The joke at the time was that the American Revolution was a civil war fought on foreign soil,” said Hutchinson, who is Australian. “The French investment in the patriotic cause leads directly to the French revolution. Most of Washington’s forces were trained by a German guy called [Friedrich Wilhelm] von Steuben. Obviously it’s a huge moment for America, it’s the founding of the country, and I think that for the rest of the world, it’s the seeds of the American Century. We really believe it’s a relevant story not just for America, but for the entire world.”

However its story pans out, Assassin’s Creed III is already looking impressive well ahead of its Oct. 30 ship date. Factor in a newly redesigned Animus, the promise of a resolution to Desmond’s bizarre storyline, a multiplayer mode once again handled by Ubisoft Annecy, and the just-announced Wii U version, and this is easily one of our most anticipated games of 2012.

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44 comments

  • Person5 - March 27, 2012 4:07 p.m.

    There's one thing people don't seem to be thinking about, all of these people are Desmond's ancestors, Desmond is Middle Eastern, Italian, and now Native American? His ancestors got around, that is for sure, that and the fact that Desmond looks pretty white.
  • Fiirestorm21 - March 27, 2012 5:45 p.m.

    None of those are particularly far off from white-skinned as it is. Two hundred something years is way more than enough time for Desmond's family to change skin tone. Same for his ancestors getting around. Lots of time pass in between the major three games, especially one and two. An Arab getting with a European leading either immediately or later on to an Italian heritage is not that far-fetched at all, and from there (again, either directly through the Italian ancestors or through Europeans offspring) making their way across the ocean, eventually having children with a Native American.
  • Iolar - April 22, 2012 12:24 a.m.

    Yea we realize that, he really doesn't look too white, Francisco Randez is the Guy Desmond is modeled after and he's French canadian with Spanish ancestry, they chose him in particular because he can fit into so many different ethnic groups, I myself am Irish, Russian, English, Filipino, and Peruvian... and I look pretty damn white.
  • demigod2195 - March 27, 2012 1:44 a.m.

    what kind of accent does that guy have it sounds almost australian
  • coyoteDUSTER - March 26, 2012 8:18 p.m.

    Not a big AC fan, but this one looks like it could be AWESOME! Paying attention to this game.
  • winner2 - March 26, 2012 7:05 p.m.

    At this point, this is the only thing that grabs my attention anywhere close to as much as bioshock infinite. Looks and sounds awesome so far, can't wait for more info. And really interested in the new character, I hope I like him as much as, if not more than Ezio.
  • Meleedragon27 - March 26, 2012 3:54 p.m.

    I have faith that Ubisoft won't make the game all "AMERRICUH FUCK YEAH" - the dev team probably knows better than to make the Revolution one-sided like that (the patriots were hardly angels themselves... and were also kinda batshit crazy). The super-patriotic vibes that we've been getting so far (that trailer, the special editions, etc.) are likely just something the marketing department thought up to draw in a larger American crowd. Looking forward to the game. Hopefully, the developers will be able to spin things up enough to make the series fresh again without alienating any of their existing fans.
  • Fiirestorm21 - March 27, 2012 5:48 p.m.

    The thing that gets me is that the developer is the Canadian arm of a French company. They're not American, and even as far as their being Canadian goes, Montreal is French Canada, rather than "American" (-like) Canada to the West. There's not a whole lot of basis for thinking they'd go with an "America, Fuck Yeah!" approach. Then again, people also bitched about there not being any cities in colonial America, so...
  • Fiirestorm21 - March 27, 2012 5:50 p.m.

    Just looked down a few comments and saw BladedFalcon making the same point. I rest my case.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - March 26, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    Really great preview, this is definitly my number 1 game for this year.
  • Fetalspray - March 26, 2012 1:59 p.m.

    Sounds awesome, but I'm still not convinced its not going to be "AMERICUUR FUCK YEAH! WE HAVE GOT TO KILL THE REDCOATS!!! AMERICUUR FUCK YEAH! THE BRITISH ARE THE EVIL TEMPLARS!!!", even after reading the the last few paragraphs.
  • BladedFalcon - March 26, 2012 2:29 p.m.

    ...Why do people keep thinking this when ubisoft is a FRENCH company, and not an American one? Yes, the AC series has take some extremes in the past by glorifying not so noble figures, and demonizing others.But I have never gotten the impression they have taken the side of any one nation. Heck, if anything, the franchise has not pulled any punches in attacking prominent American figures such as Ford and Edison. So people pre-emtively accusing or worrying that the game will be shamelesly pro-american are kinda ignorant, really...
  • bebl09 - March 26, 2012 3:10 p.m.

    @BladedFalcon: http://www.gamesradar.com/assassins-creed-iii-special-editions-detailed-new-trailer-released/ Two of the special editions are the 'Freedom Edition' and the 'Join or Die Edition', both of which are basically "AMERICUHH, FUCK YEAH!" editions.
  • samsneeze - March 26, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    Because it would make so much more sense to call them... I got nothing. But I doubt anything else would actually make sense given the context of the game. Besides, you can look at the title for both of the collections from the Assassin's point of view and they'd still make perfect sense. People are just doing what they do best, finding faults in things without looking towards a solution.
  • BladedFalcon - March 26, 2012 4:16 p.m.

    Considering the American revolution is where the USA was basically was born, it's kinda obvious that most forms of media entertainment are going to portray the revolutionaries in a favorable light, this is not specific to this one game. However, viewing the event that marked the birth of a nation in a favorable light, does not actually make it a "FUCK YEAH SHAMELESS PATRIOTISM" story, specially since it's going to use the setting more as a backdrop for the AC's universe than anything else. Furthermore, in my opinion, the game would only come across as shamelessly patriotic if they portrayed all the revolutionaries as supermen without flaws, or dabbled in cheesy inspiring speeches. Simply using the revolution as a backdrop doesn't automatically make it a "AMERICUHH, FUCK YEAH" story. Besides, what exactly do the bashers expect? that they would portray the redcoats and the British as the heroes? or as misunderstood? it's as if people watched a movie about India's independence, and expected to see Gandhi portrayed as the villain >_> Basically, what I'm trying to say is that it's honestly hard to objectively accuse the game of anything until it actually comes out, and we see for ourselves is the story is shameless American pandering or not. And again, considering that the publisher is French, the director is Australian, and that the series hasn't shied out on attacking any side or nation when they see fit. I honestly doubt it will turn out that way.
  • bebl09 - March 26, 2012 4:41 p.m.

    I'm not saying they can't portray one side favourably, I just found it slightly ironic that they specifically said that they won't be all in favour of the revolutionaries but then used names like that for the special editions lol. No one should be portrayed as heroes or anything, it should just be objective, as it's only a backdrop to the narrative focusing on the Assassins and the Templars. Not that I'm accusing them of not being objective, I'm in no way jumping to conclusions about the story, I just found the names for the special editions ironic. I wasn't making any judgements about the story itself, although the guy who originally commented kinda was haha.
  • BladedFalcon - March 26, 2012 5:11 p.m.

    Ahh, fair enough, yeah, in that case, i do not disagree with your statement. Since those names for the special editions DO sound at odds with what the director said XD Then again, like another commenter said, such is the business of marketing...
  • bebl09 - March 26, 2012 6:32 p.m.

    Haha yeah I'm sure it's all marketing. It's aimed at the kind of people who actually called them 'freedom fries' :P
  • BladedFalcon - March 26, 2012 8:15 p.m.

    ...Lmao, people did that? XD *Facepalms* ...On second thought, of course people did that... Far more retarded things are done in a daily basis >>;
  • bebl09 - March 26, 2012 8:35 p.m.

    Haha yep, when America got pissed off at France cause they wouldn't join their illegal war in Iraq, they renamed everything with the word 'French' in the title to 'freedom' instead, ie freedom fries, freedom toast...

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