Members of the Assassin's Creed Revelations development team answer questions about their upcoming game.
Today we’re joined by Alexandre Breault, Ubisoft Montreal’s Game Design Director and Alexandre Amancio, Creative Director on Assassin’s Creed, to discuss Revelations brand new gameplay features and the conclusion of the medieval adventure.
Was it difficult to balance new moves with the existing feature set? How have you evolved the play style?
Alexandre Breault: It’s a good challenge to add new abilities to Ezio. In Brotherhood, Ezio was already extremely versatile and deadly. For the new moves we added, we wanted to make sure that they would bring something new to the player, and that they would feel powerful.
To make sure to reach that objective, we focus on new movement that would act as consolidating elements between the various system. All the hookblade moves are representative of that design approach: Our goal was to make a bridge between navigation and combat.
In that sense, every move have been created to bring the player faster in the combat (hook and throw, zipline assassination, extended ledge kill) or to make him exit combat faster (hook and run, accelerated climbing, extended reach, ziplines...). To make sure it keeps the right balance, we focus on giving the moves a new purpose instead of just making them even more powerful.
With the bombs, the approach was more about giving even more choices and freedom to the player. This also brought us to the decision to change the controls in order to add a secondary attack button. That way, the player can more easily change his play style, alternating faster between melee combat and range weapon.
This is a good example on how we evolved the player style for Assassin’s Creed Revelations. We know that one of the greatest strength of the series is the freedom it gives to the player. We really worked hard to make sure that the player could still play the way he wanted. Our new moves (bombs, hookblade...) support the various approaches the player could choose.
You have a new hook blade - can you tell us a bit about how that works for both movement and in combat?
Alexandre Amancio: The hookblade is an Ottoman modification to the classic Hidden Blade that allows you expand navigation and combat options. It improves flow by increasing Ezio’s mobility. It enables free running to be more fluid, speeds it up and makes the overall navigation experience more fun.
The hookblade itself is an eagle head whose beak creates a hook. This hooks up to elements in the environment and enables Ezio to propel himself (or someone else). It’s a very dynamic and versatile weapon which definitively speeds up the free-running gameplay in the game.
Does Ezio or Altair have any other new combat moves or weapons?
Alexandre Amancio: Yes, Ezio has access to a whole new set of weapons but his new weapon, the Hookblade, is his most useful. As for Altair, I cannot reveal the full scope of his involvement at the moment.
We saw some interesting demos of bomb making and crafting at GamesCom - it seems to combine more passive and active elements - how will that work and what's your favourite bomb?
Alexandre Breault: For us, bomb crafting was a natural expansion to what was already there in the franchise. Our goal was to create a system that would consolidate the various gameplays offered to the player.
One of the core values of Assassin’s Creed is the freedom the player has when he plays the game. The variety of bombs available for the player supports that freedom. The player can use those bombs to enhance their style of play: fight, stealth, free run. We have bombs that can create diversions, while others will act as chase breakers.
Have you added any new stealth elements? Will there still be plenty of opportunities for more stealthy players?
Alexandre Breault: We added several new elements for the player who preferred to play stealth. Through bombcrafting, the player will be able to create several types of bombs that would help him sneak around. There are diversion bombs, that will lure the guards away. The player can also use tripwire shell to create mines. The smoke screen bomb is also really efficient to blind guards and to cut line of sight.
The improved Eagle Sense from Ezio also help the player to better plan his moves. Through Eagle Sense, Ezio is able to see the path of guards, anticipating where they will walk. In combination with tripwire bombs, this is really useful.
We also added more variety to hiding spot in the city. Ezio is now able to hide in bushes. Some houses also have balcony on the corner concealed by drapes in which the player can hide if he wants to escape the guards.
Your eagle vision has also been enhanced in Revelations - what new gameplay elements will this enable?
Alexandre Amancio: Ezio is older and wiser… but deadlier than ever. From the tools he uses, to his personality and strategies he decides on to tackle his missions, Ezio’s added maturity is a complement to his existing abilities.
We always strive to improve the immersion of being an assassin in our game. An extension of this effort is Ezio’s Eagle Sense. An evolution to Eagle Vision, Eagle Sense is a natural step forward as Ezio can instinctively pick up cues in the environment to analyze a situation and formulate a strategic response.
With the addition of Eagle Sense, players will have the ability to focus on a character and visualize where he has been as well as an approximation of where he will go. It also allows you to detect traitors in the crowd. For example, you can scan a crowd to feel the heartbeat of each person and detect who the traitor is. For the linear sequences, Eagle Sense enables players to use Ezio’s abilities and be able to pick up environmental clues to help them find the way forward.