by Josh Hamel
Inside a massive, pitch black cylinder in the middle of the PAX East 2015 exhibition hall, Ubisoft gave attendees the first look at Assassin’s Creed III that, while not playable, provided new details for the highly anticipated title.
The demo started off with an introduction from creative director Alex Hutchinson before moving into the protagonist of the game, Connor, working his way through the colonial forces at Bunker Hill, overhearing the infamous, “don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” You learn your target will be a British general, Major Pitcarin. Hutchinson emphasized that the focus will remain on the Templars versus the Assassins rather than the British or the colonists.
The battle begins with cannon fire raining down on Connor and the colonists as the British troops approach. Ubisoft is promising over 2,000 troops on screen at once, dwarfing the number of character models seen in previous iterations of the franchise. The cannon fire also demonstrated the new contextual animations in which Connor will react in real time to the world around him as he staggers and flinches when one hit nearby.
Connor avoids the cannons and sneaks around to a more wooded area. This part of the demo emphasized the free-running in nature aspect new to the series. Connor maneuvered through the trees gracefully and naturally, managing to compensate for the shape of the individual tree and avoiding a “Tarzan” feel.
A group of British soldiers approached, allowing Ubisoft to show off Connor’s new weapons and combat systems. From the tree, Connor threw what was called a rope dart at a British soldier, allowing him to lower himself to the ground while choking the British soldier. After four missed shots from the remaining soldiers in a firing, Connor took them on in combat directly with his dual-held tomahawk and hidden blade.
After dispatching the rest of the soldiers, Connor continues to his target, climbing a wall of rock to get to him. The publisher showed off the new stalking zones here, areas where assassins can remain undetected. Connor hid in the vegetation until finding the perfect angle to take out his target. He jumped out of the bush, took out two guards and performed an air assassination on Major Pitcarin, displaying the “assassin in motion,” that will allow players to keep their momentum when moving in for the kill.
I came away very impressed from the roughly ten to fifteen minute demo Ubisoft displayed at PAX. The developer seems to be set on making the same leap in quality it did from the first to second entry with this title.
Assassin’s Creed III is set for release October 30.