Assassin’s Creed 3

Assassin's Creed 3 Box Art

After months of rumors and a leak of some promo art that may or may not have been intentional, Ubisoft was pretty much forced to confirm some basic facts about their upcoming release and ongoing production of Assassin’s Creed 3.  As the Assassin’s series has basically come to define Ubisoft’s console presence, and, as the fifth release under this title will certainly be the French production company’s flagship game of 2012, it is surprising just how much information they were willing to give up.  Yes, some basic hints about the game were periodically leaked -we were pretty sure of the American Revolution setting and the non-Enzio, Native American main character for a little while- but, originally via gamespy, Ubisoft has let the proverbial cat out of the bag.  Such a detailed release of information and game/box art would usually be worthy of the main stage at E3, but we’re not going to complain about getting an early inside look at what should be one of the biggest game releases of this October season.

Assassin's Creed 3 Screenshot

We’ve literally been handed a boat load of information.  In fact, it would be enough info to discourage one from trying to include to it all in post such as this, if one dedicated AC fan wasn’t kind enough to streamline it for everyone in bullet point form:

-Want it to be a jumping on point for new players without losing touch with what longtime fans cherish most.
-New hero called Connor/Ratohnhake:ton (pronounced Ra-doon-ha-gay-doo). He has an English father and Native American mother.
-More details about the protagonist/scenarios: You will experience Conner’s childhood on the American frontier as he is raised by the Mohawk. The Mohawk eventually clash with white colonists who burn their village down, causing Connor to dedicate his life to confront tyranny and injustice.
-A new traversal approach that has players leaping and climbing trees and mountain cliffs.
-Uses a new version of the Anvil engine that can “depict thousands of troops engaged in bloody battle” along with highly detailed face close-ups. They later imply that if they used version numbers, they would be like going from Anvil 1.0 -> Anvil 2.0 or something of that nature.
-Judging by the images, the faces really are quite good.
-Combat is focused on putting you on the offensive and based on speed/momentum.
-The main character has thousands of new and unique animations (no carry over from other titles) to support the new combat system.
-Character details:
-George Washington: Interacting with Washington is one of the core relationships of the game.
-Benjamin Franklin: He’s not a convenient inventor a la Da Vinci.
-Charles Lee: His role is a mystery.
-The game is set between the years 1753-1783 and is centered around the cities of Boston and New York.
-”It’s not just going to a historical building now; it’s going to a historical event.”
-Event examples: “You will see the great fire of New York. You will visit Valley Forge as a location that is currently occupied by Washington’s forces. You will visit these places in the moment that they were important, and hopefully, experience the reason why we know where they are today. That’s the goal.”
-Connor is in the heart of major battles, and they can now have a couple thousand guys on screen, whereas before it was capped at about 100.
-The overall story is still centered around the Assassins versus the Templars and Connor’s journey.
-Not all the Colonists will be cast as good people, and not all the British will be cast as evil oppressors. They’re trying to focus on how both the Assassins and Templars viewpoints exist in a gray morality as the Templars really believe they’re saving the world.
-The French and Native Americans will also feature in the game, as was probably really obvious.
-The modern day stuff relates to that location in New York at the end of Revelations.
-There will be all sorts of wilderness in the game referred to as the Frontier.
-The map of the Frontier is 1.5 times bigger than the entire map of Brotherhood.
-The Frontier is not empty like in Assassin’s Creed 1, but features a third of the game’s missions and gameplay content.
-The Frontier also includes colonial settlements like Lexington and Concord and Connor’s Mohawk village.
-You can hunt animals for resources, and how you kill them effects your reward. A one hit kill on a bear gets you a much more valuable pelt than stabbing it eight times.
-The wilderness traversal plays a big part in the gameplay in the Frontier, allowing you to use trees, cliffs, ledges, and more to set up kills and combat.
-Connor does have a hidden blade.
-The world changes as time passes, so a field where a battle happened in one year may just be a series of empty encampments a few months later.
-The entire world will change with seasons, so the cities and the wilderness will all exist in both Summer and Winter settings.
-In the winter, soldiers will move slowly and stumble about in the snow, and lakes and rivers will freeze over allowing you new terrain to work with. This gives Connor an extra advantage since he can still use the trees and wilderness pretty effectively during this time of year.
-There are all sorts of clubs and groups who want you to join and give you quests. These are separate from the mission system. These clubs will contact you based on what you do in the game. For example, hunting a lot will get you an invitation to the hunting society.
-There will be a goods based economy, a new property system, and more Desmond stuff.
-There’s going to be some new puzzle thing like the first person Tetris.
-There’s a new GUI known as Animus 3.0.
-There’s a new Animus database written by Shaun Hastings, who makes snarky comments about the British perspective of the war.
-They’re not unveiling anything about the multiplayer yet.
-There will be more platforming levels.
-Full synchronization returns, but with major tweaks. Missions have checkpoints, You also get significant rewards for doing these tasks instead of a 100%. “Imagine a leveling system in an RPG, except there’s a finite amount of XP to find. The more in-sync you get, the more you fill your sync bar. Within each mission, each activity you complete has a value”. You can replay everything to increase your score.
-They imply there is something resembling the Brotherhood system of picking up fellow assassins.
-Aligned groups are gone, but something new is replacing them in regards to factions. They don’t say what.
-There’s a new notoriety system that is more hidden and doesn’t penalize you for exploring risky areas.
-The game has fast travel because the game has more traveling.
-Don’t expect more tower defense.
-You can upgrade Connor’s gear and costume as the game goes on in an attempt to make it feel more authentic.
-The cities have a lot more subtle detail now in terms of ambient things that happen.
-You can now leap over wagons or slide under obstacles, including navigating over and around moving objects. The free running stuff also has you jumping through windows to trees and then on top of church roofs. Basically, expect the free running stuff, but more fluid and presumably generally closer to the ground.
-Connor enters battle with two weapons. The game uses the same controls in and out of battle.
-The tomahawk and knife are a “constant presence” in battle. They also let you do double counters and multiple takedowns, and you can chain kills.
-There’s no more target locking, it just automatically detects your target. Counter/defense are the same button to prevent turtling.
-You can use human shields and other context sensitive moves.
-They want you to constantly move in battle.
-There are lots of secondary attacks like the one shot pistol on the Y button.
-There’s a new dynamic camera to track the action and make it look as cinematic as possible.
-There is a new sprinting system also, so you can hold the button to instantly turn around and start fleeing from combat. They also let you kill people while still moving so you can keep chasing a target. They kind of imply you can even leap off of them after you kill them, though I’m not sure if that makes you faster or just doesn’t impede your movement.
-They really, really, really want you to constantly move. I mean like they say this every four sentences. Not just in battle, but in every section of the game.
-They also try to keep you more in control of the combat than ever before.
-Game Informer really loves their animation system.
-There are around 2.5 hours of character scenes in the game that are fully acted and recorded. They mean this in Naughty Dog style where they have the actors being mocaped while performing on a set that resembles the scene in the game.
-They’re aiming for accuracy by having historical dialog consultants and actual Native American actors.
-This game has the longest development cycle since AC1, and has twice the production capacity (in terms of work hours) and budget of Revelations.
-They want the game to feel like AC3.5, and the game will have its first version complete in just a few more weeks, at which point they’re going to spend the rest of their time refining it.

Holy crap, right?  Let’s break down some of the major points.  Assassin’s Creed 3 will be everything we know and love from this series, hidden blades, Templars, and deep story lines; additionally, we can expect even faster game play, the most expansive maps we have ever encountered with this series, overhauled physics and graphical engines, real historical happenings, and main quests and side stories that seem virtually endless.

AC 3 has official release date aimed at October 30, and is our preemptive pick for game of the year.

***Update***

Get goosebumps and your daily dose of gore from this brand new official reveal trailer from Ubisoft!  ZOMG!

 

 Original story from gametyrant, screenshots courtesy of All Games Beta

Halo 4

Halo 4 unaltered screenshot

Many of us have given up on the Halo series after it made its way to the Xbox 360 and Bungie stopped putting their full effort in.  However, with the next generation of Halo games in the hands of 343 Studios, it might just be time to soldier up once again and get our fanboy faces on.  The photo above offers a first look at what the re imagined Master Chief is to look like, and as an indicator of just how much effort 343 seems to be putting into this product, it comes straight from the game engine with absolutely no added effects.

Sure, we’ve been told that Halo would be reinvented more than once, and have typically been disappointed.  However, taking a look at the video below might just make you into a believer.  What can we expect sometime around Christmas?  A new multiplayer system, a stark look at what makes the Master Chief tick, and the return of the three round burst BR are apparently just the beginning.

Original story and images courtesy of gametyrant

Steam Box

Steam Box

This year’s E3 is fast approaching and rumors have been flying that Valve, the original heroes of indie gaming, have a rudimentary gaming console in the works.  With founder Gabe Newell hinting at new “hardware” and product designer Greg Coomer tweeting the image above, everyone is expecting Valve and Steam to leave the safe waters of PC gaming for an adventure into the uncharted territory of console-based entertainment.

The unofficially branded “Steam Box” reportedly boasts some fairly unimpressive specs.  The “i7 quad core, 8GB ram, Zotac Z-68 mobo w/onboard Nvidia mobile gfx,” might overpower my PC, but it seems questionable that this is the setup that would bring Steam’s impressive list of original titles into the world of consoles.  Still, if the price is right, I’d jump at the chance to own one.

My personal money was on these gaming gurus spending their time this year at working to break into the mobile app gaming market, but it looks like they’ve taken another route entirely.  Guess I should stick to blogging about music.

The Verge broke this story and have much insightful things to say about it than we do

 

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