Rumors were finally confirmed today with official word that Assassin’s Creed 3 will take place during the American Revolution. All indications are that the new assassin character is part Native American. After three games with extremely similar settings, this is just the kind of shake-up Ubisoft needed to catch people’s attention for a third installment. I’m an unabashed fan of the franchise, and I even played the weaker installments, so this concept gets my approval.
So as we wait for more official details, which will no doubt come with the Game Informer cover story, E3, and so on, I have a few thoughts.
On traversal: This struck a lot of people pretty quickly. The series is known for its parkour movement and skulking on rooftops. How do you do that in Colonial days when large sprawling American cities weren’t yet founded? One theory I heard involved tree-climbing traversal, which could be pretty incredible if we have lots of wooded environments.
On history: Assassin’s Creed is made by people from all over the globe, with large teams overseas, but they feel very much like “western” games catered to an American audience. The meta-hero is a New Yorker. So setting this game in a history that Americans are so intimately familiar with is an interesting direction. Your average American probably couldn’t go into great detail about the Crusades or the Renaissance, but we all know the myths and legends associated with our own founding. I have to assume Ubisoft will count on that and make twists on the story. Make it around the premise of, here’s what was going on behind the Boston Massacre or Washington crossing the Delaware. The (fictional) part of the story you haven’t heard.
On the new hero: Altair and Ezio were both pretty bold choices of underrepresented ethnicities. A Native American fits into that. Ezio has become the de facto face of the series, and I’m not sure anyone can replace him in most people’s minds. But the promise of the series has always been that it can constantly introduce new assassins from the bloodline, so I’m glad they’re getting away from familiar territory. If this series continues after the third installment — and let’s be honest, it probably will — they need to take advantage of the conceit of letting us step into different roles and time periods.
On wrapping up the trilogy: This will be the third installment, and it will deal with the 2012 “end time” prophecies. Desmond’s story will presumably wrap up here, so setting it in America has to be a conscious choice. This will be where we control Desmond more directly, so I imagine we’ll get some National Treasure hooks that link the founding of the country to Desmond’s missions in current day. With any luck, there will be a map to an Apple on a famous document, and Desmond will have to steal the Declaration of Independence.
- I wonder what will happen to all the cries of Nintendo oppression if Sony rejects Binding of Isaac too.
- I haven’t followed Hybrid closely, but I like 5th Cell and caught up with this trailer today when I wrote the story. It looks pretty interesting, actually.
- I don’t usually respond to my articles, but someone made an Archer reference and I couldn’t resist.
- I’m skeptical about just how “playable” Stan Lee will be. But the man said it, and his handler confirmed it, so I have to think it’s more than just a mistake from a confused old man.