Friday, August 17, 2012

Assassin's Creed 3 Gamescom News-What You Won't See in Assassin's Creed III

Philadelphia, absurd outfits, and scalping

In December 2010, Ubisoft created a video that represented its ambitions for Assassin's Creed III - something known as target footage. Creative Director Alex Hutchinson insists that developers should always aim for exactly what they intend to ship, never over-estimating their capabilities or falling short of their own expectations. Hutchinson presented the Assassin's Creed III target gameplay render during his GDC Europe Keynote, and it was almost indistinguishable from what we've all seen from the near-finished game. In just a few short minutes, it establishes traversal and combat animation routines, the hunting mechanics, jumping through trees and climbing any cliff. But it isn't exactly Assassin's Creed III; a lot has changed along the way.

Philadelphia was prototyped for Assassin's Creed III, but ultimately cut because "it just wasn't very much fun." Hutchinson said Philadelphia is "very, very flat, it's very, very rigid. The streets were too wide." It also would have represented the first "planned city" in the series -- Philadelphia was built on a grid, unlike the more unpredictable nature of past settings. Instead, Philly is a town you'll visit in cutscenes rather than suffer through in gameplay."Some of the notable cuts from that footage include the idea of scalping," Hutchinson explained. It was something that was "historically defensible", but in the context of gameplay it was too gruesome and didn't serve much purpose for the character. For a while the bow was taken out of the game, too, because it wasn't historically supported enough to give Ubisoft the confidence to include it. Additional research eventually gave Assassin's Creed III's development team enough evidence to include it. There was originally a hook-blade as well, an extension of one of Ezio's tools, which you'd throw it at enemies to pull them toward you. "People on the team kept saying 'Get over here!' every time they used it," said Hutchinson. He took it out of the game, but a version of the device stayed in Assassin's Creed III -- you can hook enemies to yank them

up tree branches.
When it came to creating a main character, Hutchinson wanted a hero that could hang with Altair and Ezio. "I believe, even as someone who didn't work on [Assassin's Creed II], that Ezio is one of the best characters in games." Connor, therefore, had to be as iconic as Ezio and Altair. He was always intended to be Native American -- "We didn't want to make Mel Gibson from The Patriot fighting for America, nor did we want someone fighting for king and country -- but he wasn't always the guy we know now.
Early concepts deliberately went to artistic extremes. The "full on eagle outfit was never going to fly," Hutchinson said. In that particular image, Connor was decked out in wide-spreading feathers and had an an animal head for a hat. Ubisoft concepted him in all sorts of animal skins as well as minimalist robes before ultimately settling on subtle cultural twists on a classic white robe.

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