Assassin’s Creed III Q&A: Revolution (and Evolution)

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Assassin’s Creed III Q&A: Revolution (and Evolution)

Assassin's Creed III for PS3

Ubisoft raised more than a few eyebrows when it revealed its bold plans for Assassin’s Creed III earlier this month. In a sharp break from the Renaissance theme that has dominated the last three games, ACIII will shift its focus to the desperate, bloody days of the American Revolution in a story that spans 30 years. The change is scenery is matched by a change in character, with protagonist Connor Kenway taking center stage as an assassin caught between the escalating atrocities of the Patriots and the Redcoats. It’s a juicy premise positively bursting with potential.

With Assassin’s Creed III set to land on PS3 this October 30th, we sat down with Creative Director Alex Hutchinson to discuss the game’s ambitious premise and many, many gameplay enhancements. Read on for the choice highlights, or tune in to the entire 15-minute interview on episode 018 of PlayStation Blogcast. As always, let us know what you think in the comments!

PlayStation.Blog: When it comes to the basic ingredients of US history, Americans know our stuff. Do you feel pressure to portray characters such as George Washington in a certain way? Do you have creative freedom with him?
Alex Hutchinson, Creative Director, Assassin’s Creed III: One of the cool things about Assassin’s Creed III is that we have so much information this time. In previous games, we were filling in gaps — we knew approximately what happened, or an opinion of what happened, so we had a lot of room to move. But now, we pretty much know where all the Founding Fathers were every day of the Revolution and what they were thinking. They were copious letter writers, so we have all kinds of crazy information to build on; Ben Franklin believing that the national bird should be a turkey instead of a “thieving” eagle, or his opinions on women and so on.

It’s more about finding different angles on these people, things that maybe aren’t in the populist history, things that we can defend. It’s a lot of fun, there are some juicy characters…Pretty much 80 percent of the speaking characters are real people. You’ve heard of Paul Revere and George Washington, but a lot of the secondary characters here you won’t have heard of. If you sit there with Wikipedia open, though, you can look them up.

PSB: What inspired the name of protagonist Connor Kenway?
AH: His given Native American name is very hard to pronounce, it’s Ratohnhaké:ton. [laughter]. We took it very seriously when we decided to have a Native American assassin, we wanted someone who was one step removed — we didn’t want a Redcoat or a Patriot. We also really liked the idea of having a minority as the lead character, especially one that isn’t really represented in popular culture.

It comes with a lot of risk as well; we’ve hired a Native American consultant to make sure we’re handling things appropriately, and the actor who voices Connor is Native American as well.

Assassin's Creed III for PS3

PSB: You showed a lot of epic-looking battlefield sequences pitting the Redcoats against the Patriots — how does Connor fight on the battlefield?
AH: The narrative of the game is “Assassins versus Templars,” it’s not about you saving the American Revolution. You get involved in aspects of it; the story picks up before the Revolution kicks off and continues after it. So whenever you’re at these battle events, you’re never going to be in the line infantry shooting a rifle or serving as an actual soldier. You have an ulterior motive at the battle: Connor’s goal is to assassinate a specific person. Whoever else lives or dies in that battle is not something that concerns him.

PSB: What did you think when BioShock Infinite was revealed? Both games explore similar elements such as patriotism and the dawn of American Exceptionalism, though in different ways.
AH: I was a huge fan of BioShock, I loved that game. I think most of our team has pre-orders in for BioShock Infinite, actually! Luckily, the flavor of the games is radically different: we are far more earnest, you know what I mean? BioShock is a super-smart game, but they like to exaggerate for effect. I think it will be good for both games to co-exist because they play off each other a little.

Assassin's Creed III for PS3

PSB: For the first time, Connor has the ability to use two weapons at once — how does that change the flow of combat?
AH: We wanted him to feel more like a predator, so all of his combat is two-handed whether it’s tomahawk and knife, or hidden blade and knife. There’s a lot of new gear, and if you’ve watched movies like The Last of the Mohicans you can probably figure out some of them! But the core combat system has been rebuilt completely. What the buttons do, how they do it, the enemy types, the strategy, and so forth.

PSB: The climbing controls seem to have been simplified. Have you fundamentally changed the way traversal works for Assassin’s Creed III?
AH: The goal was to create a character who was as nimble and as capable in a wilderness environment as Ezio and Altair were in cities. We wanted to turn the frontier into a 3D playing space of uneven surfaces and slopes and trees….so when we looked at the controls, we thought we could clarify them. Having to hold two buttons at once in order to climb was definitely something we wanted to address.

In Assassin’s Creed III, if you hold R1 you’ll free run safely. You’ll stay relatively horizontal, so Connor will run past trees and he’ll only take “safe” jumps. But if you hold X as well, then the run becomes “unsafe” — he’ll try to go vertical, and if he hits the edge of a cliff, he’ll jump. Hopefully it’ll give peoples’ hands some relief, but it’s also a way of telling the game whether you want to take risks or not.

And we’ve managed to unify that new control scheme with our fighting. R1 is always sprint, so you don’t have to lock onto enemies anymore in order to attack them. And if you wanna get out of a fight, you just hold R1 and off you go. We have this idea, too, that Connor is always in motion — that he can assassinate on the run. So we have ways to run past a guard, snatch his musket, shoot his buddy, kill the next guy, and keep on moving.

Tune into the latest episode of PlayStation Blogcast (episode 018) to hear our full 15-minute interview with Hutchinson.

Assassin's Creed III for PS3Assassin's Creed III for PS3

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8 Author Replies

  • Connor looks like he’s going to be the best out of all the Assassins.

  • Will the US get the Freedom Edition or is it UK only? I was hearing different things about this.

  • looks like this game is going to be the first AC game im ever going to own.Kinda sucks that im going to have to wait till OCTOBER but i guess it would be a good BIRTHDAY GIFT from my wife :p Thats unless GTA5 comes out that month ..then im sorry Ubisoft..but my moneys going to the Rockstar :/


  • Never got into Assassin’s Creed. The whole virtual-reality, playing through memories aspect was a turn off for me. It made me not care about anything because I was just playing a ‘dream’.

    This new Creed looks great and I like the change of setting/time period, I just don’t care for the premise of the main story.

    Good job on keeping things fresh though.

  • I want Ubisoft to take my monies, but they’re making it hard by not putting out the Freedom Edition here in NA.

    That statue looks AMAZING and so is AC3!

    Sid, you gotta do your part and pressure these guys to release that CE in the states next time you chat with em!

    • I will mention it next time I see the team. Also, keep in mind that many companies reveal more in terms of collector’s edition and pre-order details closer to release, so I guess there’s still hope!

  • Any plans for bringing this or any assassin’s creed to Vita? Any plans for any big games like this: GTA, this, Fallout, etc. For Vita? I would love to play gta on the go or be able to walk though radioactive towns and fight mutant creatures!

  • THIS is the AC I’ve been waiting for!
    I only hope that this game will wrap Connors story up in the first go. There’s no need for annual releases. By the end of Brotherhood I was already sick of Ezio.

    Also, if the collector’s edition comes to the US, can you make a proper steelbook (blu-ray size) for us PS3 owners?

  • Assassins creed 3 will be awesome I think, i was “sick” of the Renaissance. That would be nice if you would come with something new and different for the multiplayer even if Im looking for the single player a lot more. I skipped revelations but this one will be a must have.

    • Agreed. I thought the Italian Renaissance setting was incredibly interesting, but it’s time for a change in scenery. Very excited to see more!

  • SOLD! 8D

  • Put AC1 & 2 on the Bluray with AC3 and I’ll bite

  • It’s a very interesting setting change, that’s for sure. I was kinda hoping for more of a civil war/victorian era setting, but this will work too. I know you guys didn’t ask about it, but I’m wondering how they’ll handle the whole slavery issue. The slavery trade was a big part of colonial life in the 1700s. I’m also curious if they’ll have Crispus Attucks in it as well. He was the first martyr of the Revolutionary War at the Boston Massacre.

  • Thinking ahead to a sequel, which side will Connor Kenway take in the War of 1812?

  • I haven’t been able to figure out if one can get a full experience with AC3 having NOT played Ac:B or Ac:R. Is this basically a reboot that has few to no story-related ties to the previous games? Hope so, because this new setting looks awesome.

    • I sort of assume that the AC –> ACII –> ACIII is the main thread of the plot, but this would be a great question to ask them next time I see them!

  • Cant Wait!

  • Bit disappointed in the costume, wished he looked less “Ezio/Altair’ish” and more like the native american he’s supposed to be. Maybe with like a bear head as his hood (shaman’ish) or something. Now it just looks like the dude just traveled through time.

    • I go into a little detail on this topic further down. They considered it, but decided he was first and foremost an assassin. It’s an interesting idea, though… a white wolf skin for an outfit would look sweet! (^_^)

  • Already pre ordered and got the steel case that came with it, but will get the Freedom Edition that has A 9-inch Connor figurine, Steel book case, George Washington’s notebook, Exclusive lithograph, “Lost Mayan Ruins” single-player mission involving exploration of a Mayan pyramid and Captain Kidd’s cutlass, “Ghost of War” single-player mission including Pontiac’s War Club weapon, “Sharpshooter” multiplayer package including a new character, Sharpshooter weapon, one relic, one emblem, one special picture and “The Jester” title. But for those who want to know the others their is the Join or Die Edition that will include the Ghost of War mission, Sharpshooter multiplayer package and George Washington’s notebook, plus different packaging and an Assassin’s medallion. Also the just A Special Edition will contain an exclusive single-player mission called “A Dangerous Secret.” This mission will allow players to “fight against a secret that could jeopardize the funding of the revolution” and offer the opportunity to unlock an exclusive Flintlock Musket.

  • I hope PS3 users get exclusive content again with Assassin’s Creed 3, love these games!

  • In the Facebook profile of Ubisoft Brazil, has a post saying that the AC III will be dubbed and subtitled in Portuguese of Brazil :) Good for us (Brazilians) because most games only show the bad side of Brazil, as traffickers and you remember GTA IV’s that guy who insults in Portuguese? At least UbiSoft thought of the Brazilian people.

  • Thank you Sid :)

    hope Ubi sees the errors of their way and do us patriotic americans justice.

    @Kdiep, Connor is actually only half native american.

    his dad is british and mom i think is cherokee, could be wrong on that part though.

    i do agree they could make his assassin wordrobe look more native american

    • He’s part Mohawk, I believe. To your last point: Ubisoft’s team gave us a big presentation showing off early concept sketches for Connor, and they did have one version that was much more influenced by his Native American heritage. But they ultimately felt that he was an assassin first and foremost, and so they decided to roll those elements back into the iconic white outfit.

  • i want to know what Desmond’s role is gonna be Connor seems like the best assassin besides Ezio Auditore da Firenze and Alitair Ibn-La’Ahad but my main question are all questions about the First Civilization going to be answered?

    • We asked about Desmond and were promptly shot down, so no idea if/how he factors in. The suspense builds!

  • Oh yea!!!!!!!!! Already pre-ordered for the game and gotz my collectors case…. Can’t wait till October!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sid, sorry to comment this in here but there havent been a ps vita post in a while by u guys… Remember the time i told u that my Near APP couldnt find my location? well i did the skyhook thing and now it finds my location but the in says “An error has occurred”. and thats it…. I havent been able to use Near since launch! i cannot use the black market on U.G.A. or the intel stuff on Unit 13! :( pls help!

    Also Assassins creed are being a little milked down…i dont like that… :(

  • Ezio was the best Assassin but Connor is ok Ezio is better than Connor Connor is better than Altair

  • To anyone wondering if you need to play Brotherhood and/or Revelations to know what’s gong on in this one: AC games do a pretty good job of having a recap at the beginning of the game to catch you up, so its not 100% necessary to play them.

    With that in mind, I DEFINITELY recommend playing Brotherhood at least. The ending section of that game was HUGE plot-wise, in my opinion at least. Revelations was a little lacking in Revelations to be honest. There was a sequence giving you a little more backstory on some things that was interesting, but nothing that I’m sure won’t be recapped.

    Both of the games are great though, and if you like the series, play them all.

  • I Will always be a fan of this series, nothing is better than assassins creed, i found myself many times not doing quest for a while and just fighting in the streets, now i get a whole forest to battle in. it seems that revamping the controls will be a good thing an dual weapons is going to be awesome. and i love the Native American culture so i hope they nail that one. I’ve already gotten my pre order i cant wait.

  • Interview starts at the ~10min mark if you wanted to listen to it (though I definitely recommend listening to the full blogcast when you have the time).

  • OMGGG cant wait!!!! i have played AC since AC1 and i am really pumped for this game

  • Sid, next time you see them, could you ask them about the possibility of getting an Assassin’s Creed II Trilogy Collection on PS3? i.e. ACII, Brotherhood and Revelations all on one Blu-Ray disc. I would buy that in a heartbeat. /drools

  • wheres assassins creed vita?!!?

  • I’m assuming Amazon will have the best preorder deal. What a waiting game.

  • This series is getting better and better. I cannot wait for the release!

    Oh and Mr. Shuman, I have a simple question?

    Hope you don’t mind me asking, but have you heard of SC: Conviction coming to PSN?

    Seems kinda weird that all games from the series are available, but this one is not.

    Just out of curiosity, but I understand if you know nothing of this matter….

  • glad im not gonna run up trees on accident anymore thank you guys for adressing that problem ubisoft


  • After ACR I was kind of lead to the assumption that the next game would be an all Desmond game where he finds Eden/Eve and all the questions we were left with would be answered. I’m excited about this new game and the change of scenery, but I feel like they should have properly ended Desmond’s story before starting a new one. If Desmond is shown in the next game and his story explained then I’ll be happy with the outcome, but if they completely drop him, I’ll be pretty disappointed. As said above, they are staying quiet about Desmond, but I hope his story progresses significantly more than it has in these past few games. Then we can move on from him and see more Assassins.

  • I can’t wait for this game!

  • I’m so excited to see the time period in AC moving on. This is something I’ve been waiting for. I hope that sometime in the future they can bring the game to the world war 2 era. The scenery of that game would be amazing

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