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

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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!

Assassin's Creed III for PS3

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 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.

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

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  • A TRUE Sequel finally! Looking forward to this :)

  • I’m thinking about weapons in Last of the Mohicans and all I can think of is that brutal Gunstock Club… that HAS to be in the game!!!

  • First time I can mention how stupid you guys are for picking America… EVER BLOODY GAME IS BASED IN AMERICA. Seriously, you are doing NOTHING new. I wanted Ancient Egypt, it was the next logical step. Disappointing, Ubisoft… very disappointing

  • i see nothing wrong with this we had european assassins so a american 1 don’t forget the temples are british still the temples are a bunch of holy knights believeing in GOD words but still carry out nasty killing with sworda & stuff.

    the doctor was british too the 1 who was with des, however i be uneasy smashing stabbing a fellow british in the head NPC on AC3. :D

  • a beta planned for PS3?

  • a beta planned for PS3 please ?

  • Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. “Yes” is the answer.

  • ShadowDoGGG

    tell me at least 10 games in this generation which had american revolution as its story

  • this is 1st game 2 be set in american revoloution if you dnt like it dogg SHUT UP n btw ubisoft make more games then you had gfs , i thought i was a pain in the butt now i kno dogg is worse

  • Actually there is a game for PC that focuses explicitly on the American Revolution.

    Its called North vs South or something. Granted the game is possibly 15 years old, but still. AC3 won’t be breaking new ground here, but i already have my preorder made , so…

  • Looking forward to seeing this game in action. Glad it has some elements from AC2 returning.


    How is Ancient Egypt the next logical step? It is based on 2012 Mayan prediction of destruction that the templars were going to unleash. The Freedom Edition has a mission in a Mayan temple as well.

  • i totally agree with shadowDoooG why every bloody game has to be set in america or have americans as heroes and the rest of world as terrorists or bad guys i would have preferred russia as setting which their history is a billion times better than america history . thanks for saving me money ubisoft i’ll get tomb raider and resident evil 6 which are better than this useless assassins american game

  • Why in america? If ubisoft knew, not everyone who buys their games are american. This game looks boring and I definitely won’t be buying it.

  • amy be quiet assassins creed 3 will sell loads n sooner or later you will youtube it n wished you got it n if any1 else says this will be waste of money your wrong very wrong n if i do get assassins creed 3 il sooo tell everyone who hates it on here how gd it is

  • & if the so called world ends in 2012 may it fry all ps3’s who int got assassins creed 3 lol

  • Whats not to like about this game?? The story so far is a cut above the rest and ties in nicely with the “predicted” doomsday 2012. whether its ancient china, america or the isle of white you cant deny that it looks and sounds great. I own all creeds and im hugely excited about this one.

    Freedom edition it is then, didn’t no about the Mayan mission, thanks Lucreto you’ve sold it :)

    Resident evil ahahahahaha you joker

  • first pic: Braveheart

  • looks like WOW!… hope in ac4 will be russian assassin..

  • Apart from the first AC i bought all others day1, and (though catholic) i really enjoyed the gameplay and real and percieved view on history and people, i would say this journey with ezio has been outstanding, definitely 1 of if not the best gaming (story) experiences i have been privileged enough to make, i honestly mean that.. it was a privilege to play them.
    Am not particularly liking this new ‘road’ or path the story is now going to take.. when it was first revealed a lot of ppl said it was the writers/ubisofts attempt of showing their true feelings towards old GB, with all the past conflicts between us and France being used, It’s something i am beginning to now believe, unfortunately..

  • Also i would Love to ‘get’ the joke regards Resident Evil.?? whats the aha and haha all about.. IF you could explain it i would really appreciate it. or is it too childish a reason to ‘attempt’ to justify a haha about a story/game as Massive And Loved as the RE ones are.. am very, very curious to read the reasons for that insult.

  • looks and sounds great cant wait and a new assassin

  • @ShadowDoGGG yh its based in america BUT ITS SOMETHIN NEW, name me one game thats set during the american revolution? u cant HENCE SOMETHIN NEW U IDIOT

  • @ShadowDoGGG Something you need to realise its all about what you want.

  • Just read this page can’t wait to hear more about it. AC3 will be awsome!!:)

  • thought desmond knows where hes got to go and what hes gotta do so if thats the case then what on earth is this all about surely it should be desmond goin where hes gotta go and doin what hes gotta do or at least some of it so please ubisoft why the wait

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