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Ubisoft enlists ‘Chief Parkour Officer’ for Assassin’s Creed

To cement its place as the leading purveyor of acrobatic yet physically implausible action games, Ubisoft has hired famed freerunner Michael “Frosti” Zernow as its new Chief Parkour Officer.

“Ubisoft’s new Chief Parkour Officer will serve in a…
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Total Recall: Assassin’s Creed Announcement Trailers

Earlier today, Ubisoft delivered a new trailer for the sixth major Assassin’s Creed game. The franchise has grown and matured quite a bit since it was first announced, so we thought we’d look back at how Ubisoft has evolved its unveilings of new series entries.

Assassin’s Creed
Announced: E3 2006
Released: November 13, 2007 (PS3, Xbox 360), April 8, 2008 (PC)

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What jumps out immediately is that this first trailer in 2006 was representative of gameplay. We see Altair jumping from rooftop to rooftop, using his hidden blade, and engaging in swordplay, all in-engine (or so it seems).

If when you first saw this video, you thought it was a for a modern take on Prince of Persia, you can take comfort that Assassin’s Creed began its life starring the Prince. The title was originally called Prince of Persia: Assassin.

Ubisoft spun the title off into its own series, after creative director Patrice Désilets presented a concept that put players in the role of an Assassin guarding the boy Prince. It was the right move, as Assassin’s Creed is Ubisoft’s pillar franchise having sold 73 million copies as of April 2014.

While Assassin’s Creed was introduced as an historical action game, it was later revealed to have a present-day element. The concept of the Animus, a machine that allows people to relive genetic memories, created a solid sci-fi twist to the tale.

We also found a cinematic teaser that details the history of the assassins and features the hidden blade.

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Assassin’s Creed II
Confirmed: November 2008
Released: November 17, 2009 (PS3, Xbox 360), March 4, 2010

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Assassin’s Creed II was a huge leap forward for the series. By most accounts, Altair was not a likable protagonist. The sequel put players in the shoes of Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Renaissance Italy. 

With a more compelling tale, memorable characters like Leonardo da Vinci, and a revamped combat system, this first entry began to fulfill the franchise’s promise (even if it meant a more convoluted story). Those pesky collectible flags were replaced by feathers with narrative significance and glyph puzzles that were a joy to unravel. This was also the first title to include uPlay and its unified point and reward systems.

At E3 2008, we got our first look at Ubisoft’s vision for Assassin’s Creed’s Italy, set against Jesper Kyd’s soundtrack. It was bright, colorful, and very bloody.

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At Gamescom that year, we finally saw the improved gameplay and combat. Set against “Genesis” by Justice, we get our first look at double hidden blades, heavy weapons, and a dirtier fighting style.

Assassin’s Creed II also spawned a prequel miniseries that unveils more about Ezio’s family and those that set out to do them harm. You can watch Assassin’s Creed Lineage below.

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Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
Announced: May 11, 2010
Released: November 16, 2010 (PS3, Xbox 360), March 17, 2011 (PC)

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Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood was a surprise for a number of reasons. The concept of annual releases for action games was still in its infancy, there was confusion about continuing Ezio’s story in an unnumbered game, and Brotherhood was the first in the series to include multiplayer.

It also introduced one of the most enjoyable mechanics in the series: training and deploying a guild of assassins in missions and in battle. The title also had a companion app, but not on a mobile device. By using Facebook, players were able to accelerate the training of their assassins and task them on unique missions.

Brotherhood was also the first title to introduce secondary objectives. If you managed to finish with 100 percent sync, you likely found yourself cursing at the mission that put you in Leonardo da Vinci’s tank. Notably, this was Patrice Désilet’s final Assassin’s Creed game.

 

Assassin’s Creed Revelations
Announced: April 29, 2011
Released: November 15, 2011 (PS3, Xbox 360), November 29, 2011 (PC)

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At E3 2011, we began our last journey with Ezio Auditore da Firenze, as he returns to the Altair’s home (and Assassin birthplace), Masyaf. As he nears the stronghold, we discover that this is an aging hero, likely on his final pilgrimage. 

Time hasn’t slowed the master assassin down too much, as he rolls through a detachment of heavily armed guards. As Altair makes an appearance (only to Ezio), the hero is overwhelmed. He finds himself dragged to a spot familiar to fans of the series since its earliest days.

Set against Woodkid’s Iron, we got a sense from the beginning that this would be a darker tale (and one that would be closing a chapter for the series). Unfortunately, the trilogy closed on a weaker note. 

Revelations stumbled a bit in terms of gameplay, in part due to the inclusion of a strange tower defense element. It also placed present-day protagonist Desmond Miles in a strange comatose state with a broken mind. The strange twist the story took in Brotherhood continues full steam ahead in Revelations, with the further involvement of an ancient (but technologically advanced) species responsible for the objects at the heart of the Templar/Assassin war. 

 

Assassin’s Creed III
Announced: February 2012 (Confirmed), March 1, 2012 (Detailed)
Released: October 30, 2012 (PS3, Xbox 360), November 18, 2012 (Wii U), November 20, 2012 (PC)

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Assassin’s Creed III brought the series to the United States in its infancy. Taking place during the American Revolution, players stepped into the shoes of Ratonhnhaké:ton, also known as Connor Kenway.

Instead of the architecture of the Middle East or Italy, Connor’s skill set was enhanced with the ability to more seamlessly climb trees and rocks. He could also hide in the brush more easily.

Because of the different setting, Connor had a different set of tools at his disposal, including a tomahawk and rope darts. He used his hidden blade, but modified to be used backhanded, also. This title introduced naval combat for the first time.

Despite being the fourth consecutive annual title, Assassin’s Creed III was in development for over two years. That year also saw the release of the Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation for PlayStation Vita. The two titles were loosely connected and intersected in small ways.

Assassin’s Creed III also marked a new DLC experiment for Ubisoft. The studio created a self-contained alternate reality expansion in which George Washington seized power as a monarch rather than a leader of the republic. The story was released in three parts.

 

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Announced: March 4, 2013
Released: October 29, 2013 (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U), November 15, 2013 (PS4), November 19, 2013 (PC), November 22, 2013 (Xbox One)

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was a renaissance for the series that recapture some of the magic lost in the previous two entries. The new Anvil Next engine was especially gorgeous on new-gen systems, and the naval combat was an expansion of one of Assassin’s Creed III’s most interest parts.

The story leaves Desmond Miles behind, instead focusing on the Templar-run Abstergo. Modern day events were presented differently than in the past, as the player is working inside an Abstergo office (rather than on the run from them).

The story focuses on Edward Kenway, grandfather of Assassin’s Creed III’s Connor. Players upgrade Edward’s ship, the Jackdaw, throughout the game. The recruitment aspect of Brotherhood also makes a return in the form of building a crew, but sailors aren’t able to assist in combat.

The story DLC experiment continued with Freedom Cry, which gave players control of Edward’s first mate, Adewale. It was later released as standalone content that does not require ownership of Black Flag.

 

Assassin’s Creed Unity
Announced: March 21, 2014
Release: October 28, 2014 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)

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After a leak earlier this year, Ubisoft reacted by rolling with the punches. Assassin’s Creed Unity was officially confirmed with an alpha gameplay trailer (unlike many of the past titles). 

At E3 this year, we found out that Unity would be the first game in the series to feature cooperative gameplay, with missions for up to four players. Unlike traditional co-op, each player will see themselves as Arno (though will see the others as different assassins).

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Players will be instrumental in the French revolution, helping the people rise up against the oppressive aristocracy. Nothing has yet been revealed of the game’s current-day gameplay, though we suspect that there will be some element of that story thread present.

We also know that for the first time since Brotherhood, there won’t be a competitive multiplayer mode. But given what we’re getting in its place? It might just be a fair trade.

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We’ll know more as we get closer to October. For more on Assassin’s Creed Unity, be sure to check out the most recent gameplay trailer.

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Rob Zombie debuting Assassin’s Creed short at Comic Con

We’ve seen Assassin’s Creed Unity’s hooded justice-seekers hunt their prey in conceptual trailers and gameplay demonstrations, but it seems like another perspective will debut at Comic Con International in San Diego later this month. A listing for a…
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Video blog: History, slavery, and violence in Assassin’s Creed

A look at “slavery and black life in the 18th Century Atlantic World” and its portrayal in the Assassin’s Creed series from college professor Bob Whitaker and historian Jessica W. Luther. …


Gamasutra News

New Assassin’s Creed led by Ubisoft Quebec

Ubisoft Quebec is the lead studio on “a future Assassin’s Creed,” Ubisoft announced in a blog post. Ubisoft Montreal traditionally heads up development of Assassin’s Creed games, in partnership with other Ubisoft studios, including Quebec.

Ubisoft…
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Ubisoft Quebec City Studio Will Lead Development On A Future Assassin’s Creed Title

Ubisoft Montreal will be moving out of the lead development role for at least one future Assassin’s Creed title. Ubisoft has announced that its Quebec City studio will be sitting first chair for an upcoming series entry. Ubisoft Montreal is leading work on Assassin's Creed Unity.

In January, Ubisoft announced a $ 28 million CDN  ($ 25.2 million USD) investment in its Quebec City operation. Today, the publisher disclosed that $ 4 million of that will be used to outfit new workspaces nearby the current location. This move will guarantee that the studio will be in its current neighborhood for at least another 14 years.

The move will be finished in spring 2016. Additionally, Ubisoft is halfway to fulfilling its goal of 100 new hires for the studio. The staff-up was announced in January and scheduled to take place over three years.

 

Our Take
It’s important to note that Quebec City will be leading one of the next titles, but not necessarily taking the reins for the entire franchise. There have been rumors about a direct Black Flag sequel (codenamed “Comet”), and if accurate, it wouldn’t be the first time Ubisoft has released multiple series titles in the same year.

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Patrice Desilets calls for women assassins in Assassin’s Creed

The former creative director of Assassin’s Creed calls for Ubisoft — and the industry at large — to devote more resources to building diverse games. …


Gamasutra News

Ubisoft announces Assassin’s Creed Unity release date

Ubisoft has announced the next installation in the Assassin’s Creed franchise: Assassin’s Creed Unity. Unity, a direct successor to 2013′s Black Flag, will release on October 28th (this year, don’t worry). Unity will be set during the French Revolution in the year 1789, at the height of the Terror. Ubisoft has emphasized a re-imagining of the franchise’s core gameplay pillars: navigation, combat, and stealth. Actually stealth has often been a secondary/non-exist mechanic in my playthroughs, but a new “stealth mode” is promised to help beef up the playstyle. A richer combat system is also promised, along with new cover mechanics and crowd manipulation techniques.

There also seems to be a bit more rpg splicing going on, and players will be “customizing weapons, equipment, outfits and specialized skills to match their play style.” That’s pretty nifty in its own right, but it’s super nifty in light of the four player co-op missions. Pre-purchasers will get access to a special mission “The Chemical Revolution” where they rescue Antoine Lavoisier, founder of modern chemistry, pioneering such concepts as combustion, the conservation of mass, and apparently a “poison bomb formula.” Truly a giant of his era. They also get to access to the Ubisoft “Guillotine Spin to Win Game” where they can spin a wheel for fabulous prizes on the Ubisoft site.

The extra mission will undoubtedly get rolled out as DLC after a while, and the “Guillotine Spin to Win Game” is ridiculous nearly to the point of being offensive. They’ve also commissioned an irresponsibly authentic recreation of protagonist Arno’s “Phantom Blade”, featuring a “functional hidden blade, retractable crossbow arms, and a soft firing dart” (which can presumably be replaced with a hard firing dart…). Video games may not cause violence, but dammit they’re trying.

Pre-purchase hootnanny aside, it sounds like there’s some really cool stuff here. Revolutionary Paris is just about exactly where I want to scurry across; looking tres chic in my mauve assassin robes, I may even saunter down the Champs-Elysees and toss a few poison bombs among those darling cafes. I may even do it avec mes amis.


That VideoGame Blog

Assassin’s Creed Unity Unveils New Co-op Feature (Video)

Microsoft and Ubisoft unveiled a surprise this morning at E3 during Microsoft’s presentation. At this point Assassin’s Creed Unity was no secret nor surprise; between the leaks and small trailers, I’m sure most people were not expecting many surprises from the title.  However Ubisoft blew my mind this morning with four player co-op.  So instead of being a lone wolf you are now able to assassinate with a group of people which is sure to change the dynamics of the franchise. Microsoft showed off how four player co-op works in an Assassin’s Creed game and I am impressed and actually excited for Assassin’s Creed Unity.

Luckily MKIceandFire was able to capture a video of Assassin’s Creed Unity‘s new co-op system at work.


That VideoGame Blog

Ubisoft and NVIDIA team up for Assassin’s Creed Unity

In a  recent press release, Ubisoft announced they they will be working alongside NVIDIA, through the NVIDIA GameWorks program, on 4 of their upcoming titles: Assassin’s Creed Unity, The Crew, Tom Clancy’s: The Division, and Far Cry 4.

Although the partnership will bring features such as TXAA anti-aliasing (more recently featured in Watch_Dogs), soft shadows, and HBAO+ to these titles, it’s worth noting that AMD has cited the GameWorks program as the primary culprit behind performance and optimization issues experienced by AMD users who purchase these titles. More recently, AMD has pointed to the performance of Watch_Dogs on AMD systems, as a prime example of the GameWorks program’s restrictive nature.

Exactly how these titles will pan out for AMD users is still up in the air, and we’ll just have to wait and see how they perform once they are released.


That VideoGame Blog