Thursday, 1 March 2012

Assassin's Creed III Concept Art Leaked?

Earlier today a ‘leaked’ image showed up on the net depicting possible concept artwork for the much-anticipated Assassin’s Creed III.

It seems to be stating that the new time period of the game will be around the time of the American Revolution, as the image portrays the protagonist in front of an old style American flag.

Similarly, the fact that he will be of Native American decent is also hinted at by details in the picture, namely by his attire, the tomahawk and bow and arrow as the weaponry and a tooth necklace around his neck.

Click HERE to see the full image.

The time period of the third ‘proper’ installment of the hit series has always been a hot topic amongst fans – with many diverse views emerging. Some wanted it to be set in Asia – in feudal Japan or China, others wanted it to be set in the modern day to focus almost entirely on Desmond’s story.

I disagree about the likelihood of both of these ideas. Firstly, games set in the ancient orient have been done already – any game with ninjas (Tenchu series anyone?) have made this an all too familiar setting for many gamers.

In a similar way, on the flipside, having a modern setting (or even a futuristic one) would not work for the game either, as the Assassin’s Creed series is known for its rich depictions of periods in history – having no historical context would make it too similar to the myriad of openworld/sandbox games out there. To deprive the game from a rich historical setting would be, in my opinion, ridding itself of its USP – akin to shooting itself in the foot.

One further time period that has been hinted at from previous concept art has been the French Revolution (a popular idea for a while), but this new artwork – if it is indeed genuine, seems to have got most people believing it's the real thing.

My personal feelings are slightly ambivalent. To be honest, I don't know much about American history, although the same could be said about the first and second Assassin’s Creed games and how they successfully drew me into the periods of the Crusade-era Middle East and Renaissance Italy respectively – giving me an interesting insight into how people lived back then and to explore the beautiful architecture.

And that's where my main problem with the American Revolution lies – there is not much in the way of architecture. As a relatively new land (in historical terms), America of that time lacks the tall buildings and majestic skylines for the Assassin protagonist to scale (this being one of the core aspects of the game mechanic) – the vertical exploration as well as the horizontal. If the American Revolution does indeed end up being the chosen setting, it will be interesting to see how they will implement or indeed compensate for this.

Anyhow, the game itself is slated for an October release this year – and so an official announcement (and thus confirmation of this artwork’s validity) is probably not too far off and will finally put an end to all this speculation.

Personally, I still wish the game would be set in Victorian London. Although having appeared as a setting in some games, a fully exploreable open world version has yet to be realised. Think about it - climbing around the city and its architecture would be magnificent – meeting grubby chimney sweeps on the rooftops, watching carriages rumbling around on the cobbled streets below. Quacks on street corners peddling their medicine or prostitutes hanging around in dingy alleys. Scaling a smog shrouded Big Ben and Tower Bridge! I’m sure Jack the Ripper lore would feature in the game somewhere too. All this would all fit into an AC game perfectly!

Ah, one can only dream…

[Edit: at the time of posting, new official box art images have been revealed, confirming that yes, the setting will be The American Revolution. I thought I’ll still post this anyway.]

1 Mar 2012

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