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The Assassin/Templar War In AC Revelations

by Matt Miller on May 27, 2011 at 08:00 AM

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A war is raging in the streets of Constantinople in 1511, and its borders stretch out across the breadth of the Mediterranean region. The Templars and the Assassins battle for control of the great cities. The assassins have a general in this war, and his name is Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

That’s the top-level idea behind a brand new system that infiltrates the story of Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Throughout Ezio’s mission to recover ancient seals hidden across Constantinople, he’ll also be juggling his role as the leader of the Assassin order. In that role, he must train new assassins, send them out across the city and the wider region, and ensure that the Assassins remain in control of as much territory as possible. “We really liked the Borgia Towers in Brotherhood, where you got to take over the city from the Templars,” explains creative director Alexandre Amancio. “We started with that, and then completely revamped the system to create something new. It allows you to not only fight and gain control of the city, but to have an organic fight.”

In Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, players controlled Ezio in a fun action loop. Bring down the Borgia captain. Burn his tower. Open shops. Make money. That idea has been reworked and focused in Assassin’s Creed Revelations to deliver more variety and offer a fun distraction from the main story while continuing the war of the Assassins and the Templars.

It starts with the concept of Assassin’s dens. These hidden locations across Constantinople are the bases of operations for Ezio’s allies. Control a den and its surrounding region and you’ll be able to upgrade all the shops and buildings in that area, including the den itself, which will provide more navigation options (like additional zip lines for the hook blade) in that part of the city. Each of the stores now has more levels of upgrades to move through than they did in Brotherhood, but they continue to provide a steady source of income for future purchases. As an added benefit, controlling a den will change the character of the surrounding guards. Regular Ottoman patrols will monitor the regions you control; they’ll still halt your illegal activities, but won’t be overtly hostile.

Unfortunately, these areas are under constant threat. The Templars will try to retake the regions of the city. In fact, they’ll be more likely to attack a region as your notoriety rises – a good reason to try and keep a low profile when you can. Lose a den, and you won't be able to upgrade its facilities. Ottoman guards will be replaced by aggressive Byzantine soldiers – the allies of the Templars.

When such an attack comes, Ezio has a few options. He can go in person to lead the defense of the den and its surrounding region. Alternately, if he can’t be bothered, he can send some of his trainee Assassins to do the job for him. Like assassin missions in Brotherhood, you’ll see a percentage chance of success depending on whom you send to hold the line. Finally, if you want to be assured that a particular assassin’s den will forever remain under control, you can install one of your fully trained master assassins as the den’s leader. 

Next up: Leveling up your assassin army, and sending that army out across the known world

According to Ubisoft, some conquerable cities in single-player will only open up by playing multiplayer

As your troops continue the fight, they’ll level up. Moving beyond Brotherhood’s progression system, there are now 15 levels of growth for your learners. After level 10, as your troops move from Assassin to master Assassin, these characters will actually develop a personality of their own. They might approach you for help on a personal mission. Plus, you’ll have the flexibility to customize them more than in the last installment. “In these final levels, you’re tweaking your assassins – customizing them. They’re becoming real characters,” Amancio tells us.

As you take over the Assassin’s dens of Constantinople, you’ll begin to use those locations to access the wider Assassin/Templar war across the known world. Cities all across the Mediterranean have the same conflict going on, and you can try to win that war by sending your best-trained Assassins into the fight. Each of these other cities has its own map of districts that need to be controlled. A new (and still unannounced) strategic mechanic governs these battles, and players can be deeply involved or let the automated fight play out on its own. “Instead of sending your assassins on random missions to level them up, defending the city, and then defending the entire Mediterranean through the same sort of gameplay actually has them progress,” Amancio declares.

Taken together, Ubisoft hopes the new Assassin’s den gameplay offers a rich detour from the intrigue-laden search for the lost seals. “Imagine playing a huge chess game across the map of the city,” Amancio says. “It’s not something you play just once, but something you could play again and again throughout the city.” It’s an exciting prospect. We’ll be eager to see for ourselves the details and interactions involved in the various attack and defend mechanics, as well as the promised strategy elements of taking and holding the many cities around the Mediterranean Sea.

For our extensive coverage of Assassin’s Creed Revelations, including video interviews with the development team, glimpses at multiplayer, character biographies, and more, head over to our game hub by clicking on the image below.