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The World Of Assassin’s Creed III

by Matt Miller on Mar 12, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Long before a game like Assassin’s Creed III can be played on a screen with a controller, the world of that game must be visualized. Strong concept art guides the vision of a project, informing the graphical style, locations, characters, and tone of the whole experience.

During our visit to AC III developer Ubisoft Montreal, we saw a wealth of evocative images from the project. We’ve drawn out some of the coolest pieces of concept art from what we saw to help illustrate some of the game’s most compelling locations, events, and characters.

For each of the images below, you may click on the picture for a larger version. Then, read the description below each image to learn more about what that piece of art illustrates about the larger game.

Enjoy your illustrated tour of the world of Assassin’s Creed III.

Boston

Colonial-era Boston is one of two major cities open to full exploration in Assassin’s Creed III. Boston was one of the largest cities in the colonies during the latter half of the 1700s.  Numerous historical events occurred in or nearby to Boston during the period, including the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Siege of Boston, and even the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and his fellow colonial patriots. Expect to witness some major changes to the city over the course of the full game.



City Life

This interior view of Boston offers a potent vision of the potential for city gameplay in Assassin’s Creed III. Tall brick homes, steepled churches, and docked ships offer a wide variety of climbing opportunities. Life on the streets is also dramatically more varied and lively than in previous installments of the Assassin’s Creed series. While the new game offers plenty of new gameplay experiences out in the wilds, the core excitement of free running through a teeming city remains intact; we witnessed a demo with new hero Connor weaving amid wagons and merchant stalls – and even through building windows – to evade a pursuing squad of British soldiers.



New York

This image shows the aftermath of the Great Fire of New York, a catastrophic event in 1776 that left around a quarter of the city in ruins. To this day, it remains unclear whether the fire was accidental or if it was purposeful arson to hamper the occupying British forces within the city.

In previous installments of Assassin’s Creed, the history enthusiast could delight in visiting particular places. In Assassin’s Creed III, the focus has been shifted to experiencing particular events, like the fire. You’ll see a location before a major event, during, and after it has occurred. When you’re done, you’ll understand why we remember events like the New York fire in the historical record.

Next up: A trip into the wilderness of Assassin's Creed III



Battlefields


Assassin’s Creed III is set between 1753 and 1783, so it should come as no surprise that the battles of the American Revolution will figure prominently in the game. Rather than shy away from the technical challenges of these conflagrations, Ubisoft Montreal has embraced these battles as major events through which the player will move and act. Rather than playing just another soldier in a vast conflict, Connor will often have a separate goal during a major battle, but will still be in the thick of the conflict as he is forced to deal with whizzing bullets and devastating cannon balls. We witnessed one of these battles in an in-game demo, and can attest to the powerful experience of seeing hundreds of troops facing off against one another.



The Frontier

Assassin’s Creed III will allow players fully explore a huge wilderness setting – the vast open world of what is today called the northeastern United States. Tree and mountain climbing assures that even the most distant peaks and vistas can be reached. More importantly, the Frontier is not an empty wasteland with nothing to do; a full third of the game’s missions and gameplay occur in this vast space. We’ll have lots more to share about the Frontier in a dedicated feature later this month.



Seasons

Every location in Assassin’s Creed III can be explored in both the winter and the summer. More than a cosmetic effect, gameplay, NPC character actions, and enemy behavior will all be different depending on the season. Even bodies of water will freeze over to offer different running paths. Connor is uniquely suited for and trained in movement through harsh wilderness settings; he will often appear like a predator hunting down prey bogged down in the snow and ice.

Next up: Meet the characters of Assassin's Creed III



A Lifetime


Not unlike the many years we spent with Ezio Auditore in Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed III depicts multiple decades of a single protagonist’s life. This image reveals Connor as a boy. Players will spend a portion of the game playing as young Connor in the Mohawk village in which he was raised. It’s only later that he’ll set out into the wider world and don the garb of the Assassins.



Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin is one of a large number of characters in the game who are based on actual historical figures of the period. Because Assassin’s Creed III is set more recently than other games in the series, the writers at Ubisoft have a more robust historical record to pull from when shaping characters for the game. Oftentimes, they know where a particular person was down to the hour on important dates.

Contrary to what might be your first guess, Franklin will not take over the role vacated by Leonardo da Vinci as the dedicated inventor working to provide handy gadgets to the game’s hero. Instead, Franklin’s presence in the game will veer closer to his involvement in the trying political situation of the time.



George Washington


In a game that will include major battles of the American Revolution, it should come as no surprise that George Washington will play a major role. In an attempt to stay as true as possible to the historical record, Washington will be presented as the stalwart but sometimes indecisive commander that is revealed in numerous letters and journals of the time. Connor has regular interaction with Washington during the game, but it remains unclear exactly how the two characters come to know one another.



Charles Lee


Charles Lee might be a lesser known name to some, but he played a significant role in the American Revolution. Many politicians of the time believed that Charles Lee would have been a better choice to lead the American army than Washington, but Lee demanded money for the job, and was unwilling to give up his British lands. Historically, during the war, Lee was captured by the British, and may even have shared secrets with the British during his capture. In the AC fiction, will Lee be painted as a misunderstood hero, a conniving villain, or something else entirely? We’ll all have to wait and see.

Check back throughout the coming week for more features and details about Assassin’s Creed III. To see all the articles and interviews we’ve released so far, visit gameinformer.com/ac3 or click on the banner below.