There have been a lot of announcements regarding the Assassin’s Creed franchise as of late. One minute we’re told we won’t see a new AC game in 2011, the next that we will. Before you know it Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is announced, and it’s set to arrive by the end of this calender year. With only a few months to go, what do we know about the game’s new features and what would we like to see?
Rather than the dual narrative of Desmond and one of his Assassin ancestors as seen in previous games in the series, Revelations will go for a more ambitious three way plot line. Desmond’s story will pick up from where it was left in Brotherhood and will see him explore a safe mode of the Animus known as The Black Room. This particular scenario will supposedly create more puzzle-based gameplay sections and will explore and elaborate upon the inner psyche of Desmond Miles. The AC series has always had an abstract narrative, but the chance to explore the inner mind of Desmond could lead to a more emotionally engaging story.
The other plot threads are set to wrap up the collective adventures of Ezio and Altair. Ezio’s quest will supposedly take him to Istanbul, and he will return as a slightly older man in Revelations. We don’t know much else about Altair’s story though. It’s unlikely he’ll be travelling too far out of Jerusalem, but another time period might make for an interesting plot. Considering we’ll be seeing an older Ezio, it may be interesting to see a young Altair during his formative years as an Assassin.
In terms of gameplay additions, a few have come to light so far. One of the more unique inclusions to the assassin arsenal is the hookblade. Not only can this be used to move enemies around during combat, but it also allows the user to travel quickly along various zip lines placed around the game world. Whilst moving from place to place has always been an enjoyable element of the AC games, moving around quicker might give the game an even better sense of pace.
Other abilities have been confirmed that seem more likely to be unique to Ezio. Auditore will have a choice of bombs that he can use to place traps around the map. A variety of different bombs will be at his disposable and they will all have unique abilities. This is all combined with an upgraded eagle vision that can show where enemies have come from and where they are likely to go. Using this information will be imperative in placing bombs and traps effectively.
The Assassin’s guild elements introduced in Brotherhood will also get an upgrade. Once you eliminate the Templar presence in an area you can establish Assassin’s dens that will strengthen your grip on that particular section of the map. From these dens you’ll most likely be able to strengthen your assassin trainees as in Brotherhood, but you can also upgrade buildings and plant zip lines on them for easier transportation. The ability to level up your assassin’s was one of the more intriguing additions in Brotherhood, so we can expect to see this aspect get some more love in Revelations. A higher level cap for your assassins has been confirmed, but whether there will be a greater variety of missions and levelling up paths for your followers in uncertain. It certainly wouldn’t go amiss though, so fingers crossed.
One aspect of the game that will get a real shake down is the nature of the game’s side missions. Rather than the traditional structure of engaging in side missions at your own pace, random happenings will occur as your travel around Istanbul. I’m sure some will miss the way side-quests were handled in previous games in the series but, if Red Dead Redemption has been anything to go by, this system of random encounters is a more exciting and immersive way of introducing the player to sub-stories.
The other big addition in Brotherhood was the online multiplayer modes, and we can expect these to undergo some serious changes as well for AC: Revelations. As awesome as the perks and upgrades were in Brotherhood’s multiplayer, Revelations seems set to take this further with the ability to create your own character; customizable weapons and appearance and all. We can also expect some more game modes right out of the box, as this was one area where Brotherhood could have improved upon.
The standard renovations are also a given. New weapons and abilities will no doubt be unveiled closer to the game’s release, and we can only hope that there will be minor graphical tweaks and improvements to the standard AC engine. One thing that has been confirmed is a new motion capture tech that will be used in Revelations. The Mocam tech is supposedly a blend between traditional animation and live performance. Sounds intriguing, though we’ll have to see if the results offer any meaningful improvement.
What we know of Revelations so far makes it sound like an interesting new step for the series. In the end though Ubisoft could practically make a game with no new improvements and we’d still buy it, if only to see where the story is going next. Revelations seems set to have a bigger focus on narrative and story telling than ever before and, with so many questions left unanswered by Brotherhood, I wouldn’t have it any other way.