E3 2011: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Preview – Coma-Chameleon
Written Friday, June 24, 2011 By Dan WebbView author's profile
You could say that Assassin’s Creed’s Desmond is in a spot of bother. After excessive use of the Animus and delving perhaps a little too deeply into his ancestor’s lives, Ubisoft’s triple-A franchise’s lead seems to be suffering from the same symptoms that other subjects of the device have been suffering from – that being a total mental meltdown. We headed behind-closed-doors at this year’s E3 to catch a glimpse at what Revelations had in store for our main man Desmond, whilst also taking another look at Ubisoft’s E3 press conference gameplay demo for the title.
“Basically, that is the interior of the Animus,” said Darby McDevitt, Lead Writer on Assassin’s Creed: Revelations as he showed us a brief glimpse of what we should expect from Desmond’s gameplay segments this November. Whilst not knee deep in Ezio and Altair’s story strands, Desmond will find himself in a coma and inserted back into the Animus to keep all the characters and voices in his head separate, but it’s not as you would expect.
The Animus interior blends futuristic environments with solid shapes acting as platforms and clean walls, and then puts a bizarrely tainted edge on them to signify Desmond’s woes. Whether that’s the scribbles of a madman on the once clean walls or the odd floating shapes and huge green laser beams that offer Desmond obstacles to overcome, they all paint a much darker picture than the green grassy slopes, blue skies and rock formations that he comes across when he first steps foot inside the Animus.
“That’s like the lowest, lowest levels and Desmond is basically navigating back through it to Ezio’s memories, to get back to different parts of it,” said McDevitt. “In order for him to get out, because his brain has been shattered and his mind is trying to contain multiple personalities, he needs to find a nexus where he can finish off everyone he’s ever been so he can put them to bed, and that way the Animus can say, now you’re just Desmond again, because otherwise he runs the risk of being locked in an insane asylum with multiple voices speaking.”
“This is something that tends to happen to all the subjects – subjects 1 through 16, or whatever,” says McDevitt, “because they all eventually go mad because their brains start containing too many people.” So in order to stop this, Desmond must free his mind of the voices that plague him. Incidentally, according to McDevitt, these sections in the Animus will form “the largest part of Desmond’s story,” meaning these sections will largely replace Desmond’s exploration segments outside of the Animus – i.e. like when the main protagonist was allowed to roam around Monteriggioni in Brotherhood.
From one end of the spectrum to the other, let us shift from Desmond’s story to Ezio’s “last chapter.” Now, I’m not going to dally too much on the specifics of the gameplay demo, as the video for said demo is now available all across the internet, but instead, we’ll focus on what our guide, Revelation’s Audio Director, Aldo Sampaio, had to say about the game, plus the obvious choice additions that you really need to be aware of.
Picking up about halfway through the game, we meet Ezio just outside of Constantinople at a Templar stronghold as he seeks the assistance of the local Assassin leader. “We took pains into making the unique setting for Revelations. We actually went to Istanbul in Turkey to record the ambiences,” said Sampaio, as he began to walk us through the spice markets of the region, pointing out the superb architecture, its vibrant streets, complete with fire-breathers, traders galore and belly-dancers.
Ezio in Revelations, although he’s 50-something, has become a bit of a powerhouse. “With age comes wisdom,” chuckled Sampaio, showing off the game’s enhanced eagle vision that allows Ezio to fight and move in third-person now and it’s also why he’s able to craft bombs using elements that are found around Constantinople. “You can create many different types of combinations of bombs,” remarks Sampaio.
With age though comes experience and cooler gadgets as well, with the Hookblade being the most noticeable. Not only can Ezio use it in combat, use it to extend the grab when climbing and improve his climbing speed, but with a series of zip lines dotted around Constantinople, he can use it to get around quicker too. Watching Ezio do a double assassination mid-zip line transfer is possibly one of the coolest things ever, as is rolling over the back of his foes mid-combat to get a superior position.
As with any Assassin’s Creed, Revelations is as historically accurate as any other game in the franchise and that much is abundantly clear as Ezio destroys the large chain that runs across the Golden Port in the region, blocking ships coming in and out. "That’s very important to the franchise," mused Sampaio. “Giving fans the ability to go, 'Oh, what happened at that time period?' Then they can really read up on it, they can go 'this actually happened' and they can research about it; you know, being historically accurate and fun at the same time.”
But why return to Ezio and Altair’s story and not start afresh? “It felt right to do another Ezio title,” responded Sampaio, “because at the end of Brotherhood we had all these questions and fans were like looking at us and going, “What happened to Ezio?”
“We felt that the Ezio character is a really full character that we’ve developed,” he continued, “and we felt that we really needed to give a complete story to tell his life. With Altair as well.” His life? Does that mean we could actually be seeing the death of Ezio as well, meaning he’d join a small cast of characters whose life we’ve seen from birth to death? “It’s going to complete the trilogy… in a good way!” chuckled Sampaio, obviously keen to detract attention away from any potential spoilers.
Ubisoft Montreal are keen to push that this will close up the Ezio trilogy of Desmond’s long-standing saga, and according to Sampaio, Revelations will not only close up the stories of Ezio and Altair, but it will also open up Desmond’s situation and allow players to further understand “the past and the future of the Assassin’s Creed saga.”
Revelations then, marks what looks like another successful entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, but we can’t help but think that maybe Ubisoft might be taking the Ezio story one game too far. Simply put, we’re an inquisitive group of chaps and we want to see what else they had in their arsenal. Sure, we love Ezio and the upgrades to the franchise are all looking rather swell, but we wanted to meet a new character – that was one of the reasons we fell in love with the franchise in the first place. We may also be a tad concerned that Ezio’s been watching too many Michael Bay movies and left his roots as an assassin behind him, but we’ll reserve those judgements untill later on in the year. After all, stealth missions don’t necessarily make for explosive gameplay demos.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is scheduled for a November 15th and November 18th in North America and Europe respectively.