1. There is an amazing trailer for AC III that you may never see. You can see pieces of it in the debut commercial for the game. But the full thing, made 1 1/2 years ago, probably looks too good for the developers at Ubisoft to ever show you since no modern engine can make things look quite that good. The footage showed an early version of Connor walking through a Patriots camp in the forest, past boys pretending to be George Washington and then leaping to the trees to ambush redcoats. The pre-rendered video wasn't running in a game engine, but it faked it, displaying a topographical mini-map. Forget if you could see this... it would be amazing if you could play it, but there's no way that today's consoles could make a game that looks that good. Still, the fact that this video was made as long ago as Ubisoft says it was, proves that ACIII was deep in development while other recent Assassin's Creed games we also being made.
  2. The old "target gameplay video" showed Connor scalp a British Redcoat, but scalping was removed from the game. "It felt too brutal," Hutchinson said.

  1. The developers already have more than 10 minutes of slick, seemingly complete ready-for-E3 gameplay demo footage that features Connor in the forest, on a wharf in Boston and at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
  2. The highlights of the forest section are... an encounter with a black bear, which ends better for Connor than for the bear. "We also didn't want you to be able to fistfight bears, obviously " Hutchinson laughs. "There's two ways to kill animals. Obviously, pistols at a distance. Or you can assassinate. The combat system for animals is the same as characters. If someone attacks you, you can counter. If you wanted to, he could have countered the bear, pushed him away and run off. Or he could have killed him as he did."
  3. ...and the discovery, from the treetops, of a column of Redcoats. These enemies signify a change in the fight of this game compared to its predecessors. Our assassin is no longer just fighting guards. He's fighting enemies. They march. They use tactics. They're often include a drummer who directs the troops and who is an ideal target for breaking up the units.
  4. The highlight of the Boston section is what is called a chase-breaker. Connor has barged past some Redcoat guards, who give chase. What would be a standard run through an Assassin's Creed city's street changes radically when a woman in a second-story window opens some shutters to breath in the fresh air. Connor, clambering over a stall in the middle of the road, turns 90 degrees to his right and runs through the open window, shocking the woman. He zips through the interior of her house and out the window on other side, losing his predecessors in one of the coolest moments an Assassin's Creed development team has ever shown to the press.
  5. The highlight of the Bunker Hill sequence is its overall scale. Thousands of Imperial and Colonial forces battle on screen, while Connor flanks the musket fire and cannon shots to sneak into the enemy camp and perform one of the series' new running assassinations on a Redcoat target.
  1. The demos appear to run on the PlayStation 3, continuing the AC series tradition of treating that hardware as something other than an afterthought.
  2. The crowd in the Boston section is impressively lively. The news crier shouts, men work, a lady falls and drops fruit and a thief runs by to steal it. A dog barks. "We had two major goals with the crowd," Hutchinson said. "The first one is that no one should be repeating anything… everyone should have purpose in the scene, and everyone should be unique. ... But, also, they should be aware of each other and of you. So no more people passing without any notion that other people are near them. We wanted to tackle this really difficult problem. I see it as kind of a behavior uncanny valley, because we all know what people do when someone stands too close to you. There's all this subtlety in human behavior. But even if you have someone dropping things, we want other characters around to be triggered by [artificial intelligence] to potentially steal them, to interact with them, all the sort of stuff to make the world much more emergent, much more believable and much more solid."
  3. Connor will often enter into the middle of scenes. The developers are trying to "eliminate the notion of mission-givers being guys with exclamation marks over their head, these people just waiting for you," according to Hutchinson. "Lots of time in the game, scenes are in progress when you arrive."

  1. Guns suck in late 18th century. "Even though enemies have guns, luckily they're inaccurate," Hutchinson says. "The goal as a player is to close the distance, get in close and stay in close combat."
  2. Connor is a master of dual-wielding. He fights with two hands, mixing tomahawk and knife, hidden blade and knife or other combos.
  3. He can use enemies as human shields, chain kills as in AC: Brotherhood and counter-kill two enemies at once, as in Revelations.
  4. Connor has a rope dart that he can use to hang people from trees with. It's more of a lure than a projectile weapon. An earlier, more aggressive version was more of tethered knife that was thrown from a standing position and then reeled in. "It felt too fantasy, " Hutchinson said. "It started to feel like Scorpion in Mortal Kombat."
  5. The game's got dogs. They're there in the cities for ambience and, in some missions, you can give a dog something to smell and then have it track down the scent for you.
  6. The game's got children, a series first. Unlike other civilians, they will be unkillable. "We wanted them in the world, and we don't think there's any awesomeness in letting people kill kids," Hutchinson says. "And even if you did it accidentally, or you did it once to see what would happen, it sort of colors your experience of the whole game. And it's slightly distasteful. So we were just like… lock them out."
  7. Players will be able to summon some sort of fighting brotherhood, as they have in the last two games, but there will be twists. "The story is definitely not about building the brotherhood, but we like the idea of you having buddies that you can call on," Hutchinson said. "We have a whole new system for how you get them, what they can do, again, is being rebuilt."
  8. The game's story is designed to surprise you. "We have some serious twists," Hutchinson says, "We have a goal with this story of being unpredictable. In other words, in a game where someone says, 'Go meet Jim' and Jim is there and says, 'Hi, I'm Jim,' it's tedious. It's no surprise. There need to be things you're asked to do that twist and turn and change. And surprise you. And I guarantee you, that that's the story."

  1. The game includes at least one major historical deviation that they'll note as it occurs, but they are otherwise trying to stick to a feeling of earnest historical fiction, not fantasy.
  2. The developers estimate that 80% of the named characters in AC III were real people. Major members of the supporting cast include the legendary George Washington and Benjamin Franklin as well as the superb military commander Charles Lee and Native American expert William Johnson.
  3. Ben Franklin, who didn't really fly that kite, won't be playing the role of Assassin's Creed II's Leonardo Da Vinci, the loyal buddy-inventor. "He is not inventing tools for you," Hutchinson says. "At first, we did what everyone did and said, 'Oh my god, we've got another famous inventor. Great! This fits cleanly.' And then, after about six months, we realized that's terrible. That's a terrible idea. It's too familiar. .. And then when we were reading [about him, we realized] he's in America for like three months. He's in France for 90% of the war. So even then, we can't have him be your buddy who's hanging out with you. He's in France."
  4. You'll be killing real historical figures, hard as that was for the development team to achieve. "History is this big challenge," Hutchinson says. "It's a huge, rich resource to mine. But then, half the time, it doesn't do what you wanted it to do. People didn't die a lot in the revolution. Common people did. Famous people did not. Finding people to kill was six, seven months of [returning Assassin's Creed I, II and III writer Corey May] reading to find people who died…Every assassination target is a real person who dies at the right time at the right place. How they died we'll let you get a little bit artistic."

We'll have more about Assassin's Creed III in the coming days. If you have questions about the new game, fire away in the comments.