Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

E3: Hands on with Assassin's Creed

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

As Altair the assassin climbs a ladder to reach the rooftop of a building, his feet step solidly onto each rung, one after the other, until he reaches the top. Climbing ladders is a simple concept, witnessed in countless video games, but the carelessness with which many characters are animated while doing so has always irked me: When people climb ladders in real life, their feet touch the rungs – they don't step through the rungs, or levitate above the rungs, or do a kind of running-man dance step in the air while being pulled up the ladder by an invisible string.

The fact that Altair actually climbs ladders properly is a trifle, but it's indicative of the overall level of meticulousness that seems to have gone into Ubisoft Montreal's development of Assassin's Creed.

AssassinsCreed sized.jpg
Screenshot from Assassin's Creed

According to the game's producer, Jade Raymond, the Altair character is made up of 10,000 distinct animations, as compared to 800 animations for the prince in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Although few details were forthcoming about the plot of Assassin's Creed, which takes place during the Third Crusade in the cities of Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre, the demo offered ample opportunity to delve into the game's fluid control scheme, and to see first-hand the various ways Altair could interact with the environment.

Altair is controlled through a "puppeteer" concept, where one button is assigned to "feet" and the other to "hands," and another button modifies the action; for example, the hand button can make Altair shove or punch someone, and the foot button can be used to sprint and jump.

Most of the people milling through the city streets are a hindrance in some way, especially the beggars that latch on to Altair like bees to honey, or the crazies that walk around muttering to themselves and start taking swings if Altair gets too close. Altair can figure out various ways to avoid them – a good shove tended to do the trick, but I could see the hundredth or two hundredth beggar encounter getting very annoying indeed.

164_[ASSASSINS CREED]_S_[Jerusalem]_[PushCrowd] sized.jpg
Screenshot from Assassin's Creed

Stealth is an important part of Assassin's Creed, and the game uses a social status indicator to gauge how other characters react to Altair. If Altair gets caught doing something he shouldn't (such as attacking someone), his social status indicator will turn red, and the city guards will try to hunt him down. If Altair can break the guards' lines of sight and hide, the indicator will turn to yellow, then back to neutral. Simply running away isn't enough, and neither is climbing – they'll just climb up after you or start throwing stones.

Instead of running, Altair could also try to fight the guards with sword, daggers or fists. I chose this option, and once I had dispatched a few of them with my sword, the rest turned and fled, which is an example of how characters react to what they see in front of them. Apparently seeing me mow down a few of their buddies made them have second thoughts about taking me on.

Most buildings in the sprawling town are scalable through a combination of climbing, shimmying on ledges and leaping. To get back to the ground quickly, there are specific locations to perform "leap of faith" swan dives into strategically positioned bales of hay – the locations of which are marked by the circling pigeons and the "presents" they tend to leave behind on ledges and rooftops.

175_[ASSASSINS CREED]_S_[Jerusalem]_Sized.jpg
Screenshot from Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed is set to launch in November for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. These impressions are based on the Xbox 360 demo, although a spokesperson from Ubisoft assured me that the two versions were identical.

Erin Bell is a Toronto-based freelance video game and technology journalist, and is reporting on her fourth E3.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

Garet

Winnipeg

This game actually looks really fun.

Posted July 13, 2007 09:43 AM

Charles

Ontario

"This game is fantastic! You can CLIMB LADDERS!"

...I'm not extremely impressed with ladders, thanks. Amazing or not, I wouldn't mind seeing the game play and never seeing a weapon pass through someone's hand/other body part, or a body rub up against a "wall" only to pass slightly through it.

Ladders are great, but they are only a small part of this "look, I'm not really a part of the world I've been plunked down into!" problem.

Posted July 13, 2007 10:51 AM

Mike

When I was watching the demo, I couldn't help but notice the weird, technological head's up information that would appear whenever the player's view would center on another character. It reminded me a lot of those times in the Terminator movies when we'd see things from Arnie's point of view.

My question is whether this is just game information due to it being a demo build, or is there some kind of futuristic, sci-fi aspect to this game? I seem to recall reading something about there being some kind of time travel aspects to it, but I could be mistaken...

Posted July 13, 2007 10:53 AM

Garet

Winnipeg

But, more importantly than the ladder physics, have they told us what the water will look like?

Posted July 13, 2007 11:34 AM

Claudio

Windsor

I've been waiting for this game for a long, long time. I'm glad to see that it keeps looking better everytime I see it pop up at various shows.

Charles, I was wondering if you're familiar with the Prince of Persia games? If you enjoyed those games, you'll probably like Assassin's Creed as it seems to expand on the gameplay of that series. Oh, and that heads up information can be toggled on and off, I believe. It's probably so players don't get frustrated when they can't single out who their target is supposed to be.

As for the "clipping" seen in some of the videos, there are still a few months before the game goes gold. I would assume they will work on minimizing it, though it wasn't too bad in the current build. Either way, there are greater tragedies in the world.

November can't come soon enough...

Posted July 13, 2007 12:20 PM

Charles

Ontario

Re: Garet (don't worry, I'm just being a goof)

Excellent point about the water. I wonder if the ripple feature is mathematically adjusted for the mass and shape of every possible thing in the game that can interact with it, whether through throwing or not, in relation to: the speed it hits the water, how it treads water, if it sinks or floats, if it swims and how the swimming would effect it. Yes. Water definitely outclasses ladders.

I'm also curious about wind interaction.

Posted July 13, 2007 12:36 PM

Garet

Winnipeg

I actually was kidding too. I don't think that how a character climbs a ladder is really anything to brag about.

Posted July 13, 2007 01:04 PM

Carolyn

"As Altair the assassin climbs a ladder to reach the rooftop of a building, his feet step solidly onto each rung, one after the other, until he reaches the top."

That sounds like a passage from a bad fanfiction.

Anywho, ladders, water and wind aside, I wanna see this game. It looks neat.

Posted July 13, 2007 01:21 PM

Monkey

Winnipeg

All I have to say is the clip I saw for this game is nuts, climb anything, kill anyone, it's sweet.

Although I'm sure there is some sort of reprecussion if you go on a mad killing spree...

*MUST RESIST URGE TO KILL ALL!!!*

Posted July 17, 2007 07:26 PM

Carolyn

Yikes, Monkey! Be careful what you say or this might end up like another Manhunt 2!

Posted July 18, 2007 08:03 AM

Monkey

Winnipeg

I completely forgot about Manhunt, hehe.

They should've given you a banana and see how many different ways you can kill someone with it, hehe.. Points to Carolyn for bringing back a dead game!

Posted July 18, 2007 12:56 PM

Carolyn

Don't forget you have to add a bunch of useless Quests that make no sense!

Before you can kill your target with a banana, you must first bring us a shrubbery!!

Posted July 18, 2007 01:55 PM

Monkey

Winnipeg

FOR WE ARE THE KNIGHTS WHO SAY NI!

Posted July 18, 2007 05:07 PM

Nick

toronto

it is the sickest game ever i playedit for 9 hours yesterday

Posted November 28, 2007 03:38 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

White House warns Syria's Assad against chemical attack
The White House issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday night as it claimed "potential" evidence that Syria was preparing for another chemical weapons attack.
EU fines Google billions for breaching antitrust rules
The European Union's competition watchdog has slapped a record 2.42 billion euro, roughly $3.6 billion Cdn, fine on internet giant Google for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service.
Appeals Court upholds ruling that Dutch peacekeepers partly liable in Srebrenica
A Dutch Appeals Court confirms the Netherlands was partly liable for the deaths of some 300 Muslim men who were expelled from a Dutch UN base after the surrounding area was overrun by Bosnian Serb troops.
more »

Canada »

Analysis Foonie? As loonie turns 30, it's time to think of a name for a $5 coin: Don Pittis
This week, the loonie turns 30. Don Pittis explores why it may be time to start saying a long goodbye to the blue $5 bill.
Trudeau government shelves part of anti-spam law that would allow private lawsuits
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government is being accused of caving to big business lobbying after it decided to indefinitely freeze application of part of Canada's anti-spam law that would have allowed ordinary Canadians to sue for spam.
Rare 'bright nights' mystery solved by Canadian scientists
It's a phenomenon that's been noted throughout history: bright nights when you could read even though there was no illumination from the moon, candles or any other form of light. Now, Canadian scientists believe they've unravelled the mystery.
more »

Politics »

Live Trudeau holds news conference as summer recess begins video
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding a news conference with reporters in Ottawa today to mark last week's end of the parliamentary sitting. He takes questions in the National Press Theatre beginning at 9 a.m. ET and CBCNews.ca will carry it live.
Trudeau government shelves part of anti-spam law that would allow private lawsuits
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government is being accused of caving to big business lobbying after it decided to indefinitely freeze application of part of Canada's anti-spam law that would have allowed ordinary Canadians to sue for spam.
Federal Court chief justice calls for more independence as court faces budget crunch
Canada's Federal Court needs more independence from government, says Chief Justice Paul Crampton, so it doesn't have to go "cap in hand" to the government at budget time.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Super Nintendo Classic console launches Sept. 29
Nintendo has announced the Super NES Classic console, a miniaturized version of its 16-bit console from the 1990s and a followup to last year's wildly popular NES Classic.
It's 'paw-sta' not 'pa-sta': How Canadian actors erase accents for U.S. work
Canadian actors are made well aware of their accents while working in the U.S. because even a single word pronounced the wrong way is enough to stop filming.
Come From Away wins best musical production, audience choice honours at Doras
Canadian smash Come From Away won four prizes at the Dora Mavor Moore Awards on Monday, including best production in the musical theatre category.
more »

Technology & Science »

Rare 'bright nights' mystery solved by Canadian scientists
It's a phenomenon that's been noted throughout history: bright nights when you could read even though there was no illumination from the moon, candles or any other form of light. Now, Canadian scientists believe they've unravelled the mystery.
EU fines Google billions for breaching antitrust rules
The European Union's competition watchdog has slapped a record 2.42 billion euro, roughly $3.6 billion Cdn, fine on internet giant Google for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service.
Social media giants join to combat online extremist content
Social media giants Facebook, Google's YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft said on Monday they were forming a global working group to combine their efforts to remove terrorist content from their platforms.
more »

Money »

Analysis Foonie? As loonie turns 30, it's time to think of a name for a $5 coin: Don Pittis
This week, the loonie turns 30. Don Pittis explores why it may be time to start saying a long goodbye to the blue $5 bill.
Seeing the light: Mining companies look to solar power, wind for fresh revenue video
Mining companies investing in renewable energy may seem far fetched, but those in the industry say the sector is looking for opportunities that make financial sense.
EU fines Google billions for breaching antitrust rules
The European Union's competition watchdog has slapped a record 2.42 billion euro, roughly $3.6 billion Cdn, fine on internet giant Google for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Canada 150 How Canada invented 'American' football, baseball, basketball and hockey
Our neighbours to the south may not want to hear this, but a case can be made that Canada more or less cooked up all of North America's "Big Four" sports.
Toronto's Drake brings A-game to NBA Awards video
Canadian rapper Champagne Papi, ahem, Drake brought his A-game as the host of the first televised NBA Awards.
Andy Frost's boy is gonna play in the big league
Andy Frost has been a force on the Toronto radio scene for 32 years and until last year was also the public address announcer for the Toronto Maple Leafs. On Friday, his son Morgan was drafted 27th overall in the NHL draft by the Philadelphia Flyers.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »