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 »

U.S. government shutdown begins and so does the finger-pointing
Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other for the congressional failure to pass a bill to continue funding for U.S. federal agencies and prevent some of them from shutting down.
Updated Several dead after gunmen attack Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel
Gunmen attacked Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel on Saturday, seizing hostages and exchanging gunfire with security forces as the building in the Afghan capital caught fire and residents and staff fled.
Analysis Looking for Trump's greatest 'triumph' 1 year on? Check out how he's reshaping the federal courts
What could be U.S. President Donald Trump's most transformative feat in his first year is happening quickly and uncharacteristically quietly, a historic reshaping of an entire branch of the U.S. government: The federal judiciary.
more »

Canada »

New 'Jury made the right decision,' says former MMA chairman of Lac-Mégantic verdict
The former railway executive in charge of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) is speaking out after the acquittal of three of his former employees charged with criminal negligence causing death in the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.
Barry and Honey Sherman were murdered by multiple killers, private investigators believe: source
Private investigators believe that the billionaire Toronto couple found dead in December were murdered by multiple killers, a source with direct knowledge of the parallel probe into their mysterious deaths told CBC Toronto.
Mount Royal University hockey star charged in break-in and violent attack on MRU professor
A Mount Royal University student and the former captain of its hockey team has been charged in a brutal attack on an MRU professor after a break-in at her Calgary home last weekend, CBC News has learned.
more »

Politics »

Analysis Why Trudeau is going back to the U.S. to talk trade — and who he wants to reach video
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will return to the United States next month to pitch the benefits of free trade with Canada to audiences that will include U.S. Democrats, a group that could be much more powerful by year's end.
Montreal talks could signal beginning of the end for NAFTA
Montreal's NAFTA talks could signal the end of a golden age of free trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States, according to members of Canada's advisory panel on the trade meetings.
'We've kept the ball rolling': Canadians mark 1 year since Women's March
Thousands took to the streets in U.S. cities Saturday for the second Women's March, on the anniversary of U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration. Canadians who marched in solidarity with Americans say this year their focus is on local and Canadian issues.
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»

Is Woody Allen finished? Industry watchers, former fans raise question in wake of renewed allegations
Woody Allen has long been a favourite art house director for Hollywood's A-list talent. But with an increasing number of actors distancing themselves from his films, the 82-year-old filmmaker's prolific career might be winding down.
Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose, coroner says video
Rocker Tom Petty died in October due to "multisystem organ failure" brought on by an accidental overdose of seven medications, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's office said on Friday.
THE FIFTH ESTATE Soulpepper kept previous sex harassment scandal quiet for 19 months
Soulpepper Theatre Company stayed silent about allegations of sexual harassment against one of its directors for nearly two years before allegations against artistic director Albert Schultz sent shockwaves through the theatre community, an investigation by The Fifth Estate has found.
more »

Technology & Science »

New doc explores animal societies ruled by females
We used to think the wilderness was ruled by males like the lion “king of beasts” the mighty bull elephant. But a new documentary on CBC's The Nature of Things journeys to the African savanna to reveal a very different story.
Melted nuclear fuel seen inside second Fukushima reactor
The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said Friday that a long telescopic probe successfully captured images of what is most likely melted fuel inside one of its three damaged reactors, providing limited but crucial information for its cleanup.
Huawei's latest attempt to enter U.S. worries lawmakers — but Canada doesn't share its concern
Two of America's closest partners have embraced the Chinese phone maker, making national security claims hard to gauge.
more »

Money »

Analysis Retrofitting suburbia: Old shopping malls can be saved by their parking lots
Aging shopping centres are gradually becoming relics on a sea of inner-city asphalt. But some retailers are seizing on the opportunity to do something dramatic with their biggest asset: land.
Special Report Want to understand the problems with minimum wage? Talk to people who earn it video
What it's like to work hard, earn minimum wage and try to makes ends meet, according to three people living it.
CLC accuses Unifor of leaving lobby group to raid another union
The head of the Canadian Labour Congress is accusing Unifor of raiding another union for members after it ended ties with the national lobby group.
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]
Mikael Kingsbury's moguls winning streak halted on home snow video
Mikael Kingsbury finished on the podium, but for the first time in 357 days, someone was standing higher than the moguls great. Kingsbury, from Deux-Montagnes, Que., had a streak of 13 straight wins, dating back all the way to his last loss on Jan. 28, 2017.
Coming Up Hockey Night in Canada: Maple Leafs vs. Senators
The Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Ottawa Senators Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada.
Justine Dufour-Lapointe has golden moguls day in home province video
Canada dominated the women's moguls on Saturday, grabbing four of the top six spots, including the gold and silver positions in Tremblant, Que. Montreal's Justine Dufour-Lapointe sat atop the podium with a score of 87.43, her first win of the season.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »