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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

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Assassin's Creed Unity Looks Gorgeous, Massive, And Really French

Posted on Thursday, June 12 @ 09:00:00 Eastern by


I am an American. Born and raised. What can I say. These colors don't run... or something. I think there's supposed to be a "F*** Yeah" in there, but you get the idea. I loved Assassin's Creed III's portrayal of American natives and revolutionaries, but now I'm dying to find out how French publisher Ubisoft tackles its own upheaval and establishes a new baseline for next-generation consoles in Assassin's Creed Unity.

Unfortunately, I've yet to finish Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag. The game's seas left me high and dry so to speak, but I'm eager to find out how Edward Kenway navigates the tumultuous waters between Templar and Assassins, especially before attention turns to the French Revolution.

If we couldn't have ninjas in the next Assassin's Creed, if we couldn't have more jungles or wild life, I'd want to explore the time leading up to a new French democracy especially since the world's most international publisher of video games calls France home.

During the demo, which closely mimicked the gameplay you can see a few minutes into the video above, the Ubisoft developer discussed how many interiors we'll be able to explore and the size of landmarks like Notre Dame. Players can now descend more intuitively with a dedicated button and launch into ambient missions as readily as they would pick up an item from the shops that lined Assassin's Creed II's Villa Auditore.

About 25% of the buildings in Unity feature detailed interiors while most major landmarks will also have their own insides replete with targets, artifacts, and the like.

I just love the idea of French game developers baring their own history. While Ubisoft Montreal leads development with support from many international studios under the Ubisoft banner, the publisher's top executives still reside in France. If the company didn't call the country home, would the French Revolution matter as a setting?

Absolutely. Assassin's Creed has always featured large, varied crowds but that's never been truer than in Unity with dozens of different models reacting to the blood you draw and the actions of guards or executioners. Our demo ended with an aerial assassination on a guard conducting an automatic blade and the crowd's reaction sold the moment in a way three cooperative assassins that appeared on stage with the player character never could.

Another element that impressed me was the removal of much of the game's user interface in favor of an overlay that displayed varied activities and landmarks when the player stood on top of a tall building, as opposed to a constant minimap.

In admitting that I haven't finished Black Flag, I failed to say that I'm a little burned out on this yearly franchise but following Watch Dogs and its techno-futurism a return to open-world basics and hidden blades in Assassin's Creed Unity could be just what I need. Let's conduct our own positive change in orchestrated and swift justice.

The game could really use a playable female character though. The four Assassins you and friends can control might be tied to the story such that a female Assassin would not fit in the game's narrative, but with female characters used in the Brotherhood mechanic in past games it seems like a no-brainer to include to play as. Hell, Ubisoft hasn't shied away from ladies dressed up as Assassins to promote the game at fan conventions like PAX in the past. Why can't one be in this possibly penultimate Assassin's Creed game?

There's certainly the possibility that Unity will follow its predecessors too closely, but with the pride and awareness of real history on show in past iterations of the franchise I'm hopeful that the French revolution provides an entertaining background for stealth, crowd-based warfare, and an even deeper dive into the Assassin order.
Related Games:   Assassin's Creed Unity
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