PAX: Live Demo of Assassin's Creed
One of the events going on at PAX that packed the main theater was a live demo of Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed” given by the creative director, Patrice Desilets. He began the demonstration by explaining a bit of the history of the game, which began in 2004 with just an idea for a main character and a mandate from Ubisoft to “redefine the action-adventure genre for the next gen.” Certainly not an easy task, but it looks like the development team did just fine. He also treated the audience to some Target Game Footage from 2004 that had thus far only been seen at Ubisoft and showed how the developers anticipated the final game to look and play. Honestly, he could’ve said it was a brand new trailer, and I would’ve believed him; it looked almost identical to any gameplay footage we’ve seen so far.
Then of course, it was on to the live demonstration. While the demo he played was the same build as the one shown at E3, he took a completely different (and flashier) path to show how non-linear and interactive the levels can be. Think “Prince of Persia,” but with the free-roaming abilities of GTA. The main character started off at the top of a huge tower and then hopped and climbed over the rooftops to the other end of the city. He did all this while barely breaking stride and only once touching the ground. He then paused on top of a large spire and dove headfirst into a pile of hay. Desilets then took the character back into the story part by entering a door to a slaver’s headquarters. This led into a combat scene, where the protagonist is ambushed by a handful of guards. The combat system looked smooth and fluid, enabling the character to pull of some brutal combos, switch weapons on the fly, and break enemies’ bones (he literally kicked a guy’s knee backwards). This fight is where the audience got into it the most; going “ooh” whenever a particularly awesome move was pulled off and applauding at the end. This led into a chase scene to go after the slaver. Unlike the E3 demo though — where the main character just pushed his way through the crowd on the streets — this time he took a different route, choosing instead to leap from several overhangs and beams to reach his foe much faster.
The demo certainly was impressive. It looks like they’ve built on the acrobatics in Prince of Persia and made them available throughout the game. Not surprising considering Desilets was creative director for “Sands of Time” as well. He also noted that each of the three full cities are entirely interactive, and the player can climb any point in the environment that sticks out two inches or more. Besides that, each of the cities are populated with 200 different NPCs, eliminating that “valley of the clones” feel you find in many games. This game should be quite an innovative title when it reaches store shelves on November 15.