Assassin's Creed (video game)

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For the series, see Assassin's Creed.
Assassin's Creed
Assassin's Creed cover.png
Developer(s) Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Director(s) Patrice Désilets
Producer(s) Jade Raymond
Designer(s) Maxime Béland
Programmer(s) Mathieu Mazerolle
Artist(s) Raphaël Lacoste
Writer(s) Corey May
Composer(s) Jesper Kyd
Series Assassin's Creed
Engine Scimitar with Havok
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action-adventure, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Optical disc, download

Assassin's Creed is a 2007 historical fiction action-adventure open world stealth video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal released in 2007 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and 2008 for Microsoft Windows. The game primarily takes place during the Third Crusade in the Holy Land in 1191, with the plot revolving around the Secret Order of Assassins, based upon the Hashshashin sect. The player is in reality playing as a modern-day man named Desmond Miles, who through the use of a machine named the "Animus", is allowed the viewing and controlling of the protagonist's genetic memories of his ancestors, in this case, Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad, a member of the Assassins.

Through this plot device, details emerge of a struggle between two factions, the Knights Templar and the Assassins, over an artifact known as a "Piece of Eden", an ancient artifact used to control minds. The game received generally positive reviews, and won several awards at E3 in 2006. The game spawned a sequel, Assassin's Creed II, which was released in November 2009. Since the release and success of Assassin's Creed II, subsequent releases have been yearly with various other Assassins and time periods.

Synopsis[edit]

Plot[edit]

Desmond Miles, a bartender, is kidnapped by Abstergo Industries. There, Desmond is forced to interface with the Animus, a device that is able to replay the genetic memories of the user's ancestors. In Desmond's case, they seek information about his ancestor Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, an Assassin during the time of the Third Crusade. Within the Animus, Altaïr's memories reveal that he was attempting to stop Robert de Sablé from taking an artifact from a temple, but broke all three of the Assassin Brotherhood's tenets in the process. The Brotherhood leader, Al Mualim, demotes Altaïr to the rank of Novice, and assigns him the task of assassinating nine people, all of whom are Templars, to regain his former status.

As Altaïr completes the assassinations, he finds that each was a member of the Templars searching the area for "Pieces of Eden", artifacts similar to the one de Sablé attempted to steal. Upon encountering a heavily guarded de Sablé, he discovers that it was actually Maria, de Sablé's steward, disguised in his armor. She demands he finish the assassination, but he spares her. Altaïr learns the location of de Sablé, encounters him in front of King Richard and accuses him of Templar treason. King Richard makes the two fight and lets God decide who is telling the truth. Altaïr eventually kills de Sablé, who with his dying breath, reveals the existence of a tenth Templar: Al Mualim. Returning to the Brotherhood, Altaïr finds Al Mualim in possession of the Apple of Eden that is able to control people's minds. Altaïr is forced to fight his way through innocents and assassins under Al Mualim's control (with the help of other Assassins still loyal to the creed) to reach Al Mualim, and engages him in battle. Altaïr eventually sees through Al Mualim's tricks using the artifact, and kills him. Upon approaching the artifact, Altaïr is surprised to find it displays a projection of the Earth marking several spots around the globe.

At this point, Desmond is brought out of the Animus, his purpose served. He comes to learn that Abstergo is a front for the modern-day Templars. Abstergo is now set to use the locations on the map seen by Altaïr to find more Pieces of Eden, believing that they must collect the artifacts to control the world's population in order to stave off the projected end of the world in 2012. Desmond's life is spared by Lucy Stillman, an Assassin mole doubling as an Abstergo scientist. Left alone in his locked room, Desmond discovers (through "the Bleeding Effect" from his time spent in the Animus) that he can observe numerous messages in blood on the walls and floor left by a previous test subject (Subject 16) that foretell the end of the world.

Voice cast[edit]

Gameplay[edit]

Assassin's Creed is an action-adventure video game in which the player primarily assumes the role of Altaïr, as experienced by protagonist Desmond Miles. The primary goal of the game is to carry out a series of assassinations ordered by Al Mualim, the leader of the Assassins. To achieve this goal, the player must travel from the Brotherhood's headquarters in Masyaf, across the terrain of the Holy Land known as the Kingdom to one of three cities—Jerusalem, Acre, or Damascus—to find the Brotherhood agent in that city. There, the agent, in addition to providing a safe house, gives the player minimal knowledge about the target, and requires them to perform additional "recon" missions before attempting the assassination. These missions include: eavesdropping, interrogation, pickpocketing and completing tasks for informers and fellow assassins. Additionally, the player may take part in any number of side objectives in these open world environments, including climbing tall towers to map out the city, and saving citizens who are being threatened or harassed by the city guards. There are also various side quests that do not advance the plot such as hunting down and killing Templars and flag collecting. After completing each set of assassinations, the player is returned to the Brotherhood and rewarded with a better weapon and then given another set of targets, with the player free to select the order of certain targets.

The player is made aware of how noticeable Altaïr is to enemy guards as well as the current state of alert in the local area via the "Social Status Icon". To perform many of the assassinations and other tasks, the player must consider the use of commands distinguished by its type of profile. Low-profile commands allow Altaïr to: blend into nearby crowds, pass by other citizens, or other non-threatening tasks that can be used to hide and reduce the alertness level; the player can also use Altaïr's retractable blade to attempt low-profile assassinations. High-profile commands are more noticeable, and include: running, scaling the sides of buildings to climb to higher vantage points, and attacking foes; performing these actions at certain times may raise the local area's awareness level. Once the area is at high alert, the crowds run and scatter while guards attempt to chase and bring down Altaïr; to reduce the alert level, the player must control Altaïr as to break the guards' line of sight and then find a hiding space, such as a haystack or rooftop garden; or blend in with the citizens sitting on benches or wandering scholars. Should the player be unable to escape the guards, they can fight back using swordplay maneuvers.

The player's health is described as the level of "Synchronization" between Desmond and Altaïr's memories; should Altaïr suffer injury, it is represented as deviation from the actual events of the memory, rather than physical damage. If all synchronization is lost, the current memory that Desmond is experiencing will be restarted at the last checkpoint. When the synchronization bar is full, the player has the additional option to use "Eagle Vision", which allows the computer-rendered memory to highlight all visible characters in colors corresponding to whether they are ally (blue), foe (red) or even the target of their assassination (gold). Due to Altaïr's memories being rendered by the computer of the Animus project, the player may experience "glitches" in the rendering of the historical world, which may help the player to identify targets, or can be used to alter the viewpoint during in-game scripted scenes should the player react fast enough when they appear.

Development[edit]

After completing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Patrice Désilets was instructed to begin work on the next Prince of Persia game. The game began work under the title "Prince of Persia: Assassin", inspired by the life of Hassan-i Sabbah.[8] Désilets felt a prince was not an interesting protagonist, so the game's titular prince was AI-controlled, and needed to be rescued by a player-controlled Assassin. Ubisoft did not want a Prince of Persia game that was not centered on the prince; the game was spun-off into a new IP, and the prince character was dropped.[8]

On September 28, 2006, in an interview with IGN, producer Jade Raymond confirmed that Altaïr is "a medieval hitman with a mysterious past" and that he is not a time traveler.[9] In a later interview on December 13, 2006, with IGN, Kristen Bell (who lent her voice and likeness to the game) talked about the plot. According to the interview, the plot centers on genetic memory and a corporation looking for descendants of an assassin.[10]

It's actually really interesting to me. It's sort of based on the research that's sort of happening now, about the fact that your genes might be able to hold memory. And you could argue semantics and say it's instinct, but how does a baby bird know to eat a worm, as opposed to a cockroach, if its parents don't show it? And it's about this science company trying to, Matrix-style, go into people's brains and find out an ancestor who used to be an assassin, and sort of locate who that person is.

Raymond also stated in an interview that the game takes inspiration from Bartol's novel Alamut.[11][12]

On October 22, 2007, in an IGN Australia interview with Patrice Desilets mentioned that the lead character's climbing and running were done by "Alex and Richard – the same guys from Prince of Persia".[13]

Altaïr is voiced by actor Philip Shahbaz,[14] and his face is modeled on Francisco Randez, a model from Montréal.[15][16] Al Mualim's character is roughly based on Rashid ad-Din Sinan, who was the leader of the Syrian branch of the Hashshashin in 1191 and was nicknamed "The Old Man of the Mountain".

Windows version[edit]

It was made public in April 2008 that Assassin's Creed would be sold electronically and available for pre-order through Valve's software distribution program Steam. The PC version of Assassin's Creed was released on April 8, 2008, in North America. Four bonus mission types, not seen in the console version, are included. These 4 new missions are archer assassination, rooftop race challenge, merchant stand destruction challenge and escort challenge.[17]

A pirated version of the game has been in existence since late February 2008. According to Ubisoft, a computer bug was purposely inserted into the pre-release version of the game by the publisher itself to unpredictably crash the game and prevent completion as a security measure, though players were able to use extra content available on the Internet to bypass it.[18][19] The pirated version of Assassin's Creed was one of the most popular titles for piracy during the first week of March 2008.[20] The presence of the bug and performance of the pirated version of the game was believed by Ubisoft to lead to "irreparable harm" for the game and resulted in low retail sales; NPD Group reports that 40,000 copies of the PC title were sold in United States in July, while more than 700,000 copies were illegally downloaded according to Ubisoft.[18][21] In July 2008, Ubisoft sued disc manufacturer Optical Experts Manufacturing, believing the company to be the source of the leak, citing poor security procedures that allowed an employee to leave with a copy of the game.[18][21]

Demos[edit]

On July 10, 2007, during Microsoft's E3 press conference, a demo was shown using a previously unseen city, Jerusalem. Features that were demonstrated included improved crowd mechanics, the "chase" system (chasing after a target trying to flee), as well as deeper aspects of parkour. This was the first time when Altaïr could be heard speaking. It was again showcased for 20 minutes on July 11, 2007. A video showed an extended version of the E3 demo, and included Altaïr trying to escape after his assassination of Talal the Slave Trader.

On August 26, 2007, an 11-minute demo of Assassin's Creed was shown at the Penny Arcade Expo. The level that was shown was the same as in the E3 demo; however, a different path was taken to reach the target. At the end of the demo, a conversation between Altaïr and Malik, the head of the Assassin's bureau in Jerusalem, was shown.

Music[edit]

Jade Raymond, producer of Assassin's Creed said "For Assassin's Creed we wanted the score to capture the gruesome atmosphere of medieval warfare but also be edgy and contemporary."[22] The musical score was composed by Jesper Kyd in 2007. Six tracks were made available online to those who have purchased the game; a password was given to people to insert at the soundtrack section of the Ubisoft website.[23] Several tracks are also available to listen to on Kyd's MySpace and his official website. The released tracks as a whole have the archaic Latin chorus and dark orchestral music, while the track "Meditation Begins" features a kind of Saltarello with a very ominous, dark, ambient overtone with men whispering in Latin. The atmosphere in these tracks is what Jesper Kyd is known for and is effective in situ.[24] The soundtrack is available from various online music stores.

While the song "The Chosen (Assassin's Creed)" by Intwine featuring Brainpower was made contributing to the game, it was not featured in the game nor its soundtrack. Other songs that were used in previews and trailers such as "Teardrop" by Massive Attack and "Lonely Soul" by UNKLE also aren't present on the soundtrack.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (X360) 82.92%[25]
(PC) 79.87%[26]
(PS3) 79.30%[27]
Metacritic (PS3) 81/100[28]
(X360) 81/100[29]
(PC) 79/100[30]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com 7.0/10
Eurogamer 7/10
Famitsu 37/40
Game Informer 9.5/10
GamesRadar 10/10
GameSpot 9/10
GamesTM 4/5
IGN 7.7/10
Official Xbox Magazine 8.5/10
PlayStation Magazine 5/5

The game received generally positive reviews, although several publications such as Eurogamer, while still awarding the game decent scores, pointed out a number of significant shortcomings. Eurogamer stated that the gameplay "never evolves and ultimately becomes a bit boring, and quite amazingly repetitive."[31] In Andrew P.'s review for EGM (Kage), he wrote that the game features "a challenging Parkour path of escape..."[32] Famitsu awarded the Xbox 360 version of Assassin's Creed a 36 (9, 9, 9, 9), while the PS3 version received a 37 (10, 8, 9, 10) out of 40, positively citing the story, presentation, and acrobatics, while criticizing the one button combat, map layout, and camera problems.[33][34] Game Informer awarded Assassin's Creed a 9.5 out of 10, praising the control scheme, replay value, and intriguing story, but expressing frustration over the "repetitive" information gathering missions.[35] On The Hotlist on ESPNEWS, ESPN's Aaron Boulding called the game's concept of social stealth "fairly original" and added, "Visually, the developers nailed it."[36] GameTrailers similarly praised the story (giving a 9.7 score to its story), and also cited repetitive gameplay and "moronic" AI as somewhat stifling its potential. "Assassins Creed is one of those games that breaks new ground yet fails in nailing some fundamentals", said Gametrailers.[37] The game also received a 10 out of 10 from GamesRadar, and has a Metacritic score of 81 (Xbox 360/PS3 respectively).[28][29] According to GamePro, Assassin's Creed is one of the "finest gaming experiences ever created" if you are willing to be "patient" due to the lack of fast-paced action.[38] Hyper's Darren Wells commends the game for its "great story, great graphics and intuitive controls". However, he criticises it for "some missions that don't feel right on the PC and its loopy menu system".[39]

Assassin's Creed won several awards at E3 2006. Game Critics awarded it "Best Action/Adventure Game,";[40] from IGN, "Best Action Game", "PS3 Game of the Show", "Best PS3 Action Game", "Best PS3 Graphics"; from GameSpot and GameSpy, "Best PS3 Game of the Show"; from GameTrailers "Best of Show", and from 1UP.com, "Best PS3 game". Creed was nominated for several other awards by X-Play[41] and Spike TV.[42] Assassin's Creed was listed by Game Informer at 143 in their list of the top 200 games of all time. It also received the editor's choice award from GameSpot.

Sales for Assassin's Creed "greatly outstripped" the expectations of the publisher.[43]

In the UK, Assassin's Creed debuted at number one, knocking Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare from the top; the majority of the debut sales were on the Xbox 360, which claimed 67% of the game's total sales.[44] On April 16, 2009, Ubisoft revealed that the game has sold 8 million copies to date.[45]

Sequels and prequels[edit]

A prequel for the game, titled Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles, developed by Gameloft,[46] was released on February 5, 2008 for the Nintendo DS.[47] A port of Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles has also been released for the iPhone and the iPod Touch and Java ME on April 23, 2009, as well as for the Palm Pre.[48]

On January 21, 2009, Ubisoft confirmed that Assassin's Creed II was in production and targeted for release in the company's 2009–2010 fiscal year. It was released in the United States and Canada on November 17, 2009 and in Europe on November 20, 2009.[49]

On June 2, 2009, at their E3 Conference, Sony announced Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines for the PlayStation Portable with a release date of November 10, 2009.[50]

At E3 2009, Assassin's Creed II's creative director, Patrice Désilets, announced that there would be at least a third game.[51]

In an earnings call on January 14, 2010, Ubisoft confirmed that a new Assassin's Creed game would be released before the end of the firm's fiscal year in November, 2010 - and that it would star Ezio Auditore da Firenze, the protagonist of the second game. CEO Yves Guillemot said that the game would have a "multiplayer component".[52] A teaser trailer for the game, called Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was released on May 10, 2010, and the game was officially announced at a Ubisoft press release on May 11, 2010,[53] it was released on November 16, 2010. According to the developers Brotherhood is not "Assassin's Creed 3", and that the third installment will not star a pre-existing character. A sequel to Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed: Revelations was released in November 2011. Assassin's Creed III came out in late 2012, starring Ratonhnhaké:ton, and took place in 1700's America. The sixth game in the series, titled Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, was released on October 29, 2013.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]