Assassin's Creed III

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Assassin's Creed III
Assassin's Creed III Game Cover.jpg
Developer(s) Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Director(s) Alex Hutchinson
Producer(s) Francois Pelland
Designer(s) Steven Masters
Programmer(s) David Champagne
Writer(s) Corey May[3]
Matt Turner
Composer(s) Lorne Balfe
Series Assassin's Creed
Engine AnvilNext with Havok physics
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Wii U[4]
Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
NA October 30, 2012[5]

EU October 31, 2012[6]
AU 20121031October 31, 2012
Wii U
NA November 18, 2012[7]
EU 20121130November 30, 2012
AU 20121130November 30, 2012
Microsoft Windows
NA November 20, 2012[8]
AU 20121122November 22, 2012
EU November 23, 2012[9]

Genre(s) Action-adventure, stealth[10]
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

Assassin's Creed III is a 2012 action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and Microsoft Windows. It is the fifth major installment in the Assassin's Creed series, and a direct sequel to 2011's Assassin's Creed: Revelations. The game was released worldwide for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, beginning in North America on October 30, 2012, with a Wii U and Microsoft Windows release following in November 2012.

The plot is set in a fictional history of real world events and follows the centuries old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The framing story is set in the 21st century and features series protagonist Desmond Miles who, with the aid of a machine known as the Animus, relives the memories of his ancestors to find a way to avert the 2012 apocalypse. The story is set in the 18th century, before, during and after the American Revolution from 1753 to 1783, and follows Desmond's half-English, half-Mohawk ancestor, Ratonhnhaké:ton (/ˈrədnˈhəɡdn/), also known as Connor, as he fights the Templars' attempts to gain freedom in the colonies.

Assassin's Creed III is set in an open world and presented from the third-person perspective with a primary focus on using Desmond and Connor's combat and stealth abilities to eliminate targets and explore the environment. Connor is able to freely explore 18th-century Boston, New York and the American frontier to complete side missions away from the primary storyline. The game also features a multiplayer component, allowing players to compete online to complete solo and team based objectives including assassinations and evading pursuers. Ubisoft developed a new game engine, Anvil Next, for the game.[11]

The game received mostly positive reviews from critics and was a massive commercial success, selling more than 12 million copies worldwide. A continuation of the series, entitled Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, was released in October 2013, and follows Ratonhnhaké:ton's grandfather – Edward Kenway – a pirate and Assassin operating in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy.[12]

Gameplay[edit]

Assassin’s Creed III features new gameplay elements such as hunting and dual wielding of weaponry. Here the protagonist Connor uses two weapons against a group of redcoats.

Assassin's Creed III is a third-person action-adventure title set in an open world in which the player uses a combination of stealth, parkour, and combat to complete various missions. The player takes the role of three characters during the course of the game. The main character is Desmond Miles, a 21st-century Assassin, working to uncover the secrets of a mysterious Precursor Vault that purportedly will protect the Earth from an upcoming solar flare on December 21, 2012. To uncover the secrets, Desmond uses the Animus to live out memories of two of his ancestors which the player controls during these sequences, both set at the time of the American Revolutionary War. The first, briefly played at the start of the game, is Haytham Kenway, a British Templar that seeks the location of the Vault. The second, and the primary character for the game, is Ratonhnhaké:ton, the result of a brief liaison between Kenway and a Native American woman. Ratonhnhaké:ton takes on the name Connor to blend in better with colonial society. When playing as Connor, the player has access to a huge wilderness known as the Frontier (which is 1.5 times bigger than Rome in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood), the cities of Boston and New York. Portions of the Eastern Seaboard and Caribbean Sea can be explored via the flagship of the Assassin's navy, the Aquila, captained by Connor Kenway himself, with Robert Faulkner his first-mate advising and teaching him in the ways of the sea.

Free running has been simplified to allow for more fluid parkour in the cities and wilderness, such as climbing and running on trees, mountains, cliffs, etc. Close combat has been modified, allowing Connor to dual-wield weapons and take down multiple opponents at once and players no longer need to manage the lock-on mechanic. Aiding this, Connor has access to a wide range of weapons which include muskets, pistols, native weapons such as the tomahawk and bow and arrow, a rope dart (used to pull foes or hang them, while on a tree) as well as the Hidden Blades. In addition, the left Hidden Blade has a folding mechanism for blocking attacks, skinning an animal, and performing high-profile assassinations. Human shields can be used against firing lines of enemies. Medicine is no longer used as health recovers automatically. Stealth is also revamped, allowing players to use natural elements such as tall grass and trees to hide, along with the ability to blend between any two people.

Assassin's Creed III features new weather simulations such as snow, fog, and rain. The seasons can also change i.e., Summer and Winter, which not only effect visuals but also gameplay, as the player will find that they run slower in deep snow. Snowfall can reduce visibility for the player and enemies, aiding stealth. Unlike the past games, this one includes animals varying from domestic (horses, cows, dogs) to wild (deer, wolves, bears). The wild ones are found in the Frontier, and can be hunted for meat or marrow in order to be sold. The quality of the kill determines the price, encouraging the player to hunt silently. For this, traps and bait can also be used.

Economy is now based on the Davenport Homestead, which also acts as Connor's adoptive home. The site can be visited by people such as carpenters, tailors etc. suffering from displacement due to the war. Helping and interacting with these non-player characters (NPCs) will encourage them to settle in the Homestead. From there on, the player can craft various items and trade with them, and then sell the goods to the cities via caravan. The player can also help them build relationships with each other, which will then result in the formation of a small village. The player can also upgrade the Homestead manor as well as Connor's ship, the Aquila.

A revamped version of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's recruitment feature returns as players can enlist citizens to the Assassins' cause by completing "Liberation" missions. They also have a much larger skill set, which allows them to start a riot, provide a covert escort, act as a personal bodyguard etc. Other side missions include collecting Almanac pages, exploring underground tunnels to locate fast-travel stations, joining hunting and fighting clubs, investigating frontiersman rumors about UFOs and Sasquatch, "peg-leg" missions in which Connor goes to underground forts and wastelands to uncover the legend of Captain Kidd's treasure, and others.

Assassin's Creed III also features naval expeditions. Using Connor's warship, the Aquila, the player can navigate the high seas. Control of the ship relies on environmental factors such as wind direction and speed, local presence of storms, high waves, and rocks. Engagements are by cannon, with broadsides covering both flanks of the ship, swivel guns that can be used to damage smaller ships which can also be boarded to find treasure, and chain shots from the broadsides as well to take down the masts of larger ships and disable them. The Aquila is used in the side missions known as "Privateer missions" and is also used in some of the main missions.

The Wii U version of the game has extra features. The player has the ability to change weapons on the go and the map is always visible on the Wii U Gamepad. The Wii U version also supports Off TV Play. With this feature enabled, the main screen is redirected to the Wii U Gamepad.

Online multiplayer returns in this installment by Ubisoft Annecy. Along with returning modes, new ones feature a co-operative mode named Wolfpack, in which 1–4 players are charged with killing certain NPCs within a time limit, through a sequence of 25 stages. It also features Domination, a team mode where players will have to capture certain areas of the map, protecting them from the opposing team.

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

Following the events of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, series protagonist Desmond Miles and his Assassin allies have traveled to the Grand Temple of "Those Who Came Before", an ancient race of powerful beings who created humankind before a global calamity thousands of years before the events of the game made them almost extinct and ravaged the Earth. To find the key to activate the temple and prevent the imminent recurrence of the global disaster in 2012, Desmond uses the Animus, a device that allows him to view the memories of his ancestors, to explore the life of his 18th century ancestor in Colonial America during the American Revolution; a young, half-English, half-Mohawk man named Ratonhnhaké:ton, also known as Connor,[13] whose father is Grand Master of the Templar Order in the colonies. Connor is caught up in the Assassins' conflict with the Templar order when his Native American village is attacked by the Templars, who intend to seize control of the newly forming country.

Connor's story spans two decades of his life, from his childhood in 1760 to 1783.[14] Boston and New York are cities that can be explored,[15] as well as the American Colonial Frontier, spanning forest, cliffs, rivers, Connor's Mohawk village, and the settlements of Lexington, and Concord. The player can hunt small and large animals, and approximately one third of the story takes place in the Frontier.[16] The city of Philadelphia can also be visited at one point during the game, as can The Caribbean during several naval missions.[17] The entire Eastern seaboard is also explorable via Connor's captaining his naval warship, the Aquila.[2]

Characters[edit]

Assassin's Creed III features a large cast of characters. The main character is Ratonhnhaké:ton (Noah Watts), also known as Connor (adopted name from his mentor Achilles Davenport), an 18th-century assassin, and his 21st-century descendant Desmond Miles (Nolan North). The modern day characters also include: Desmond's father William Miles (John de Lancie), and assassins Shaun Hastings (Danny Wallace) and Rebecca Crane (Eliza Jane Schneider); and the Templars Daniel Cross (Danny Blanco Hall) and Warren Vidic (Phil Proctor), the creator of the Animus.

The 18th century characters include: Achilles Davenport (Roger Aaron Brown); Connor's mentor and a retired assassin; Connor's mother Kaniehtí:io or Ziio (Kaniehtiio Horn); Connor's first mate aboard the Aquila Robert Faulkner (Kevin R. McNally); and the French taverner Stephane Chapheau (Shawn Baichoo). The Colonial Templars are led by Connor's father, the English nobleman Haytham Kenway (Adrian Hough). He is aided by several historical figures who are portrayed as members of the Templar order including Charles Lee (Neil Napier), Thomas Hickey (Allen Leech), John Pitcairn (Robert Lawrenson), Benjamin Church (Harry Standjofski), William Johnson (Julian Casey), and Nicholas Biddle. The era also features several other historical figures such as Israel Putnam (Andreas Apergis), George Washington (Robin Atkin Downes), Thomas Jefferson (John Emmet Tracy), Mason Weems (Tod Fennell), Paul Revere (Bruce Dinsmore), Edward Braddock, and Samuel Adams (Mark Lindsay Chapman).

Other characters include Minerva (Margaret Easley) and Juno (Nadia Verrucci), members of Those Who Came Before; and the Grand Master of the 18th century Templar Order in England, Reginald Birch (Gideon Emery).

Plot[edit]

Desmond, William, Rebecca, and Shaun find the Temple in a cave in New York and access it using their Apple of Eden. After partially activating the temple, Juno uses it to communicate with Desmond. Desmond is placed in the Animus where Juno's influence causes him to experience the life of his ancestor in 1754 England: the Templar Grand Master, Haytham Kenway.

Haytham assassinates a patron at the Royal Opera House and steals a medallion; the Key to the Temple's inner chamber. Haytham is dispatched to the American Colonies to locate the Temple. While in Boston, he kills a slave trader, freeing a group of Mohawks including a woman named Kaniehti:io. She helps Haytham find the Temple in exchange for him killing General Braddock. Haytham and Kaniehti:io find that the Key is not able to open the temple itself. The pair develop a romantic relationship during their time together. The perspective then shifts to Ratonhnhaké:ton's childhood in 1760. His mother dies during an attack on his village led by the Templar Charles Lee. Years later, the village Elder informs a teenage Ratonhnhaké:ton that their tribe's duty is to prevent the Temple's discovery. The Elder gives him a transparent Sphere which allows Juno to communicate with him; she tells him of his importance and shows him the Assassins' symbol. The symbol leads him to the retired Assassin Achilles Davenport, who reluctantly begins training him as an assassin.

Achilles suggests Ratonhnhaké:ton rename himself "Connor" to enable him to move more freely throughout the Colonies, in fear that some colonists might reject him as a tribe member. While seeking supplies in Boston, Connor is framed by the Templars for instigating the Boston Massacre. Over the following years, Connor kills several Templars, and aids in the Revolutionary War between the Patriots and the British. Connor meets with his father, and the two forge a temporary alliance to eliminate a rogue Templar. Later, Haytham uncovers a letter detailing George Washington's plan to remove the Indigenous population, including Connor's tribe, from the frontier to prevent them supporting the Loyalists. Connor returns to his village and learns that Lee has recruited several Mohawk warriors to turn back the Patriots sent to eradicate them. Connor neutralizes the warriors to avoid conflict, but his childhood friend Kanen'tó:kon cannot be reasoned with and Connor is forced to kill him.

Meanwhile, Desmond is occasionally roused from the Animus to retrieve power cells from Manhattan and Brazil, necessary for activating the Temple, before the Templar Daniel Cross can take them. William goes after the final cell himself, but is captured by the Templars' modern day front, Abstergo. Desmond assaults the facility, kills Cross and Warren Vidic, and rescues his father.

Connor becomes conflicted about eliminating the Templars, and hopes to work with Haytham towards a common vision of peace and freedom. However, Haytham remains convinced of the chaos of freedom and the necessity to control the nation by replacing Washington with Lee. Lee is disgraced by Washington for attempting to sabotage the outcome of a battle and takes refuge in the heavily fortified Fort George. Connor infiltrates the fort and is confronted by Haytham; they duel, and Connor kills him. Connor later kills Lee and recovers the Key. With the Colonial Templars eliminated, Connor returns to his village only to find it empty, and the Sphere left behind. Using it, Juno instructs him to conceal the Key where it cannot be found; Connor buries the Key in the grave of Achilles' son, Connor Davenport.

In 2012, Desmond retrieves the Key and accesses the Temple's inner chambers. Juno informs him that activating the pedestal will save the world, but at the cost of his life. Minerva appears before them, opposing the plan as it will free Juno, who was sealed away in the temple to prevent her conquering humanity. Juno and Minerva explain that if the solar flare occurs, Desmond will be one of the few survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. After Desmond's later death, he will become revered as a god, whose well-intended legacy will be manipulated to control future generations, restarting the cycle. Desmond chooses to save humanity and give them the opportunity to fight Juno rather than be destroyed. William, Shaun, and Rebecca leave the temple as Desmond activates the pedestal; a global aurora protects the planet from the solar eruption. Juno commends Desmond's choice and declares that it is time for her part to begin.

In the epilogue, Connor witnesses the last of the British ships leave New York and a trader selling slaves, a reminder that his fight for freedom is not over. Connor then returns to his village only to discover that the Mohawks have gone west after the newly formed Congress sold the land to settle war debts since, he is told, bringing in taxes so soon after a war fought to remove them would only serve to portray the newly formed US government as a continuation of its predecessor.

Following this, a modern-day voiceover can be heard directing the listener to locate a number of 'pivot points' that have been spread out across the memories' graphical representation of the Colonial America. Once collected, the voiceover returns to congratulate, and informs that they have now connected to the cloud.

Development[edit]

Origins[edit]

Work on Assassin's Creed III began in January 2010 (almost immediately after the release of Assassin's Creed II) by a senior team of Ubisoft developers.[14] The title has been in development for two and a half years and has the longest development cycle since the first Assassin's Creed.[18][19] When Ubisoft first revealed Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood in 2010, as new details came to light, there was some confusion within the gaming community as to whether this would be Assassin's Creed III. According to the developers, Brotherhood was not Assassin's Creed III, and the third installment will not star a "pre-existing character."[20][21] Ubisoft Montreal's developers stated in their interviews that Assassin's Creed III will be released eventually.

Jean-François Boivin of Ubisoft also stated that each numbered title in the series will introduce a new lead character and a new setting.[22] Patrice Désilets, former series' creative director, said that the series has always been planned as a trilogy. He also commented on the story of Assassin's Creed III, saying that it will focus on Assassins' quest to prevent the end of the world in 2012, and their race against time to find temples and Apples of Eden built by "Those Who Came Before". Desmond will be searching for clues as to the locations of these temples, by exploring memories of one (or more) of his other ancestors.[23]

In October 2011 Alexandre Amacio, creative director of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, announced that the next installment of the franchise was to be released before December 2012, however, Amacio himself would not be directing the game.[24] This comes from the idea that Desmond Miles, the modern day protagonist of the series, was to finish his tale by December 2012. Amacio said that gamers should not have to play a futuristic game after the time period in which it is set.[25]

Pre-announcement[edit]

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed during an earnings call on November 8, 2011, that a new "major" Assassin's Creed game will be released in 2012. Guillemot refused to go into any further detail on the title beyond its confirmation.[26] Speaking to MCV, Guillemot dismissed the notion that annual Assassin's Creed installments are diluting the brands, stating instead that they're necessary to "satisfy the demand". Guillemot also claimed in the same interview that this year's Assassin's Creed will be the series' "biggest to date."[27]

In February 2012, Ubisoft officially confirmed the existence of Assassin's Creed III, and its North American release date of October 30, 2012.[28] Guillemot described Assassin's Creed III as "the true next generation of both the Assassin's Creed brand and interactive entertainment/storytelling in general. We will push the title a lot because it's a fantastic product that the team has been working on for three years. What we have seen is just fabulous."[28][29] Guillemot went on to say the publisher's investing more heavily in the game than in any other title in the series.[29]

Internal leaks[edit]

An early screenshot of Assassin's Creed III showed Connor paddling a canoe. However, the feature was removed from the final version.

Reports that Assassin's Creed III would take place during the American Revolution surfaced following a supposed "inside source" at Ubisoft, who made such a claim in January 2012.[30] On February 29, 2012, an upcoming promotional image of the game was sent to Kotaku by a Best Buy employee, along with information from the retailer that a full reveal was imminent.[31] The leaked promotional image led to a general consensus that the game is set in North America during the American Revolution, and at least in part, a snowy setting.[32][verification needed] Around the same time, Ubisoft mentioned "a major announcement from Assassin's Creed" was "only days away" via the series' official Facebook. The page's cover photo also depicted a snowy and bleak setting.[31] Furthermore, Game Informer appeared ready to confirm the fresh details via an advertising banner posted on its site. Images show the new assassin standing next to American revolutionary leader George Washington.[31]

Following the reports, Ubisoft released Assassin's Creed III's official box art on March 1, 2012, which confirms the game's American Revolution setting.[33] The company said it will announce "all the details" at 5pm on March 5.[34] Additionally, Game Informer revealed its latest cover feature which includes more artwork of the game's new main character.[35] On March 2, several screenshots were leaked ahead of Ubisoft's official reveal, and the first gameplay details emerged via Game Informer.[36]

Post-announcement[edit]

Assassin's Creed III was unveiled with a cinematic trailer on March 5, 2012. Ubisoft described the game as the "most ambitious" project in the company's history, with twice the production capacity of any previous title from the publisher. The game's engine, AnvilNext, delivers improved visuals, character models and AI, allowing for battlefields full of fighters.[6] Ubisoft later said it's aiming to make Assassin's Creed III "look next-gen" on current-gen consoles using the new AnvilNext engine.[37]

Ubisoft said that when Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption released mid-way through Assassin's Creed III's development, it was surprised to see Rockstar had included wild animal hunting and a giant frontier to explore—features both planned for its own sequel. Lead writer Corey May said Ubisoft's now looking at Red Dead's success and trying to take the formula in "new directions". Similarities between these two games are down to "a convergence of minds", said Assassin's Creed III writer Matt Turner.[38] Creative Director Alex Hutchinson said Ubisoft steered clear of making the Assassin's Creed III protagonist a female character because the game's setting is not a strong match. Hutchinson said while many people wanted to see female assassins in the series, the American Revolution setting makes it difficult this time round.[39]

Ubisoft recommends the PC version of the game to be played with a controller even though it will still support keyboard and mouse setup. Ubisoft Montreal's creative director Alex Hutchinson admitted: "We're definitely supporting PC, we love PC, but I think it'll be PC with a controller. I don't see us investing hugely in a mouse and keyboard setup. I think if you want to play on PC and you want to play Assassin's Creed, you have a controller."[40]

Music[edit]

The score to Assassin's Creed III was composed by Scottish composer Lorne Balfe who also composed the soundtrack of Assassin's Creed: Revelations in collaboration with long time Assassin's Creed composer Jesper Kyd. The game's soundtrack is the first soundtrack of the series' main games to not feature Jesper Kyd. The soundtrack was released via digital download on October 30, 2012. Balfe also composed the music within the DLC content, The Tyranny of King Washington, with the soundtrack released via digital distribution on April 23, 2013.

Marketing[edit]

Ubisoft Australia put together a "very special, very limited" edition of Assassin's Creed III to auction off in benefit of the Sydney Children's Hospital Foundation. There are only ten of these editions in the world, and eight of them were auctioned off to raise money for the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick.

Ubisoft's senior vice president of sales and marketing, Tony Key, said the game would enjoy the biggest marketing commitment in company history.[41] Ubisoft UK MD Rob Cooper has said that Assassin's Creed III is a good entry point for newcomers to the series, and that he thinks Assassin's Creed III will hold its own against this year's biggest releases.[42] In March 2012, the Assassin's Creed: Double Pack was released both as a retail purchase for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and for download on PSN, which brings together the first Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II in a virtual compilation box.[43][44]

Ubisoft has collaborated with several retail outlets on pre-order bonuses available through several store chains throughout the world. Which of the pre-order bonuses the player received depended upon where they pre-ordered the game. A free SteelBook collectible featuring artwork by renowned comic book artist Alex Ross is available as a pre-order incentive.[45][verification needed] The "Captain of the Aquila" DLC pack includes a single player weapon (The Pirate Boarding Axe) and a single player skin (The Captain of the Aquila's uniform).[46] The "Colonial Assassin" DLC pack includes a single player weapon (The Scottish Flintlock) and a single player skin (the Traditional Colonial Assassins outfit).[47] "Redcoat Multiplayer" DLC pack includes redcoat costume, a snake emblem, and a "doctor doll" relic.[48][verification needed] In the US, Gamestop is offering the single-player mission Lost Mayan Ruins and the Sawtooth Sword, Best Buy is offering the single-player mission Ghost of War and the Pontiac's War Club, while Amazon is offering the Steelbook Case.[49][50][verification needed]

SCEE offers a digital version of Assassin's Creed III via the PlayStation Store. Dubbed the "Gold Edition", the download includes the game, PlayStation Vita title Assassin's Creed III: Liberation and a Season Pass (a first for the series). Another version of the "Gold Edition" features the game and the Season Pass, but not Liberation. Third version comes with Liberation, but without the Season Pass. All versions include A Dangerous Secret, the extra mission available with the Special Edition.[51]

Dutch site Entertainment Business reported that thieves made off with a truck on November 14, 2012, in transporting the entire launch shipment of Assassin's Creed III on PC for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Ubisoft stated that it won't affect launch as copies will be sourced elsewhere. Those who pre-ordered the Join or Die edition, however, were affected as allegedly this cannot be re-manufactured. Ubisoft also passed on serial numbers and barcodes to retailers of the stolen games, and placed the same numbers on a blacklist preventing them from receiving online authentication.[52][53]

American global technology company Nvidia bundled the PC version of Assassin's Creed III with its new GeForce GTX 650 Ti. It is built on the Kepler architecture along with others in the Nvidia's 600 series of GPUs.[54] According to Nvidia, Assassin's Creed III makes the most of the TXAA technology.[55] Ubisoft Australia put together a "very special, very limited" edition of Assassin’s Creed III to auction off in benefit of the Sydney Children's Hospital Foundation. There are only ten of these editions in the world, and eight of them will be auctioned off to raise money for the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick. Each will be auctioned separately between November 30, 2012 and December 17.[56]

Allegations of pro-American and anti-British prejudice[edit]

In June 2012 Ubisoft and in particular its French-Canadian subsidiary Ubisoft Montreal had to fend off increasing accusations of anti-British prejudice after trailers and box art depicting the killing of British Redcoats started to appear.[57] One site described the 'July 4' live-action trailer as "American nationalism".[58] Lead script writer Corey May defended the developers and publisher Ubisoft from allegations of bigotry and discrimination.[59] This controversy, however, continued because marketing materials continued to depict only the British as the enemy,[60] with a number of gaming news outlets noting US trailers cutting scenes that did seem to depict the protagonist killing Patriots.[61][62][63] The publisher eventually decided that the Limited Edition of the game wouldn't be sold in the UK or Europe.[64]

However upon the game's release, critics said their depiction was balanced and fair. Official Xbox Magazine UK felt that "the strongest aspect of ACIII is the more mature moral tone – there's none of the anticipated "yay, America"."[65] In another review by Kotaku, the reviewer notes "publishers from big video game companies are not known for subtlety or complexity of theme", going on to say "the marketing always suggested that Assassin's Creed III's igniting of the Revolution would be a game of interactive jingoism; its developers always said it was not. The developers were the ones being accurate."[66] [67]

Retail editions[edit]

On March 26, 2012, Ubisoft announced three collectors editions of Assassin's Creed III, The Freedom, Join Or Die and Special editions, exclusive to EMEA countries and Australia. On June 1, 2012, Ubisoft also announced another collectors edition of Assassin's Creed III, the UbiWorkshop Edition. Ubisoft and Sony partnered to offer the game as a bundle with the PlayStation 3 console, which was offered from the day of the game's release.[68] On the day of its release, Assassin's Creed III on the PlayStation 3 received four exclusive single-player missions, titled The Benedict Arnold Missions. The gameplay revolves around Benedict Arnold and his connections with turning West Point over to the British. Script writer Matt Turner stated that the Benedict Arnold missions were some of the most historically accurate missions in the game, as "some scenes have the actual words spoken by key players in the events at West Point, according to the records from the court proceedings following what happened."[69]

  • The Freedom Edition features a retail copy of the game, a steelbook case with cover art drawn by comic artist Alex Ross, George Washington's notebook, a 24 cm figurine of the protagonist Connor and two exclusive lithographs.[70] In-game content included is two exclusive single player missions (Ghost of War and Lost Mayan Ruins) and an additional multiplayer character (Sharpshooter).[71]
  • The Join Or Die Edition features a retail copy of the game, Connor's medallion (the medallion of the Assassins with its curd ladle) and George Washington's notebook. In-game content included is one exclusive single player mission (Ghost of War) and an additional multiplayer character (Sharpshooter).[71]
  • The Special Edition features a retail copy of the game and special packaging. In-game content included is one exclusive single-player mission (A Dangerous Secret).[71]
  • The UbiWorkshop Edition features a retail copy of the game, the second edition of the Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia, exclusive packaging, five rare prints, and a new graphic novel titled Assassin's Creed: Subject 4.
  • The Limited Edition features a retail copy of the game, a 24 cm figurine of Connor, an embroidered 28" x 48" Assassin's Creed-inspired Colonial flag, a 3" x 3.25" metal belt buckle with the Assassin insignia and George Washington's notebook. In-game content included is an exclusive single player mission (Lost Mayan Ruins).[72] Although not originally planned, George Washington's notebook was later included in the edition due to popular demand.[73][verification needed] This edition is not available in the UK or Europe due to perceived anti-British sentiment portrayed in the content.[74]
  • The Digital Deluxe Edition features a retail copy of the game, George Washington's notebook and the official Assassin’s Creed III soundtrack. In-game content included is three exclusive single player missions, two skins (The Captain of the Aquila's uniform and The Colonial Assassin outfit) and two additional multiplayer characters (Sharpshooter and Redcoat). It also includes the Benedict Arnold DLC previously exclusive only to the PS3. The edition is exclusive to PC.[75]
  • Washington Edition includes: all 3 parts of DLC "The Tyranny of King Washington", "The Hidden Secrets Pack" and "The Battle Hardened Pack".[76][77][78] It was released 20 June 2013.[79]

Downloadable content[edit]

On October 3, 2012 Ubisoft officially revealed a Season Pass for downloadable content (DLC), made available for a six-month time period on PlayStation Network and on Xbox Live. The pass gives purchasers access to the three King Washington DLC packs, The Hidden Secrets pack with all the preorder, retailer exclusive, bonus material, and The Battle Hardened pack, featuring new maps and characters for multiplayer. Furthermore, players with the pass will have access to DLC a week before other gamers.[80]

Uplay content[edit]

Ubisoft's Uplay system enables further in-game enhancements which can be redeemed by points that are given when playing the game. The available awards are an "Assassin's Creed III Theme" (available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC), "The Life Scratcher Pack", which allows the player to increase the capacity of Connor's tool pouches, and unlock exclusive multiplayer profile items, "Ezio's Outfit'", an outfit similar to the one worn by Ezio Auditore in "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood", but with a differently colored cape, and "The Renegade Pack", which unlocks the Multiplayer Night Stalker's costume and additional profile items.[81]

The Hidden Secrets Pack[edit]

On December 4, 2012, The Hidden Secrets Pack was released for Season Pass players on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, with all gamers getting the pack December 11, 2012 and Wii U[82] players getting the pack on January 17, 2013. The pack includes three missions (The Lost Mayan Ruins, The Ghost of War and A Dangerous Secret), which unlock the Sawtooth Cutlass, Pontiac War Club, and Flintlock Musket respectively, two single-player costumes (the Captain of the Aquila and the Colonial Assassin), and two multiplayer characters (the Redcoat and the Sharpshooter). All of the content was previously available as preorder bonuses through different retailers, or in different editions of the game.[83]

The Battle Hardened Pack[edit]

Announced on December 4, 2012 with The Hidden Secrets Pack, The Battle Hardened Pack includes new maps and characters for multiplayer.[84] On January 8, 2013, The Battle Hardened Pack was released to all players on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with a PC release on January 15 and Wii U release on January 17.[82] The pack includes the Governor, Highlander and Coyote Man multiplayer characters and the Charlestown, Fort St-Mathieu and Saint Pierre maps.[85]

The Tyranny of King Washington[edit]

On October 3, 2012 Ubisoft revealed the first portion of DLC for the game, called The Tyranny of King Washington, the story revolves around an alternative history "The United Kingdom of America", wherein George Washington has seized an Apple of Eden, becomes corrupted by its power, and dubs himself King. The player is tasked with overthrowing the dictator. The single-player campaign is separated into 3 episodic installments.[80] In the DLC, Ratonhnhaké:ton gains new abilities: the "Power of the Bear" for strength, the "Power of the Eagle" for speed, the "Power of the Wolf" for stealth, "Warpaint" to enhance the abilities, and "Alpha of the Pack", giving the ability to call wolves to help in battle.[86]

On January 24, 2013, the first episode of the DLC was announced, titled "The Infamy". Set in 1783, Ratonhnhaké:ton awakens from what appears to be an alternative reality where the events of the main game involving him have never happened. He is tasked to find George Washington, corrupted heavily by the Apple of Eden. Washington has crowned himself King and begun to enslave and massacre the Frontier's population. Ratonhnhaké:ton must do everything in his power to dethrone him to return the land to freedom, including utilizing the new abilities granted to him. The first episode was released on February 19 for Xbox 360 and PC, February 20 for PlayStation 3, and on February 21 for the Wii U.[87]

On February 6, 2013, it was announced that the second episode, titled "The Betrayal", would be released on March 19 for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 and an unknown date for Wii U (available in the eShop as of March 27) and that the third episode, titled "The Redemption", would be released on April 23 for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3. Despite being given a release date of May 16 for Wii U, "The Redemption" has been available in the eShop since April 27.[88]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 85.56%[89]
(X360) 84.92%[90]
(WIIU) 83.00%[91]
(PC) 80.75%[92]
Metacritic (PS3) 85/100[93]
(WIIU) 85/100[94]
(X360) 84/100[95]
(PC) 80/100[96]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 8/10[97]
Eurogamer 9/10[98]
G4 5/5[99]
Game Informer 9.5/10[100]
GamesRadar 4/5 stars[101]
GameSpot 8.5/10[102]
GameTrailers 9.2/10[103]
IGN 8.5/10[104]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 7/10[105]
Official Xbox Magazine 8.5/10[106]
Joystiq 3.5/5 stars[107]

Assassin's Creed III received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the visuals, narrative, combat style, hunting mechanics, naval missions and Homestead system, while complaining about the game's glitches and some of the missions' prescriptive layouts. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 85.56% and 85/100,[89][93] the Xbox 360 version 84.92% and 84/100,[90][95] the Wii U version 83.00% and 85/100,[91][94] and the PC version 80.75% and 80/100.[92][96]

IGN gave the game a score of 8.5/10, saying "It achieves so much that you can’t help but respect it, no other open world game has ever given us a setting that's as impressive to observe or as full of things to do as this". They did however say "Not everything about the game gels together convincingly and the missions' unnecessary prescriptiveness sometimes undermines the sense of freedom that the rest of the game works so hard to create".[104]

GameSpot gave a similar review, stating "It takes chances with its opening, with its story, and with its characters. It expands the series' gameplay in enjoyable and sensible ways. As with many ambitious games, not every arrow fired hits the bull's eye, yet this big, narratively rich sequel is easy to get invested in" and gave a score of 8.5/10.[102]

Game Informer awarded the game 9.5/10, saying "Assassin's Creed III delivers everything the series has promised, and throws in a little more for good measure... Most players will likely spend the first six hours of Assassin's Creed III wrapping their heads around the profound size and ambition of the game".[100]

G4 felt that "Assassins Creed III is not perfect... But there is so much story, so much multiplayer, and so much stuff to do that your average 10 hour game should be terribly ashamed of itself".[99]

Official Xbox Magazine gave it 8.5/10, and said "[Its] newly refined gameplay and incredibly rich setting are captivating stuff... It improves on the underlying Assassin's Creed formula in a handful of subtle but tangible ways... And its unwavering commitment to storytelling is both rare and impressive". They did however criticize, "Pacing problems which can drag the campaign into busy-work tedium".[106]

PC Gamer was more critical, giving the game a 72/100 and stating that Assassin's Creed III had "Entertaining storytelling and fantastic naval combat marred by terrible mission design and endemic feature creep"[108] The reviewer felt that homesteading detracted from the central theme and story, and narrowly-scripted optional objectives punished players for thinking laterally. "It’s about pattern recognition rather than creative thought, binary reactions with no room for life or dynamism."

Awards[edit]

Assassin's Creed III was nominated for six awards in the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards: Game of the Year, Best Xbox 360 Game, Best PS3 Game, Best Action Adventure Game, Best Graphics, and Character of the Year (Connor).[109] GameTrailers awarded Assassin's Creed 3 Best Action-Adventure Game of the Year 2012 while Game Revolution named Assassin's Creed III its Game of the Year 2012. For the 2013 D.I.C.E. Interactive Achievement Awards, the game won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Animation and was nominated for Adventure Game of the Year, and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design.[110][111] Assassin's Creed III also received four Game Developer's Choice Awards nominations for Best Audio, Best Narrative, Best Technology, and Game of the Year.[112]

Sales[edit]

On March 30, 2012, Ubisoft stated that in the three weeks since the game's pre-order campaign began, numbers had already surpassed the total U.S. pre-order numbers of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and exceeded 10 times more than the pre-orders Assassin's Creed: Revelations attracted in a comparable time frame.[41] On October 25, 2012, Ubisoft announced that the game is the most pre-ordered game in the company's history, more than doubling pre-orders for Revelations, the previous record holder.[120]

Assassin's Creed III was the best selling game in the United Kingdom in the week of its release, with the best sales of the series to date. It was the biggest launch in publisher Ubisoft's history and the third biggest launch of any game in the UK in 2012 (behind Call of Duty: Black Ops II and FIFA 13). It doubled the launch week sales of Assassin's Creed II, and beat 2011's Revelations by over 117,000 copies.[121][122] According to Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed III sold over 3.5 million units in its first week, which represents a 100 percent year-over-year increase from Revelations.[123] On December 12, 2012, Ubisoft announced that the game had sold 7 million copies worldwide.[124] In the United Kingdom, Assassin's Creed III was the 3rd best selling title of 2012, after being on sale for 2 months.[125] According to the NPD Group, the game was the 4th best selling game of 2012 in North America.[126] On February 7, 2013, Ubisoft announced that the game had sold 12 million copies worldwide, representing an almost 70 percent increase over Revelations at the same point of its lifecycle, and making it the best-selling game in the franchise.[127]

Technical issues[edit]

On November 14, 2012, Ubisoft reassured that the PC version of Assassin's Creed III will launch with fewer bugs than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. A new patch was in the works to fix glitches on all versions. It was the second title update for the game following a large patch available day-one. The PC launch came with both of these patches included.[128] After two days, Ubisoft detailed the sizable patch scheduled for release across the major platforms. This extensive patch was designed to address a list of around one hundred identified bugs present within the single-player campaign and online multiplayer modes plaguing the player experience. Some of the problems outlined involve substantial environmental instability, severe NPC technical issues, occasional console crashes and various issues involving sound synchronization amongst others.[129]

Series continuation[edit]

"Assassin's Creed is all about cycles – we have the Ezio cycle and the Altair cycle, and both of those are set to conclude in Revelations and we have the Desmond cycle, which is set to end on December 2012. But there's many cycles within the brand – that's the whole point. History is our playground."

—Alexandre Amacio, game director of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, in October 2011[130]

In September 2012, franchise main writer Corey May stated that Assassin's Creed III plot leaves possible sequels "plenty of room to play".[131] Assassin's Creed III associate producer Julien Laferrière said that further Assassin's Creed games featuring new hero Connor depend on reaction to character, stating "We made three games with Ezio because people loved Ezio."[132] In November 2012, The Gaming Liberty spotted a supposed Ubisoft survey that suggested another annual installment could be set for release next year. The survey asked participants how they would feel about a return of Desmond, Connor and the American Revolution setting, and if they would purchase such a title if it were to be released next year, suggesting that Ubisoft had its eye on repeating the Brotherhood and Revelations route of the Ezio trilogy. The survey was also said to ask how participants would feel about the introduction of a co-op mode, and how they feel about Naughty Dog's Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, possibly suggesting a move to more scripted gameplay.[133][134]

On February 28, 2013, Ubisoft posted their first promotional picture and cover for their next Assassin's Creed game, following leaked marketing material days before.[135] Titled Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, it serves as a sequel to Assassin's Creed III's modern story and a prequel to its ancestral storyline. The game is set in the Caribbean islands during the Golden Age of Piracy, and centers around Edward Kenway; the father of Haytham Kenway, and grandfather of Ratonhnhaké:ton, the playable characters of Assassin's Creed III.

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