UPDATE: Ubisoft has confirmed the rumors with the release of the official Assassin’s Creed III packshot. And holy crap is it awesome! Click through to view.
The video game world is all aflutter today with leaked information claiming that Assassin’s Creed III, due this Fall, will introduce a Native American assassin who fights Templars during the American Revolutionary War.
[Scroll to the bottom of this page to view the official PS3 packshot of Assassin’s Creed III.]
I don’t usually post rumors or supposed leaks, but this one is looking more and more like fact. It all started with leaks sent to gaming site Kotaku that included the image you see above. The anonymous source of the image claimed to be an employee at Best Buy, where staff members were shown this image as an exclusive early look at what was to come for the franchise. (Kotaku’s leaked scan wasn’t great in quality; I’ve cleaned and clarified it a bit.)
The image, if legitimate, tells us a number of things about the next installment. First, it will indeed be called Assassin’s Creed III (even though it’ll be the fifth game), which is suitable since it introduces a new playable assassin to succeed Ezio Auditore. Second, the flag seen behind the main character is clearly an early American flag, which means the new game is set in the “new world,” probably around the time of the Revolutionary War. Third, the main character appears to be a Native American who might even be a Revolutionary War officer (based on his jacket). Did you notice the tomahawk in his right hand?
Earlier this morning, Game Informer fanned the flames by posting the above banner on their website, advertising a new “hub” of exclusive reveals for Assassin’s Creed III. Their banner shows off imagery similar to the Best Buy art, even throwing in George Washington crossing the Delaware — with a little help from an Assassin friend. But the banner was barely up for a few minutes before it was quickly taken down, suggesting that someone at GI posted it before either the magazine or Ubisoft was ready. The banner appears legit, and perfectly in keeping with the kinds of imagery GI has used to advertise other exclusive info “hubs.”
Lastly, Ubisoft has updated the Assassin’s Creed Facebook page with the snowy screenshot seen below, and promised to reveal the first official details about their next AC game over the next few days. Perhaps they sensed their big unveiling was slipping away, thanks to the leaks posted at Kotaku and Game Informer? (They can complain too much about the situation — they’re getting tons of free publicity out of it.)
So… What would it be like to play an assassin during the Revolutionary War? If it sticks to the New England area, there would be plenty of large, inhabited cities for this new character to run across rooftops and blend among the citizens — cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. The setting also lends itself to incorporating real-life historical figures for our new assassin to befriend (or antagonize), such as the aforementioned George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, etc. And those who played the last game, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, know that it ended with hints that the Desmond Miles’ journey might end in the American northeast.
It all fits.
As much as I loved Ezio as a protagonist, the series is definitely in need of a new setting and a new hero. Ubisoft can’t afford to merely churn out “more of the same” with this one, after three games spent with Ezio. It’s time for a major leap forward in game mechanics and technology, akin to the dramatic difference between Assassin’s Creed II and the first game.
But until Ubisoft makes it official, all of this is nothing but rumor and speculation. For all we know, that image of the new assassin at the top of this page could be mere fan art, or an adapted drawing taken from the cover of some new ancillary comic book series.