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Assassin’s Creed IV will fly the flag for the Golden Age of Piracy

It’s not much of a leap to link pirates with the Assassins, and this trailer does so rather straightforwardly. Disenchantment with order, devotion to freedom (and debauchery), and a certain predilection for pointed objects – they’re all present and accounted for. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will apparently show us the “true story” of the pirates, “rough and unvarnished”. (The story, that is, not the pirates. You can’t varnish a pi- well, I wouldn’t want to be the one to try it, anyway.)

If you’re detecting a certain lack of excitement in these quarters, you’d be right. As a longtime Assassin’s Creed fan, I just can’t bring myself to get too worked up about this installment. After the agony and the ecstasy (mostly agony, though) of Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft’s next game really needed to sing a redemption song to get the franchise back on track. Instead, what we’re getting is another one-year-later sequel; but what’s worse is that it’s got a ‘IV’ tacked on to the end. Is Black Flag really going to be the bold next step for the franchise? When you consider that Brotherhood, ground-breaking in so many ways, didn’t get that honour, you have to wonder. I loved the naval combat in Assassin’s Creed III, but I don’t think that doubling down on one of the shining lights in an otherwise broken game is the way forward for Assassin’s Creed. Hopefully, Ubisoft and Edward Kenway will prove me wrong when Black Flag launches on October 29th.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is out today, here’s a video to show you why you should play it

Far Cry 3 did set the the bar fairly high when it came to developer diaries, but Blood Dragon simply smashes it out of the park. It’s not often a developer walkthrough manages to drop my jaw, but this one managed it on multiple occasions. If you’re still on the fence about Blood Dragon, watch this – you might love it, you might hate it, but it’ll definitely leave an impression.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will shiver your timbers October 29th

Well, well, well. Just days after the existence of Assassin’s Creed IV was confirmed – and with two days still to go until Ubisoft’s official “reveal” on the 4th – the above trailer’s been leaked, courtesy of GamesRadar. While the original video has since been pulled from YouTube, we can safely assume that October 29th will see the fourth major entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, just a year after Assassin’s Creed III.

Black Flag stars Edward Kenway, father of Assassin’s Creed III’s charming ne’er-do-well Haytham Kenway. As such, it will almost certainly be a prequel; and, judging by the trailer, naval battles (my favourite part of Connor’s journey) look set to play a prominent role. So far, so good; even if so far, so little in terms of gameplay. It undoubtedly looks pretty enough, a worthy successor to this, this and this.

His official Wiki entry confirms that Edward was an Assassin, an ‘occasional pirate’ (gotta love those New World hobbyists!) and, most importantly, an ancestor of Desmond Miles. Also, in a first for the Assassin’s Creed series, he’s blonde! Who said Ubisoft can’t innovate, eh? (His golden tresses certainly seem to have impressed Blackbeard, given how effusive the bloodthirsty buccaneer’s being with his praise.)

We’ll know more when Black Flag is officially announced on Monday. For a look at the box art and a spoiler-filled analysis on what all of this could mean, man, click on past the break.

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Everything you need to know about Far Cry 3

I’m currently waist-deep in Far Cry 3’s single-player campaign, and I’m loving every second of it. If you’ve yet to be convinced, however, Ubisoft’s latest trailer should get you off the fence. Clocking in at just over 10 minutes, ‘Revealed’ brings you up to speed on just about every aspect of Far Cry 3’s gameplay and story.

For those of you who prefer to head into a game with no knowledge of the setting or what might be in store, you should steer clear of this one. Those of you looking to get some info on Rook Island before you dive in, you’ve come to the right place.

14 minutes of Far Cry 3 gameplay just might bring you to your (shananananananananananana) knees (knees)

I know that most developers probably have a million better things to do than talk enthusiastically at a camera but damn, isn’t it just refreshing to listen to a couple of guys play a game and have some fun? Jamie Keen (lead game designer) and Mark Thompson (level design director), take a bow. Some fairly unsubtle name-dropping at 4:21 would be the highlight of a very watchable video. Or maybe the lighthearted joshing over a couple of suspiciously accurate shots, followed by constant sniping (no pun intended) about a woefully-wide arrow.

As enjoyable as the banter was, it wouldn’t mean scratch if the game wasn’t up to snuff. However, with every video I see, Far Cry 3 is looking more and more exciting. That dynamic open-world is the stuff life-destroying games are made of, and I can see myself losing quite a few hours to those islands. I’ve been down this road before, with Far Cry 2; and that didn’t quite work out, for any number of reasons. Far Cry 3, on the other hand, has done everything right so far and could just be the dark horse success in a very crowded release window.
Fun fact – before writing that title, I actually slowed down ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and tried to count the exact number of times that Axl says ‘na’. In between ‘sha’ and ‘knees’, of course; if you didn’t get that reference, you have absolutely no business looking at me like I’m a crazy person. Everybody else, feel free.

New trailer for Assassin’s Creed 3 kinda misses the point

Look, unnamed British narrator, we get that you’re just trying to keep your troops informed. We get that you’re sticking to that whole ‘know your enemy’ shtick. That said, have you considered that maybe, just maybe going into as much detail as you just did isn’t exactly going to boost your troops’ morale or fill them with confidence?

Not that morale or confidence ever helped much with a tomahawk to the face, I will concede.

Far Cry 3 introduces us to Citra and Dennis, from next door

From the looks of the above ‘Tribe’ trailer, Far Cry 3’s protagonist Jason Brody is going to take the phrase ‘going native’ to a whole new level. Drugs, women and sharp objects have historically not been a great mixture for a series of guys, from William Wallace right up to Walter White. Still, it’s looked terribly interesting ever since that amazing first trailer and we’re just over a month away from seeing how Brody’s story plays out.

Click on past the break for a more detailed look at Citra and Dennis – their hopes, their motivations, and what they really think about pears.

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Michael Fassbender will co-produce and star in Assassin’s Creed movie

Yes, that Fassbender

From one iconic piece of headgear to another – Michael Fassbender will don the cowl of an Assassin in the big-screen adaptation of Ubisoft’s acclaimed series. It doesn’t stop there, though – he’ll also be co-producing the movie, through his DMC Film label, alongside Ubisoft Motion Pictures. Hopefully, this means that the Fass is aware of the…less-than-stellar history of game-based movies, and subscribes to the whole ‘If you want something done right…’ school of thought.

Details are few and far between at this stage, although we do have the following tidbit from Variety – the story “revolves around a man who learns his ancestors were trained assassins after he is kidnapped by a secret [organization] with ties to the Knight Templar, and sent back in time to retrieve historical artifacts.” So, basically Assassin’s Creed then.

The CEO of Ubisoft Motion Pictures reveals that Fassbender was their ‘first choice’ to play the lead role. That makes sense; really, at this point, it’s probably worth questioning your reasoning if Fassbender isn’t your first choice for anything ever.

Let’s not forget that this is merely the latest salvo in Fassbender’s relentless assault upon the geek consciousness. Besides his aforementioned portrayal of Magneto, he’s had roles in Band of Brothers, 300, Inglourious Basterds and Prometheus. Any way you slice it, that’s an impressive resume; which is partly the reason I feel slightly more optimistic about this than I would’ve otherwise. Yes, Hollywood adaptations of games have had a chequered history, but Fassbender might just break that cycle. Ah well, we’ll have to wait and see; and, given that this has only just been announced, we’ll be doing a lot of the former before we get a chance at the latter.

Assassin’s Creed III reminds us that today, they celebrate their independence day

Given that Assassin’s Creed III deals with the period of chaos surrounding the creation of the United States of America, it would have been practically treasonous to not have a trailer out on the 4th of July. ‘Independence’, that shiny bundle of patriotism up there, manages to do what every other trailer for Assassin’s Creed III has done till date – i.e., make October 31st seem even further away.

Watch Dogs – partying like it’s 1984

On the basis of the above trailer, I can say that one of the games I’m most excited about in the coming year is one that I didn’t know existed until a few hours ago. Say hello to Watch Dogs, the new game from the folks over at Ubisoft Montreal. Here’s what I got from this astonishingly gripping video –

It’s Orwell by way of The Matrix, if they stopped off at Assassin HQ for a coffee with Prototype on the way.

It’s a gorgeous open-world game; so gorgeous, in fact, that it might very well be our first look at what the next generation of video games is going to look like.

It could be very, very special indeed; and I simply can’t wait to find out more. Luckily, there just so happens to be this expo thing going on…

(Check out the original announcement trailer after the break!)

 

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