Has Mine craft taken over the world? When the flagship game from a publisher as influential as Ubi soft has its very own crafting mini-game, it’s hard not to conclude that Indies are dominating industry innovation now. What’s next?
A block based map editor for CoD Zombies? Mining ore for ammo? Perhaps FIFA 13
will make you harvest sheep’s wool and coloured dye every time you switch to
your away kit.
Of course, mainstream franchises are at a natural disadvantage when it comes to leading innovation: invention equals risk, and when you’re dealing with a
franchise as established as Assassin’s Creed, staking huge amounts of brand
equity on one crackpot developer’s interesting idea might not seem entirely
prudent. Unfortunately, the danger of this approach is that you risk churning
out endless identikit sequels, and the result – in Revelation’s case – is that
the biggest new ‘back of the box’ gameplay feature is… a new sound effect
when you grab onto ledges.
It’s a lovely sound effect though, a wonderfully solid metallic ‘clink’, that
perfectly compliments Ezio’s glistening new Hookblade as he scrambles over
Constantinople’s rooftops in the baking midday sun. The Hookblade lets you
glide down ziplines, flip over enemies during combat, and generally streamlines
the (already competent) parkour navigation, but it’s more of a natural
refinement of existing Assassin’s Creed gameplay than something genuinely new.
Ezio’s getting old now. This is likely the last main AC: Subtitle game before ‘real’
sequel, Assassin’s Creed III; it promises to conclude the current story arc,
wrapping up the loose threads left by original assassin Altair Ibn-La’Ahad and
(the now middle-aged) Ezio Auditore de Firenze. Set largely in Constantinople –
‘the crossroads of the world’ – Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is itself
something of a crossroads for the triple-tiered narrative of Altair, Ezio, and
Desmond – who finds himself in a coma in the present day, trapped in the
mysterious ‘Black Room’ of the Animus.
If the White Room was a simple loading area for the Animus OS, from which Desmond safely accessed the memories of his assassin ancestors, the Black Room is more akin to its BIOS, with all the power and danger that entails. From here Desmond interacts with his DNA-embedded memories of Ezio, from a time when Ezio himself was uncovering the past of his ancestor, Altair. Ubisoft hasn’t yet shown much of Desmond’s sections in Revelations, but Lead Writer Darby Mc Devitt described them as “very special interesting game play” in our recent interview, and there’s clearly a lot of scope for that given the premise.