As I went over the pages of notes I took while Patrice Desilets was in town, I knew I had more than enough to write a full-blown preview.
But everyone's done previews and interviews and the game will be out in a few weeks - the 15th to be exact (thanks VURP). So instead, here's a list of eight things you may not have heard about Assassin's Creed.
Now, hit the jump and enjoy.8. "If you want to be a good Assassin, you have to walk." Yes, Desilets says good assassins are also excellent strollers. And I agree. When I first got my hands on the game, I spent most of my time running, fighting and attempting to climb.
I died. A lot.
"It's freedom and constraint - this is really the two opposite values of Assassin's Creed," says Desilets. "There's a mission where we actually asked the player not to go into open conflict. It gives really, really good emotion. You have to assassinate the guy there. You walk, and there's a harasser coming at you. You know you cannot draw your weapon, otherwise maybe you'll open conflict."
7. You can play Assassin's Creed without the HUD During the Maritime Museum demo, Patrice went into the game's options menu and disabled all of the HUD elements. This included the map, weapon selector, health bar and action selector. The screen was empy. According to Desilets, the game was designed first without a HUD, and the elements added in later in development.
Various visual cues keep you in the know, with a blurred red flash informing you of when you've been spotted, and a weird "ghostly" fade-in/fade-out effect when you're on your last legs.
6. Altair's American English accent is no mistake No, Ubisoft Montreal didn't make a boo-boo. There's a reason why Altair doesn't speak a word of French or Italian, even though everyone else around him seems pretty fluent. No doubt it's all tied in to the mysterious futuristic side of the story.
5. Maps are built using "Lego blocks" Desilets also revealed the way in which each city is built - using Lego blocks. Not actual Lego, but each building is really just a block that can be rotated and placed wherever it's needed. This way, alleys and streets are a cinch to construct. It does put more of a burden on the artists over the level designers, I imagine.
4. There are 420 flags to collect... and they're more than just collectables... Dotted around each city are flags that Altair can pick up. On the Xbox 360, they act as an achievement. On the PlayStation 3... well, they're just cool to pick up.
There's a bit more to them though. Each time you pick up a flag it will replenish your health and save the game - as long as you're not in the middle of an assassination mission. Definitely one for the power-gamers.
"It's not something we actually thought of," says Desilets. "It's an emergent thing - where your save point is actually a collectable." Sounds like a gaming first to me.
3. Soldiers at one point would run and get help, but it made the game too difficult Assassin's Creed includes a morale system for Altair's enemies - if they see too many of their comrades slaughtered in nasty ways, they'll make a run for it. Originally, they fetched help, but Desilets says it made the game way too hard, and was cut from the final build.
2. Assassin's Creed can be finished in less than nine hours... if you're Superman Or a quality assurance tester who's been playing it non-stop for the last couple of months. "If you take your time a bit, and play with it, doing all the narrative objectives, it'll take you roughly 25-30 hours," Desilets says. "[There are]roughly 25 [narrative objectives] , and the [other]75 objectives are totally up to you."
If the only thing you do is playtest Assassin's Creed however, things work a bit differently.
"Right now there's kind of a contest inside the Ubisoft QA team: Who's going to do the game the fastest," says Desilets. "I found the record is eight hours and a half. That guy [who did it] , not only did he know everything, he made a map - he took for example the Damascus map - he tried to come up with fastest way between two objectives to get to the bureau ... you have to waste no time."
1. At Rank 7, you get a dodge move. At Rank 9, you get 15 knives Altair not only gets new weapons as he advances in Rank, he also gets a special dodge move, and the ability to carry 15 throwing knives, up from the five of the lower ranks.
So, did you learn something new? I know I did.