More and more new games every year are sequels, so I guess the next logical step is enormous collections of previously released games. Bethesda announced at QuakeCon that every Elder Scrolls game would be available, and now Ubisoft is following suit with the Assassin’s Creed Heritage Collection. Available on November 8, the Heritage Collection will include Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed 2, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, and Assassin’s Creed 3.
Assassin's Creed 3
As worthy a goal as liberation may be, most of us aren't going bother if it means dealing with those ugly "low" definitions. Not only that, but playing Assassin's Creed 3 spin-off Liberations would have meant buying a PS Vita, which, according to sales figures, is not something a lot of people have done. Perhaps because of this fact, Ubisoft have announced Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD; appending the near-meaningless suffix to an upgraded version of the game that's due for release on PC and the less portable consoles.
It’s a pretty good day to be a wallet at Ubisoft. Newly released financial statements reveal that the French publisher and developer pulled in $1.615 billion in revenue after selling more than twelve million copies of Assassin’s Creed 3 and six million copies of Far Cry 3. Not only was overall revenue up 18.3% from last year, but take-home profits rose a staggering 73.7% over 2012.
So just where has the illustrious Peter Molyneux's pet project, Godus, been lately? Well, there was a lot of talk about Mud Huts in their last update for backers, but for the most part, the usually hyper-talkative Molyneux has been uncharacteristically quiet about 22 Cans' next project. Secretly, though, it seems he's been putting some of that Kickstarter money towards securing some top-notch talent - a casual namedrop in the latest update video reveals that his newest employee is Jamie Stowe, a former level design director who's worked on the likes of Assassin's Creed 3.
In preparation for our not-too-distant subjugation by skull-faced machine-men, I thought I'd bone up on the latest advances in electro-brain design and stop by this year's GDC AI summit. Kicking off the summit was a trimuvirate of talks about the AI behind PCG-fave XCOM, stabby sequel Assassin's Creed 3 and the super-shiny “space ninjas with machine guns” shooter Warframe. The talks showed a fascinating variety of uses for AI: XCOM's combat AI was the most immediately familiar, but supremely clever in insinuating the personality of enemy types - and a far cry from the use of AI to determine Connor's foot placement in AC3. Warframe, meanwhile, deploys AI as a dungeonmaster, cobbling together levels from pre-built components to fit the needs of its players. It's smart stuff. Perhaps... too smart? Read on to unpick alien plans, parkour and player-centric dungeon design.
The annual Game Developers Conference is underway in San Francisco. What can we expect? Candid retrospectives? Shock reveals? Will David Cage's Giant Floating Man Face do battle with Nvidia's Giant Floating Man Face above a flaming pit?
We'll be bringing you all the latest from the frontlines and keeping this page updated with all the stories so far.
After revealing the sequel's gun-strapped hero on the box art of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, Ubisoft wasted no time in preparing a debut trailer to leap from its towering marketing mast. A countdown ticks away the trailer's launch in three days, but DarkZero switched on its Eagle Vision and found a now-deleted hidden URL displaying a banner proclaiming an October 29 release date for the radically piratical fourth-quel.
The hero of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag (already truncated to AssFlag in office lingo) makes a bid to become the loudest assassin yet in the box art Ubisoft put out today. He is wearing FOUR guns. He's wearing his "hidden" blade on the outside of his sleeve. He has woven a flag with the Assassin order logo on it, and then, because it wasn't piratey enough, plopped a skull in there for good measure. Because that's what you do, isn't it, when you're a pirate? You whack a skull on it.
Assassin's Creed 4 is about pirates, and boats, and islands, and killing bad men. All will be revealed on Monday when details banks burst and information flows through the webways, as hot and saucy as the regurgitated rum of a green sailor's first hurl. Those of us in the office that played Assassin's Creed 3 really enjoyed the sea bits, which bodes well for this latest outing. We'll have preview here for you on Monday, and we've squared away four pages in the next issue of PC Gamer, too. Here be ye box art ye blaggards.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: calling all Tapirs, please be on guard. Ubi have revised their yearly profit estimates up to somewhere between 90 and 100 million Euros after better-than-expected sales late last year, and are going to need a much bigger wallet.
Gamasutra report that Assassin's Creed 3 shifted 12 million copies in the meatspace and online which is 70% more than AssCreed: Revelations managed. Far Cry 3 sold 4.5 million. A "much higher-than-expected performance," which means "fans certainly won't have to wait four more years for the next Far Cry."
2012 was a particularly great year for writing in video games. There was the harrowing campaign of Spec Ops: The Line, the consistently funny caricatures of Borderlands 2 or, like, a whole 90% of Mass Effect 3. Then, of course, standing way out in front was the emotional bombardment of Telltale's The Walking Dead. So it was no surprise that when the Writers Guild of America announced their shortlist for the Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing award, they of course included... wait, what?! They included 007 Legends? How does that make any sense?
The tech world has gotten itself into a lather over the bombardment of announcements coming out of Consumer Electronics Show. Here's one that's relevant to us, though: NVIDIA's Project Shield. While it may look like an HD screen bolted to a parody of a PS3 controller, the Android powered device is also capable of streaming your PC game library.
If I have to endure another level in which I must escape from a burning building on the verge of collapse, I'll set fire to my house. I'll collapse through the floor, tumble twelve feet onto my back, crawl at tedious pace through a low section, traverse a room that's entirely on fire apart from a narrow path of miraculously not-on-fire floorspace and then climb a series of conveniently collapsed roof beams to safety.
"Phew!" I'll think, "I'd have been in a spot of bother there if I hadn't played through pretty much the same section in Black Ops 2, Max Payne 3, Far Cry 3, Medal of Honor: Warfighter and twice in Assassin's Creed 3 this year."
It might be a good idea to check that you're running the latest batch of Nvidia drivers. The full version of the GeForce 310.70 WHQL set are available now, and it sounds like they'll add a fair few extra frames per second to some of this year's biggest games. Nvidia say they'll boost Far Cry 3 by 37%, Black Ops 2 by 26% at max settings, add an extra 17% to Assassin's Creed 3 performance (compared to a pre-release version, mind) and deliver smaller increases to Battlefield 3 and Skyrim.
According to Ubisoft, the first DLC pack for Assassin's Creed 3 takes place in an alternate reality. Which is cute, because it suggests they think their current tale of exploding suns, genetically coded tourist trips to the past and magic space wizards is the actual reality.
I am pursuing a man in a tricorner hat through the streets of colonial New York. In the top-left of the screen, Assassin’s Creed III instructs me to chase him. In smaller text just below it, there is a secondary objective: ‘do not shove or tackle anyone’. I turn sharply into an alleyway and barge past a woman, earning myself a red X on the mission log and losing my ‘full synchronisation’ bonus. I’m not sure why I want to be fully synchronised, but the completionist in me insists that I try again.
A few attempts later, I’ve figured out a system. Stop sprinting when the alleyways give out onto open streets, edge carefully around pedestrians, and continue. It’s ludicrous - why on Earth would I not shove someone, if the fate of a nation was at stake - but I’ve not incurred the red X, I’ve not lost my bonus. I chase the man and, as is tradition, wait for the cutscene where I catch him. It doesn’t come. We pass through the same fishmarket for the second time and I realise that we’ve done a lap of central New York. The game is waiting for me. Oh! I think. This is an assassination. I do those.
Ubisoft have perched themselves on the top of a tall building, hoping to scan for clues as to the direction to take the inevitable next entry in the Assassin's Creed series. TGL have posted a series of screenshots of a survey sent out by the company, hinting at possible features that may be introduced.
It's happening again. PCGamesN report that Assassin's Creed 3 and Far Cry 3 are not available on the Steam store in the UK, mirroring the fate of a number of EA games in the last year or so.
“We’ve been in discussions with Valve about Assassin’s Creed 3 and Far Cry 3, but for the time being the games are not available via Steam in the UK,” Ubisoft told PCGN. “In the meantime, UK customers wishing to purchase either of these games can do so by visiting the Uplay store, our retail partners or other digital distributors. Assassin’s Creed 3 and Far Cry 3 are available on Steam in other regions outside the UK.”
Assassin's Creed 3 is arriving a bit late on PC, but according to comments from the Ubisoft team in a recent Reddit AMA, it'll come with some extra visual polish. DirectX 11 features like tessellation will smooth out those polygons and we can look forward to textures that, in some cases, will be four times the resolution of the console versions.
Community developer "UbiGabe" also says that "when PC launches, it will include ALL of the console patches out at the time (so, that includes any patches we might be releasing in between now and PC launch). In addition, PC has a special patch designed to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible."
Chris Tom S and Rich discuss the soon-on-PC Assassin's Creed 3, Football Manager 2013, Planetside 2, some game called Call of Duty, and much more - including plenty of Twitter questions and the first novelty physical challenge in the podcast's history.
In a Reddit AMA thread posted yesterday, development team members of Assassin's Creed 3 assured that the PC version of Connor's American vacation will include a new patch ironing bugs present in the console version and sprinkling in DirectX 11 improvements.