Single player, third-person
Assassin's Creed is a video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released worldwide in November 2007 on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles. On September 22, 2007, Ubisoft announced the PC version has been delayed until early 2008. A prequel for Nintendo DS, titled Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles, is set to be released Febuary, 5, 2008, The game features highly detailed and interactive environments from the time of the Third Crusade – the game's developers claim these environments are historically accurate.
Assassin's Creed is a third-person stealth game in which the player assumes the role of Desmond Miles, an average bartender who is the last descendant of a long family line of assassins. Desmond has been taken to a facility where he is forced to use the Animus, a machine that traces and recreates the memories of his ancestors during the Third Crusade. Through these memories, the player controls Altaïr Ibn La-Ahad (الطائر, Arabic, "Flying Eagle and Son of None"), a member of the Assassin Brotherhood. Altaïr's objective in the game is to slay nine historical figures propagating the Crusades in the year 1191. (According to Ubisoft developers, all of the main character's targets are historical figures who died or disappeared in 1191, although not necessarily by assassination.)
The primary goal of the game is to complete nine assassinations. To achieve this goal, the player must use stealth and a variety of intelligence gathering tactics to collect information on their target. These tactics include eavesdropping, forceful interrogation, pickpocketing, and completing tasks for Informers (other assassins who will give you information in exchange for assassinating targets or collecting flags). Additionally, the player may take part in any number of side missions, including climbing tall towers to map out the city and saving citizens that are being threatened or harassed by the city guards. There are also various side quests unrelated to the story such as hunting down and killing Templars and flag collecting.
The game takes place primarily in a kingdom consisting of four main cities: Jerusalem, Acre, Damascus and Masyaf, the assassins' stronghold. Each city features a highly detailed environment populated by many people of different types, and as the player interacts with his/her environment, the people around Altaïr respond in logical and predictable ways. For example, Altaïr can climb buildings, causing people to gather around and comment on his unusual behavior. This in turn can attract the unwanted attention of nearby guards, who may then choose to attack him.
The player is made aware of how noticeable Altaïr is to enemy guards as well as the current state of alert in the local area. To perform many of the assassinations and other tasks, the player must consider the use of both "low profile" and "high profile" commands. "Low profile" commands allow Altaïr to blend into nearby crowds, gently pass by other citizens, or other non-threatening tasks that can be used to hide and reduce the alertness level. "High profile" commands are more noticeable, and including running, scaling the sides of buildings to climb to higher vantage points, and attacking foes; performing these actions at certain times may raise the local area's awareness level. Once the area is at high alert, the player must use both low profile commands as well as aiming to climb away from ground level or using hiding spaces to reduce the alertness level. The player, as they complete the assigned assassinations, will gain either new weapons or new combat skills including counter-attacks and attack dodges. Besides his fists, Altaïr's weaponry includes an assassin's sword for standard combat, a short blade, and throwing knives which are used in conjunction with the short blade. Altaïr also gains the use of a hidden retractable blade on his left arm that can be used for killing targets at very close quarters without creating any immediate alerts (although, if others come across the body, the alertness level may be raised). This is the most noticeable difference between low and high profile. A low profile assassination can be performed within as little as a few feet of other guards or soldiers without attracting attention, whereas a high profile assassination attack will be noticed by everyone within eyesight.
The player has access to a number of weapons which they earn throughout the game. one is a hidden blade which Altaïr can use for stealth kills (unnoticed assassinations) but it is ineffective in combat. Altaïr also has a sword and a dagger which he uses for close range combat. There are throwing knives which he can throw with amazing accuracy.
The player's health is described as the level of synchronization between Desmond and Altaïr's memories; should Altaïr take damage, some amount of synchronization is lost, and if all synchronization is lost, the current memory that Desmond is experiencing will be restarted at the last checkpoint. When the synchronization bar is full, the player has the additional option to use "eagle vision" which causes the computer-rendered memory to highlight all visible characters in colors corresponding to whether they are friend or foe or even the target of their assassination. Due to Altaïr's memories being rendered by the computer of the Animus project, the player may experience "glitches" in the rendering of the historical world, which may help the player to identify targets, or can be used to alter the viewpoint during in-game scripted scenes should the player react fast enough when they appear.
The game itself is divided into four cities from the 12th Century: Jerusalem, Damascus, Acre, and Masyaf, and all but Masyaf contain three sections that are unlocked over the course of the game. An approximation of the land lying between these areas is present in the game as "The Kingdom."
Plot [watch out, spoilers]Edit
The overall story within Assassin's Creed is set in September 2012, where barkeeper Desmond Miles (the character controlled by the player) has been kidnapped by an unknown person prior to the start of the game, and is brought to Abstergo Industries, where researchers are working on the Animus project. The Animus is able to pull out memories from the DNA of the user, allowing the user to replay those memories as if he were there himself. Desmond was "chosen" for the project due to his relationship to his ancestor Altaïr Ibn La-Ahad (الطائر Al-taa-ir in Arabic "The Flying One") a member of the Assassins during the Third Crusade of the Holy Land; the researchers express interest in understanding more of how the Assassins worked. Though initially Desmond's sub-conscious rejects the memories of Altaïr, he eventually learns to accept them and is able to proceed to follow Altaïr's actions through the Animus.
The memories of Altaïr that Desmond experiences start in AD 1191: Richard the Lionheart has just recaptured the port city of Acre from the Conquer of Muslims. With a base of operations established, the Crusaders prepare to march south. Their true target is Jerusalem – which they intend to recapture for Christianity. However the Muslim forces are massing in the ruins of Arsuf, intending to ambush the Crusaders and prevent them from reaching Jerusalem. These war maneuvers have left the rest of the Holy Land wide open. While Richard and Saladin battle one another, the men left to govern in their stead have begun taking advantage of their newfound positions of power. Exploitation, manipulation, and provocation rule the day.
The first memory Desmond experiences is that of Altaïr failing to assassinate the Grand Master of The Templar Knights, Robert de Sable, and recover the order's treasure. Due to this, Altaïr is demoted to Uninitiated (the lowest rank in the Assassin Order). But Al Mualim, leader of the Assassins, offers him an opportunity to redeem himself. Altaïr must venture out into the Holy Land and assassinate nine men said to be exacerbating and exploiting the hostilities created by the Third Crusade. In doing so, he will stabilize the region, allowing Mualim to usher in an age of peace.
Along the way, however, Altaïr discovers that his targets are bound by more than just a shared interest in personal gain, but are in fact Templars themselves, with the goal to unite all mankind under a common cause. Desmond further learns from emails when left overnight between sessions that Abstergo Industries is run by modern-day Templars, who are seeking the locations of several artifacts known as the "Pieces of Eden" that they can use to continue Templars' goals. Desmond learns that he was kidnapped by the company so that they may learn, through Altaïr's memories, where the locations of the other Pieces of Eden may be buried throughout the world. He also finds that what remains of the Assassin's Guild in modern days had tried and failed to recover him before that information could be learned. Altaïr's memories finally reveal that the assignment he undertook was a ploy by the Templars to sow discord between the Assassins and the Crusaders and Muslims. In doing so, Saladin and Richard The Lionheart would instead work together and fight the Assassins, and in the process, bringing peace for the Templars. Altaïr finally catches up with Robert de Sable, his last assigned target, and defeats him. Robert de Sable reveals in his dying words that Altaïr's master is also a member of the Templars, and he has now the sole power of the artifact, the "Piece of Eden" that is able to alter what men can see and can be used for mass hypnosis. Altaïr travels to face his Master, who wields the "Piece of Eden", attempting to alter Altaïr's sight, but eventually falls to his blade. As Altaïr recovers the "Piece of Eden", the device activates one more time to reveal multiple locations across the globe in an holographic manner (including two locations, noted by the Doctor, on continents that no longer exist in 2012.)
With Altaïr's memory complete, Desmond wakes up out of the Animus to learn that Abstergo Industries is already sending out recovery teams to those locations hoping to find additional artifacts. At one point, Desmond reads an email in the conference room detailing the failed recovery of three other Pieces of Eden, all resulting in disastrous accidents, two resulting in the Philadelphia Experiment and the Tunguska event. The email also refers to the Holy Grail, stating insufficient evidence to confirm its existence, and "Mitchell-Hedges Communicators", a reference to F. A. Mitchell-Hedges.
Desmond, no longer being of use to Abstergo Industries, is to be silenced; however, he is saved by Lucy Stillman, who reveals herself to be an Assassin by bending down her ring finger, to imply her membership. In the conclusion of the game, Desmond, having become "synchronized" with Altaïr, is able to use the eagle vision (a sort of empathic sight to see hidden messages and tell friend from foe), and sees messages scrawled across the floors and walls that only he can see that refer to the end of the world described by several religions, among other writings; such writings include references to the biblical passage Revelation 22:13 ("I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."), a Lorenz Attractor, the Eye of Providence, and other writings in foreign languages. Additionally, there is the Mayan date of 18.104.22.168—December 21, 2012—which is only 3 months away within the game's timeline, that represents the Mayan last day of this age of the world.
The nine men assassinated were based on real historical figures that lived in the Holy Land around the year 1191, with considerable amount of artistic liberty applied since most of the young men Altaïr was sent to kill are in fact rather old and sickly in real life, and some deaths occur a year or two after 1191. Ubisoft justifies these fact by stating in-game that the historical records were altered by the Templars to deceive anyone studying the pastTemplate:Fact. Some of these figured include: Garnier of Nablus, The Grandmaster of The Hospitallers Knights; Ibn Jubayr, an Arab-Spanish geographer, traveler and poet; Meister Sibrand, Leader of the Teutonic Knights; Prince Faisal bin Talal, an Emir; William V, Marquess of Montferrat, the regent of Acre; and Robert IV de Sablé, Grand Master of the Knights Templar.
On December 13, 2006, in an interview with IGN, Kristen Bell (who lent her voice and likeness to the game) talked about the plot. According to the interview, the plot centers on genetic memory and a corporation looking for descendants of an assassin.
It was mentioned in the UbiDays interview that Altaïr is not religious but rather "spiritual" and is the son of a Christian Mother and Muslim Father.
Altaïr (meaning "The Flying One" in Arabic) is a star in the Northern Sky in the constellation of Aquilla ("eagle" in Latin); this ties in well with a white eagle seen in the trailer for PS3 and Xbox 360 which is shown flying over the city of Acre, and lands on the bell tower Altaïr himself is standing on. To complete the theme the Assassin's clothes consist of white flowing robes. His hood also has a hook on the end and his lower robe features a stream on each side, therefore making Altaïr's shadow in air look like an eagle.
It is also stated that in events before the start of the game, there is an initiation where Altaїr's left ring finger is cut off, so that he is no longer a Novice, but an Assassin. This procedure provides for the hidden blade to extend from under Altaïr's forearm.
Pocket Books had announced it was planning to novelize Assassin’s Creed in a trilogy, written by Steven Barnes. However, the series has reportedly been cancelled. The title of the first book would have been Assassin’s Creed Book One: The Invisible Imam, and would have detailed events leading up to the beginning of the game.
According to Xbox.com, there have been some discussions between five major studios and Ubisoft, concerning making a film adaptation of Assassin's Creed. However, the identities of the film companies have not been revealed and neither has Ubisoft's response to these approaches.
Limited editions Edit
Announced in May of 2007, a Limited Collector's Edition will be released as well. However, the Limited Edition version will only be available to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 owners. In addition to the game disc the Assassin's Creed Limited Edition will contain:
- Collectible 3-inch figure
- Penny Arcade comics
- Mini strategy guide
- Bonus disc including:
- Winners of Assassin's Creed short film contest
- Behind-the-scenes videos
- Developer diaries
- Producer interviews
There is a second limited edition containing the game and a 10-inch Altaïr figure.
On July 10 2007 during the Microsoft E3 Press Conference, a demo was shown using a previously unseen city, Jerusalem. Features that were demonstrated included improved crowd mechanics, the "chase" system (chasing after a target trying to flee), as well as deeper aspects of free running. This was the first time where Altaïr could be heard speaking. It was again showcased for nearly 20 minutes on Wednesday, July 11. The video showed an extended version of the E3 demo, and included Altaïr trying to escape after his assassination of Talal the Slave Trader.
On August 26, 2007 an 11 minute demo of Assassin's Creed was shown at the Penny Arcade expo. The level that was shown was the same as in the E3 demo, however a different path was taken to reach the target. At the end of the demo, a conversation between Altaïr and the head of the Assassin's bureau in Jerusalem called Malik was shown.
Assassin's Creed has received generally positive reviews, though several publications such as IGN, Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM), and Eurogamer awarded the game average scores, Eurogamer stating that the gameplay "never evolves and ultimately becomes a bit boring, and quite amazingly repetitive." In Andrew P.'s review for EGM, he writes that the game features "a challenging parkour path of escape..." Famitsu awarded Assassin's Creed a 36 (10, 8, 9, 10) out of 40, positively citing the story, presentation, and acrobatics, while criticizing the one button combat, map layout, and camera problems. Game Informer awarded Assassin's Creed a 9.5 out of 10, praising the control scheme, replay value, and intriguing story, but expressing frustration over the "repetitive" information gathering missions. On the The Hotlist on ESPNEWS, ESPN's Aaron Boulding called the game's concept of social stealth "fairly original" and added, "Visually, the developers nailed it."  GameTrailers similarly praised the story (giving a 9.7 score to its story), and also cited repetitive gameplay and "moronic" AI as somewhat stifling its potential. The game has also received a 10 out of 10 from GamesRadar. Assassin's Creed also has a Metacritic score of 83. According to Gamepro, Assassin's Creed is one of the "finest gaming experiences ever created" if you are willing to be "patient" due to the lack of fast-paced action.
In some cases, the game may lock up randomly, requiring that the player reset the console. Also, a bug has been reported that may cause Altaïr to fall off the map in the second-to-last mission. Patches have been released to correct these problems on the PS3 and 360.
- Philip Shahbaz as Altaïr
- Kristen Bell as Lucy Stillman
- Josie Lawrence as Peasant
- Ammar Daraiseh as Tamir
- Zuhair Haddad as Multiple (voice)
- Steve Kramer as Multiple (voice)
The award nominations and wins after release included:
- Nominated: Best Action Game
- Nominated: Best PlayStation 3 Game, Best Action Game, Best Graphics - Artistic, Best Plot Twist, Best Trailer ("Lonely Soul"), Breakout Character (Altaïr)
- Nominated: Game of the Year, Most Original Game, Best Gameplay Innovation, Best Action/Adventure Game, Best Art Direction, Best Animation, Best Sound Design
Sales for Assassin's Creed have been record-breaking. An official press release from Ubisoft stated:
Assassin's Creed has greatly outstripped Ubisoft's sales expectations and currently ranks among the top two or three best-selling games for the Playstation 3 computer entertainment system and Xbox360 video game and entertainment system in the vast majority of geographical regions. In less than four weeks Assassin's Creed recorded more than two and a half million units in sell-through sales worldwide, and is the fastest-selling new video game intellectual property ever in the U.S. Consequently, Ubisoft now forecasts that it will sell a minimum of five million units of the game in 2007-08 compared with its previous estimate of approximately three million.
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