Setting Sail in Assassin's Creed III

Why Connor's adventure at sea is one of the most exciting additions to this sequel.

The Assassin's Creed franchise has excelled at a lot of things over the years, but vehicles have never really been part of that list. Whether riding in one of Leonardo da Vinci's war machines or fleeing through the Italian hillside in a horse-drawn carriage, these vehicular set pieces have rarely amounted to much more than an interesting distraction from the rooftop acrobatics that have long made up the core of the series. So will Assassin's Creed III's boats continue that trend? Well, if what we've seen and played of these naval battles at Gamescom 2012 is any indication, the answer appears to be a great big "no."

The sea is wide open

One of the biggest problems with the vehicular set pieces from earlier games is just how constricting they were. Those carriage races through the Italian hillside were cinematic, sure, but the limited maneuverability of driving along narrow mountain roadways often made for a harsh and awkward contrast with the series' otherwise open traversal.

That's one of the reasons the naval battles in ACIII seem so promising. When you pick up a controller and start playing, the first thing you realize is that you're the one navigating this vessel--not the game. In chasing down groups of enemy boats, we took wide sweeping turns through the water and never hit any invisible walls. In fact, with the ability to adjust the sails to change speed and choose from various types of cannons and artillery fire on the fly, it's initially kind of intimidating just how much control you have over your vessel.

There's no lacking for geographical variety

One thing this series has always done well is give you reasons to get excited about visiting new parts of the world. After all, Ezio and Altair were just as much adventurers and travelers as they were assassins and killers. Continuing that theme, it seems Connor's maritime adventures will take him to battles throughout distinctly different parts of the Americas.

We all saw the battle in the Caribbean that Ubisoft showed at E3, with its lush, tropical coastline and pristine waters. Contrasting with that is the Battle of Chesapeake Bay being shown here at Gamescom. This chapter of the game has a very different look and feel, taking place along the mid-Atlantic shores of the United States at sunset as the sea gradually becomes a hazy, smoky warzone of sunken and destroyed ships. Despite the fact that it's all on water, these two portions of the game feel remarkably different.

Your boat is yours to build

Another interesting bit about the naval sequences in ACIII is the relationship you forge with your vessel. Connor's battles will largely play out from the same boat, and over the course of his journey you'll be able to upgrade and customize your boat with items ranging from hull armor to various forms of cannon fire designed to immobilize a boat rather than destroy it. If this system actually has some depth to it, it could be really cool--especially if you get to customize the symbol on your sail. (We're thinking some hybrid of the Jolly Roger and Assassins logo.)

It's mostly optional

Finally, Ubisoft wants people to know that the naval battles are but a "small part" of the overall package in Assassin's Creed III and that, for the most part, these sequences are mostly optional. When we pressed lead designer Steve Masters for more information, he confirmed that you're more or less introduced to naval warfare in a story-critical mission, and from that point on it's basically up to you whether you want to continue with Connor's duties as a captain or return to a 100 percent land-locked existence. We're curious to see how much the story opens up if you choose to take part in these subsequent, optional missions at sea. Will it affect the game in a significant way? Or will it just be a fun excuse to go out and sink a bunch of boats? We suppose time will tell.

Written By

Want the latest news about Assassin's Creed III?

Assassin's Creed III

Assassin's Creed III

Follow

Discussion

58 comments
wildwolf1378
wildwolf1378

how can assassins exist in somewhere in arabia and then move to italia and then move to US !?

Zantozzzz
Zantozzzz

Over these years I have watched every AC that came out but I did not buy anything because I didnt feel so attracted to it. Now the naval battles are making me want to buy it.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

This should be a lot of fun to play. I wasn't expecting to be able to control the sails for speed. That's pretty cool. I hope there's a good explanation for how Connor comes to be the captain of a ship. A horse drawn carriage or glider may not have been as impressive, but in a weird way they at least made sense.

iandavidvinoya
iandavidvinoya

I wish they'll bring this to the Vita version too. Looks fun. Anyway, better to save further judgement when the game is out.

sonovil
sonovil

And they're gonna release it for PC a month later, November 23rd. Well done Ubi, you buttfucked us PC gamers once more.

Legolas_Katarn
Legolas_Katarn

This looks like a much better distraction then defending safehouses in the last game.

sorin_ro
sorin_ro

common...no Altair no Ezio no nothing .the game is set in America right now and there are fire guns. so hes fighting with a sword against fire guns right? thats just clever..the old AC games made sense fighting with swords in the old times but this....

mlcarter815
mlcarter815

I'm still kind of confused as to how the naval combat fits into the gameplay. 

catsimboy
catsimboy

Looks like AC3 will be a better pirate/naval battle game than most pirate games like Risen 2.

Truf89
Truf89

It looks interesting, but I'm sure it'll get repetitive fast.

pr56
pr56

Will we ever have multiplayer naval battles...just a thought

ramcool789
ramcool789

the hype is getting bigger and bigger......everyday i see a AC article or video.....hope it turns out as good as the hype....

Narutogx2
Narutogx2

1. People Like To Bitch, Alot, And 2. Assaassin's Symbol With Crossbones Over It? Im Thinking Yes, lol

cephas90
cephas90

I paid 65 dollars for Revelations.  I will not be that stupid ever again.

vicke32
vicke32

Oh man, it's like assassins creed, without a creed, with pirates, also without assassins, and with horribly inaccurate historical facts.

>one of the most exciting

What, are you the kind of guy who wished metal gear 2 would have been a first person military shooter with killstreaks and QTEs?

Also, it seems like it's not integrated well at all into the game, they should have given it a lot more thought. It even stated that it will only happen once in the main quest, and that's just pathetic.

It will probably only end up feeling like a minigame, but then again, all the additions since after AC1 have felt like minigames, the core-mechanics have always been the same, just like the engine, and controls, and plot, oh wait, scratch the last one, the plot has been declining more than the economy (global) these past months.

Hell, I bet the weather and steering isn't going to be logical either and that it's just going to be "whoops, you bumped into an enemy, let's skip to combat, roll some dice, make the game go 'boom, boom, boom' while the cutscene combat is going on then you teleport to their ship and kill them.

Why don't you take their ship and sell it to become rich as hell?

LegendaryFightz
LegendaryFightz

The bit about the upgrades scares me a bit because quite a few things you could buy in previous AC hames were superficial (don'yt get me wrong, I love customising my character) but with the ship you won't be a ble to see them. You can always not by them though I suppose. Also Connor wheres a different outfit at sea so I'm hoping you can buy and where different outfits instead of just dying them.

bicelis
bicelis

 @wildwolf1378 They go where the Templars go. I suppose they use travel methods such as horses, sailing, swimming or even walking. And I'm not an expert on this, but I think Assassins also in later times learn how to use public transportation such as planes, trains and buses. I'm not sure if they know how to drive though...

Doobsac
Doobsac

 @wildwolf1378 It's a completely different story and character than the other Assassin's creed games duh.

kohle36
kohle36

 @Zantozzzz They probably won't form an overly large portion of the game fyi, but to be honest AC games are pretty fun to play even without it. I was skeptical as well but eventually picked up AC2 on the cheap and really enjoyed it. Yeah, I didn't find the characters all that appealing and the plot was laughably silly (I'll probably get flamed for that), but the gameplay was solidly fun and the game worlds were well designed and fun to explore. Still, it was time to change up the setting, so it's actually nice to see them experiment a little with this one.

00J
00J

 @sorin_ro i think he has a full cache of weapons from hand axes to various rifles, bows, handguns and grenades etc...

surppo
surppo

 @sorin_ro the three musketeers had swords too, it wasnt until the invention of the bullet that guns were brought to the forefront of close quarters combat.

Dragon5-1
Dragon5-1

 @sorin_ro Actually, Mount&Blade: With Fire And Sword was set in approximately the same time period, and showed that while you had to be more careful playing around the Muskets due to the frankly LUDICROUS amounts of damage they deal, the reload time was so atrocious that your trusty sword and lance still did most of the work.I'd imagine it will work the same here. Just hide in a crowd, pop a few bombs, get them to fire off their muskets...and dive in like an angel of death while they're all reloading. See? It makes perfect sense.

ninjaroach81
ninjaroach81

 @sorin_ro Remember, Ezio had a gun (the hidden gun) and faced enemies with firearms (especially in Revelations).  Yes, there's going to be more guns, but they're early, single-shot firearms that, historically, weren't very accurate.  There was still plenty of hand-to-hand combat during the Revolution, and cavalry used swords up until World War I.  And instead of a sword, it looks like Connor's main weapon is going to be the tomahawk, which absolutely fits the time frame (and it looks like he's at least going to have a flintlock pistol).  Besides, he's an Assassin, so most of the work is going to be done with the Hidden Blade!

ninjaroach81
ninjaroach81

 @mlcarter815 Probably the same way Den Defense worked in Revelations; kinda interesting, but you only had to do it once.  I didn't think AC needed a RTS element, but I'm sure there were players who really dug it!

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

@pr56 Three words and a number. Rome Total War 2. You don't play Silent Hill for the Turn Based Combat. Why play Assasin's Creed for the Naval Battles.

Slinqy
Slinqy

 @cephas90

 There's a huge difference between ACR and ACIII.

97browns
97browns

 @vicke32 Two points

1. Don't knock it till you've tried it, people said stuff like that about the Wii controls which (provided the publishers took the time to do it properly) actually worked quite well.

2. If they focused too much of the story on it then people would moan that the game wasn't assassins creed anymore.  Doing it this way like the vehicle missions in ACII: Brotherhood or the tower defense missions in ACII: Revelations allows players to choose whether to compete in these and gain bonuses to make the game easier or to not do them and focus purely on the main story missions.

flyinknee91
flyinknee91

 @vicke32 Let's break this down paragraph by paragraph (and let me first say that I'm not even a huge fan of this series): 

 

1. You must not know what a creed is, or else you'd know that all the games have a creed among the assassins at a fundamental level, so if Connor is an assassin then he would be a part of this creed. 

2. That's just a completely irrelevant thing to say. 

3. Gamers love choice, and I'm sure some people have no interest in playing the naval section of the game, but for those who truly enjoy it, it seems like it will be painlessly simple to complete all the sections that include ship combat. 

4. If you've read anything about the game, instead of constantly bitching about it, which I'm sure is not the case, you would know that the engine is completely new and that they started making it before Revelations was even finished. Also, I think, if you asked most people they'd say that they want to have the core mechanics stay the same, because that's what makes the series fun. To use a stupid analogy like you did: are you the type of person who wished metal gear 2 would have been changed to an FPS shooter with killstreaks and QTE's, because core mechanics shouldn't stay the same within a well developed series? On an aside, I love how you need to put in parentheses "global"; if the issue is global then no matter where you lived there would be a problem economically, so there's no reason to specify at all-- also, that joke sucked. 

5. Again, if you've watched even three seconds of video, or, hell, even read the article that you're bitching underneath (which I'm sure you didn't, cause that's what most people do on this site), you'd know that none of what you blathered on about is the case. 

6. Have you ever tried to sell a pirate ship that you just bombed the S*#^ out of? Not worth a hell of a lot. 

Slinqy
Slinqy

ACII is the only true sequel to AC1 as of yet. ACB and ACR are just continuations of ACII.

Spectre352
Spectre352

 @vicke32 I don't think the series was ever meant to be a hyper-realistic portrayal of an assassin's brotherhood when they originally wrote up AC1, although I do agree the series has changed dramatically since then.

Tseng
Tseng

 @vicke32 Lets skip right over the fact that you haven't played the game yet but are talking like you have and get into the 'declining plot' comment.  The plot in AC was incredibly threadbare.  It consisted of little more than a cut-scenes with your 'master' and then running to one of three cities and doing the same missions over and over again to get to the assassination which, lets face it, were all pretty much the same just in different locations.  I've been playing all the games back to back in anticipation for AC 3 (I had never played Brotherhood and am thoroughly enjoying it, and Revelations is next on the list) and they seem to get better (from a plot perspective) with each release.  Ezio is a fully fleshed out character, and even the side quests in Brotherhood have more depth than the main quests in AC.  I'm assuming you don't sell your ship because it will be pretty easy to make money in this game as it has been in the past games.  Also, your comment about the global economy doesn't make you sound smart, it makes you sound out of touch and like you have been watching Fox 'News' exclusively for the last year.

inFable
inFable

Dude, if you don't like the game and the series, then why did you read this article at all.  Furthermore I happen to like the plot, gameplay and idea of Assassin's Creed.  So don't read an article about something you dislike and expect positive feedback.  Stop Bitching!!!

 

ninjaroach81
ninjaroach81

 @LegendaryFightz The upgrades in the previous AC games were anything but superficial; weapons had different damage/deflect/speed ratings, Ezio gained new abilities (Poison Blade/Darts, dual blades, pistol, Hookblade), armor sets had different protection and durability ratings  and upgrading the city increased income.  The only thing that didn't produce any meaningful effect was changing the dye of his clothes.  And remember, Ezio wore different outfits at times in all three games, and there were unlockable ones.

Tseng
Tseng

 @LegendaryFightz How do you know you wont be able to see them?  Better sails?  Hull armor?  Better cannons?  All of these things are out in the open on a ship.

pr56
pr56

 @Poodlejumper  @pr56I know about Rome Total War 2 (haven't played it yet)

Naval Battles are not why I will play ACIII for, but if I understand correctly Connor will have one ship to command.

I just think the concept can be migrated to Multiplayer

(I think it is atleast it is worth a thought)

zackcurl
zackcurl

 @Tseng  @vicke32 Brotherhood was my favorite.  it combined the best parts of the first two games, and while there were situations where they wanted you to play stealthily so much that you could fail a mission if you were spotted, when you got it right, it really helped to create some of the best moments of the entire series.

ninjaroach81
ninjaroach81

 @Dragon5-1 Yeah, I didn't care for it, either, which is why I only did it the one time you had to.  Guess I was just trying to avoid being a jerk and pissing off the couple of gamers who actually liked it!

cephas90
cephas90

 @zackcurl  @Tseng  @vicke32 I think the combat (and the multiplayer, oh god I loved THAT) was way better in Brotherhood but AC2 had a better storyline.