Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Adds GTA-Style Vehicles
Grand Theft Carriage
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Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, the newest installment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, is adding a series first: systemic vehicles.
In Syndicate, players can hijack any horse and buggy they see on London’s streets. Simply punch out the driver, rip them from the carriage seat, and take the reins. London’s streets are choked with traffic, making it fairly easy to spot and grab some wheels when you need to quickly get to a mission point--but no Grand Theft Auto-style cart-jacking is without consequences.
If you don’t follow traffic rules--yes, you have to stick to the left side of the road when driving carriages, just like in the real world--the police will come after you. If they see you hijack a carriage or cause a traffic problem, they’ll come after you too. Carriages use a lifelike physics, bumping and rattling along the roads, and when they slam into objects and other carriages, it’s possible to be jostled out of place and even tip over.
According to creative director Marc-Alexis Cote, you can even use the carriages to cause diversions. Crashing one into another will call the police to the scene, which you can then flee while they are otherwise occupied. If you’re not careful (or time it right), you can use a crash to launch yourself out of the driver’s seat and into the air, grab onto a ledge, and scurry up a building out of sight.
In addition to stealing carriages, players will be able to jump from moving carriage to moving carriage like moving platforms, hide inside them, and coerce people into the ones you drive in order to kidnap them. Perhaps the coolest use of these carriages is the ability to fight on top of them. During a presentation of the game, I watched a police officer climb onto the roof of the carriage I had stolen. After abandoning that carriage and jumping onto another one, I watched Jacob punch out another police officer who had followed him onto the vehicle.
Cote said executive producer Francois Pelland noted that all AI within Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has been reworked to utilize and react to these vehicles. You’ll see people run out of the way of your speed carriage and police scramble to come after you. He also noted that the reason for adding vehicles came from a desire to have places interact more deeply with the game environment, not just riding on things to beeline to activities around checkpoints. The new vehicle system will, the team hopes, give players greater interactivity within London and give them a more intimate Assassin’s experience.
"We started to think of London of 1868 and looking at footage and references and books that we're talking about, how dense and how chaotic the city of London was back then," Pelland said. "Like I said before, it cannot be just cosmetic. It cannot just be props lying around the city. It's kind of within that mindset. I remember that discussion; if we want to have Victorian London, an open world city of London, we absolutely need to make the vehicles systemic, physics driven, that are talking to all the key pillars of the game--stealth, navigation, and combat. It needs to be done."
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate will also feature trains and boats, though in what way, Ubisoft Quebec has not yet revealed.
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