Though easily one of the most hotly anticipated titles due out this November, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed had a surprisingly small presence at X07. Where other big titles like EA’s Rock Band or Activision’s Call of Duty 4 had big displays and were available for play, Assassin’s Creed was restricted to private demonstrations run by members of the development team. This particular demo was the same one played by Jade Raymond at E3 07 and showcased again the week before at PAX.
We started with Altaïr (al-ti-hir) on the roof of a tall tower overlooking the city of Jerusalem. Though I’d seen it before in numerous press videos, I still wasn’t quite prepared for just how large and alive the city looked and felt.
After taking a few minutes to breathe in the incredible scenery and discuss its architectural accuracy, we leapt from the roof of the building and landed in a basket of hay sitting in the city street below. It seemed a bit cheesy to us at first that Altaïr almost always had a cart to land on, but as was pointed out by the Ubisoft reps, at that time in history straw was in high demand and actually cities would be full of pull-carts loaded down with it.
As we made our way through the city, the Ubisoft reps highlighted the importance of social stealth and the true open-endedness of Assassin’s Creeds’s gameplay. Our mission was to take down a slave trader by the name of Talal, but to get to Talal we would need to get past several guards. We had several ways of doing this.
The first and most obvious way of getting past the guards was to just charge them head on and engage in combat. However this is a foolish action and one no good assassin would ever take, so we decided to look a little harder.
Nearby there was a group of monks dressed in similar clothing to Altaïr. By slowly walking into the monks and pressing A we were able to bow our head and blend in. Because Holy men are generally trusted in Jerusalem we would have little trouble walking right past the city guards. But that’s boring and when you’re trying to sell journalists on a product you want to be exciting, so Altaïr ended up taking a third option.