Frequent serialized game releases are a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it means fans of a particular series get a constant flow of content in the form of yearly releases, but on the other, sometimes this means that various entries feel a bit too familiar due to a recycled game engine and so forth. That won’t be the case with the upcoming Assassin’s Creed III, as the Anvil Engine is being redesigned almost from scratch this time around… or at least, so says creative director Alex Hutchinson:
When you’re working with engineers who have solved massive problems in the past and set the bar really high in terms of animation and character navigation, we knew we could push the bar. Our goal with the new game is to have no animations from the previous ACs. We don’t want you to see anything from previous ACs in this game unless we deliberately put it in there.
Of course, given this game’s vastly different setting and protagonist, it’s no wonder that things like animation are being redone. At the same time, this is a hugely ambitious undertaking that’s going to involve a lot of investment and talent on the part of the design team. Here’s a breakdown of the full interview with Game Informer, which goes over more details about how Ubisoft Montreal hopes to go the extra mile:
- The idea wasn’t just to take the old gameplay into a new time period, but to achieve a sense of separation from previous franchise titles
- Assassin’s Creed III has been in the works since the completion of the second numbered title
- New engine is called “AnvilNext” and implements such features as deferred lighting, ambient occulsion, additional camera options, better crowd AI, and better/faster animation prototyping
- They focus a lot on giving Connor a totally different feel than Ezio or Altair
- Because of the outdoor frontier setting, not all battles take place on flat ground; they’re taking great pains to make everything look and feel right so this doesn’t play out awkwardly
- The team’s adding more flair to make characters seem more real: flinching in response to explosions, ducking behind cover as you approach it, etc.
- “Given the series’ reputation for impressive vertical navigation up the sides of buildings and historical landmarks, the team knew it couldn’t confine its newest assassin to the canopy floor and dirt roads. When Hutchinson told the engineers they wanted to allow players to not only scale cliffs, but to climb any tree in the forest, shimmy around tree trunks, and monkey bar across branches, several jaws hit the floor.”
- So far the results seem pretty consistent and solid, according to Game Informer
- Performance capture standards have gone up considerably to make the cutscenes more impactful
- “Changes to the Anvil pipeline allowed the team to double the number of bones in the face, with a concentration around the crucial areas like the eyes and mouth. Improvements to the cloth and other physical objects also help with make the cinematic closeups look more real.”
- They’ve hired David Wilkinson of Mass Effect fame to help with facial animations
- Cutscene production plays out a lot like film production due to the heavy roles of both physical performance actors and voice actors
Click here to read the full feature at Game Informer.
Source: Game Informer via GoNintendo
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