ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY: The Peasants Are Revolting !

Ubisoft’s playful yet gritty take on history gets a massive technological Upgrade as assassin’s creed readies itself for a mostly very french revolution.
“Commencer le festival des saucisses!”
will not be a phrase you’ll hear anyone utter when Ubisoft’s unique take on the political intricacy and epic bloodletting of the French Revolution goes on sale this autumn, but that’s okay. Not only is it one we made up purely to act as an example of the language, no one in the game speaks French anyway, unless you actually play the French version and we’ve still yet to even detect even the slightest of French accents in the English one .

This is in a game developed by ten Ubisoft studios worldwide that are all being led by Ubisoft Montreal, which is based in a city where 67.9% of the population speak French at home. Yet when new hero Arno Dorian narrates a trailer, not the tiniest tinge of the language can be detected. Couldn’t the developer simply have found someone local to read his lines? After all, the first game in the series provided characters that had Middle Eastern accents and its vastly superior sequel had no problem having everyone speak with a heavy hint of Mario esque Italian. Well, sure probably. But then there’s the Animus to contend with and what it means for the game’s fiction.

Speaking to, Assassin’s Creed Unity’s creative director Alex Amancio explained, “It’s a new start, it’s a new narrative start. That is symbolised by a completely new context for the present day. You’ve seen a little bit of an evolution with Black Flag, but we’re not going to do the same thing. What we’re doing with Unity is really the beginning of this new cycle of Assassin’s Creed games.”

Actors have had their faces fully motion captured, then tweaked to make them better fit the game’s mood.

While we currently have no firm idea of what this new start means for the sections of the game that will take place in modern times, it’s easy to imagine that they will feature the latest iteration of the Animus genetic memory time-travel machines.These devices have always featured auto translation capabilities and now it seems like the latest version of their software has been improved to go one stage further and recreate all accents so that they sound much like, perhaps, the accent of their user. Why? Having your consciousness blown back to 1789 would be disorientating enough without finding yourself sounding like Inspector Clouseau, which brings us to our next point that concerns marketing; to certain ignorant ears even a natural French accent can feature comedic value.

Then there’s the infamous amount of Francophobia found in the United States of America to deal with and millions of potential customers who view another major country that has gone through a revolution with A great deal of mistrust. Both, after all, see themselves as shining examples to the world. Both can’t be right, and one wasn’t that keen to get involved with the other in recent ultimately unsuccessful wars.

Ubisoft has successfully failed to explain why no-one can play as a female when engaging in some of Unity’s eagerly anticipated four player co-op (everyone plays a clone of Arno and/or women are too expensive to animate, apparently because that makes sense) but at least we’ve tried to fudge together some reasonable excuses for why a game largely developed in a French speaking part of the world, being published by a French publisher, that’s set in France and features a lead character who has French and Austrian parents doesn't sound all that French (or Austrian) thus far. We might be wrong, of course. Still, let’s try dealing with some actual facts.

The game’s Parisian setting and its historical period have been obvious from the first few screenshots of guillotines and boulangeries. But now we have an indicator of the size of the city overall, as it’s been revealed to be able to just about fit into the entirety of Assassin’s Creed III’s epic frontier location, while its most famous buildings have been recreated at practically a 1:1 scale and in insane detail. Notre Dame de Paris, for example, has been so finely recreated inside and out that its in-game model took an entire year to produce while the sumptuousness of the Jardins du Luxembourg demonstrated during the game’s E3 co-op presentation underlined the claim that there will be no loading when players transition from the streets into structures. And that includes the city’s sewer network and catacombs.

Unity will feature ten times the polygons and ten times the amount of animations, and its textures will feature ten times the amount of pixels than found in Black Flag. That’s all very impressive, but holding them together will be the new global illumination and high dynamic range and volumetric lighting systems that will give the game an overall deeper cinematic quality with clouds that subtly affect shadows, weather systems that see streets fill with reflective puddles, and light that mainly comes from the sun but also from multiple other sources and together they will all bounce around to create scenes of depth and character.

“Notre Dame has been so finely recreated inside and out that its in-game model took an entire year to produce”
Overall there will be 30,000 individual Parisians in the city at once and each one will have its own emotional state and so can be content, scared or angry and will react against the emotional states of others. They’ll greet and kiss each other, argue and even rob and murder, and they’ll also notice Arno and react to what he’s doing.

Should he take out enough guards then you can see the peasants revolt and storm buildings. Should soldiers arrive, they’ll run. Should they find a dead body in a building, small inquisitive groups will form outside signifying the potential for a murder investigation mission. Unfortunately, there’s a drawback to making the streets so dense with people; there’s no room for horses, which is why they won’t feature… and nor will they be pulling carts of hay. Don’t worry, though; you won’t need them as the entire parkour climbing system has been rethought.

Ignore this sub-mission by the cathedral and you’ll let these priests be executed on the streets.

Previously if you wanted to get from the top of a building to the bottom, you’d be best off diving into a stack of dried grass. Now you’ll be able to leap down to lower window sills and ramparts, flagpoles and buttresses with ease and grace and speed, while movement in general has been improved in all three dimensions. And no longer will there be such a need to scale all the tallest buildings just to fill the game’s map with locations and side-quests; climb to any reasonable height and you can see much of what’s around you and have it automatically logged. Handy.

We’re certainly impressed with the visuals and subtle details and other, wider, improvements, but the one feature we’re most pleased to see is one that was always suggested by its absence: Assassin’s Creed Unity will be the first in the series to feature a full stealth mode and so enable the player to crouch behind and move swiftly between cover. you know,  like an assassin. Fingers crossed that Unity can deliver on all its potential and a lot more.


With a new Assassin’s Creed running on a new game engine on new consoles comes a whole new combat system. And that means no relying on your ability to press the counter kill button and chaining such strikes together to wipe out an entire platoon. This new system has Arno wielding his sword as if he were a fencer, and while it will provide the opportunity to parry and dodge it will also force players to adopt more of a strategic and thoughtful strategy when facing multiple foes. Combat engagements, then, will be altogether tougher which is good news. Previously we’ve found ourselves slaughtering everyone that gave us trouble when an ancient order of assassins should act in a far more delicate and considered manner.


Co-op means that a quartet of Arno clones can work together to perform missions and even split up, take care of sub-objectives, then meet up again for bigger fights. each Arno is fully customisable and can have their own boosted abilities, which means that as long  as one has worked on their lock-picking skills then they can unlock otherwise impassable doors for the others to go through, as they’ve done here. Had at least one Arno not been so skilled then all of them would have had to take a more direct, and therefore probably more directly violent, approach to their intended target.

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