10 ways Assassins Creed III wants to defy your expectations

“We didn’t want to re-skin previous games,” says Alex Hutchinson, the new creative director for the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Going into the highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed III, that meant rethinking all of the series’ core pillars.
If that sounds like a tall order going into the sixth console iteration of a popular title, it is. But Hutchinson’s timing couldn’t be better. After three Creed games in three years, and with the apocalyptic storyline drawing to a close, when better to have a change in characters, scenery, and philosophy? Oh, you’ll still leap off high points and shank enemies with your hidden blade…but otherwise? Welcome to a whole new Creed.
So here are 10 ways Hutchinson and his team at Ubisoft Montreal plan to take your ho-hum expectations and turn them into pleasant surprises.
1. The low-key killer
If jumping forward a century and crossing the ocean didn’t do the job, new assassin Connor’s quiet, intense personality marks a big departure from swashbuckling romantic Ezio Auditore Da Firenze. As an Anglo/Indian half-breed, Connor’s used to living as an outsider long before the Assassins — recently arrived in the New World — recruit him. And while both men begin their careers in professional murder motivated by revenge, Connor’s barely contained rage boils much closer to the surface. When someone calls his mission plan “crazy,” Connor replies, “I expect an apology on my return.” His tone suggests he might carve that mea culpa directly into the offender’s chest.
2. Offense is the best defense
Forget waiting around for attacks to come in, so you can pull a quick riposte. The new Creed combat mechanics (including a new counter system) still let you play defensively, but now you can tear into groups of Redcoats at will. “If players are good enough and understand the strategy, they can be super aggressive and chew their way through all the enemies on the screen,” says Hutchinson. Indeed, test footage showed Connor dodging a blast from an enemy firing line before wiping them out in a fast, hyperviolent ballet of knife, hatchet, and blood.
3. It’s not all about the war
The canvas stretches a bit wider than you may have thought. Assassin’s Creed III covers at least 32 years, from 1753 to 1785…only eight of which (1775-1783) involve the war for independence. “The story we wanted to tell was in the lead-up to the war, the war itself, and then some of the outcome,” says Hutchinson. Asked if that meant seeing a President Washington (elected in 1789), Hutchinson demurred, saying that pushed into “spoiler territory.” Though he also readily admitted — spoiler alert! — that Washington did indeed become America’s first President.