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Assassin's Creed III is a 2012 third-person action adventure game produced by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 31 while for PC on November 20 and Wii U on November 18. It is the fifth major installment in the Assassin's Creed series.
The game follows the series' standard level-based gameplay during the 21st century, as well as the open world gameplay set in 18th-century colonial America. The player has access to a huge wilderness known as the Frontier (which is 1.5 times bigger than Rome in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood), the cities of Boston and New York; portions of the Eastern Seaboard and Caribbean Sea can be explored via the flagship of the Assassin's navy, the Aquila, captained by Connor himself, with Robert Faulkner his first-mate advising and teaching him in the ways of the sea.
Free running has been simplified to allow for more fluid parkour in the cities and wilderness, such as climbing and running on trees, mountains, cliffs, etc. Close combat has been modified, allowing Connor to dual-wield weapons and take down multiple opponents at once and players no longer need to manage the lock-on mechanic. Aiding this, Connor has access to a wide range of weapons which include muskets, pistols, native weapons such as the tomahawk and bow and arrow, a rope dart (used to pull foes or hang them, while on a tree) as well as the hidden blades. Human shields can be used against firing lines of enemies. Medicine is no longer used as health recovers automatically. Stealth is also revamped, allowing players to use natural elements such as tall grass and trees to hide, along with the ability to blend between any two people.
Assassin's Creed III features new weather simulations such as snow, fog, and rain. The seasons can also change i.e., Summer and Winter, which not only effect visuals but also gameplay, as the player will find running slower in deep snow. Snowfall can reduce visibility for the player and enemies, aiding stealth. Unlike the past games, this one includes animals varying from domestic (horses, cows, dogs) to wild (deer, wolves, bears). The wild ones are found in the Frontier, and can be hunted for meat or marrow in order to be sold. The quality of the kill determines the price, encouraging the player to hunt silently. For this, traps and bait can also be used.
Economy is now based on the Davenport Homestead, which also acts as Connor's adopted home. The site can be visited by people such as carpenters, tailors etc. suffering from displacement due to the war. Helping and interacting with these non-player characters (NPCs) will encourage them to settle in the Homestead. From there on, the player can craft various items and trade with them, and then sell the goods to the cities via caravan. The player can also help them build relationships with each other, which will then result in the formation of a small village. The player can also upgrade the Homestead manor as well as Connor's ship, the Aquila.
A revamped version of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's recruitment feature returns as players can enlist citizens to the Assassins' cause by completing "Liberation" missions. They also have a much larger skill set, which allows them to start a riot, provide a covert escort, act as a personal bodyguard etc. Other side missions include collecting Almanac pages, exploring underground tunnels to locate fast-travel stations, joining hunting and fighting clubs, investigating frontiersman rumours about UFOs and Sasquatch, "peg-leg" missions in which Connor goes to underground forts and wastelands to uncover the legend of Captain Kidd's treasure, and others.
Assassin's Creed III also features naval expeditions. Using Connor's warship, the Aquila, the player can navigate the high seas. Control of the ship relies on environmental factors such as wind direction and speed, local presence of storms, high waves, and rocks. Engagements are by cannon, with broadsides covering both flanks of the ship, and swivel guns that can be used to damage smaller ships which can also be boarded to find treasure. The Aquila is used in the side missions known as "Privateer missions" and is also used in some of the main missions.
The Wii U version of the game has extra features. The player has the ability to change weapons on the go and the map is always visible on the Wii U Gamepad. The Wii U version also supports Off TV Play. With this feature enabled, the main screen is redirected to the Wii U Gamepad.
Multiplayer returns in this installment by Ubisoft Annecy. Along with returning modes, new ones feature a co-operative mode named Wolfpack, in which 2-4 players are charged with killing certain NPCs within a time limit, through a sequence of 25 stages. It also features Domination, a team mode where players will have to capture certain areas of the map, protecting them from the opposing team.
Desmond, William, Rebecca, and Shaun find the Temple in a cave in New York and access it using their Apple of Eden. After partially activating the temple, Juno uses it to communicate with Desmond. Desmond is placed in the Animus where Juno's influence causes him to experience the life of his ancestor in 1754 England; the Templar Grand Master, Haytham Kenway.
Haytham assassinates a patron at the Royal Opera House and steals a medallion; the Key to the Temple's inner chamber. Haytham is dispatched to the American Colonies to locate the Temple. While in Boston, he kills a slave trader, freeing a group of Mohawks including a woman named Kaniehti:io. She helps Haytham find the Temple in exchange for him killing General Braddock. Haytham and Kaniehti:io find that the Key is not able to open the temple itself. The pair develop a romantic relationship during their time together. The perspective then shifts to Ratonhnhaké:ton's childhood in 1760. His mother dies during an attack on his village led by the Templar Charles Lee. Years later, the village Elder informs a teenage Ratonhnhaké:ton that their tribe's duty is to prevent the Temple's discovery. The Elder gives him a transparent Sphere which allows Juno to communicate with him; she tells him of his importance and shows him the Assassins' symbol. The symbol leads him to the retired Assassin Achilles Davenport, who reluctantly begins training him as an assassin.
Achilles suggests Ratonhnhaké:ton rename himself "Connor" to enable him to move more freely throughout the Colonies. While seeking supplies in Boston, Connor is framed by the Templars for instigating the Boston Massacre. Over the following years, Connor kills several Templars, and aids in the revolutionary war between the Patriots and the British. Connor meets with his father, and the two forge a temporary alliance to eliminate a rogue Templar. Later, Haytham uncovers a letter detailing George Washington's plan to remove the Indigenous population, including Connor's tribe, from the frontier to prevent them supporting the Loyalists. Connor returns to his village and learns that Lee has recruited several Mohawk warriors to turn back the Patriots sent to eradicate them. Connor neutralizes the warriors to avoid conflict, but his childhood friend Kanen'tó:kon cannot be reasoned with and Connor is forced to kill him.
Meanwhile, Desmond is occasionally roused from the Animus to retrieve power cells from Manhattan and Brazil, necessary for activating the Temple, before the Templar Daniel Cross can take them. William goes after the final cell himself, but is captured by the Templars' modern day front, Abstergo. Desmond assaults the facility, kills Cross and Warren Vidic, and rescues his father.
Connor becomes conflicted about eliminating the Templars, and hopes to work with Haytham towards a common vision of peace and freedom. However, Haytham remains convinced of the chaos of freedom and the necessity to control the nation by replacing Washington with Lee. Lee is disgraced by Washington for attempting to sabotage the outcome of a battle and takes refuge in the heavily fortified Fort George. Connor infiltrates the fort and is confronted by Haytham; they duel, and Connor kills him. Connor later kills Lee and recovers the Key. With the Colonial Templars eliminated, Connor returns to his village only to find it empty, and the Sphere left behind. Using it, Juno instructs him to conceal the Key where it cannot be found; Connor buries the Key in the grave of Achilles' son, Connor Davenport.
In 2012, Desmond retrieves the Key and accesses the Temple's inner chambers. Juno informs him that activating the pedestal will save the world, but at the cost of his life. Minerva appears before them, opposing the plan as it will free Juno, who was sealed away in the temple to prevent her conquering humanity. Juno and Minerva explain that if the solar flare occurs, Desmond will be one of the few survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. After Desmond's later death, he will become revered as a god, whose well-intended legacy will be manipulated to control future generations, restarting the cycle. Desmond chooses to save humanity and give them the opportunity to fight Juno rather than be destroyed. William, Shaun and Rebecca leave the temple as Desmond activates the pedestal; a global aurora protects the planet from the solar eruption. Juno commends Desmond's choice and declares that it is time for her part to begin.
In the epilogue, Connor witnesses the last of the British ships leave New York and a trader selling slaves, a reminder that his fight for freedom is not over. Connor then returns to his village only to discover that the Mohawks have gone west after the newly formed Congress sold the land to settle war debts. Connor is told that bringing in taxes so soon after a war fought to remove them would only serve to portray the newly formed US government as a continuation of its predecessor.
Following this, a modern-day voiceover can be heard directing the listener to locate a number of 'pivot points' that have been spread out across the memories' graphical representation of the Colonial America. Once collected, the voiceover returns to congratulate, and informs that they have now connected to the cloud.
On October 3, 2012 Ubisoft officially revealed a Season Pass for downloadable content (DLC), made available for a six-month time period on PlayStation Network and on Xbox Live. The pass gives purchasers access to the three King Washington DLC packs, The Hidden Secrets pack with all the preorder, retailer exclusive, bonus material, and The Battle Hardened pack, featuring new maps and characters for multiplayer. Furthermore, players with the pass will have access to DLC a week before other gamers.
Ubisoft's Uplay system enables further in-game enhancements which can be redeemed by points that are given when playing the game. The available awards are an "Assassin's Creed III Theme" (available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC), "The Life Scratcher Pack", which allows the player to increase the capacity of Connor's tool pouches, and unlock exclusive multiplayer profile items, "Ezio's Outfit'", an outfit similar to the one worn by Ezio Auditore in "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood", but with a differently colored cape, and "The Renegade Pack", which unlocks the Multiplayer Night Stalker's costume and additional profile items.
The Hidden Secrets Pack
On December 4, 2012, The Hidden Secrets Pack was released for Season Pass players on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, with all gamers getting the pack December 11, 2012 and Wii Uplayers getting the pack on January 17, 2013. The pack includes three missions (The Lost Mayan Ruins, The Ghost of War and A Dangerous Secret), which unlock the Sawtooth Cutless, Pontiac War Club, and Flintlock Musket respectively, two single-player costumes (the Captain of the Aquila and the Colonial Assassin), and two multiplayer characters (the Redcoat and the Sharpshooter). All of the content was previously available as preorder bonuses through different retailers, or in different editions of the game.
The Battle Hardened Pack
Announced on December 4, 2012 with The Hidden Secrets Pack, The Battle Hardened Pack will include new maps and characters for multiplayer.On January 8, 2013, The Battle Hardened Pack was released to all players on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with a PC release on January 15 and Wii U release on January 17.The pack includes the Governor, Highlander and Coyote Man multiplayer characters and the Charlestown, Fort St-Mathieu and Saint Pierre maps.
The Tyranny of King Washington
On October 3, 2012 Ubisoft revealed the first portion of DLC for the game, called The Tyranny of King Washington, the story revolves around an alternate history wherein George Washington has seized an Apple of Eden, becomes corrupted by its power, and daubs himself King. The player will be tasked with overthrowing the dictator. The single-player campaign will be separated into 3 episodic installments which will be available post-launch. In the DLC, Ratonhnhaké:ton will gain new abilities: the "Power of the Bear" for strength, the "Power of the Eagle" for speed, the "Power of the Wolf" for stealth, "Warpaint" to enhance the abilities, and "Alpha of the Pack", giving the ability to call wolves to help in battle.
On January 24, 2013, the first episode of the DLC was announced, titled "The Infamy". Set in 1783, Ratonhnhaké:ton awakens from what appears to be an alternate reality where the events of the main game involving him have never happened. He is tasked to find George Washington, corrupted heavily by the Apple of Eden. Washington has crowned himself King and begun to enslave and massacre the Frontier's population. Ratonhnhaké:ton must do everything in his power to dethrone him to return the land to freedom, including utilizing the new abilities granted to him. The first episode was released on February 19 for Xbox 360 and PC, February 20 for PlayStation 3, and on February 21 for the Wii U.
On February 6, 2013, it was announced that the second episode, titled "The Betrayal", would be released on March 19 for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 and an unknown date for Wii U (available in the eShop as of March 27) and that the third episode, titled "The Redemption", would be released on April 23 for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 and an unknown date for Wii U.
- Connor is an Irish name originating from Conchobar, meaning "lover of hounds" or "wolves".
- According to Ubisoft, "Ratonhnhaké:ton" (pronounced Ra-doon-ha-ge-doon) means "life that is scratched"; referring to his struggle to survive. "His spirit has emerged" or "he has begun to live" are equally valid but less poetic interpretations of his name: Haudenosaunee names are not meant to be literal, and encourage one to think about how they want their name to shape them.
- Since every Mohawk name is unique, Ubisoft agreed not to trademark the name "Ratonhnhaké:ton" at the advice of their Mohawk cultural consultants.
- Haytham's name was connected with an eagle, continuing the eagle motif set by Aquilus, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Aveline de Grandpré and Nikolai Orelov.
- "Kenway" comes from an Old English name, either Cynewig or Cenwig, composed of the words cyne ("royal") or cen ("keen, bold") and wig ("war").