In a recent preview, Game Informer was lucky enough to sit down with Ubisoft and demo Assassin’s Creed III, specifically focusing on the game’s revamped Anvil Engine.
The new engine, dubbed AnvilNext, has been in development since the release of 2009′s Assassin’s Creed II. You see, while other teams at Ubisoft Montreal built Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and Revelations, the “core” Assassin’s Creed II team was hard at work revamping the Anvil Engine for Assassin’s Creed III.
AnvilNext features several new tools for the game’s designers to work with, including deferred lighting, ambient occlusion, a new camera mode and improved crowd AI (which interacts more frequently with the player). However, Game Informer insists AnvilNext’s most impressive leap forward comes from the game’s animation department.
The game’s hero, Connor, will not only be able to scale cliffs, but also climb any tree in the forest, manuver around tree trunks, and monkey bar across branches. When creative director Alex Hutchinson first propsed the idea to the engineers he admits, “I think that terrified a lot of people at the start of the project,”.
“Think about every game – just mentally picture it again – and you realize every [developer] has been very clever over the years,” Hutchinson says. “You run over these uneven terrains and then you get to the fight arena and, ‘Oh look, it’s flat.’ There are problems with foot placement, swordfighting with someone when they are above you or below you, the ragdoll when you collapse on the ground and you’re hurt – once you get away from flat ground it’s nightmarish to solve all of the problems.”
About those new animations, Hutchinson says he and his team knew they could push the bar;
“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,” he says. “We don’t want you to see anything from previous ACs in this game unless we deliberately put it in there.”
The new system will allow developers to capture body motions, facial performance, and voiceovers for up to six actors at the same time. Meaning Ubisoft is looking for more physical performances from the actors in ACIII. The system will also allow double the number of bones in the face, with a concentration around the crucial areas like the eyes and mouth.
Assassin’s Creed III will be released October 30th on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC (Wii U?). To see more from this preview, head over to Game Informer.