The company that brought us Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is getting ready to launch their next big franchise, and it's promising some pretty juicy stuff. It's still early days with a probable 2007 release, but everyone's been salivating over Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed since E3 2006 and judging by what's been seen so far, this bad boy'll probably be the toast of 2007.
The game centres around Altair, an assassin (in case you hadn't worked that one out) in the 13th Century Middle East who, along with his fellow assassins, is trying to end the Crusades by suppressing both sides. The action is spread across three medieval cities where Altair must climb, jump and ultimately kill his way through missions against the backdrop of a stunningly animated and rendered ancient metropolis.
Judging from early peeks, the beauty of this game really is in the details. The cities allow absolute freedom of movement in the mode of GTA, with careful attention given to the tiniest of details to produce some of the most realistic graphics ever seen. The movement and look of each character (and when we say character, we mean "person to appear on screen") has been carefully modelled to emulate real human motion, with the AI prompting them to constantly react to you in a realistic way. As you move through crowds, you have to be careful not to draw attention to yourself, as anything untoward can bring the guards down on you in a heartbeat. That's not to say, however, that this is strictly a stealth game. If you fancy your chances at fighting your way through a posse of bodyguards to your target, you can. Just don't be surprised if a couple of well-placed blows brings you down.
This is looking like the start of a huge new franchise, with a seam of intrigue threading its way through each game. Keep your eye on this. Seriously.