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Assassin's Creed heads west

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The setting for Assassin’s Creed 3 has been the subject of years of speculation. Since 2008, in fact — mere seconds after we were told that Assassin’s Creed 2 would take place in Renaissance Italy. Some people are never satisfied.

But finally it’s been revealed. And, surprising absolutely no one (it was by far the most common prediction, ahead of Victorian London and feudal Japan), it’s the US War Of Independence.

Set in the 1700s, the new assassin is called Connor. Which, after Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad and Ezio Auditore da Firenze, is a touch disappointing. At least until you discover that’s just his English name. He’s half-Mohawk, and his birth name is actually Ratohnhaké:ton, which is far more pleasingly unpronounceable.

The action takes place on the Eastern Seaboard of the US. We saw footage of New York and Boston, and the first thing that’s noticeable is that the buildings lack the cloud-bothering height of previous games. Initially, this might feel counterintuitive.

It isn’t. Instead of scaling the entire edifice to escape chasing guards, only to be pelted with rocks and fall back to the ground, now you can leap up a storey, hop through a window and escape out of the other side. It serves to considerably speed up the free-running aspect of the game.

But Assassin’s Creed 3 is about more than just the cities. There is a vast wilderness packed with animals to hunt (and be hunted by) and weather changes to contend with.

But it’s Connor’s movement through the trees that impressed us most. His Mohawk upbringing means he can run along branches, hop from tree to tree and use the height to surprise his targets (pictured main).

Assassin’s Creed 3 is clearly a step up from the previous games in the series, and we’re only left with one question: where’s Assassin’s Creed 4 going to be set?

Assassin’s Creed 3 will be released in late 2012

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