Saturday, October 20, 2007

Assassin's Creed and game AI

There's a gameplay video of an upcoming game called Assassin's Creed. Apparently it's a big deal. I'm only an incidental gamer these days, and this is a game in a genre I don't play for a system I don't own, so I hadn't been following this, but the video is interesting - thought not in the way the designers intended.

I'm not sure about the setting - it appears to be a city in the Middle East around the time of the Crusades, which I half suspect is intended to cause controversy, as you're killing the European crusaders. The folks who complain about games like Grand Theft Auto are going to have a fit if you're playing an Islamic assassin. But the dialogue was so nonspecific that any interesting aspect of that was lost.

I've also heard that the game involves multiple time periods (whether through time travel or multiple characters a la Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, I don't know)

Though I don't typically play shooters or "sneakers," I've played enough to know that this isn't an impressive demo. The gameplay appears to consist of the following elements:

  • Observe "cut scenes" of the figures talking (since you can move around during these, there's an interesting design decision - how do you ensure the player gets all the relevant information he or she needs?)
  • Prince of Persia-style climbing and jumping around.
  • Instantly lethal thrown weapons that apparently never miss. But instead of using these on the actual target, the player jumps down into a crowd of soldiers to kill the leader.
  • Fighting enemies with tactics out of Hercules or Xena - stand around and wait your turn to fight one on one.
Now a game about assassination *could* be interesting. Ideally, it'd engage the moral arguments, and be much more difficult (though a lot of the difficulty is escaping afterward). But this doesn't look to be it; they've gone for the historical-fiction hitman approach instead.

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