The wilderness plays a much greater role in Assassin's Creed 3 than in previous games in the franchise. Ubisoft wants to make sure that you have plenty to do while you're out in the woods. In a new interview, creative director Alex Hutchinson explained that hunting will be a fully-developed feature in the game.
"To us, animals are the ‘crowd’ of the wilderness. Players can obviously hunt the animals, but we really want people to immerse themselves in the tracking and trapping elements of interacting with animals," Hutchinson told AusGamers. "We want people to see some species just by navigating the world, but many others will require the player to use tactics and strategy to find and kill them. In a sense, we want players to assassinate animals more than just shoot them: this will result in different quality skins and other objects which can be sold but also used to satisfy side-quests in the game."
To add some structure to hunting, the development team is adding hunting clubs to the world that players can join.
"We also wanted people to have opportunities outside of the main story path to interact with animals and other new gameplay, so we’ve built several alternate gameplay loops that encourage the player to explore and then rewards them with more gameplay. Clubs are a good example. If the player hunts a lot, then the game will notice and send a character to meet them, who will basically say, ‘You seem like a good shot with that bow, have you thought of joining the hunting club?’ They will give the player an invitation which will allow them access to a previously inaccessible area of the map where they can join the club and gain a bunch of new side-challenges and rewards."
I'm glad to hear that they're trying to fill out the wilderness with some meaningful gameplay so it won't just be pretty scenery. The most common failing of open-world games is that they provide no incentive for players to roam around. That was a big issue with the first Creed game, actually. Ubisoft's definitely gotten better on that front with each new installment, though.
Assassin's Creed 3 will debut on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in October.