Assassin's Creed III Season Pass Xbox Live
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Assassin's Creed III Season Pass Product Details
Released on TBD
The Season Pass will save you approximately 25% off the cost of buying these missions individually, and will allow you access to the first pack a week before it is released to other gamers.
Please Note: Add-On content. Original Disc required to play
Please Note: By purchasing an Xbox LIVE game or add on you are actually purchasing the Xbox LIVE points required to download the game/add on via Xbox LIVE marketplace. Once you receive your code you will need to add your new points to your Xbox LIVE account and then use them to purchase the game
They may not have the highest profile in the games industry, but the annual awards handed out by the Writers Guild of America still carries a lot of weight. That's because the WGA is union that represents scriptwriters across all media, including movies and television.
That comes with its own restrictions though. To be nominated, a writer must be a WGA member which counts out a lot of videogame scripters who have only ever worked in games. Similarly, the publisher must officially put their game forward for an award, meaning many games aren't even considered.
The 2013 line up for the Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing award is still pretty good time capsule of where big blockbuster gaming is getting words right though. Halo 4 and Assassin's Creed III are both up for the prize, as is the PlayStation Vita exclusive spin-off Assassin's Creed Liberation. The PS Vita gets another nod in the shape of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which continued the spritely storytelling of the main series in fine style.
Also up for the award are 007 Legends, for which GoldenEye screenwriter Bruce Feirstein combined multiple Bond movie storylines into one game, and Disney Epic Mickey 2, which had a story helmed by comics scribe Marv Wolfman.
The WGA ceremony takes place on February 17th.
"Let's do the time warp again," sang the cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and it's a sentiment that will surely be echoed by Ubisoft, as history-hopping epic Assassin's Creed III has clocked up over seven million sales since it went on sale less than six weeks ago.
That's not the only big number being thrown around as Ubisoft celebrates what has become its fastest selling game ever. Adding up all the hours spent playing the single player story mode reveals that fans have spent the equivalent of 82 centuries exploring the frontier world of the Revolutionary War, through the eyes of Mohawk warrior Connor. Together, these assassin fans have bumped off three billion victims.
Things have been no quieter on the multiplayer side, where over 250 million players have fallen to their rivals in over five billion online sessions.
"We are delighted with the performance of Assassin's Creed III this Christmas," said Rob Cooper, Ubisoft UK managing director and stater of the obvious. "This is a beautiful and epic game of exceptional quality and we're pleased that our fans have responded so well to the brand new universe, storyline and game experience."
Assassin's Creed III is out now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC.
Five games ideal for escaping the Christmas madness
As you'll no doubt be aware if you've walked down the high street recently, Christmas is coming. The season of hearty cheer, peace and goodwill to all. Except it never really works out like that, does it? Christmas can also be a hellish scrum of last-minute present shopping, fraught family get-togethers and children driven to insanity by toxic levels of sugar and chocolate.
But don't fret! As gamers we have the perfect escape route at our fingertips. Fire up your console or computer, wedge a chair under the door handle and lose yourself in a game immersive enough to blot out the Yuletide yahoos outside. Thankfully, this season's blockbuster crop offers plenty of games with the sort of long term gameplay and enduring appeal needed to keep you sane until January kicks the door in. Here's our pick of the top five festive gaming getaways.
Formats: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U
Out: Now (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), November 24th (PC), November 30th (Wii U)
It's hard to believe the Assassin's Creed series has only been around for five years but it's quickly grown into a gaming giant, in gameplay as well as sales. This year's trilogy-capping epic promises to the be the biggest yet, an open-world romp through the American War of Independence that also brings to a close the modern day story of history-hopping hero Desmond Miles and his battle to escape the clutches of the Templars. With a vibrant rural community to build and upgrade, not to mention the prospect of commanding your own frigate in naval battles, this is a game with far more to do than just hiding in haystacks and stabbing people. And once you polish off the single-player story, there's the fantastic multiplayer modes - now so large they demand their own disc. Whether you want to roam the forests or battle online, this is a game that will keep you busy well into 2013.
Formats: PC, Mac
Sports Interactive's evergreen soccer simulation has long been the gaming getaway of choice for footy fans everywhere. With its deep, intricate systems and canny knack for capturing the highs and lows, ebbs and flows of the beautiful game, it not only offers months of brilliant gameplay but also creates a compelling alternate reality where your sofa-bound frustration at real-world performance can be transformed into a vindicating "this is how you should do it!" sandbox, as you kick out the manager whose decisions cause you so much anguish and see if you can do a better job. This year's edition is even more detailed, but also comes with the much-praised Classic Mode, stripping the game down to the absolute basics and letting you power through a season in a few days. Perfect for some special alone-time while you wait for that turkey to digest.
Format: Xbox 360
Out: November 6th
We haven't been starved of Halo games, what with Halo: Reach in 2010 and the remastered Halo: Anniversary Edition last year, but the encroaching dark winter nights just haven't been the same without Master Chief, last seen drifting off into deep space at the end of Halo 3 in 2007. Well, he's back, and bigger and better than ever. Halo 4 marks the start of a new story arc - the Reclaimer Trilogy - and it offers multiple ways to spend those awkward hours between opening presents and trudging to bed full of pudding and sweets. A robust single-player campaign is also playable in four-player co-op, and the new Spartan Ops offers even more co-operative goodness, offering regular downloadable spin-off missions in a TV box-set style. And, of course, there's the multiplayer - one of the most rewarding and balanced online games around, now perfected and polished to keep pace with modern multiplayer expectations. This won't just keep you playing over Christmas, it'll keep you playing until Halo 5.
Format: Wii U
Out: November 30th
There's something grimly ironic about the fact that Nintendo's latest console is launching with a gruelling survival horror game alongside the expected cheery and colourful fare. After so many years of the Wii being the default family gaming system, fiendish souls looking to clear the lounge will certainly appreciate the ominous tone and brutal violence that ZombiU offers. Set in London after an undead apocalypse, the game uses the Wii U's tablet controller as a handheld inventory and survival kit, your only lifeline against the shambling, flesh-eating horde. The sight of brain-chomping British bobbies outside Buckingham Palace will scare grandparents away nice and quickly, but gory-minded youngsters may prove harder to shake off. The game's unforgiving difficulty - which includes permanent character death and the need to return to the scene of your demise and battle your zombified body to retrieve your backpack - should send them scurrying for something less taxing, leaving you free to endure the end of the world in blissful peace and quiet.
Formats: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii U
Out: November 13th (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC), November 30th (Wii U)
November is Call of Duty month in the gaming calendar, and this year's offering isn't short of new ideas. The single-player campaign is split between flashback missions set in the 1980s, and stages set in the technologically advanced combat zones of 2025. In these futuristic sections, you'll undertake Strike Force missions which will impact the direction of the story. The horrific co-operative Zombies mode now has its own campaign and supports eight players rather than four. It's in multiplayer where COD has earned its stripes, however, and Black Ops II promises to shake up the enormously popular formula more than any previous game in the series. In come multi-team matches, pitting three or four forces against each other rather than the traditional two-sided battles. Combat classes have been made more fluid, allowing you to pick and choose the abilities and loadouts that suit your play style, while the scoring system has been tweaked to encourage more teamwork and objective-based success, rather than lone wolf soldiers and constant headshots. It's shaping up to be the pinnacle of an already enormously successful series, and if you're planning on sneaking away for a few hours of digital carnage on Christmas Day, you certainly won't be alone.
History Repeating Itself?
A friend of mine teaches a history class at a high school. A few years ago he noticed his students were going from C-grade mediocrity to A-grade brilliance almost overnight. He was perplexed, so he asked them what exactly it was that had suddenly made them such experts on, of all people, the Borgias...
The answer, of course, was the Assassin's Creed series. Ubisoft's incredible open-world action games use people, events and locations plucked from history to form the basis of their sprawling, Grand Theft Auto-style adventures. And on the basis of Assassin's Creed III, my friend's students are about to become experts on the American Revolution, because once they get stuck into Connor Kenway's story, they will be just as hooked as they were by Ezio Auditore.
Connor isn't as funny or compelling a character as Ezio was, and the men and women of the American Revolution aren't as engaging as people like Leonardo da Vinci, but it won't really matter, because the game world is every bit as captivating. Set across the wooden cities of Boston and New York and the vast wilderness of the Frontier, this is a beautiful new universe to play in, and new gameplay ideas - like treetop traversal - mean that moving across it is more varied fun, too.
Making a Killing
The main story missions Connor undertakes can be a little bland in places, although there are some incredible assassinations to perform if you persevere and don't get upset by having to restart missions when you're seen by a guard. But the real heart of Assassin's Creed III is the more freeform play that emerges when you load up the game, pick an icon on the map, and then travel towards it, delving into whatever distractions you encounter on the way.
There are more of these than there have ever been before - probably in all of the previous Assassin's Creed games put together. You can captain a ship, which is fantastic fun, or build up a Frontier Homestead, or attack convoys, invade forts, hunt for treasure, collect numerous items, meet strange people who give you unusual tasks, investigate ghost stories, and so many more things. This review could be a dozen times as long and we would still have more new things to talk about. Hunting is a particular highlight, as it brings together the wonderful tree-climbing free-runs and the new rope-dart, which is Connor's best new tool along with the tomahawk.
Assassin's Creed is also famous for the multiple layers of intrigue that it sews throughout its fiction, and Assassin's Creed III is no exception, although it is perhaps a little lumpy in how it goes about this. There are a few too many playable prologues before the game gets going, and the end of Desmond Miles' story, the man whose genetic memories you are exploring as Connor (don't worry if you missed all this - there's a handy recap video just after the title screen), won't please everyone. There is unlikely to be the same uproar that greeted the conclusion to the Mass Effect series, but people who have invested themselves in the games' fiction may wonder why Desmond's adventure is allowed to go out the way it does.
You won't mind in the long run, though, because as soon as the (seemingly endless) credits roll, you'll be back on the Frontier, hunting animals, gathering feathers, stirring up trouble with the Templars and British army, and working on that overall completion percentage, which may only be at around 40% when you finish the game after 25-30 hours anyway. This is an incredibly vast game that represents astonishing value for money.
Creed Of The Crop
Another example of that is the multiplayer, which features various new modes like Wolf Pack on top of the already-excellent ones that were born in Brotherhood and Revelations. The simple game of trying to identify and kill your target in a field of non-player characters - while someone is trying to do the same to you - remains ingenious, as you try to blend in and avoid suspicion at the same time you're trying to move closer to the person you're aiming to kill.
For the first time, the action in multiplayer has been forced to spill over onto a second disk (at least on Xbox 360), which is a testament to just how vast the single-player game is, but also to how much more effort has gone into multiplayer, which now feels as fully formed, deep and interesting as its equivalents in shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield. You level up, you unlock abilities, you have tons of goals and awards to work towards, and you can even unlock more content for the campaign.
Assassin's Creed III isn't a flawless game - it feels a little creaky at times due to the age of some of its control systems and the sheer hard work that the engine is being subjected to by the desires of its developers - but it is an astonishing achievement on a number of levels and represents the current pinnacle of the series' ambition, if not its finest hour, which is probably still Brotherhood. This is a different kind of adventure to that of Ezio, then, but it's no less brilliant. Buy it. Your teacher will be impressed.
- Incredible value for money - so much content.
- Wonderful American Revolution setting.
- Fantastic multiplayer.
- Technology is starting to feel a little long in the tooth.
- Not as funny as its predecessors.
- Takes quite a long time to get going.
The four-mission arc tells a self-contained story based around the actions of Benedict Arnold, who betrayed George Washington and the American Revolution by helping to plot an attack on the rebel stronghold of West Point.
According to the game's scriptwriter, Matt Turner, the missions won't just use the real life events as an excuse for random stabbing, but will incorporate as much of the actual history into the story as possible.
"We have some scenes that have the actual words spoken by key players in the events at West Point, according to the records from the court proceedings following what happened," Turner told the PlayStation Europe blog. "On the other side of things, we needed to inject it with some gameplay so there are some liberties in terms of the action. But who was there, what they did, and what happened to them is as precise as the history books would allow."
"Our interpretation of Arnold actually weaves into the overall fiction and to divulge that would be to spoil a portion of the story. That being said, we don’t like having 'bad guys' in Assassin’s Creed and this is no different in terms to Arnold and these missions. He has his reasons, and from a certain perspective they make complete sense."
Assassin's Creed III is out on October 31st for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. PC players will be able to join in from November 23rd, while a Wii U version will launch alongside Nintendo's new console on November 30th.
Ubisoft has announced that it plans to go full steam ahead on a movie adaptation of the Assassin's Creed games, with shooting on the blockbuster set to begin as early as Summer 2013.
The film has already signed up top actor Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Prometheus) as both star and producer. The race is now on to get a script ready and a director to sit in the fancy chair and shout "Action!"
The film will be a co-production with Hollywood company New Regency. Jean-Julien Baronnet is the man in charge of the new Ubisoft Motion Pictures division, and he reassured fans that this won't be another hurried cash-in. "We don't want to make games just for the sake of movies," he said. "We want to make them in concert with the games. Bringing aboard New Regency's renowned production and distribution expertise while maintaining our own creative and financial flexibility ensures that Assassin's Creed will be a high-quality film that respects the lore and fans of the video game franchise."
If the Assassin's Creed movie shoots next year, it could see cinemas as soon as 2014, the same year as the Need for Speed film, which recently signed Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul to sit behind the wheel of its many super sports cars. Could we be seeing the start of a new era in video game movies?
Assassin's Creed III is out next week for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The PC version follows on November 23rd, with a Wii U edition on November 30th.
Halo 4, Uncharted among the picks for… (17/01/2013)
The 2013 line up for the Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing award is still pretty good time capsule of where big blockbuster gaming is getting words right…
Assassin's Creed III is Ubisoft's fas… (13/12/2012)
"Let's do the time warp again," sang the cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and it's a sentiment that will surely be echoed by Ubisoft, as history-hopping epic Assassin's Creed III has clocked up o…
Festive Gaming Getaways (02/11/2012)
This season's blockbuster crop offers plenty of games with the sort of long term gameplay and enduring appeal needed to keep you sane until January kicks the door in. Here's our pick of the top five f…
Assassin's Creed III - Review (31/10/2012)
An astonishing achievement on a number of levels and represents the current pinnacle of the series' ambition. This is a different kind of adventure to that of Ezio, but it's no less brilliant. Buy it.…
Assassin's Creed III offers four excl… (24/10/2012)
The PlayStation 3 version of Ubisoft's upcoming epic stealth adventure Assassin's Creed III will come with four exclusive story missions, it's been revealed.…
Assassin's Creed movie could begin fi… (23/10/2012)
Ubisoft has announced that it plans to go full steam ahead on a movie adaptation of the Assassin's Creed games, with shooting on the blockbuster set to begin as early as Summer 2013.…
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