A row of eight monitors, back-to-back in two groups of four, lined a long table at Ubisoft's San Diego Comic-Con showcase, all booted up with
the first publicly playable versions of Assassin's Creed 3
multiplayer. We played two new modes, Domination and Wolfpack, though lead game designer for Assassin's Creed 3
multiplayer Tim Browne told us there will be "a lot" of familiar modes in the final game.
Domination uses the full eight-player limit on multiplayer, with two teams of four playing to capture three separate zones in a snowy frontier setting. Players attempt to blend in with the roaming NPCs to stand in zones long enough to capture them, and then defend those areas by spotting and stunning or killing enemies as they enter and try to do the same. Domination is a quiet, intense derivative of Manhunt mode, with plenty to dissect on-screen in every move, all while making it appear as if your character isn't thinking at all
Wolfpack offers a more intimate multiplayer experience, with up to four players working together to find and take down enemies in a limited amount of time, with extra time added for special kills and cooperation. In a two-player match, the highest we reached was Sequence 7 out of 25 total consecutive, fluid levels -- and that was without talking much over the mics. Browne recommended players converse throughout the match to perfectly sync their kills, which leads to special cutscenes.
The new iteration of Assassin's Creed multiplayer is geared toward a competitive, e-sports crowd, Browne said, and Ubisoft will see how well the new modes go over with home players before potentially introducing it to the wider hardcore world.
Characters will be widely customizable with new costumes and abilities, such as the poison dart, which doesn't provide an insta-kill and has a shorter range than the hidden gun, but can silently injure enemies from a distance. The poison dart takes a while to affect the person it hits, making a quick escape essential. Glimmer, an invisibility function, allows players to appear almost transparent; however, the faster a player moves, the more they will appear to "glow."
Manhunt, Wanted and Artifact Assault are making a return in Assassin's Creed 3
, with improvements from fan feedback, along with other previous multiplayer modes. Ubisoft has added more social features to the new game, such as clan tags and a ladder system, bulking up its potential e-sport appeal.
There will be no public multiplayer beta for Assassin's Creed 3
, but the entire game will be tested sufficiently in-house, Browne promised.