ACUnity - E3 2014
Markuz, Sara, Simonsens, Hephaestus & Xander, June 10, 2014
Translated by: Stefania, Sara

During the E3 night there’s always a good load of information and, in the chaos of the news, it is often possible to miss something. With this article we try to sort the post-conference out and gather all the news about what it seems to be a great game: Assassin's Creed Unity.

Inside the Convention Center in Los Angeles, last night four trailers were shown, two gameplay trailers (single player and co-op), one that introduced the character and the Cinematic Trailer. And it’s exactly with this last trailer that we want to introduce this article to make you immediately feel the atmosphere that will accompany us until the release.

The background music of the trailer is: "Everybody wants to Rule the World" by Lorde. You can listen to it here.

The setting represents the storming of the Bastille, the event marking the beginning of the French Revolution, allowing us, therefore, to set the trailer on July 14th, 1789. We also may be able to identify the victim of Arno (and of the French crowd), the person who that day commanded the Bastille garrison and was killed there, lynched by the crowd: Marquis Jacques Germain Soufflot.
The French garrison made the big mistake, indeed, of opening fire on the crowd. At the time the Bastille, in fact, wasn’t an important fortress; conversely it was almost completely demilitarised and abandoned and was used only as a depot and an armory. The crowd chose it for the supplies it had and to destroy the symbol of monarchic oppression.

This cinematic trailer surely satisfies the hype we accumulated during the last months, but the majority of information comes from the gameplay trailer and the character introduction.

This year the rumors before E3 came one after the other but somehow everyone had always identified the new Assassin as Arnaud/Arno. In fact, our new protagonist’s name is exactly Arno Dorian.

As we can read in the trailer, Arno is of French and Austrian origin and was born in 1768 (at the time of the game, the new assassin is 21). During his life he suffered a loss and joined the Brotherhood in 1789, when the Revolution started. He’s described as a guy with a wit “as sharp as his blade”, brash and charismatic. A character very similar to Ezio Auditore and Edward Kenway.
We also see his new weapons:
  • The Phantom Blade: this is the weapon that was leaked on the web in the past day and that, therefore, has been confirmed by the official trailers. According to the description it adds throwing abilities to the hidden blade, as we’ll see in the gameplay trailer;
  • The French Cutlass: with the Assassin insignia on the blade;
  • The multibarrel pistol.

At first, we’re led to consider Arno the Altaïr of the 18th century. He has only 4 weapons, exactly like Altaïr, but instead of the Short Blade he has a multi-barrel pistol and the daggers are integrated in the blade itself. It’s also interesting to note that the introduction of Arno is address as if it were a file extracted from what is called the "Helix Archive" (maybe a reference to DNA) with a restricted access. There is no mention, therefore, of files or archives belonging to the Animus. Is it possible that this "Helix" is an evolution of the Animus?
Anyway the juiciest part in terms of innovation is shows in the two gameplay trailers, single player and co-op mode.


This gameplay trailer was shown during Microsoft’s Conference, introduced by Vincent Pontbriand, , Senior Producer at Ubisoft for Assassin's Creed Unity since November 2010. What can we understand from this video?

  • The trailer takes place at the Eve of French Revolution (1789);
  • The demo focuses on the exploration of the surroundings, the creation of opportunities and the killing of the target, identified as Marquise De Bullion;
  • New animations were added for the parkour of the main character who, unlike the previous Assassins, looks more graceful and agile compared to the past games. One of the new abilities introduced is the long-awaited crouching that, from what we could see, seems to be at two levels. Also, the movements are more smooth and natural as for the passage from a platform to the other;
  • The four-player cooperative mode is confirmed also in split screen (the three additional players will be identified by the colors yellow, green and violet). This hypothesis had been in the air for some days, because of the poster shown outside the Convention Center in Los Angeles. For the close range combat the four Assassins use respectively a rapier (Arno), a sabre, a halberd and an axe. If you want more information, please visit this link;
  • The interiors of the buildings are beautiful, unlike AC2 in which they served only as a transition, you can freely move;
  • The building with a dome that you see on the left (in the image below) is the Bourse de commerce de Paris, a construction built during the monarchy and which is part of the Jardin des Halles complex. The building was remarkably modified during the years. At the time of the Revolution it had a dome (the one we can admire in the game) covered in lead plates. The dome was built by architects Jacques-Guillaume Legrand and Jacques Molinos and finished in January, 1783. It’s a little masterpiece of technology and engineering because the framework is entirely made up of wood beams covered in tin and everything is 38 meters above the ground.
    The Gothic church in the middle is Sainte Chapelle, one of the most representative monuments of the Parisian skyline. Commissioned by Louis IX and finished in 1248 it’s considered one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture. The plan has a single nave (typical of the palatine chapels), obviously decorated with cross vaults (frescoed with a beautiful starry sky), and free from transept. It was built to house the Crown of Thorns of Christ, a Parisian relic. It’s a curious fact that during the Revolution it became an administrative office (during the Revolution the ecclesiastical buildings were vandalized as a form of protest against the clergy) and the beautiful stained-glass windows were protected with filling cabinets so that they were defended from the revolutionary revolts.
    Notre-Dame doesn’t need an introduction. It’s probably one of the most famous cathedrals in the world and surely the Gothic architecture par excellence, with its beautiful flying buttresses holding up the sides and choir. It was built on an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter (cough-cough) situated on the Île de la Cité. The construction went on for almost 200 years, from 1163 to 1344 and it’s one of the most well-structured ecclesiastic architectural works ever created, a church with five naves. The French Revolution greatly compromised the structure that at first was deprived of all the precious metals and then of many of the sculptures adorning the façade and some interiors, they even thought about completely demolishing it. In 1801 it was consecrated again thanks to Napoleon, but only in 1830 the cathedral started being restored in the right way.
  • The screen of the Animus interface shows various prisms of different heights with a polygonal base and reminds a bit the style we saw in AC3. It seems, indeed, that this time the machine will load and rebuild the game world in two steps: at first it will load the polygonal models in a rough and stylised way (with this style that recalls volumes of crystal) and then will finish them in a defined and complete way.


In this case too, in order not to confuse you, we prefer to proceed step by step, listing all the new information unveiled by the video:

  • First of all the demo takes place in 1793, four years after the Co-op trailer, in the midst of the Reign of Terror. The voice of the new Assassin leads us through the first scenes: "A thousand terrors I mean to cure day by day, street by street, Templar by Templar" and the objective of this mission is represented by a character identified as "Captain Xavier";
  • Some missions, maybe random, are marked by symbols that players have to reach in the open world (with, for example, "Protect Civilians" or "Catch the thief" as mission objectives).
    These missions seems to be activated when the protagonist approaches them, without needing to accept them and so more fluid and without interruptions.
    It's possible to find some more tradidional and predefined missions, identified, as usual, by the title (ie. Ancestral Vengeance), but also by the group of missions to which they belong, with the completion percentage (Murder Mistery 3/11), by the presumed difficulty and, for the co-op, by the maximum number of players with even the nicknames of the ones already participating.
    The predefined missions, when accepted, are added to a Quest Log. This means that maybe it's possible to carry out various missions at the same time.
    There are various types of mission icons in the open world: Assassin insignia, symbol of an upward arrow, symbol of a downward arrow, symbol of a mask, symbol of a broken rectangle, symbol of (maybe) the Franc (currency), symbol of (maybe) a cannonball, co-op symbol and objective. It seems that their presence on screen can be activated or deactivated at any time.
  • In addition, we know from the video that you'll be able to start co-op missions from the taverns in which you can see which of your friends are online. You can invite them and play together in your own game reality.
  • Innovations also as for the combat, sore spot for many fans of the saga. First of all, there are new animations both for the killings (walking/moving) and during the combats.
    The guards have a horizontal life bar divided into smaller bars that, when they attack, becomes bigger and seems to increase if Arno doesn’t fight back. Also, the guards can be disarmed.
  • New animations also for the parkour: in particular as for jumps in the air and the descent along walls. This video also seems to confirm the rumours according to which the Prince of Persia-style horizontal Wall Run would have been present in ACUnity.
  • Also Eagle Vision has new animations (when it’s activated/deactivated) and characteristics. Indeed it seems that this ability allows to immediately see all the enemies and the crates through the walls.
    When it’s deactivated, the silhouettes disappear.
    A system of cover on the various sides of the Festivita - DATA-DUMP S00.S02 in the game environment where added for the stealth phases. In this system, enemies have a yellow border if they’re observed and red one if they can be eliminated from the cover.
  • Lastly, speaking of architecture, we can take advantage of a last view to admire the Pantheon of Paris, one of the most beautiful examples of neoclassical architecture, a movement that contributed to nourish the revolutionary thought. It’s not a coincidence, indeed, that the construction was completed precisely in 1789, the year in which the revolution started.

Other interesting information comes from the "Making of ACUnity" released by IGN soon after the Ubisoft Conference.

Thanks to this video, first of all we find out that the initial project of ACU aimed to create the first fully next-gen Assassin’s Creed blurring the boundaries between single player, multiplayer, co-op and the online element of social games. According to the Creative Director, Alex Amancio, one of the other intents behind the project was to go back to the past, basing the game on a single city, in this case Paris. So the setting will be extremely detailed, vaste, with almost 1:1 scale buildings (as mentioned by Lesley Phord-Toy, producer at Ubisoft Toronto) and beautiful to see, but also full of depth, NPCs, activities and “rewards".
The three fundamental pillars of Assassin's Creed have been rebuilt.
Navigation (movement inside the game): parkour will give the player more abilities compared to what we saw in the past.
Combat: it’s been redesigned. It’ll be harder compared to the past and this was also done to support the third pillar, namely Stealth.

The ACUnity CD also explains why they chose the historical period of the French Revolution. At the time, indeed, the country was filled with a feeling of revenge and hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets to protest. This setting was suitable for the social stealth and the big urban areas crawling with people (pillars of the AC franchise) and provided the basis for the creation of a typical AC-style gameplay. Also, the precariousness and uncertainty of this period represented the right setting to make the player ponder the classic questions that the saga has been asking us for a long time: “What is freedom? What is control?". Indeed during the French Revolution today’s extremists were tomorrow’s moderates and often the day after they were dead and this is exactly the precariousness we’re talking about.
Also the players will see (and saw in the demo) the difference between the various social classes at the time in France in terms of setting. Chaos prevailed in the streets, with barricades, battles and rubbles everywhere while inside the buildings, in which entrance and exit will be "seamless" (in other words without loading times), and in particular in the aristocracy ones, everything will be organized, neat and formal.
Speaking of buildings, Amancio stated that there will be ten thousands of them and that one out of four can be explored and each one of them may offer a story and a reward making the game more realistic and less similar to a movie set.

The power of the next-gen engine is noteworthy: it can manage thousands of animated NPCs on screen with the possibility of interacting with more than 5000 physical models. An example of this interaction is that if the protagonist shoots among the crowd, the crowd will flee.

A great challenge for the creation of this game is surely the planning of the Co-op mode, designed in order to create opportunities and approaches for all the types of players. Amancio is sure that such mode will be appreciated especially for the fact that the game is more complicated and the co-op will make some missions easier and more logic, encouraging the players to use it.

Lastly the video reveals that Ubisoft Montreal is in charge of all the technology, the tools and the majority of the features while the role of the Toronto studio is to offer knowledge about the creation of maps and co-op gameplay. As for the E3 demo, Ubisoft Toronto took care of the city, the levels and the missions.


There are also news about the Special Editions for ACUnity, the digital pre-order bonuses and the official merchandise.
It seems that this year the Limited Editions will be numerous:


This edition will contain:
  • Arno figurine (16'');
  • Collector's box;
  • Original soundtrack;
  • Music box;
  • Art book;
  • Two single player missions: "The science mission" & "The Chemical Revolution".


This edition will contain:
  • The "Arno Gargoyle Figurine" (39,5 cm);
  • Collector's box;
  • Original Soundtrack;
  • Two litographies;
  • Art book;
  • Two single player missions: "The American Prisoner" e "The Chemical Revolution" with additional 45 minutes of gameplay.


This edition will contain:
  • The "Jumbo Steel Case";
  • Original soundtrack;
  • Art book;
  • Two litographies
  • Two single player missions: "The American Prisoner" e "The Chemical Revolution" with additional 45 minutes of gameplay.


About this edition, we have to say something more. We tried to pre-order it on the Ubishop and we noticed that the Special Edition is automatically added to the order (for free). This probably means that the Guillotine Collector's Case does not contain the game.
This edition, available only on the Uplay Shop, will contain:
  • The "Arno Guillotine Action Figurine" (41 cm);
  • Collector's box;
  • Original Soundtrack;
  • Music box;
  • Art book;
  • Framed Printed canvas
  • Customized Tarots game
  • Secret Paris map
  • Two litographies
  • "FuturePak" case


It contains, apart from the game, the "Chemical Revolution" mission with additional 30 minutes of gameplay.

It contains, apart from the game, the season pass.

The pre-orders will give access to three different special offers:
  1. Spin to win: every week, before the game release, on Friday, there will be a giveaway. In order to partecipate, you will have to visit the website and use the guillotine slot machine. Every user will have 5 shots to win. The prizes, in limited number, include: exotic voyages (Paris, Ubisoft Montreal, Comicon), games and digital content, apparel and exlusive items, home entertainment systems, and many more. Sadly this bonus is limited to those lucky who live in the American territories.
  2. Chemical Revolution: extra mission in which you will meet a genious chemist (confirmed Lavoisier), a secret formula and a plot for revenge.
  3. Additional digital content based on the retailer you choose:

It can be pre-ordered on Uplay, Gamestop and Amazon.

(By clicking on the picture below and moving with your left and right arrows, you'll be able to see more pictures about this item).


This Figurine will be released on October 30th, 2014 for 39,95 euros / 45 dollars.
By buying it, you'll obtain a code that will grant you the access to a special skin for Arno, called "The Fearless Assassin's outfit".
(By clicking on the picture below and moving with your left and right arrows, you'll be able to see more pictures about this item).

The game will be released on October 28th, 2014. For EMEA users only (probably), a pre-order program called UNITE will be available on the website
Also show the first game box arts are available and they show the four assassins of the co-op mode with Notre Dame and the Guillotine in the background.

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