One of the biggest surprises for us at E3 was Assassin's Creed III, which continues the game's Assassin's-versus-Templars plot line by introducing a new character Connor Kenway and setting the action on the Eastern seaboard during the American Revolution.
Connor is a half-British/half-Native American ancestor of the game's protagonist Desmond Miles, filling the same role taken by earlier Creed lead assassins Altair during the Crusades and Ezio in 15th/16th-century Italy. The new game takes place in Boston, New York City and the American frontier and features the same open-world, free ranging gameplay that has made the series so popular.
The game introduces muskets into the weapons arsenal, although Connor's weapons of choice are a hatchet and his bow and arrow. Ubisoft developers rightfully emphasize the character's ability to swing from the trees as a new wrinkle and upgrade in the gameplay.
An important point to remember is that Connor isn't fighting on the side of the colonies in the American Revolution. He's fighting the Templars and, while all the Templars he confronts in the previews we've seen so far happen to be British redcoats, there were some very broad hints that there might some Templars hiding in the Revolutionary Army as well.
If you're tired of modern warfare games, the muskets should provide an interesting alternative: the game still emphasizes hand-to-hand combat and those 18th-century guns are incredibly inaccurate and have terrible range.
Assassin's Creed III will debut on the new Wii U system, marking the first time one of the series' games has appeared on a Nintendo console, and Boston city gameplay on the new box looks impressive. Connor can enlist townspeople to aid him in his quest but he won't be able to summon the armies of assassins familiar to Revelations players. You can't preorder the Wii version, though, because Nintendo didn't bother to announce a price or a ship date for the new box or whether it will come out before the ACIII release date of October 30th.
Sony showed off the Naval warfare section of the game during their PS3 presentation. Boat cannons maybe aren't as interesting as a knife fight or wolf combat, but the ships look great even if the game seems a little fuzzy here.
Assassin's Creed III seems certain to appeal to the series' longtime players, but the introduction of American characters and colonial warfare might attract a whole new group of players to the game. Keep checking back and we'll fill you in on more details as they come in.