As we've touched on elsewhere, some of the most fascinating conversations about games happen when you find out what's not included. Cutting content is part of the artistic process, an exercise in definition: the things developers leave out tell us more about the things they've left in.
What did Ubisoft chop from Assassin's Creed 3, in development since 2009? We spoke to creative director Alex Hutchinson for answers. Check out the Assassin's Creed 3 hub for more insights.
1. Full Native American dress
Initially Connor's Assassin outfit was in keeping with Native American dress, but the team felt he stood out too much from the other characters. It would have caused big problems with the concept of blending.
2. Chain Blade
In early prototypes, Connor had a Chained Wristblade that launched out and could be used to grab enemies. It was too wacky to gel with the historic authenticity bit, so it evolved into the rope dart, based on a Chinese weapon from the era. "We played with it a lot but it the end it starts to feel like Scorpion in Mortal Kombat and it doesn't really fit the world," explained Hutchinson. "One of the things about AC is that it's history, it's exaggerated history but it's history."
While it will probably feature in some way, scalping is not going to be a major part of the game. Because it's so brutal and demonstrative, it doesn't feel like a natural part of routine Assassiny scraps. Having Connor scalp people as standard procedure would deaden the impact of it and possibly trivialise the history.
4. Ben Franklin as the new Da Vinci
In Assassin's Creed 2, Leonard Da Vinci invented gear for Ezio. Initially Franklin seemed a perfect analogue, but his discoveries were limited to ovens, glass harmoniums and the electrical conductivity of his hapless assistant.
5. First-person Desmond missions
If you found exploring Desmond's backstory in Revelations via the bastard lovechild of Portal and Tetris off-putting, be not put off by Assassin's Creed 3. Ubisoft hasn't revealed much about Desmond's activities ("there will be big things happening to Desmond, big playable things") but Hutchinson has let on that first-person puzzles are out, or at the very most, present in a vastly diminished capacity.
6. Full world streaming
Much of Assassin's Creed 3 can be navigated without "loading" transitions, but there will be breaks in the action when you enter cities. That's not because Ubisoft's new engine can't handle the numbers, says Hutchinson, but because blending towns of this scale into the Frontier environment is hard to do convincingly. "We talked a while ago about going seamless and we decided not to, not from a technological standpoint but because we didn't want it to feel like Disneyland."
7. Mystic animal relationships
Yes, the Assassins love eagles, and yes, the mythologies of many Native American tribes centre on animals. But that doesn't mean tribesmen spent their days chatting up raccoons or doing outreach work in the beaver community, and as a consequence, neither will Connor. "We didn't want to get into [animal interaction] with Native Americans because after a while you feel like you're being racist, and it's not very true."