Assassin's Creed Revelations Stars Ezio and Altair

Play as both while crafting bombs, using the hookblade and much more.

May 9, 2011

We all found out that Assassin's Creed Revelations was real last week, and today, we know a whole lot more. Game Informer's June 2011 issue is arriving in subscribers' mailboxes now, and it's packed with information on Ubisoft's flagship title -- including that we're going to get to play as Altair, the protagonist from the first game.

While it's true that Assassin's Creed Revelations is the final installment of the Ezio trilogy, the story has him chasing down five seals that will allow him access to an important artifact in Masyaf (the setting of the first game). Each seal belonged to Altair, and when Ezio nabs one, he gets to relive Altair's memories like Desmond relives things through the Animus.

Making the setup a bit more confusing is the fact that -- spoiler alert -- Desmond is in a coma but hooked up to the Animus when the game begins. Desmond needs to fight through "the black room," an Animus world made up of his shattered mind and "the futuristic architecture of the Animus" to find a specific memory where he, Altair, and Ezio collide.

When we are playing as Ezio, who is now more than 50 years old and questioning how he's spent his life, we'll have access to the hookblade. The one screen released of Assassin's Creed Revelations showed the curved blade on Ezio's arm, but Game Informer has the facts on it. The blade can still be used for killing people, but the device opens up a ton of new movement options. Ezio can use it to zipline around Constantinople, propel himself up walls, and flip over opponents without breaking stride.

"It makes free running more fluid, faster, and more fun," Creative Director Alexandre Amancio told Game Informer. "It speeds up navigation by about 30 percent."

Also joining the fray in Assassin's Creed Revelations is the ability to make bombs. Game Informer said the game employs a simple crafting system that allows us to create more than 300 different bombs that range from flash bangs to smoke bombs.

While a lot of the Game Informer article detailed brand new features, the piece also focused on returning favorites that have been touched up. Multiplayer is back, but it's packing a story. As you increase your rank, you're moving up in the world of Abstergo and getting to know the Templar organization. This time around, you can change your character's appearance, create guilds, and craft your own coat of arms. Matchmaking will be faster, we'll be able to create custom playlists, and Ubisoft is planning Assassin's Creed tournaments.

On the single-player side, eagle vision is now "eagle sense" and will allow Ezio to listen in on far away conversations, hear heartbeats and predict where guards will move. There will be areas to infiltrate similar to the Lairs of Romulus from the last game, but they're based on an "undisclosed historical figure." Ezio's love interest this time around is a bookseller known as Sofia Sorto, who isn't a real person but is based on the Albrecht Durer painting "Portrait of a Young Venetian Woman."

We'll have more on Assassin's Creed Revelations as we move toward E3, but make sure you pick up the June 2011 issue of Game Informer for the full story on Ezio's return, new multiplayer characters, and more.



Xbox 360 spring update coming May 19?

Xbox 360 spring update coming May 19?
If you've run out of beef jerky and had your free Hulu Plus trial go bust, you're certainly not alone. Don't get bored: more bits of new hotness are coming to your console, and they're coming soon. An internal document leaked to our good friends over at Joystiq looks to confirm that the big Xbox 360 spring update will hit on May 19th. However, it'll come in six "separate groups" to "ensure a high quality deployment," so you might not get it until the end of the month, and everyone will have to wait until May 27th to get Avatar Kinect. What else is new? Well, there'll be the slightly larger disc format and support for PayPal, opening the door to a bold new world of personal finance information able to be hacked from your console.


The Avengers to Film Near Cincinnati, Too

May 9th, 2011
In addition to filming in Cleveland, Ohio, Marvel's The Avengers will be filmed close to Cincinnati as well. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the following:
The Marvel Studios feature starring Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson will shoot two weeks here later this year, said Kristen Erwin, Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission executive director. She refused to reveal the location, saying it was within 30 miles of Cincinnati. They're "still negotiating a location agreement."

Filming started April 26 in Albuquerque on the exploits of Iron Man (Downey), Black Widow (Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Col. Nick Fury (Jackson). Chris Hemsworth - star of "Thor" which opened Friday - will reprise that role with co-stars Tim Hiddleston as Loki and Stellan Skarsgard as Professor Eric Selvig.

Director Joss Whedon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") moves filming to Cleveland and Southwestern Ohio this summer, Erwin said.

Gov. John Kasich lured the comic book superheroes with Ohio filmmaking tax credits. Marvel dropped plans to shoot in Detroit after reports that Michigan planned to freeze its film incentives, said Ivan Schwarz, Greater Cleveland Film Commission executive director.

Marvel's $170-million budget is 10 times George Clooney's budget for "The Ides of March." "The Avengers" will spend about $30 million in Ohio, she said.

Marvel's The Avengers is scheduled to hit theaters on May 4, 2012.


Star Wars Blu-ray set ships Sept. 12th/16th (world/NA), has 40 hours of special features

LucasFilm has chosen Star Wars Day (May The 4th) to finally reveal more information about the upcoming Star Wars Blu-ray releases, due to hit shelves September 16th. The three editions include The Complete Saga with all the movies included, or the original trilogy / prequels by themselves. When the counter hit zero the official website has dropped the curtain on... absolutely nothing since it's down, likely crashed by the refreshing of a billion fans around the world. Before it crashed completely we snagged the release dates (September 12th internationally, 16th in the US) and a list of special features (included after the break along with the Blu-ray announce trailer) that breaks down the commentaries on each disc plus several new documentaries. Currently the site is refreshing to the standard Fox page, the plan is apparently for a promotion where fans share the page on social media networks which unlocks additional artwork as more people continue to visit throughout the day. We'll let you know if R2-D2 can get the servers back up, until then we can all just imagine what the three new documentaries might be like.

Update: There's also a short (really short) YouTube trailer meant to push the "Feel The Force" content unlocking promotion on the site, it's embedded after the break. [Thanks, Taylor T Farmer]

Update 2: It appears the site is up now, calling on fans to unlock more of an embedded video with various "exclusive imagery" by sharing the page on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, you could also not do that, wait a few hours for someone else to finish unlocking it and avoid ending up on our block list along with everyone who plays Farmville. Your choice.

Update 3: As of about 3 p.m. Eastern the site has been fully unlocked, so feel free to click through and check out the entire video, or just peep the box art for all three packs in our gallery here.

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Get Your Friends into the Gears of War 3 Beta

"Never Fight Alone" beta phase coming May 8.

May 2, 2011

Starting today, Gears of War 3 beta testers in the U.S. have an opportunity to earn a "buddy token" to share with a friend, granting them access to the beta as well.

Players will be given one token for each of the following tasks that are completed by Wednesday, May 4:
- Purchase any "Gears of War" content from Xbox Live Marketplace (including a "Gears of War" Game Add-on, a "Gears of War" Games on Demand title, or a "Gears of War" Avatar item)

- Play 20 or more hours of the "Gears of War 3" beta (any time already spent in the beta will count toward this challenge)

- Add a 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscription to your existing account (purchased from retail or online)

- Play more than 100 hours of any "Gears of War" title, lifetime to date
Buddy tokens will be e-mailed out starting May 8 when the "Never Fight Alone" phase of the beta is rolled out.