1. #1
    SixKeys's Avatar Senior Member
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    Mentors Guild Community Discussion - Freerunning and Parkour

    Hello all,

    This week's Community Discussion is about parkour/freerunning. Please feel free to share your thoughts!


    MAKING SURE THE FANS ARE HEARD

    As part of a set of new Community Initiatives, we'd like to give opportunities to the community to give more direct feedback, and will now host weekly discussion on specific topics that relate the Assassin's Creed Franchise. These community discussions will take place on the AC subreddit, the Official Ubisoft Forums, and on the Mentors Guild Twitter. These discussions will be open for 1 week. The threads and responses will be shared directly with the Assassin's Creed Community Development team, who will then pass that info on to concerned parties within Ubisoft itself.

    While the Mentors get opportunities to speak directly with the creators of Assassin’s Creed and frequently communicate with the Community Development Team, this is not the case for every fan. We want to change that. We want fans to have their voices heard directly, in the same ways the Mentors do. These activities are a step towards meeting this goal. If you want Ubisoft to see what you have to say, this is the place to do it.


    THIS WEEK'S TOPIC

    Topic:
    Freerunning and Parkour in AC


    Info: The original Assassin's Creed was a pioneer in bringing freerunning mechanics to video games. Players could scale nearly any building or tower, jump from rooftop to rooftop with ease, and perform a "leap of faith" where the player falls from a high perch, landing in a bale of hay.
    Since the first game, the freerunning aspects of the games have evolved. AC2 through AC: Revelations added puzzle environments, and enhanced versatility with leap and grab mechanics. Starting with AC3 players were able to climb up and across trees in the wilderness. AC: Unity scaled up buildings to a 1:1 ratio, creating massive structures, and featured more streamlined "parkour-up" and "parkour-down" mechanics. AC: Syndicate added the rope launcher to speed up traversal and create new paths. With AC: Origins players were able to climb nearly any surface, whether rockface, temple, or pyramid. Odyssey allowed players to leap from any height and take minimal to no fall damage.



    QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

    -Is parkour/freerunning an important part of AC as a franchise? Why or why not?

    -Which game features your favorite parkour/freerunning?

    -Which game features your LEAST favorite parkour/freerunning?

    -What are your favorite environments to freerun/parkour in?

    -Do you prefer more natural environments or urban environments for parkour/freerunning?

    -Which game features your favorite freerunning/parkour animations?

    -What would you like to see in future AC games concerning parkour/freerunning mechanics and environments?

    -Which aspects of freerunning/parkour would you change or improve and in what ways?


    As always, please feel free to add any thoughts you might have that are not covered by these example questions!


    REMEMBER:

    While these discussions are meant to allow for honest and raw feedback directly from the community, the best way to ensure your voice is heard is to be constructive - be critical of the process, not the people. Be specific with your criticisms and suggest tangible solutions and improvements.
    We hope to see active participation and that this will be a successful way of getting the fans' voices truly heard.
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  2. #2
    ninja4hire10's Avatar Member
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    Is parkour/freerunning an important part of AC as a franchise? Why or why not?

    Absolutely. I'd say it's a key feature. In the AC story--maybe the one in my head at least--parkour is taught to Assassin recruits as a means to pursue a target, infiltrate a fortification, or evade capture. It makes sense to feature this mechanic in a game about ancient elite shadow ninja-like warriors. It just does.

    -Which game features your favorite parkour/freerunning?

    Unity has the most realistic so far I've seen in ANY game.

    -Which game features your LEAST favorite parkour/freerunning?

    Origins and Odyssey. Although both a fantastic games in their own right, and it makes sense to not feature a core element of Assassin-hood since there was no Brotherhood yet in those games' time period, I still miss it.

    -What are your favorite environments to freerun/parkour in?

    Everywhere. Urban or rural areas.Most people probably figure parkour oughtta be only featured in games with large cities with lots of structures, but there's plenty in the wild to vault over/run up.

    -Do you prefer more natural environments or urban environments for parkour/freerunning?

    Again, both. But if I had to pick...HAD TO pick...I would choose urban areas, based solely 'cause on Unity's parkour in Revolution-era Paris.

    -Which game features your favorite freerunning/parkour animations?

    Unity. And since the question said "games," not "AC games," one of the other Ubi franchises, Watch Dogs 2, had decent parkour (although with the flips and somersaults it was freerunning.)

    -What would you like to see in future AC games concerning parkour/freerunning mechanics and environments?

    See below, 'cause I'll answer this question and the following together.

    -Which aspects of freerunning/parkour would you change or improve and in what ways?

    Some games, like ACIII, featured the ability to press a controller button and have the character, in this case Connor, perform a basic vault over a low obstacle. A lot of the parkour moves in Unity were automated (other than the Forward/ Safety Roll, which was an upgradeable skill.) I'd like to see a mish-mash between the two ideas, where some parkour moves (like Wall Runs, either vertically or horizontally) were automated but different types of vaults (Front, Kick, Kong, Turn, Lazy...they have differing names but those are the basics) could be employed with a simple button press when approaching low obstacles, i.e. retaining walls and fences. Having such adds more fun and ups the coolness (thus enjoyment) factor for me considerably.
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  3. #3
    ProdiGurl's Avatar Senior Member
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    I'm very limited on time, so this is short.

    -Is parkour/freerunning an important part of AC as a franchise? Why or why not?
    YES, very important. An Assassin has to be able to sneak around from all angles without being seen and escape.
    It's been a central part of all previous AC games and very enjoyable (when they're not timed )

    -Which game features your favorite parkour/freerunning?
    Ezio's entire Trilogy. But with Brotherhood, there were some issues where he leaped and clung onto everything which got very frustrating (and mostly becuz there were timed events and races).

    -Which game features your LEAST favorite parkour/freerunning?
    I'd have to say Odyssey due to the sprawled out map/cities (which probably can't be helped due to historic accuracy),
    it's least conducive to parkour - I agree w/ a previous poster that it's very "sticky" - not as fluent and smooth.
    It's Ok, but not "good" where you can use it all the time, unreliable esp. climbing rocks or certain structures where he doesn't climb sometimes.

    -What are your favorite environments to freerun/parkour in?
    Tall structures, more cramped or compacted cities where you can leap from building to building undetected

    -Do you prefer more natural environments or urban environments for parkour/freerunning?
    Both - everywhere should be usable

    -Which game features your favorite freerunning/parkour animations?
    ACII, Brotherhood, Unity

    -What would you like to see in future AC games concerning parkour/freerunning mechanics and environments?
    Just go back to previous games and pull out the most popular features we liked.
    It needs to be fluent and smooth - not 'sticky' and jarring. I hate to use a Ninja comparison, but I picture something like that...

    Possibly add some areas that are more tightly compacted & closer together - or add wooden planks or ropes to get across longer spans.
    It's fun to move across a city just on rooftops etc.
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  4. #4
    cawatrooper9's Avatar AC Forum Moderator
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    -Is parkour/freerunning an important part of AC as a franchise? Why or why not?
    It definitely is, for me.

    I remember back in 2007, I believe the first YouTube video I ever watched was gameplay footage of Assassin's Creed. The parkour was what most caught my attention back then, and I think it's an integral part of the AC experience now.
    -Which game features your favorite parkour/freerunning?
    I think Revelations offers the most robust parkour experience, though Unity's is very impressive. Also, I really appreciate how Origins and Odyssey allow to climb virtually anywhere, though I wish it had a more parkour-like feel to it.
    -Which game features your LEAST favorite parkour/freerunning?
    While AC1 was groundbreaking in its time, it's a bit frustrating to go back to now- though that may be a testament to how the series has improved on its own formula.

    -What are your favorite environments to freerun/parkour in?
    Specifically, the souks and bazaars of Damascus and Istanbul, as well as the rooftops of Paris, and the Thames in London.

    Also, lots of bonus points for the parkour puzzles in the Ezio trilogy.



    -Do you prefer more natural environments or urban environments for parkour/freerunning?
    Generally Urban, but some games (like ACIII) have shown how natural environments can utilize free running pretty well.
    -Which game features your favorite freerunning/parkour animations?
    Unity, but I also really like that roll move over middle-height objects that Jacob and Evie can do in Syndicate.
    -What would you like to see in future AC games concerning parkour/freerunning mechanics and environments?
    I think the Thames has been one of the most creative uses of free running. I'd love to see another sort of "out of the ballpark" kind of take like that, something that really mixes up the formula.
    -Which aspects of freerunning/parkour would you change or improve and in what ways?
    While the no falling damage has made freerunning a lot less frustrating, it's also taken a lot of the tension out of it. I'd bring it back.

    I'd also hope see more environments suitable for free running.

    Finally, I'd want the parkour "feel" to return. I'm not quite sure how to describe that perfectly, but I'd stress that climbing and parkour aren't totally the same thing. Parkour has a flair to it that, generally, the past few games haven't fully capitalized on.
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  5. #5
    -Is parkour/freerunning an important part of AC as a franchise? Why or why not?
    YES. Parkour places the assassin above the law - literally & metaphorically. When the police come for me, i use my keyboard as a pole vault to reach places they cannot reach. They have to get a ladder

    I really love the combat in AC Odyssey - it rewards skilful play. It makes me feel a little bit like Floyd Mayweather who is able to react to incoming punches & skilfully move out of the way.
    I really wish the parkour was as rewarding & sklilful as this
    Unfortunately it sucks IMO. I love the game I just think the parkour could be a lot better

    i press c to e.g. vault over tables which is nice when it works. Half the time she'll just crouch behind the object instead. It's lame because the whole point was it was supposed to be a skilful enjoyable shortcut that saved time

    The swinging around the corner on a pulley move is nice but it's almost never useful
    i don't like no fall damage because it's so unrealistic. Fortnite gliders that u can pulll out of your pocket are better IMO. Or teleport? Maybe just fade to black, it says "4 hours of climbing down later" & lo he's now at the bottom of the cliff.

    i get frustrated when i try to climb up a wall & he jumps on but then refuses to go up. Not because of awnings or anything that would block him. He just refuses.

    It's jarring when i'm trying to get somewhere & she suddenly starts climbing a tree that is un-climb-able or a wall i didn't want her to go up. This is because shift is really useful for climbing over 2 metre objects so i press shift a lot. This isn't so much of a problem these days as I've rather trained myself to stop pressing shift so much

    I hate ladders. So many times he starts climbing them when i didn't want him to. Sometimes i can't get on the ladder easily. Sometimes I can't get off the ladder & he dies.
    However the sliding down the ladder move is nice

    When he is running along the top of a wall, i find i sometimes find it SO HARD to simply get off the wall. It's like his feet are glued on
    A cart caused Alexios to die because he started standing on the pole part of the cart & it wouldn't step off easily & i couldn't dodge

    They do nice climbing moves when going up wall but i wish it was skill-based instead of just a matter of holding down the up key

    I don't know what game does free running well. Mirror's Edge?
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  6. #6
    I pretty much hated it in every game before Syndicate because of the automatically climb a wall glitch everytime you bumped into something plus have to pull the trigger to run which might as well have been a button press since it didn't do a very good job of controlling speed in a linear fashion ..... Pull the trigger no matter how gently and you went to full run

    Syndicate was much better because even though you still had to pull a trigger to run and it still wasn't very linear and smooth at least to climb you have to push a button. If you like easy no work parkour that was probably the best game mechanics especially with the wrist gimmick. Ditching the trigger function altogether made Origins the most enjoyable at that time but I like the Odyssey setup better but it has more to do with fight controls that allowed you to keep your thumb on the right joystick which is essential for a free form fight system like this. I've had rooftop battles in Odyssey that simply can't be rivaled in the earlier games like in Chalkis City Euboea where assassinating (by bow) a Cultist who was also a Leader and his 4 Goons I clipped a couple of civilians, which set off a Merc head and then having to kill a couple more that attacked me from behind while I was trying to get the last Goon so I ended up with a dozen Civvies, a Cult Goon and 3 Mercs that came out of nowhere in a running battle across the rooftops that had to have taken 15 minutes ....... And I still needed to go back and confirm the kill ..... One thing you can't do in earlier AC games is shoot while on the run because you don't have to push a trigger to run and also because you can keep your thumb on the right joystick that controls your aim/camera .....

    My main gripe with Odyssey is the getting stuck in a crack or on a wall bug which is really annoying because it always happens at the worst time (actually it doesn't but you remember them more) and the way they go SPLAT when jumping off a roof or off a horse (I've been riding horses for 50 years and never once did I ever dismount like that .... I've had smoother landing getting thrown) .... a foot or two higher and they would have went into a nice roll ..... And if you happen to land in front of a low wall or a bench you face plant .... not a very good look for a Hero/Heroine with Demi-God(ess) powers and special abilities
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  7. #7
    I really only have one complaint about climbing in particular, I am almost never able to climb straight up any surface. It seems the game likes me to climb sideways and is very hard to get the climber to go exactly where you want them.
    Also, jumping off horses onto rocks or walls to begin climbing, doesn't seem to work at all. I always have to drop down and start climbing again from the ground level.
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  8. #8
    JKAC2013's Avatar Senior Member
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    -Is parkour/freerunning an important part of AC as a franchise? Why or why not?

    Its one of the Key Features the Series and defined AC. It was also one of the things that fascinated me the most about the series. It give so much Open World Games but AC is they only one that let you climb up everywhere

    -Which game features your favorite parkour/freerunning?
    The Hold Run to parkour everything in the Kennway Saga. I like this feature because with it you can parkour over everything like desks, barrels, Bars that hang out of buildings etc.

    I know in old games this feature upset a lot of people because the climb everything with that button combination but since Unity that introduce the climbing up and down we dont have this problem any longer.

    -Which game features your LEAST favorite parkour/freerunning?
    Climb everything feature of Origins and Odyssey.

    The climb everything feature make parkour irrelevant. In older Games you must plan your way and how you climb a high building or around a fortress but now nothing of this matters because you can climb everywhere you want. Even the parkour animations in Origins and Odyssey are not made well and Odyssey no fall damage really destroys the atmosphere.

    -What are your favorite environments to freerun/parkour in?
    The Tombs of the Ezio Trilogy I love the mix of the Puzzle and Parkour/Freeruning element. The bring up the parkour to a new level very sad we never see something like them again in newer games.

    Another favorite of mine are the mix between Cities, Nature and Ruins as in Black Flag.

    -Do you prefer more natural environments or urban environments for parkour/freerunning?
    I dont prefer one over the other as long as the parkour design is well designed I am not picky in what environments I run.


    -Which game features your favorite freerunning/parkour animations?
    The Parkour everything when you run feature in the entire Kennway Saga. It has some nice animations in Unity and Syndicate to but I like it better in the Kennway Saga because the Animations where so well done and it feels pretty fluent when you parkour around the world

    -What would you like to see in future AC games concerning parkour/freerunning mechanics and environments?
    I would like to see that the main focus of AC Game features go back to parkour and freerunning in World and Mission Design. The return of the Parkour Tombs from the Ezio Trilogy would be pretty good as well.

    -Which aspects of freerunning/parkour would you change or improve and in what ways?
    Completly change Origins and Odyssey parkour system and bring back the system of the older titles. I would improve the system of Unity because it had potential. One way you could improve the parkour in AC is to design the world and missions around them, give us more ways to use it and let the players feel fluent when the use it across a city or nature. A game that did this mix pretty well was Black Flag.

    For the end remember Parkour and Freerunning is one of that features that define Assassins Creed and let the series stand up from other games and made it unique. Please dont neglect it in future titles.
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  9. #9
    pesto.'s Avatar Senior Member
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    Parkour is incredibly important to the AC franchise. The feeling of having no area of the map off-limits is critical to both mission design and the players sense of this being a living fully formed world to explore and not simply walls and geometry as dead abstract geometry obstacle with the texture thin facade of real buildings.

    Parkour in Odyssey is perfunctory, which is a shame because it really only needs two things to bring it alive.
    1. The ability to let go of a surface when you want, so you don't get stuck constantly climbing the walls when all you want to do is drop and escape or maybe just drop and grab onto the ledge below quickly.
    2. Flair & Flow. Parkour is like gymnastics, it's about movement and agility and it's quite honestly spectacular looking. Parkour in AC currently is clunky and feels it. You rarely slide over obstacles smoothly, in fact acrobatics in general beyond display of tremendous stamina and tuck & roll seem to be completely missing. When you're in a chase it should be thrilling and have a good smattering of those filmic moments, diving through tiny windows head or feet first, jumping off a thin railing when you've barely landed, climbing up or down between two walls multiple ways (hop side to side, braced between the walls either with your back or in a star pose, climb up one wall etc), using lips and edges as pivots to gain momentum etc.

    In essence, when you're moving slowly you need more control and your character should be more careful, when you're moving fast the system needs to take over a bit more with you really just prompting it to target a specific path, ledge or pole, a bit like adaptive steering in your car, when you move faster it makes the wheels turn less. Maybe there just isn't enough fast chase in AC.
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  10. #10
    -Is parkour/freerunning an important part of AC as a franchise? Why or why not?
    Yes, it's a key part of the series and is a lot of fun when it works.

    -Which game features your favorite parkour/freerunning?
    That's a difficult question to answer because some AC games got some aspects of it right that others didn't and the other way around.

    I love the ability to climb any surface (please don't take that out of the next game, imo best feature of the newer games), so I'd say Origins and Odyssey but what the two are completely missing is the flow and style of parkour/freerunning. That's something the older games did better to some degree, but only when it worked and it didn't work most of the time. It only seemed to work great when the area was specifically designed for a certain sequence of parkour/freerunning moves, like in the old Assasin tombs or most closed of story mission areas. But in most open areas, when I had to come up with a quick escape route my Assassin would, most of the time, run against some object that wasn't meant to be scaled and my quick escape was ruined. To be able to climb any surface helps a lot.

    All in all, Ubi still needs to work a lot on how the character detects where the player actually wants to go.

    -Which game features your LEAST favorite parkour/freerunning?
    The first AC, just because it was the first game to do it and the mechanics have evolved a lot since then.

    -What are your favorite environments to freerun/parkour in?
    I think any environment can be a lot of fun to parkour/freerun through if it's well designed for it and the mechanics work.

    -Do you prefer more natural environments or urban environments for parkour/freerunning?
    I don't prefer one over the other because = answer above

    -Which game features your favorite freerunning/parkour animations?
    In terms of animations I'd say Black Flag and Unity.

    What would you like to see in future AC games concerning parkour/freerunning mechanics and environments?
    Make it flow better, make it graceful again, and design the environments specifically for it.

    -Which aspects of freerunning/parkour would you change or improve and in what ways?
    See answer above
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