Back to the demo, and all hell breaks loose as Connor gets into a serious fight. He dispatches enemies through a combination of vicious counter-kills, parries and straight-up tomahawk blows. At one point he snatches the rifle and bayonet from one opponent and uses it to spear another - how resourceful. With the odds still firmly stacked against him, Connor makes a run for it. He climbs a nearby building and dashes through the bedroom of a woman hanging out her washing. She screams, but he gets away scott-free as the guards aimlessly search the streets nearby.
Although all the demos we've seen so far have focused on not-so-subtle open combat, the devs insist that the balance between action and stealth in is consistent with the rest of the series. "Whenever the marketing team puts together trailers there's an urge to put in more combat as it always shows well," says Hutchinson. "I don't think there's more combat than before, but there's a brand new combat system so we've put more emphasis on making it tight, effective and fun".
On a boat
The demo ends with Connor infiltrating one of the massive galleons moored in the harbour. A group of guards patrol the gangplank, so he calls in several assassins from his brotherhood to deal with them. And by deal with we mean... fool. They appear disguised as Redcoats, and they march Connor past the men guarding the boat, who are all convinced they've taken him as a prisoner.
One of them even leans over and offers his congratulations. Once on board the ship, there's more fighting with Connor barging one enemy over the side of the boat as a smart little counter-kill. Finally, he climbs the rigging to the crows-nest and takes a look over the city in one of the series' classic viewpoint moments.
It's an interesting slice of a game shrouded in secrecy. When we sit down to chat with the developers we're met with a barrage of 'no comments'. What's Desmond's role? Where did the US setting come from? How does AC3 fit around the events of Brotherhood and Revelations? How will Connor develop throughout the game? Will he ever have a Last of the Mohicans "I will find you!" moment? These are all closely guarded secrets from a team anxious to avoid spoilers.
What they are keen to talk about is the fact that Assassin's Creed III isn't anti-British. "It's not meant to be loyalists versus patriots. It's assassins versus Templars," explains scriptwriter Corey May. "There's a revolution going on and Connor will experience all facets of it. It's not as simple as Templars backing the crown and assassins backing the patriots, it's really two factions at war against the backdrop of another war.
I have nothing against the Brits." It's a sentiment echoed by Hutchinson, who points out that the team is made up of English, Scottish, Canadian, Spanish, and American developers - as the disclaimers have always pointed out, a multicultural team of differing religions and beliefs. We're half-convinced. After all, during all the trailers to date Connor has probably wiped out the equivalent of a small market-town in Berkshire.
The developers are also keen to boast that their team is twice the size of any previous Assassin's Creed game, which puts numbers at 400+. It explains how they're able to pack so much detail into the world, and how it's possible to create labour-intensive effects like dynamic weather (rain, fog, snow, sunshine - everything you'd expect from a traditional British summer) and shifting seasons. The weather effects - interestingly - carry over into the online mode too.