The new Assassin’s Creed movie is scheduled to be released this December 21st. One noticeable change made from the Assassin’s Creed game is the new Claw Animus. Michael Fassbender, who plays the main character connected to Animus, explains the logic for the change.
We really want to respect the game and the elements to it. But we also wanted to come up with our own thing. And one thing I’ve sort of learned from doing the franchises like X-Men is that audiences, I think, want to be surprised and to see new elements of what they already know, and different takes on it."
Assassin’s Creed was originally launched in 2007, and innovations in technology have come a long way since then. Though the movie version of Animus was changed for dramatic effect, it actually does represent the evolving world of immersive game play.
The New Claw Animus
For people not familiar with the Assassin's Creed series, the concept of the Animus is similar to the 'VR' benches in The Matrix. Where Neo would plug himself into a world controlled by A.I. overlords, Animus differs by allowing a virtual reenactment of the user’s ancestral history by forming a genetic link to the experiences and memories of the past.
The movie version's Claw Animus moves away from a stationary Matrix style chair, to one that allows the user to move and interact with their virtual experience. To freely move in both the real and virtual worlds has been a moving target for developers, but the opportunity to connect, and shake your bom bom is nearly at our door.
The Full-Body VR Suit Experience
The Full-Body VR Suit is one of the best examples being explored on how gamers could interact in the virtual world. The main conundrum with conventional VR devices is that players can see themselves run and jump, but they don't feel the inertia associated with the activity.
The cost and physical practicality of any full-body VR experience remains one of the major challenges yet to be overcome. It is hard enough negotiating space on my bookshelf for comics, let alone dedicating an entire room just to VR. That said, if a full-body VR suit was to become available, I would be willing to give up the bookshelf, haha.
Exoskeleton Gloves - A Virtual Reality Hand Claw
Given the limitations of a full-body experience, the Exoskeleton Gloves provide a tangible compromise. They remind me of Skeletor’s hands from Masters of The Universe. The intention of the Exoskeleton Gloves is to give the player the sense of touch and feel within VR. The additional sensory perception would be perfect for games that require hack and slash movement, or when scissors paper rock is needed to end an online dispute.
In Assassin’s Creed, your skills with a sword could potentially be expanded from the limited sequence of playable moves, towards fluid, player specific styles. I personally prefer the use of a lightsaber during my battles, and could easily see the Exoskeleton gloves assisting with my Jedi training.
A Virtual Touch With A Difference
Moving away from an exoskeleton solutions is the Virtual Touch option. I think this is an innovative idea because of the nearly unlimited arm and hand movements available. The Virtual Touch stimulates the sense of touch in your hands via contracting muscles in your arm.
This makes the Exoskeleton Gloves look clunky, and very 1982 compared to the simplistic look of the Virtual Touch. Without putting it on however, I cannot say how realistic the sense of touch actually is.
Use Your Eyes to Control Virtual Reality
If the intricate movement of the eyes can be harnessed as a virtual tool to allow gamers an intuitive conduit between realities, the benefit would be seamless. Google Glass has already attempted this transition, with limited success.
Over time, the technology could be applied both in everyday eyewear, and VR headsets. Given that your eyes are the gateway to your virtual soul, it makes sense that research is being conducted in this area.
What Do Gamers Want?
Changes to any beloved gaming franchise will always be scrutinised when the portrayed experience is not what gamers are looking for. The new Claw Animus in the Assassin's Creed movie pays homage to what was, and opens the door to what could be in VR technology.
Over time, the distinction between fantasy and reality will become less and less as innovations move us towards a new horizon of possibilities. Kids will blink through their browsers and laugh at what we used to think was cutting edge, "I can't believe you used to wear VR headsets, haha!" For me, that day cannot get here quickly enough...
What do you want to see in your gaming future?