Ubisoft seems to be taking great care to address one of the most prominent criticisms of the first Assassin's Creed, namely the monotonous nature of the game's mission design.
Though some folks found a lot to love with the first Assassin's Creed, a good many gamers were grouchy about perceived flaws in how the game was designed, namely that it got really repetitive and tasked the player with a whole lot of drudgery during every assassination mission.
Ubisoft seems to have heard the grumbling and are making it known that things are going to be different in the newest Assassin's Creed. For one, it seems that the overarching structure of the game will be less linear, and possibly proceed in a way other than "travel to X town to kill X dude, rinse and repeat." Instead, Ubisoft's Sebastien Puel says they're "now telling a story in a way that is intended to be very unpredictable. There are no more 'x assassinations' to perform but a story that develops through a great amount of mission givers."
And the missions those givers will dole out to you won't always be chores like pickpocketing or interrogation that grinded on the patience of some gamers before. "There is no limit now to the types of challenges we can give to players," Puel said, giving examples of assassination, intimidation or "info-gathering" missions. "We are very careful to create a lot of variation in the types of gameplay and pace we are proposing."
Combat has also received a significance upgrade in terms of complexity, being based on the first game's fighting system but "with much more possibilities and strategy" in each fight. "Players won't be able to simply button mash, killing guard after guard," Puel explained. "There will be more thinking involved due to the new different guard archetypes and weapons; you will have to strategically plan your every move."
That comes as good news to someone like me who actually deeply enjoyed combat in the first title. Hopefully they haven't made fighting so intricate where I can no longer simply stand around and try to counter-kill every single guard's attacks by stabbing them in the face.