In our eyes-on experiences with the upcoming full and numbered sequel in Ubisoft’s epic Assassin’s Creed series, we noticed some things that set the game apart from its predecessors. We were surprised to find out that it wasn’t just Connor’s more muscular physique, the ability to scale trees and rock faces more organically and that (very cool) naval sequence we saw at E3. No, there is something new under the hood, and we’re not just talking about the new protagonist. Meet ANVILNext.

This new engine is responsible for many of the upgrades and nuanced interactions we’ve discussed in our past coverage. Seeing NPCs going about their daily lives, chopping wood and skinning animals is a major improvement over the random milling seen in past titles. The enormous battles, like the one we described in our Bunker Hill preview, are only possible thanks to ANVILNext. And, yeah, those very cool naval encounters are part of the engine’s magic, too.

One thing’s for sure, October 30 is going to be an exciting day for those of us entrenched in the battle between Assassin and Templar.