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‘Assassin’s Creed III’ breaks franchise launch records

Ubisoft videogame moves 3.5 million units in first week ahead of other tentpole title launches

As videogame publishers release a string of tentpole titles this fall, Ubisoft is the first to claim bragging rights with “Assassin’s Creed III.”

The actioner, which bowed Oct. 30, broke a sales record for the franchise, selling 3.5 million units in its first week. Retail prices range from $49.99 to $59.99 to a special edition including a belt buckle, Colonial flag and George Washington’s notebook for $119.99.

Results represent a “year-on-year increase of more than 100%” over the 2010 “Assassin’s Creed” game and Ubisoft’s biggest launch to date, the company said.

Ubisoft also released “Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation” to Sony’s PS Vita handheld device, selling a healthy 100,000 copies in its first week.

“Assassin’s Creed” faces off against other heavily hyped releases including Electronic Arts’ “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” and Microsoft’s “Halo 4,” exclusive to the Xbox 360, both out now, as well as next week’s launch of Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” and Square Enix’s “Hitman: Absolution.”

Last year’s “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” sold 2.15 million copies in its first week, while “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” moved 1.7 million units in its first week out in 2010.