Ubisoft’s biggest franchise will not be a part of the year 2016, at least in the video games space that is. Assassin’s Creed will still see the highly anticipated film release this coming December, but there will not be a new game.
Even though there will be no new Assassin’s Creed in 2016, Ubisoft has been out asking for player feedback regarding how in-game economies were handled in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Rogue, and Syndicate.
Those four games are the four most recent Assassin’s Creed games that have been released, with Black Flag, Unity, and Syndicate being the only ones to launch on the new-generation of consoles. Just because I know Ubisoft is dying for my thoughts, I think I can lend some advice as to what things should be checked in for Assassin’s Creed Empire, ehem I mean, for the unannounced Assassin’s Creed project that is.
1) Why is Ubisoft only looking at the in-game economies of Black Flag, Unity, Rogue and Syndicate? If I recall correctly, there were five previous main installments before Black Flag even saw the light of day, and some of those were pretty damn good.
Let’s go straight to Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and the fashion in which city building was introduced into its gameplay. Finishing the game wasn’t completely dependent upon fully upgrading or building up Rome, but grinding for cash and the resources to build up everything there was to buy was pure pleasure and joy.
This was a perfect example of a system that was worth grinding for and added more value to in-game currency, which can at times seem just feel like a checkmark to pace out progression. City building has easily been a favorite feature, and is one Ubisoft needs to bring back in the series’ next installment.
2) The Assassin’s Creed series got really deadly once Brotherhood and Revelations rolled around. They brought with them the addicting and dominating chain-kill system that players craved. I believe it was one of the best counter systems in the series because if players blocked an incoming attack, they could then strike down a nearby enemy with one slash, and then another, and another.
It was empowering. It was badass. And it was what helped fulfill that fantasy of being an assassin.
Nowadays though, Assassin’s Creed has drifted away from that counter system in favor of something a bit more technical. While it is still somewhat rewarding, it doesn’t measure up to the type of satisfaction found in killing, say, 20 enemies consecutively. This whole age of The Witcher and some games trying to bend to be more like it is interesting, though it begins to be a terrible thing when that trend comes at the cost of a franchise’s foundation.
In Assassin’s Creed‘s case, that is being a badass who can take down any force of man.
Assassin’s Creed was built on being a badass and doing things that convinced you of such a role. With the more challenging, grindy, and gritty combat system that we’ve seen in previous Assassin’s Creed games, it does provide more challenge. But you know what? If you want challenge, go play Dark Souls not Assassin’s Creed.
If Ubisoft really wants to get back to Assassin’s Creed’s roots and deliver the type of experience gamers are looking for from Assassin’s Creed Empire, then they need to bring back the simple, goosebump-inducing, awe-inspiring chain-kills. It’s time for Ubisoft to bring back that intimidation.
3) Of all of the features used in one game and then brought back over and over, naval gameplay has not been one of them (not you Rogue, sit down). Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag introduced the revolutionary, entertaining naval gameplay, which helped make Black Flag one of the best iterations in the series.
The game was released during 2013, but since then, we have yet to hit the sea (on next-gen, I don’t want to hear anybody say the word Rogue) like we did in Black Flag. Unity was a Paris-based fling, and in Syndicate we rode on trains. Where are the ships, Ubisoft? Bring back the stunning, naval gameplay we all love.
As I sit here and stare up at the monstrous map of Egypt, I’m trying to see how possible it would be for Assassin’s Creed Empire to tie-in naval gameplay. You might take a look at the geography and say, “that’s far too far for naval gameplay to logically be incorporated into Assassin’s Creed Empire.” I would reply by saying that was redundant and sure, you can absolutely, logically make it work.
Ubisoft made The Crew, which was based on the entire fucking United States. Don’t tell me it’s too much ground to cover. I think they could squeeze together the land that lies between Cairo and the Red Sea, and the same can be said about the Mediterranean Sea.
Naval gameplay was easily one of the best features Assassin’s Creed has ever come up with, and it’s a mystery and a shame that Ubisoft hasn’t made a greater effort to bring that feature back into the Assassin’s Creed games that have released since Black Flag (shush with the Rogue stuff, shush). You know we want that naval gameplay back in our lives. So do as Captain Jack says and “bring me that horizon.”
4) Why in the lonely hell was competitive multiplayer taken out of Assassin’s Creed? No, it was not because that mode put too much strain on the development team. The mode ran on a different engine and I’m pretty sure for Black Flag, Ubisoft either made a new engine for it or made serious improvements to the one found in Assassin’s Creed III. What a waste because the next year competitive multiplayer was gone in Unity.
Wanted was and still is one of the most innovative multiplayer modes created in the gaming industry over the last half decade. It was an imaginative mode that tested player strategy, patience, and perceptiveness. And God forbid we, as an industry, actually ask players to do more than just shoot things, then maybe, maybe we could really see even greater innovation in the multiplayer space.
The player base was good and I would know because I absolutely smoked thousands of players over the course of my time playing Wanted in Brotherhood, Revelations, III, and Black Flag. Wanted wasn’t a mode that was based off of reflex skills, like so many shooters are these days. It was based more on intelligence, something the working world had a fighting chance with when it came to playing against those with bountiful amounts of time.
No matter what comes out of the next iteration in the Assassin’s Creed series in 2017, it will be a welcomed return for the franchise. The year 2016 in video games seems a bit empty without Assassin’s Creed.