Comment: What to do with Assassin’s Creed

Ubisoft’s behemoth, Assassin’s Creed (AC) will take a break during 2016, the publisher has correctly surmised that the gaming audience has reached saturation point. Of cause Ubisoft it may have been lost in translation the definition of ‘taking a break’ given the several episodic titles and a Fassbender fronted film all pegged for release this year.

Rewriting the Creed

The franchise will return in 2017, with adventures in ancient Egypt in AC: Empire, a new and exciting setting for the series. But aside from this untapped time period, how far will the series differ from its predecessors? The availability of culture across time and place has never been the issue – instead it is the dearth of gameplay which has confused the series and diluted the core business, of well, assassination.

Ubisoft had attempted to rectify this with the poorly implemented AC: Unity, which may have succeeded if it wasn’t for a rushed release. Instead, Ubisoft’s chance to celebrate its home country’s tumultuous and rich history was squandered along with the chance to remove the chaff which has built up across a decade of released titles. With the December 2016 film along with 2,000 year-old plus setting, hopefully this time the reset will be more successful.

Despite a strong showing and wonderfully realised world, the series latest AC: Syndicate was ultimately ham-stringed by a mockney male-lead and his gangland gimmicks: Luckily his sister Evie, was a far better and focused protagonist and has been narratively rewarded with far superior DLC.

Rock of Ages

There are so many fantastic times and places for Assassin’s Creed games to explore, fans want Feudal Japan but there are so many more. Empire does offer a wealth of possibility, despite jettisoning pirate ships and other sim-like gameplay features. By setting the next in series in antiquity, Ubisoft is signaling it will return to the bedrock of the series and this means back to basics.

160129_Ubi shares AC releases

Importantly, Ubisoft hopefully won’t panic and need to insert non-assassination features last minute to justify its release. Whilst the series is tent pole, the internet shouldn’t overestimate its impact. Fan-favorites didn’t significantly improve Ubisoft’s share price and conversely less popular titles didn’t destroy the company’s market value. Ultimately it is this drives Ubisoft not the complaints of a small but vocal net-based minority. So whilst it is good news that the company is giving AC a break – this has negatively affected its valuation and is likely the reason why Ubisoft doesn’t understand what resting the title during 2016 means.


Ubisoft share price data sourced from Yahoo Finance.

Featured image is taken from a conFITdent article titled Assassin’s Creed Workout Series.

All images used without permission, please contact squareblind (at) email (dot) com if you are the copyright holder and wish this to be removed.


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