Hoo boy… This is a big one. Debuting in 2007, the Assassin’s Creed series has become one of the flagship franchises for Ubisoft, with eight games in the franchise and a ninth one set for release this November, it’s fair to say that this series is definitely among the largest in gaming at the moment. The series has been going for almost ten years now, and it’s beginning to show its age, with many people arguing that it has long lost the charm and appeal that attracted them to it in the first place. With the disappointing release of Assassin’s Creed Unity last year, Ubisoft is running dangerously close to having to put this franchise out of its misery. Speaking as one of the many people who doesn’t want to lose our favourite Stabby-Stabby McStabs simulator, I’ve put together this list of things Ubisoft should do in order to fix and preserve the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
1) More stabbing, please
I’m going to avoid beating around the bush here. When you pick up a game called Assassin’s Creed, you kind of expect a good deal of assassinating going on. So why is it that the more Assassin’s Creed games get made, the more I feel like I’m playing ‘Town Planning Committee’s Creed’? The series has definitely become more firmly rooted in annoying gimmicks, and while the town renovation stuff isn’t mandatory, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Assassin’s Creed 3, and Unity are serial offenders of this, although Ubisoft have admittedly tried to make up for the lack of ‘the stabs’ with Black Flag and Rogue, so we may already be on the path to improvement here.
2) Bring back interesting modern storylines
To their credit, Ubisoft never completely dropped the modern framing device that runs throughout the franchise. The first three Assassin’s Creed games were framed through a modern day story. A really complex narrative, which wove itself perfectly with the historical events displayed in the Animus, and which was unceremoniously concluded in Assassin’s Creed 3, before being forgotten about entirely. While there is still a modern framing device in the newer games, there’s no real ‘story’ to them. They’re just there as set dressing now, whereas before they added colour, flavour and an opportunity for us to learn about the Assassin/Templar conflict.
3) More interesting settings
Don’t get me wrong here, pirates were a kickass backdrop (though not one that warranted two games), the French Revolution should have paid off better than it did, and I’m one of the strange people that liked colonial America, but it’s kind of boring to see the franchise has become anchored in the 17th-19th centuries. The feeble justification of focusing on the Kenway family sounds more like an excuse to recycle old characters, rather than develop new ones. Ubisoft can justify not taking us to any time before the Crusades, but that’s still almost 1,000 years of history at their disposal. Why not Medieval India? Norwegian Civil War? Hell, you could even try some 20th Century history? Who the hell wouldn’t want to play a Prohibition-era Assassin’s Creed!? Give us something new here!
4) Take time making these
‘Damn, Ubisoft, two Assassin’s Creed games in one year!? I foresee no possible way that this could go wrong, at all’ shouted Yves Guillemot, albeit probably in French. Unfortunately while Guillemot lives on the seventh ring of Nebulon 6, we all live on the planet Earth, where an idea like that is always going to be terrible. It’s bad enough that we get one of these games every year, basically ensuring that the series will stagnate at some point. Until then though, the best we can hope for is that Ubisoft never do something that stupid again.
5) Stop shoehorning in major historical events
Just stop it.