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Enough Is Enough, Ubisoft…

Ubisoft

While browsing the internet in a tired stupor, I stumbled upon an article that immediately piqued my interest in all of the wrong ways. Within the piece, there was a quote from Assassin’s Creed writer Darby McDevitt in which he proclaimed that Ubisoft would be working on the Creed series until at least 2025.

Surely this is just a joke, right? After rubbing my eyes and attempting to wake myself from this nightmare, I was both crestfallen and ultimately unsurprised that this was no dream, nor was it optical trickery.

Of course this was real. Of course Darby was telling the truth. It is Ubisoft, it is an age of on-disc DLC, pre-order bonuses, pay-walls, day-one-patches, and unfinished products being sold on shelves without consideration for the consumer.

It is the world we live in. Assassin’s Creed is but one tiny entity in an amoeba of absolute bulls#&t, and I’m sick of it.

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I – Hey you, with the suit… your hubris is showing.

I want to begin by analyzing the quote that started this whole thing.

“We’ve created 500, 600, 700 years worth of history that we hope to start teasing out for the next 10, 20 years or however long we’re around. I particularly love the lore. I’ve been working the past two years, with all the other writers, on getting a great document together on the First Civilization.”

At first it seems harmless. The guy has passion, I’ll give him that. He seems excited about the world they have crafted and having such an immense wealth of material at your disposal would make anyone optimistic.

The problem is that he talks about this as if it will actually last the next one to two decades. He assumes that his project has the means of surviving this long and that the fan base that he is so eager to cater to will remain interested after several years of absolute bollocks.

At this point it must sound like I’m about to start ripping into Darby for his words, so I’ll just state for the record that my anger is not directed towards him. My anger is directed at Ubisoft. When you take into account their track record and the rather arrogant attitudes they’ve had as a public entity, it’s safe to assume that Ubisoft definitely has this plan in mind. Of course they’ll try to suck every last dollar out of the fans to make a profit on this series. It makes sense from a business perspective, but they go way too far every time.

The assumption that Ubisoft can keep Assassin’s Creed as a franchise afloat for two decades is not only a sign of hubris, but a sign of blind greed. We’ve seen what happens to popular franchises like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and it’s becoming a case of history repeating it self.

 

It’s worth mentioning that Assassin’s Creed’s sales figures are a bit of an early sign, as both Rogue and Unity combined sold on par (10 million) with Black Flag alone. Another example of this is that Brotherhood managed to almost topple (8 million) both Rogue and Unity’s sales as well.
It’s worth mentioning that Assassin’s Creed’s sales figures are a bit of an early sign, as both Rogue and Unity combined sold on par (10 million) with Black Flag alone. Another example of this is that Brotherhood managed to almost topple (8 million) both Rogue and Unity’s sales as well.

Away from the quote, I’d like to focus on the apparent five hundred to seven hundred years of lore that is being established for the franchise. I get that to build a great story, you must have a strong foundation. Tolkien proved this with his stories, and countless other authors and designers alike. it is disheartening however, when the products we receive from Ubisoft are coming packed with almost no story development. As the series has gone on, the main plot has taken such a back seat that it was almost non-existent in recent titles. This is the story that drives you, and it is neglected every single time in some manner so that it can be further extended into fifty more sequels.

 This practice is like spreading a small portion of butter over a large piece of bread. It has been spread too thin to have the taste you desire, rendering each bite a tease. I’m tired of being teased and mocked with this ‘modern day’ story that grows increasingly uninteresting and stale as we spend countless hours sailing ships and climbing buildings just to find out that Desmond took a breath!

 If you have so much lore and story planned, start using it to build better stories now rather than thinking so far ahead. Your franchise is in dire need of revival, and it might help if you focus more on the present instead of on what you could potentially do in years.This is assuming your shameless company doesn’t go under.

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II – Self control is a thing of the past.

We’ve briefly touched on the prospect of popular franchises dying because of arrogant and selfish publishers sucking out every iota of magic that their intellectual property had. I think it is important that we look to the past to mold the future, something Ubisoft is clearly incapable of doing.

With Assassin’s Creed, you had an exciting and fresh – albeit limited – IP with a ton of potential. It was well received and sold well, so a sequel made sense. Assassin’s Creed 2 came out around two years later, armed with a ton of significant improvements over the original game. It was a breathtaking experience, and though it didn’t do much to change the combat or mission structure, it was a hallmark product for Ubisoft.

They started off with a bang, that much is sure. As the titles came out however, it came with increasingly shorter development times, increasingly large and disconnected studios teaming up for development, and a reckless abandonment of much needed polish and evolution in the form of new mechanics and the like, they’ve gone downhill at a rapid rate.

Beyond this, Ubisoft seemingly wanted to make every new game ‘bigger’ than the last. If you read my piece about why less is more, you’ll remember that my stance was this. While ‘more’ is great and fun, more for more’s sake is an awful way to do things.

Each Assassin’s Creed game after 2 that wasn’t simply a direct Ezio sequel, tried to outdo the last game by being bigger. Bigger worlds, expansive landscapes, endless side quests, eventual naval combat. While some of this stuff is excellent, each game comes out more unfinished and broken than the last. Biting off more than you can chew is not a good idea, and it seems Ubisoft doesn’t learn from their mistakes. Having a four hundred thousand gigabyte patch to fix what was possibly one of the worst abominations we call a ‘game launch’ in recent memories, proved this notion.

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III – Give us what we desire.

If you’ve visited any Ubisoft or Assassin’s Creed message board, group or facebook page, you’ll see that there are always talks about what the fans want to see in the series. Ubisoft did a much appreciated survey that listened to players feedback to help mold the series, and that was a great first step. The second great step they took was that they actually fixed some of the long-standing problems the series had, such as the free running mechanics and mission structure. AC Unity was a good for this, but the game was still bogged down in many many other ways.

We can credit them for listening (a bit) but there are many more problems and requests for the series that go completely ignored. Where is our revamped combat system? Where is our fully finished, stable, bug free product? Where is our asianic setting that everybody and their Grandpa wants?

“Feudal Japan would work as an Assassin’s game, for sure, but I feel like it would start to look like ‘oh, have I played this?’ You know what I mean – ‘oh, I’ve been a ninja before, I’ve been a samurai before.” 

That’s where it is according to Alex Hutchinson, creative director for Assassin’s Creed 3. It is entirely bogus if you ask me, and I’ll tell you why.

Think of the last time you got to run across rooftops as an assassin in feudal China or Japan. Think of the last time that you were able to have a one on one showdown with a cloaked Samurai. Think of the last time you were able to navigate through the architecture that makes the feudal Asian time periods so interesting. You probably thought of games from the 90s and early 2000s that either sucked hard, or were cult hits that didn’t sell well enough to stay around this long.

The fact is this: We do not get these types of games any more beyond a few low budget flops. There is a huge market for them again, but the biggest franchise for playing as an Assassin neglects it, and it’s disheartening.

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IV – The fans deserve better.

While I could talk all day about how lazy and vapid the Creed series has become, or how Ubisoft absolutely can’t find a single clue amongst their massive stack of cheddar, I’d like to end this with a statement. The fans deserve better.

Ubisoft is a company. Companies exist because of, and survive on, money. Consumers who buy the company’s products are the people that fuel the company to continue doing work. We can’t expect every company to then bow down to the consumer because of this fact, but a little appreciation would go a long way.

Ubisoft has earned a massive fan base that will basically mail them free money in the hopes that a new Assassin’s Creed game will come out. They should be recognising this and trying to make their games all the better for the fan’s sake. Hell, let’s just forget the fans for a second and say that they should do this for their own sake. Build up that reputation again Ubisoft, you sadly need to at this point.

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Avid gamer, multi-instrumentalist and Dark Souls fanatic.

8 Comments

  1. It’s funny to hear that because it was also said that with Duke Nukem, but out of anyone that would know that the farther before launch you tease a game the less people will care I thought Ubisoft would know. Dying Light was one of the few games were they showed a trailer waaay to early but still had a decent outcome.

    The statement provided sounds like he thinks everyone is as passionate about the game as he thinks they are but honestly it’s pretty easy to pick up a Shadow of Mordor or Grand Theft Auto V and get a little fuzzy on the Assassin’s Creed series.

    Assassin’s Creed was never really my cup of tea but I can see the appeal. I think as a consumer I would pick up an Assassin’s Creed game if there was more progression in the actual story instead of trying to tell history. Like as you’re doing a mission an alarm goes of and you wake up and have to run would kinda make sure that I wasn’t sucked into the plot of the history SO much that I totally forgot what the whole point of being an assassin in the first place. And if they would deepen the relationship between the player and the characters that would mean a lot more.

    It feels like they starting making an anime and decided they wanted to put a lot of action into it so they make a lot of explosions and kill a lot of people that no one can even remember and then want the viewer to be heartbroken. Like, okay, I saw her for two minutes I honestly couldn’t care if she’s gone.

    But say the same situation but instead of 99% action, there was %20 action and %80 story telling. Like have the girl who died have feelings for the main character and tell the story about how her life was and after things start warming up between them snatch it away like a baby with their teddy bear and then make it seem as if nothing happened. THAT is what makes people have emotions. Not guns, not knives, not killing people. Giving the player a bond with the character and then playing off of those emotions makes for a good game, not explosions and gun mechanics.

  2. The fanz deserve nothin. Teh can buy it or not, teh can speak with there cash monay, or not. just cause u buy a game doest mean u can call the shots.

  3. great read. I’ve stopped buying this game long long ago. I’m the type of person who plays a game and wants the story to actually end. AC just has it going forever and I too am sick of it. The story sucks and the infinite continuation with no end in sight is too much for me.

    ME was a great game, and they stopped the story after 3 versions. AC should of done the same and moved on to a new IP.

  4. I understand what the author of the article is saying, but I don’t know if I agree with the conclusions. It is only hubris if they can’t pull it off. You also don’t know how the series may change or evolve over time. As for the story I find while it isn’t as interesting as a new I.P. it has been interesting enough that it keeps me going one way or the other. The information also doesn’t tell you what platforms they will be bringing the game to. They could work on Vita for a couple years, then the PC, then current generation consoles, etc. All we really know is how the author feels about broken Assassin’s Creed games and how tired of the series he is. In the next decade with V.R. it may also be worth seeing Assassin’s Creeds future. The person quoted may in fact be right.

    1. Also this author fails to understand that if you are working on an Epic like AC, you have to have the story mapped out for years. Otherwise you may run into plot issues.

  5. Brilliant and accurate article. Since the first AC I’ve preorder every Assassins Creed game up to Black Flag. I was a MASSIVE fan of the series, the Ezio , Italian lore really drove me in and I replayed AC2 and Brotherhood countless times! I loved the Desmond story-line despite it’s many flaws. Nonetheless I look at AC today as something that used to be amazing but is now dead and buried. Ever since revelations I have not enjoyed an Assassin Creed game. Black flag was a pile of ****, there I said it. I don’t know why it received so much love as it was god awful in terms of story and character development. I haven’t even bothered to pick up Unity and it makes me sad that I lack the motion to do so seeings as AC was once my favorite series. I cannot see the franchise lasting until 2025 and if it somehow does, it will undoubtedly fail to match the authenticity and immersion of the first few titles

  6. I’m so sick of haters. I get it! The series did not go down the specific path you wanted it to go, or what you wanted the game to do. Overall AC didn’t agree to your taste and that’s it. That’s what its all about; taste. Get over it because unfortunately for you there are people like me. I’ve been religiously on board since day one of game one. I’m the guy who actually liked AC3 and would play it while watching The Patriot and screaming “America!!!” Everytime I buried my hatchet into a red coat. Currently I’m finishing up the last missions in ACUnity savoring it like a fine french wine and then just last week I picked up ACRogue which is starting to look like a top favorite in the series for me. I agree that it brings nothing new to the table that AC4 didn’t do already but I’m not bothered by it at all. Why because it giving me countless hours of enjoyment and isn’t that what it’s all about. AC is a Juggernaut that can’t be stopped whether you wish it fit your mold or not. Today AC is so big that lesser studios are making clones of the AC format slapping a “middle earth” map on it and people eat that up, enough so that some called it game of the year. So instead look at it as “great that a 65$ I didn’t need to spend since AC is no longer my thing.” That works for me when the next COD rolls out, but ugh “enough is enough!?” That’s just sad. Put your crab apples away, just because you got off the AC train doesn’t mean the train is broken. I and plenty of people like me are still loving the ride.

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