Ubisoft has offered an official response to recent sexual assault allegations

Ubisoft

Right now, the games industry is going through a difficult phase. After the outing of popular content creator Tom ‘Syndicate’ Cassell being a potential abuser of multiple past partners, other women have spoken up. Amongst these are several past employees of French games publisher Ubisoft.

The most accused candidate is game designer and writer Chris Avellone. According to several first-hand accounts, Avellone has gotten women “blackout drunk,” in order to make his non-consensual advances easier. Also, Avellone allegedly went on to do much worse at other game conventions.

Ubisoft’s official response

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Although it took them a little while, Ubisoft has now published a formal response to these allegations. The notice reads: “we want to start by apologizing to everyone affected by this.” The publisher goes on to ensure fans it is “dedicated to creating an inclusive and safe environment,” for its employees and players. If this is just typical PR talk or meaningful words is to be seen.

Although exact details weren’t provided, Ubisoft has confirmed that it is now formally investigating the allegations. No names were provided but the publisher is supposedly using “specialized external consultants,” to avoid potential bias. The response is rounded off by confirming that “additional measures,” will be put in place shortly to avoid this happening again.

This controversy couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Ubisoft. On July 12, the French studio will be hosting its own COVID-19 secure digital conference, Forward. It was set to be a grand event where gamers would get to see all the exciting upcoming titles.

However, it now looks as though the new Assassin’s Creed or For Honor are the least of players’ concerns. Unless the company’s higher ups can address these issues and call out those responsible, Ubisoft’s reputation may never truly recover.

So, what is your opinion about this news? You can leave your comment in the box below.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla director explains lack of gameplay reveal

Valhalla

With E3 cancelled this year Microsoft turned to run its own event instead. Amongst the announcements was the confirmation of a new Assassin’s Creed game, Valhalla. However, many fans were very disappointed at how little they ended up seeing of the game, Instead of any meaningful gameplay footage, we were left with generic cinematic footage.

The so-called “in-engine teaser,” did not go down well with fans that feel Ubisoft might have something to hide. After all, the French publisher has been known for publishing questionable titles in its time. Let’s not forget the disgrace that was 2011’s Self-Defense Training Camp. A game that currently sits at 21% on Metacritic.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

In response to the criticism, Valhalla’s creative director Ashraf Ismail took to Twitter to defend the decision. According to Ismail, Ubisoft has a “long marketing campaign,” planned out for Valhalla. This means that an in-depth gameplay reveal is planned, just not anytime soon.

He did reassure fans that they “rightfully expected,” to see more but firmly believes this is not the time for that. He might have a point too. Most video games are not optimized until very late into development. This is because there is no point optimizing content when later additions could screw things up again.

Even if Ubisoft did showcase Valhalla now, it would be a buggy, incomplete version of the game. This could put off potential buyers. No one is going to buy a game if it looks bad in its initial presentation. Rather than taking that unnecessary risk, Ubisoft opted for a run-of-the-mill cinematic instead.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will launch later this year. A precise release date has not been confirmed but we do know it will come sometime in the holiday season. As for platforms, gamers can expect it on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Stadia, and PC. It will later release as a launch title for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 too. There is no news of a Nintendo Switch port being in the works.

The Next Assassin’s Creed Game Eyes to Bring the Franchise Back to Relevancy

Assassin's Creed Assassin's

Assassin’s Creed Game

A decade ago, Ubisoft introduced us to a world like no other. The world of Assassin’s Creed, where the Assassin’s are the good guys and the Templers (those who stand for the wrong goals) are the bad guys. Since then, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has built a platform on the seemingly endless battle between Assassin’s and Templars. Venturing from location to location across history’s greatest time periods. From: The Italian Renaissance, Ottoman Empire, the American Civil War, Victorian England, the Age of Pirates, and the French Revolution.

For now, the next installment of the franchise will continue their tradition of fighting within the past. If following the rumors, it looks like the next title game for the Assassin’s Creed franchise will be called, Assassin’s Creed: Empire. However, Ubisoft has yet to confirm this.

So, where will they take us this time?

Easter Egg Within an AC Game

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
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Scouring the internet is a lot of fun. Especially when the fandoms are in full force yelling at one another about the who, what, where, and when. However, Ubisoft themselves have dropped a few Easter eggs to the next possible Assassin’s Creed game.

Let’s start with the oldest one that got a lot of rumors flying. This one dates to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

Now, if you were strictly the story you may have missed this one. This was not one that in the heart of the game, rather it is found when the present-day character can move about Abstergo Industries. Looking through the emails on the computers, you would come across one that shows the name Osiris and a view of pyramids. Hinting of a possible character/title and the location. Ancient Egypt, perhaps?

Osiris after all is the Ancient Egyptian God of the dead who laid final judgment of your place in the afterlife. Kind of fitting since Assassin’s basically lay a similar judgment upon their enemies.

Easter Egg in Ubisoft’s 2016 Game

Watch Dogs 2 gameAnother playful and clever tease and Easter egg Ubisoft unleashed upon its Assassin’s Creed fan was within its big game release of 2016, Watch Dogs 2.

In one of the side missions offered, you’re tasked with stealing the newest game trailer for Ubisoft’s upcoming game. As part of the mission, you intercept a phone call between two Ubisoft employees discussing the security of the trailer. One employee stating the after the leaked trailers of Unity, Syndicate, and Osiris, they want assurance it won’t be hacked and leaked. There’s that name again!

Subtly hinting that the rumors a leaked picture and trailer (check video below) on the web that were allegedly of the next Assassin’s creed title could be true.

What to Expect

Assassin’s CreedExpectations on Assassin’s Creed games have always been high. Especially after the release of the original Assassin’s Creed and its direct sequel, AC II. This is when the company started pushing out a game annually to satisfy their fans. This started a decline in the success of the franchise. The franchise could have possibly saw death with the release of Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Thankfully, Syndicate kept the franchise above water for the time being.

This sparked a change of winds for Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed. They went on to make the decision that they will not make a yearly game anymore. Allowing the developers to release games that are complete and full of their best work. Meaning no more bugs, glitches, and poor execution. Even if that means yearly gaps. Not to mention, Ubisoft has been looking to get rid of the boring dialogue dominant story and turn their focus to be more decision based. Much like The Witcher III setup.

This brings us to now. It’s been over a year since we last saw an Assassin’s Creed release and we’re only left with leaks and Easter eggs.

Will we see the Assassin’s in 2017? As of now, we probably won’t. But one thing is clearer than ever. Ubisoft has all of us on the edge of our seats again. Let’s see this time around if a lengthy wait will be truly worth it.

PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies For September 2016

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With Final Fantasy XV PS being moved back to November, this might be the perfect time for another batch of free games from both Sony and Microsoft.

While this month isn’t astounding by any means, it has a few very good games that are easily worth the download.

Check out the free PlayStation games for the month of September, accompanied by another trailer that only shows off one-third of the offerings.

  • Journey – PS4
  • Lords of the Fallen – PS4
  • Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands – PS3
  • Datura – PS3
  • Badland – PS4, PS3,  PS Vita
  • Amnesia: Memories – PS Vita

It is amusing to me that the headliners for this month are both one of my personal favourites ever made and one of my least favourites respectively.

Journey is a ridiculously gorgeous masterpiece that absolutely everyone needs to try. It is best played in one sitting with the lights off and a great sound system or headset to accompany you. It is a transformative experience that helped define indie games as art. Lords of the Fallen, however, achieves none of this.

It has a cult following which I can respect, but Lords failed to impress me in any way and actively angered me to the point of one refund and two deletions upon re-entry. It is Bad Souls and that’s about it.

Rounding out this list with Prince of Persia is a nice addition, considering that like the Sands, it was also forgotten after the atrocious Prince of Persia reboot in 2008. This game scrapped the cel-shading and went back to what made the franchise good. Too bad it never got any recognition, however.

With all of that said, here are the freebies from Microsoft.

    • Earthlock Festival Of Magic- Xbox One
    • Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China  – Xbox One
    • Forza Horizon – Xbox 360
    • Mirror’s Edge – Xbox 360

It might be that I am getting senile in my 25 years on this planet, but I swear Mirror’s Edge has been free at least 47 times. That said, it’s still a genre-bending classic so that alone is worth the download if you somehow skipped it all these years.

On the flip side, Earthlock seems like a curious little game. I saw some negativity around the technical aspects of the game, featuring crashes and other such issues, but beyond that, it seems to be quite a fun ride.

Finally, Forza Horizon is probably the smartest move this month from Microsoft, as it is the best way to get anyone not already on board with Horizon to try it out before Horizon 3 launches later this year.

6 Things I Don’t Want to See at E3 2015

E3 2015

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo is only a week away and there is plenty of excitement surrounding what new games and hardware we might see unveiled.  I won’t deny that I have my own share of excitement for the festivities, but a part of me can’t help but feel cynical at this time of year. As such, let’s go over some of the possibilities that I’m most dreading for this year’s E3.

6. Another Assassin’s Creed Game

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“Oh, you mean you don’t want Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate to be at E3?”  No, that’s obviously going to be there and it certainly has every right to be.  What I don’t want is for Ubisoft to announce another new Assassin’s Creed game this soon after the announcement of Syndicate.  Before you call that absurd, I’d just like to mention that two Assassin’s Creed games have already been released between the launch of Assassin’s Creed: Unity and now.  Assassin’s Creed: Rouge launched on consoles right alongside Unity and Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China released in late April.  Also, this is probably a wasted wish as the already announced Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India will probably be showing up anyway and may even bring Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia along with it just to spite me.

Now, the number of releases on its own wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  If I was that bothered by oversaturation, I wouldn’t be a Mario fan.  The problem is that the Assassin’s Creed games have been pretty spotty recently and many have been turned off from the series as a result.  I do think that there is still time to turn the series around, but the worst thing that Ubisoft can do right now is machine-gun titles back-to-back to further exhaust their consumers.  If they just focus on making Syndicate into something great, it may be enough to turn the reputation of the series around.  Right now, the failures will speak louder than the successes and the best way to avoid that is to stop churning out buggy, unfinished products and consolidate the series.

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5. More DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight

How sad is it that I’m already tired of a game that hasn’t released yet, I have every reason to be excited for, and have actively been avoiding media coverage of to prevent spoilers?  Warner Bros. Interactive is one of the most frustrating companies in the current industry.  With excellent studios like Netherrealm, Monolith, and Rocksteady working for them, Warner Bros. could easily be on par with the biggest companies in the industry today.  They could stand to hold their own personal E3 conference with all of the prestigious developers they have at their side.  T

he only thing holding Warner Bros. back right now is, well, Warner Bros.  They have been pulling all manner of shady practices recently and they’ve been continuously getting worse with every title.  They nearly sabotaged the release of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor by placing an unnecessary review embargo on it, which is publicly seen as a game being overhyped trash ever since Aliens: Colonial Marines, despite Shadow of Mordor actually being a landmark title that earned universal praise.  It was actually up to reviewers to save the title from its own publishers, and I’m not sure how you can even reach that level of incompetence on purpose.  Mortal Kombat X has taken some black marks against it for a rocky launch and greedy practices like microtransactions for easy fatalities.  I know Netherrealm is better than this, as displayed with their continued dedication to include a free costume to all customers with every DLC patch, but they’re stuck working for the kind of people that would dodge gold for pennies.

Batman: Arkham Knight is the latest example of Warner Bros. testing the limits of their customers.  Right in the game’s reveal trailer, they announce that a playable Harley Quinn is restricted to preorders.  Later, they announce that you better preorder through Gamestop specifically because that’s the only way you’ll get to play as Red Hood.  I generally don’t preorder games and no amount of incentives is going to sway me on that.  There’s no telling when a promising title is going to fall flat as companies are becoming harder to trust.  I still have faith that Arkham Knight will be fantastic given Rocksteady’s history, but I’m still going to wait to pick it up simply as a matter of wise spending.  Sell us on the actual game itself before trying to push even more it onto us.

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4. More “HD” Remakes of Games that Are Only a Few Years Old

With any new console, quality releases are always going to take some time to build up.  Still, the amount of reliance that has been placed on rereleasing games that the Playstation 4 and Xbox One could already play if they had just made their systems backwards compatible is getting out of hand.  I can understand rereleasing the Halo series as it dates back to the original Xbox and it could use a fresh take, and the Grim Fandango remake was direly needed because the game was impossible to legally get otherwise.  Rereleasing God of War III for the Playstation 4 with no real selling point outside of “It’s on the Playstation 4” is not even worth acknowledging.  Words can scarcely convey just how depressed and enraged I was when one of the most applauded announcements at Sony’s conference last year was that your $400 purchase now made you eligible to buy Grand Theft Auto V a second time.  The game’s most worth remaking are the ones that have either lost some of their luster with age or have become hard to find.  If a remake for Deus Ex, Mother 3, or Battletoads was revealed, it would certainly be cause for celebration.  What we don’t need are remakes of Gears of War, Super Mario Galaxy, or Unchar…  Wait, what’s that?  Uncharted: The Nathan Drake  Collection was just announced?  And it won’t even included any of the multiplayer features from the original games?

$#&*%#@*-$!* WITH A &$#Ω€`#>(%^_¡@`!&@?; AND RUE THE DAY YOU %$#)∑<&*ñ##¶@>Ω<+ THE SIZE OF A GIRAFFE’S [email protected]&^Ü¢?Ø#*%€Ñ<)_¶™$#!+=ü(:¡\Θ^} AND HAVE YOURSELF A NICE DAY!

amiibos

3. Limited Edition Amiibos

While I like the concept of amiibo, the amount of hurdles that people have to go through over them is quickly burning me out on them.  These figures have quickly devolved from cool collectibles with the bonus of interacting with video games into DLC with arbitrary scarcity.  Hopefully, things will even out once Nintendo increases the supply and the scalpers move on to reselling Lego Dimensions figures (you know it’s going to happen), but the last thing I want to hear about right now is limited edition amiibo specifically designed to be rare.  The gold and silver versions of Mario were infuriating enough to see and I don’t want to see the same treatment given to any other figures.  The quantity of normal amiibo is bad enough that it’s impossible to even tell the difference between the standard and special editions of them.

KonamiSlotMachines

2. Konami C-Games

I’ve made it abundantly clear that I don’t have much confidence for Konami after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain releases.  I fully expect them to start exploiting all of their franchises for cash-grabs in the mobile and gambling markets, but I don’t want them to prove me right and especially not this quickly.  The state of Nevada recently passed a bill for that made Konami ecstatic to hear it.  It’s only a matter of time before Konami starts to go for a gamble – literally – but making it at E3 is going to cost them whatever remains of their dignity in the gaming industry.  I can’t think of anything that could be announced at E3 this year more heartbreaking than to learn that Silent Hills was cancelled in favor of a survival-horror slot machine.

Quantum-Break

1. Trailers that Say Nothing About the Actual Game

I know I’m really asking for the moon with this one, but I would really love it if every new game announced at E3 this year included an actual explanation of what the game is.  The only thing that I hate to see at E3 more than completely unnecessary musical acts meant to fill time (a trend that, thankfully, seems to have died) is reveal trailers that just play a short CGI cinematic with little to no inclination on how the games they’re trying to depict are actually played.  Sequels and spiritual successors have some lenience with this as we have previous games to draw answers from, but this is the worst way to push an entirely new IP.  Last year had plenty of examples of this like Scalebound and Mad Max just showing brief trailers that couldn’t even depict just the general genres that those games would fall under.  The only reason I know that Phantom Dust involves deck-building elements is because I looked up the original myself after seeing the horrendously vague reveal of the Xbox One reboot.  Quantum Break was a personal thorn in my side for two years straight with nothing but wild guesses as to what it even was.  Fortunately, they finally revealed some actual gameplay at Gamescom late last year, so they can’t pull that stunt a third time.  Still, there is bound to be some new title revealed, and we’ll all be stuck waiting another year or two before being given the slightest reason to care about it.

So, that’s my personal rundown of the worst case scenario for E3 2015.  What are your most dreaded possibilities at this year’s showcase?  How much do I need to shut up for not mindlessly obeying the hype machine and being concerned over what might go wrong?  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

“Cinematic Story Telling” Pros and Cons

Cinematic

Gaming has come a long way since the 1980’s, a time when every game consisted of aliens invading earth without any real rhyme or reason. Nowadays when aliens invade earth, they are not just aliens, they are trans-dimensional semi-deity machines who not only invade earth, but an entire galaxy with the aim to wipe 90% of all life to prevent a continuous cycle of self-destructive behavior. That plot is probably more engaging, and better scripted than the vast majority of theatrical releases nowadays, so gaming has evolved and partially assimilated cinema full on Borg style. This trend of cinematic experiences that we can interact with has taken the industry by storm, and we bask in its magnificence, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

Like with any good argument, there are two sides to this story. When you look at cinematic games, or even games with great stories and engaging narratives we are spoiled for choice. Games like the Mass Effect trilogy, Metal Gear Solid, Bioshock and Final Fantasy are all series that are renowned for cinematic story telling, and interesting storylines, and we are only scratching the surface. A strong plot gives you a tangible connection to the world you are temporarily inhabiting. You build, and feel the bonds to the characters you encounter, you experience the weight of your decisions, sometimes literally, and for those brief moments of gameplay you become one with the world, and you are the main character.  Developers have become so adept at creating these cinematic experiences that Metal Gear Solid 4: Sons of the Patriots actually has so many cutscenes, that their combined length dwarfs that of all other conventional media. If you type in your favorite game in youtube, you can literally watch hours of cutscenes mashed together into a somewhat coherent movie.

Mass Effect 3

But this level of detail, this fascination with providing a “movie-like experience” is equally as detrimental. For every Silent Hill, you have a handful of games that flat out fail to evoke the connections they are desperately trying to construct. The Order 1886 is a prime example of cinematic gaming gone horribly, horribly wrong. It sets us up with a familiar, yet different scenario: What if characters from Arthurian legend lived for hundreds of years and fought werewolves? On the basis that that is a pretty awesome idea, you would be forgiven if you expected the game to live up to that initial intrigue. The plot is hamfistedly forced upon you, literally basking in its own magnificence. It repeatedly hints at a grander, hidden plot that you just have to find out when in reality the characters, and the story is, at best, tedious and at worst, boring. Then to top it all off you have generic sequel bait thrown in.

This would not have been so bad if the game had actually been fun to play. But, like so many others, The Order is just your run of the mill generic shooter with all the gimmicks and tricks you expect from these games. They even have instant fail state stealth sections, with a false sense of choice thrown in to fool you into thinking you decide what path you take, when ultimately there is only one that leads to victory. The fact the game is flat out boring to play emphasizes the taxing narrative and vice versa. It is blatantly obvious they wanted to design a cinematic experience then slap a minigame as filler between cutscenes, and frankly such design is backwards.

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Of course The Order is not the first game to mess up in such a spectacular way. Assassins Creed has a long history of being only slightly above average to everyone but the most die-hard of paint watchers. Whilst the plot of Assassins Creed is serviceable in some places, and does have some interesting characters, the whole concept of the animus slows down an already sluggish game. The plot literally holds back the core experience, which could have been interesting had Desmond died in a fire. This combined with repetitive game play, relatively empty open worlds and hours of padding through tedious side missions and you are left with a pretty…ish…game that never quite reaches the heights a lot of people want it too. As a final cherry on the cake however, “Cinematic” was used as an excuse to neuter the most recent addition to the series. Cutting your games frame rate to 30FPS and claiming it is more cinematic is not only ludicrously false on every conceivable level, but it also hampers the games overall performance. There are reasons that games like Super Smash Brothers run at a lightning fast locked 60FPS, and why PC gamers constantly whine about locked 30FPS: It makes a difference.

Games with little to no plots however are not exactly a bad thing. I have always stood by Mario as having one of the greatest stories of all time. Not for its hidden meanings or character development, but for its ability to tell you everything you need to know in about 10 seconds and opening the pearly white gameplay gates and actually letting you experience the game. Mario doesn’t need the same level of detail as Mass Effect, if it did, it would hinder what we are actually here for, and that is to play the game. Save the princess. Bim, bam, bosh, done. Simple, elegant and perfect. Super Meat Boy, The Legend of Zelda and many many others use this same formula. They set the scene and then get out of the way. And it works.

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And this is where we bump into that festering, bloated hunk of road kill known as Sonic. We all know Sonic has been in videogame hell for pretty much all of his 3D life, and whilst the actual concept of Sonic as a game is ludicrous in 3D and needs to be overhauled or given to Nintendo/someone who knows what we are doing, we can still link some of his failure to his story. Once upon a time, Sonic was a hedgehog who saved woodland critters from a fatguy. Typical “Mario Formula”. And like so many games before, and after it, it worked. Nowadays Sonic has an ever increasing cast of side kicks, an equally expanding list of villains, a strangely diverse set of anthropomorphic relationships, multiple time lines and of course, several world destroying Deities all waiting to be released. Heck, he somehow turned into a werehog (which makes no sense when you  consider that Were means Man…) but he also has a strange Arthurian side story…which somehow links nicely with The Order.

In the end, a strong narrative is a wonderful thing, but ultimately we are a part of a unique medium. We alone have the power to interact with what we see on our TV screens and watching a plot unfold will never be as enthralling as playing through it, and many developers understand this and create masterpieces. On the flip side buying The Order is like buying a £60 movie that you can occasionally play a dull minigame on during the ad-break. Whilst the argument is far from being simple, and there is no sure-fire rule that guides developers, it is clear to see that “Cinematic” experiences are not all they are cracked up to be.

What Other Settings In History Could Assassin’s Creed Visit?

Assassin

Assassin‘s Creed has become one of the games industries biggest selling franchises over the past few years, and it has visited some of the most beautiful cities and countries that history has had to offer, from Italy to the Caribbean, and the next instalment will take us to 19th century Victorian London, but where else should the series visit? Here are some ideas.

Brazil

An Assassin’s Creed game set in South America would be amazing. Since South America is huge, then that means that there are so many different locations to visit in this continent. Brazil would, for instance, be a fantastic location, especially during the early 16th century, when Pedro Álvares Cabron, under the sponsorship of Portugal, became the first European to colonize Brazil. It would be pretty amazing to play as an indigenous assassin from Brazil during the colonization from Portugal. A cool idea would be your character’s tribe being wiped out by the Portugese and then your character being recruited by the Assassin’s in an attempt to force the Portugese away.

South America

An even cooler idea would be an Assassin’s Creed game set throughout 19th century South America, where you could follow Simón Bolívar on his military campaign to liberate South America from Spanish control. That means you could visit Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Boliva through the game, perhaps one city per country. Your character could be a loyal friend to Simón Bolívar, but also a member of the Assassin Order who must ensure that the Spanish (templar) control of South America is eradicated. Spanish Colonial architecture is also in keeping with previous Assassin’s Creed games, such as the Cathedral of Lima in Lima, Peru and would be a fantastic city to explore.

 Scandinavia

A Viking Assassin! Now that would be brilliant. Let’s not forget that Scandinavia is one of the most beautiful parts of the world too, and it would make a gorgeous setting for an Assassin’s Creed game. A common theory for the Vikings motive to pillage and expansion was to because Charlemagne, King of the Franks,  “used force and terror Christianise all pagans” and therefore the Vikings wanted revenge. A perfect setting for an Assassin’s Creed game, where the assassin attempts to stop the growing influence of the templars. The naval exploration system from Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag could be utilised in this game too.

 Japan

One of the most talked about, and requested, time periods for an Assassin’s Creed game to be set in is Feudal Japan. This would be a great setting for Assassin’s Creed because it’s so different from what we’ve witnessed recently from the franchise. Japan’s culture and architecture is so different from anything we’ve seen in Italy, France and throughout the Caribbean. It almost feels like an Assassin’s Creed game is destined to be set in Japan, due to the similarities between assassin’s and ninja’s. A ninja specialises in deception, infiltration, and assassination. Just like an assassin. A ninja, unlike a samurai, was often of low birth and some were also freedom fighters against warlords, which would fit suit an Assassin’s Creed game, the young farmer recruited by the assassin’s to help fight the warlord templars.

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.

Assassin’s Creed Deserves A First Person Mode

Over the year we’ve played many first person games. Some good, some bad. From Dying Light, to Far Cry 4, to Grand Theft Auto V. There is one game, however, that I’ve been craving to play in first person mode for a while, and that’s Assassin’s Creed.

Fellow Ubisoft game Far Cry 4 pulls off stealth very successfully when needed, and I see no reason why first person shouldn’t be included in Assassin’s Creed. Imagine creeping up behind enemies, slowly, carefully, before assassinating your target, laying him down to rest, and then moving on. All in first person. Beautiful.

Perhaps the biggest influence on my desire to have Assassin’s Creed in first person is Dying Light. Running across rooftops, climbing up buildings and hacking away at enemies has me dreaming of being able to do this in Assassin’s Creed. It’s first person mode influences gameplay hugely, without the ability to see behind you makes the game so much more tense, and seeing everything as if it was in your own perspective is terrifyingly brilliant.

The next Assassin’s Creed will be set in London during the Victorian Period, where better to introduce first person? Dirty, dingy back alleys full of unscrupulous characters would heighten the tension tenfold if seen from your point of view as opposed to third person. Perhaps even with the addition of murder mysteries in the previous Assassin’s Creed game being implemented into the next would bring you face to face with some of the most vile characters in history, such as Jack The Ripper.

Grand Theft Auto V implemented first person perfectly, turning it on or off with a mere touch of a button. This would suit Assassin’s Creed perfectly. Third person for a more traditional feel, and first person as a way to freshen the game up some more.

Whether nothing more than a dream, or something which could become reality, I think the rich history that Assassin’s Creed offers is deserving of first person. Us the gamers deserve to experience the rich history from our own perspective too. Hopefully, we will one day be able too.