Should Assassin's Creed just finally make an Isu game?

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cadilla430

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#1  Edited By cadilla430

Playing Valhalla has made me realize that I would truly want a Assassin's game set in the Isu era that each game teases. To me if they decided to go that route would me they would literally have no shackles on creatively. They could make literally worlds that we've never seen before, along with showing the Isu who would become myth's to humans. Do you guys want one set in the precursor race era? Or would you want a more modern era?

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Efesell

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I do still appreciate AC as a romp through history with a knife. I think the sci fi is better served as a seasoning to that, I don’t think I want a full course of it.

No interest at all in a modern day only entry.

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cadilla430

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@efesell: I still love going throughout History as well. Hopefully if Valhalla is an indication start to have a main story again. I would like another number entry tho and possibly an actual japan setting with an actual stealth system.

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avantegardener

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#4  Edited By avantegardener

The order in which we will know the AC series is finally winding down will be:

Japan

Present-day struggle with the Templars

Kart Racer

The far-flung galactic future

You don't shoot your final shot when you still haven't plumbed the full depths of history. I mean you've still got 2 world wars to play with.

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bigsocrates

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Should they as in would it make for a good game? That depends entirely on execution of course. It could be great it could be awful. Impossible to say. I personally am not very interested in the Isu. It would just be Assassin's Creed developers making up their own Sci-Fi world, which is playing against their strengths (portraying idealized versions of the real world or established mythology) and into their weaknesses (storytelling, originality, etc...) It's not that it couldn't be good, it's just that there's no particular reason to think it would be better than any other open world sci fi fantasy RPG.

In terms of a modern world game, that totally depends again on execution. There are a billion open world games set in modern day, including Ubisoft's Watch_Dogs, so it would feel pretty unnecessary. Again, what Assassin's Creed is good at is creating semi-historical or mythological worlds to explore and play in, and sometimes gameplay depending on which entry you're talking about.

Now in terms of whether they "should" do this because it would be a good idea commercially...I would say definitely not. Only a tiny fraction of players care about the Isu or modern day Assassin's Creed. That's why it was so heavily de-emphasized. At this point it's really kind of a vestige of what the series was once intended to be, before it morphed into a giant clusterf!@* and then into a set of giant mythological action RPGs.

The vast majority of players don't even play every game in the series, let alone finish them and know how the plots wrap up.

From a commercial perspective Assassin's Creed is much better off being a set of disconnected stories with a few lore tie ins for die hards than leaning into some big overarching thing. That's also how Ubisoft has treated its other franchises, almost none of which have anything but minor story-hooks with one another (a few re-occurring characters at most). Ubisoft doesn't really make series like Uncharted or Last of Us or even Halo or Gears where you have one story told over multiple games anymore. And considering how expansive those games are it makes sense. On Xbox 30% of players completed the main story for Assassin's Creed Odyssey and 15% completed Watch_Dogs 2. Nobody is finishing these games.

Ubisoft has found a formula that is working for current Asssassin's Creed and they will stick with it (that's what Ubisoft does.) It would be almost corporate malpractice to try and sell people on some Isu game when nobody seems to care about that mythology. They can add more of it to the background of the game if they want, but I guarantee that Assassin's Creed Even More Originsyness is a much tougher commercial prospect than Assassin's Creed: Ming Dynasty or whatever they're planning next.

As for Assassin's Creed Japan...everyone has wanted that for a long time for obvious reasons, but Ghost of Tsushima pretty much is Assassin's Creed Japan so they might want to hold off for awhile since Sony is already planning on making another entry in that series. Obviously Ghost of Tsushima isn't exactly the same as Assassin's Creed but it's close enough to scratch that itch for a lot of people, and there would be a bunch of comparisons that Assassin's Creed might not win, considering how many things GoT does well.

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avantegardener

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#6  Edited By avantegardener

@bigsocrates: I think I'm in broad agreement with all these points.

The funny thing about 'AC Japan', when it was originally thrown around I had no interest in it as a setting, I thought it was an incredibly trite and cliche location. This may well have been a side effect of 40 odd years of supersaturation of 'Ninja Games' we'd been subjected to.

I'm still not super sold on it, but I'm less fervently against it, and I think its the type of game where we might see another evolution in gameplay mechanics, maybe something like an incredibly fast and fluid combat/traversal system.

I really miss the total power fantasy of Brotherhood, like reign arrow on their ass, or 4 dudes jump out of the bushes and take those fool, barely had to get your wristblade bloody.

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#7  Edited By tdous

I usually feel in the minority (could be wrong, but it's how I feel) in enjoying movement and combat a lot less in the "modern" AC installments, with what feels to me like less precise and controllable parkour, and more mushy fighting, with too much emphasis on sudden, magically unblockable attacks. I'm told it's more "Dark Souls"-like (don't shoot me - I have no idea) which would probably explain as I usually feel in the minority of not enjoying what I've tried of those either. But I've always been intrigued by the potential which the AC settings, modern, future or past could offer, if told well. I don't think there's any point saying 'this period or that period wouldn't interest me' as it's perfectly possible any could be done incredibly well, as a setting. But the way the mechanics have gone make the experiences less engaging to me (perhaps with the exception of parts of Bayek's story which I found quite moving), so perhaps I'm more open to any setting because I'm less interested in what the setting is...

That said, to the OP title question, it would at least be interesting to see the result of some complete and cohesive lore they might has written down somewhere, or if they are in fact just winging it from game to game ;)

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TheRealTurk

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Frankly, I'd rather the entire series take several years off and do a hard reboot. The story has just gotten far too convoluted and overwrought to be enjoyable at this point. That goes for the gameplay, too. I'm very much one of those folks who thinks the swap to an open-world RPG was a terrible idea. It didn't have the worst start in Origins but has steadily gotten worse in each entry.

Valhalla is the logical endpoint of all these problems. On the story side, there's an historical plot that has become so complicated and hard to follow that it instead needs to rely on being deeply weird to engage players and a modern day setting that is boring and up-its-own-ass (seriously, Layla suuuucccckkks). On the gameplay side, you have badly conceived and implemented RPG mechanics, shitty feeling combat, and a world that is a pretty but exceedingly boring open-world checklist. The games remain 40% too long.

The entire series needs to go back to the drawing board. I'd really like to see a much more linear 35-45 hour game in the mold of AC:2 or Brotherhood. Cities should come back and the gameplay needs to focus on stealth and assassination as core gameplay concepts rather than a (badly implemented) token system to mollify "legacy" players.

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#9 Humanity  Online

I certainly wouldn’t mind something drastically new. I don’t really understand all the people that “hate” the modern day animus parts of AC and want it to be a purely “historical” game. Back in the dark ages when the very first Assassins Creed was announced there was a lot of excited speculation about the weird glitch-like elements in what ostensibly looked like a historical experience. When the big sci-fi twist was revealed I was really intrigued and excited by it. Apart from the revolutionary parkour (at the time) the animus was always a super unique part of the series that set it apart from your basic sword swinging action game. At the conclusion of the original story they sort of droooed the whole precursor race plotline in favor of...nothing. There are some surface level callbacks in the new “trilogy” but unless things really pop off at the end of Valhalla then they’re not really doing much with it. I would love to see a return to the eco-if elements and also for them to move away from these open fields back to cities and more intimate maps with more detail and character.

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bigsocrates

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@therealturk: AC:2 and Brotherhood are closer to 20-25 hour games than 35-45 games...and that's to their benefit. Even then they have substantial padding. And AC2 was wildly ambitious with multiple cities and a ton of plot.

@humanity: They never knew what they were doing with the sci-fi stuff. That's clear just from how much it changed from game to game in the 5 games from AC1-3.

AC1: It's all set up and intrigue. For the era it was intriguing and added to the game, but it did not have much payoff.

AC2: Changes things up significantly and puts you in a new location with a new team. There's even more set up here, but you actually have some short gameplay sequences.

AC Brotherhood: You move to another location and have some more action sequences. It's like Uncharted lite and it's a little boring because it's just like the actual game but there's less to do, but at least it makes an attempt to tie the location of the modern stuff to the other stuff. Then the ending is just...bad and removes the best modern day character.

AC Revelations: You're in a coma and doing optional jumping puzzles if you want to engage with it at all. It was at this point that it became crystal clear that they had no idea what they were doing and were just spinning their wheels.

AC III: The modern day stuff is kind of boring, as is the rest of the game. Unobjectionable but also unexciting. They do make an attempt to actually have you do legitimate gameplay but again it just feels like a stripped down version of the main game.

The problem with the Assassin's Creed modern day stuff has always been the attempt to tell a story with progress in a series of games that is intended to go on forever. The story can never really resolve itself so it just spins its wheels indefinitely and there's no plan or consistency. This is a problem for basically all media without a defined ending that tries to tell this kind of convoluted story. You can't reveal everything or change the status quo so the storytelling just falls apart and becomes pointless after awhile. It's basically impossible to do well, but Ubisoft hasn't even tried.

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#11 Humanity  Online

@bigsocrates: i mainly enjoyed the sci-fi trappings of it all. I liked the idea of the animus with the bleed effect. I liked how you played the game in “sequences” of memory. All of it was just really cool. The first time you realize that you can use eagle vision outside the animus was a real cool twist.

I was disappointed that after all these little flashes of the precursor race you get throughout they never fully went there. Valhalla has these glitch puzzles that reveal 3 second clips of what appears to be precursor events so maybe by the end of the game they will do something with it but man I’m not holding my breath.

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@humanity: I think that stuff was conceptually interesting and in the first few games it could be cool, though in typical Ubi fashion they really did a lot of boring stuff with it too (so many freaking emails to read, many of which were almost comically boring.)

The real problem was that they wanted to set up all this lore and conspiracy stuff and it never goes anywhere because they want to string it out forever. That's why I ultimately think that abandoning it (which they sort of have) is the only move.

The fundamental problem with the Assassin's Creed series is and always has been the rate at which they crank them out. It's impossible to keep making games that long at that frequency without them becoming boring. The way they get around that is by changing up the location, and that mostly works.

I really think that Ghost of Tsushima does a lot of what a good modern classic style Assassin's Creed would. There's no sci fi and no cities, and of course the gameplay isn't exactly the same, but the stealth/action gameplay is good and the story is strong and doesn't drag on forever. Plus the side stuff is actually good!

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#13 Humanity  Online

@bigsocrates: I dont think abandoning it is the only move - that’s the worst move. They just need to hire someone that can do something interesting with all that lore as the potential is enormous.

There is a very old series written by Piers Anthony, who is known for somewhat horny fantasy books, that centers around two worlds - one of technology and science and one of fantasy and magic. Both worlds have analogues of the same person and in these books our heroes get switched. Assassins Creed could absolutely do this trick, albeit with better writing and less horniness. Now with powerful SSDs and minimal load times they could have a game where you actively swap in and out of the animus but the modern world is just as fleshed out as the historical one. Just mash together Watch Dogs and AC and it has the potential for greatness. In their current state Ubisoft could never achieve these heights but with all the internal company turmoil maybe they will bring on new talent and be less beholden to idiotic upper management mandates in the coming years.

Just flushing it all down the toilet is the worst thing they could do.

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100%

@humanity said:

They just need to hire someone that can do something interesting with all that lore as the potential is enormous.

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@humanity: I think you're very wrong (not about Xanth, that series was extremely horney) here.

The problem is that the game you want is just not the game that Ubisoft would ever make. You're talking about a carefully balanced and polished experience like a Sony 1st Party game that requires a ton of work and, more importantly, time, to pull off. It would take years to put that together and Ubi wants to pump these out every 2 years, so it's extremely ambitious.

Ubi also sucks at storytelling. When is the last time an Ubisoft game had a tight, high quality, story? Many years ago. So this would come off as a complete mess.

The last thing is actually a combination of the prior two. A story like that would have to resolve in some way. It would have to go somewhere. It would create a need for continuity and follow up if they wanted to continue the series, and that's something that they're bad at and couldn't do in the timeframe with which their working.

Assassin's Creed games already sell huge. Odyssey was the 10th highest selling game of 2018 according to NPD. They're big hits as is and Ubisoft doesn't want to retool in that way.

So would it be awesome if Ubisoft could get itself together to tell a good story, give the team time to work on it, and also not worry about churning out sequels at its current rate so that there would be time to continue at that quality? Sure. The game you describe would be very cool. But that's not how they work, and they have no incentive to work that way, so instead you'd get something that was massively ambitious but underbaked, and that's often the worst kind of game.

Given the company that Ubisoft is they're better off just not worrying about the future stuff and focusing on making the individual games that don't need to tie together much so they don't need to worry about a big overarching plot and they can stagger development more easily because the games are developed pretty independently (the events of Odyssey don't really impact the events of Valhalla outside of the small real-world connections so they can be developed in parallel.)

Also, and this is important, Assassin's Creed has always been horny and has only gotten hornier as time has gone on, so your desire for "Xanth books but not horny" makes no sense in the Assassin's Creediverse!

Please don't tell me that this game wasn't horny because I won't believe you!
Please don't tell me that this game wasn't horny because I won't believe you!

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An Iowa State University game? Sure, I guess, but one assassin versus a team of basketball players, I'm gonna guess it's a pretty one-sided game and not for Ezio.

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Humanity

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#17 Humanity  Online

@bigsocrates: I'm not quite sure what you're arguing here exactly. I'm saying that this is the theoretical game that I would want them to make and if they theoretically hired the right people and changed direction they could make it because they have all the tools. Your argument is "nah won't ever work" - that they should just keep making the most basic and derivative drivel they possibly can because thats easier and because they can't possibly do any better? I mean yah, making good games isn't easy. I find it bizarre to be so defiantly defeatist towards any possibility of change or improvement. Do I have confidence that they will make this game? No absolutely, given their current trajectory I don't see them going off course any time soon. Is it impossible? Absolutely not. I would never have dreamed of the God of War we got but somehow we got it.

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bigsocrates

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@humanity: What I'm arguing is simple.

Ubisoft has a certain style of making games, and Assassin's Creed is currently quite successful under that model so they're not going to change.

What you're suggesting would require a radical rethinking of not just the franchise but how they approach game development both for that game and subsequent games.

Given that they're not going to change they're better off minimizing the future stuff because they can't do it well in the current model.

A massive reimagining of their business model might result in a better product (though not necessarily a more profitable business model) but it just isn't in the cards at present when the games are selling well.

Also, and this is very important, Assassin's Creed has always been horny.

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#19  Edited By aktivity

You kinda get that with the Atlantis dlc for Odyssey, but I feel like their reliance on mythological gods as Isu counterparts has somewhat confined their creativity.

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Tokyo in the 80's.

Done.

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bigsocrates

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@mrbgone: Tokyo during the 80s is always awesome, but you have to contend with Yakuza 0, which did an outstanding job of creating a great version of that location, and with integrating modern guns into Assassin's Creed gameplay. I guess you can just say "screw it" and have people running around with katanas, but that could come off as extremely silly.

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Ares42

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So, I just play through THE chapter in Valhalla, and if the writing in that is anything to go by I don't think I'd ever want to see a realization of any of their meta-universe stuff. Although I guess it would be interesting to see how much of a train wreck it would be. Even their straight-forward main-story and side-stories are pretty shaky at times. The only somewhat compelling story-telling in the game is when they just rip off actual stories.

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#23  Edited By ToughShed

AC as a sci fi property is beyond dead and buried to me after AC 3. Its a series of historical backdrops and nothing more. And that's fine.

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I'm kinda losing interest in AC series and dunno if Isu driven storyline would make it any better if the gameplay stays the same.

I did enjoy Fate of Atlantis DLC back in Odyssey but after over 200h hours I'm not that eager to jump into Valhalla and I really love Norse culture and mythology. And it's due to bloatedness of the game, stale gameplay and gazillion and one side objective and POI.

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#25  Edited By Junkerman

The thing that always baffled me about Assassins Creed is how they go out of their way to make the same game.

Here you have a rockstar IP that's entire concept is based around historical tourism - why is parkour and rock/paper/scissors combat the only way to play these games? The ship combat of Black Flag was atleast something fresh but they've really failed to innovate beyond that.

People would probably flip their lid if they made the next Mainline Gears or Halo an RPG or Racing Game but I dont know; I feel like with Assassin's Creed they really could have done anything and every release you'd have this really fresh, new experience that captured the themes and feelings of that time period and even people on the fence would be willing to give it a go because 'Assassin's Creed'.

(Not to belabour my own point but I always think of the hay stacks from AC1; a bit goofy, a little iconic, but it "made sense" that there would be piles of hay around in that time period... subsequent games bend over backwards to still include them from piles of palm fronds to piles of flowers to piles of grass clippings... if there was a modern game I cant wait to see all of the dumpsters full of fresh bubble wrap under the Empire State)

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bigsocrates

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@junkerman: First of all, if they set Assassin's Creed in New York they wouldn't be dumpsters full of bubble wrap they would be dumpsters full of garbage bags. New York has a serious garbage problem and it would be hilarious to watch a cool assassin girl have to pick banana peels out of her hair after jumping down from a Chrysler building gargoyle.

Secondly, they actually did make 3 2D platformers and people didn't seem to like them. Maybe that's because they were made cheaply, but I think part of it is because people want stealth and recognizable gameplay in their Assassin's Creed. The new games really are much more action RPGs than the old stealth-action style so they have changed things up, but there seem to be limits to what people would accept, and people really want Assassin's Creed to have a big open world.

Other than a turn based RPG (which I think a lot of the players would dislike) there's not that much they can do. They tried multiplayer for awhile, they've moved to more RPG based mechanics, but when they try other stuff it seems like the interest is much lower.

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#27  Edited By ToughShed

The thing that always baffled me about Assassins Creed is how they go out of their way to make the same game.

The entire answer here is check out how long it takes Rockstar to put out games for an example and look how long it takes Ubisoft to put out AC every year. Making more different games takes more time and that aint happening.

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I kind of just need Assassin’s Creed to quit. I’ve only ever played half of Black Flag, but I’m sick to death of the series. I think the PREMISES are good. I’m just sick of the branding and the overtures to a story.

I wish they would just rebrand the whole thing as a historical adventure series that doesn’t have anything to do with one another, like Final Fantasy and go from there. Didn’t play one? It doesn’t matter.

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#29  Edited By BaneFireLord

Speaking as someone who's beaten or played a significant chunk of every mainline AC game up to Valhalla and will probably continue playing the series until it dies or I die, the draw for me has been and always will be AC's role as a popcorn open world history tourism simulator what got stabbing in it. Aside from Ghost of Tsushima, that's not a particularly crowded subgenre and I am happy to get a reliable dripfeed of it even if it's not a wildly different game every time. The sci fi elements are only interesting as a juxtaposition to the history, or as a conceit to throw in the mythohistorical elements that the post-Origins games have been toying with. If you go full Isu, you remove the thing that makes the series worthwhile. Riding a camel in ancient Egypt and coming across a weird chasm full of neon is a lot more unique and compelling than being drenched in that neon from the get-go. Otherwise it's just another open world game doing the same ancient aliens sci fi shtick that's been done to death by the industry and media writ large many times over.

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NameRedacted

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Unfortunately, the state of Ubisoft is hot dog sh*t, and has been for years (if you look at all the recent news surrounded them).

Ubisoft is all about pumping out generalized, annualized garbage, as parodied with the "Ubisoft Game" review:

https://www.pointandclickbait.com/2014/06/ubisoft-game-review/

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They already did a modern day Assassins Creed. It is called...

No Caption Provided

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#32  Edited By BisonHero

I think everybody needs to accept that Ubi will literally never make this game about AC’s nonsense progenitor race (ancient alien utopia in the distant past, or sci-fi conclusion in the year 2261, neither one is happening). They begrudgingly keep doing lore around it and the modern day stuff because they’ve been saddled with all the genetic memory stuff that was part of the pitch of the original couple games.

But c’mon, they know the broad appeal of these games is being a historical throat cutting simulator. On the big idea board somewhere at Ubi, AC has giant text that reads “BE AN ASSASSIN-WARRIOR IN HISTORICAL TIME PERIODS, STAB A BUNCH OF FOOLS, CLIMB SOME SHIT”, and then in much, much smaller font off to the side it says “Also I guess keep writing a bunch of stuff about this Assassins/Templar, ancient aliens, apple of Eden stuff that 20% of the player base is somehow still paying attention to.”