Assassin's Creed is arguably Ubisoft's flagship franchise, evolving from a small story about well, assassins, to a fully-fledged RPG where you can play as Vikings and even Gods. And with DLC planned for last year's reinvigorating Assassin's Creed Valhalla, the gaming sensation is here to stay.
In fact, the open-world phenomenon will expand further, as it heads towards a live-service model.
Following the success of Grand Theft Auto Online and Fortnite, Assassin's Creed Infinity will offer multiple, interconnected historical regions with an ever-evolving map and a plethora of content being constantly added to the platform.
But is this the right move for Ubisoft's gaming mogul? I'm not too sure.
Bigger Doesn't Always Mean Better
The last three entries in the series are gigantic, with each game toppling the previous in campaign length and scope. While Odyssey and Valhalla both offered a beautiful playground, the mission types and quests became somewhat repetitive. Take Valhalla for example. When attempting to pledge allegiance to the various counties, the formula became apparent: head to said area, establish your presence with this land and among these characters, resolve their issues and unite with them. And you have to have to perform these actions several times within its 60-hour campaign. Granted, nearly every RPG/ sandbox game follows a similar formula, but the best RPGs are those that do not make these beats obvious.
With Infinity, I sense that a majority of quests added will be similar to one another. What makes games like The Witcher 3 and Breath of the Wild so significant is the variety in missions. Considering how Valhalla feels very bloated at times, I fear Infinity will follow a similar approach but on a grander and endless scale.
What sets Assassin's Creed apart from other franchises is the unique settings each game places the gamer in. From Egypt to Greece, each instalment involves a different location with a memorable story to wrap yourself in. You become Ezio, Bayek, and so forth. If rumours are true and Infinity does follow the direction of Grand Theft Auto Online and Fortnite, offering hands-on multiplayer support and the ability to move from various time periods may disrupt immersion.
Being fascinated by exclusive points in history makes each game feel personal and truly engrossing. I've always viewed the games as engaging getaways. Moving from the Viking era to Egypt while on paper sounds innovative, but this jump may make the game lose this well-known quality.
While previous Assassin's Creeds have delved in PVP and co-op game modes, their non-existence in recent entries is enough to show they weren't the best ideas. Infinity may follow the same fate if said features are being planned for this entry. Assassin's Creed's ability to captivate the player is what keeps fans coming back; why would you want to change that?
Games As A Service = Success?
Games as a Service (GaaS) is a hit-or-miss approach. With every accomplished Destiny and strong Overwatch, there is an underperforming Marvel's Avengers or discontinued Anthem. Offering seasonal events, valuable loot, unique game modes, and listening to fan support will be key. While bad AI, deceptive grinding, and even unstable bugs can break the game.
Ubisoft's own The Division 2 followed a GaaS strategy. While having a rocky launch, the game eventually recovered which can be thanked due to its continued support, leading to 10 million copies sold worldwide. This is in contrast to the French publisher's other title, Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Infinity can go in either direction depending on whether Ubisoft decides how much support the platform will receive. But given this is Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft is likely to put a majority of their resources into the game. Whether it plays out well, we will have to see.