Well, so much for thinking Ubisoft would take it’s time with it’s flagship franchise.
Assassins Creed was starting to become stagnant with it’s yearly releases similar in the fashion of sports games and a certain first-person franchise. But unlike those sports game in which there is little to no adjustments made from year to year, Assassins Creed is a far different beast. It’s an open-world action adventure series in which you travel across vast areas looking to kill your targets. Theres a lot to work with and rushing through development can yield negative results.
When things were going well for Assassins Creed, the franchise could do no wrong. The first entry was a massive hit, the second even bigger, and then Ubisoft decided that in between main titles, let’s throw in some spin-off titles. So, Assassins Creed became a yearly affair and each new entry wasn’t able to distinguish itself from one another. The fourth entry, Black Flag, threw a new wrinkle in the form of ship battles, but was still criticized for not changing enough.
It wasn’t until Assassins Creed Unity where the series saw a drop-off in quality. While the game was gorgeous, it was buggy and felt like a rushed product. At least the trailer was bad-ass, regardless, Assassins Creed needed a break. It didn’t get one, because the next year the solid Assassins Creed Syndicate was released. It was a good game whose focus revolved around the single-player experience, but once again there were no real updates to the formula.
Then Ubisoft decided to do something completely different. They decided to wait a year. There was too much Assassins Creed and it was slowly sinking their franchise. At E3 last year, Assassins Creed Origins was announced and while many were skeptic, it looked completely different from previous entries. Upon release, players would find out that it was different and was subsequently the best entry since Black Flag. A new combat system that was more align with Ubisoft’s For Honor in which you could no longer spam attacks was a breath of fresh air.
There was challenge to the combat again, no longer did enemies wait to attack, seemingly waiting for their moment to die, players would have to be cognizant of enemy location or face getting ganked. Eagle vision had been replaced with an actual eagle, in which your feathery companion could scout locations, enemy placements, and huntable animals for you. The map was larger and you couldn’t just wander into any territory as Origins utilized an RPG-like leveling in which enemies could one-shot you based off their level.
Origins was fun, fresh, and a prime example about how if a publisher pulls the reigns back a little bit and give the developer more time, an established franchise can change it’s stripes. Which is why the “leak” of Odyssey is concerning, while I’m optimistic in regards to the setting, Ancient Greece is the shit, my concern is the dive back into a yearly release mindset. Think of Far Cry primal, while different from Far Cry 4, it recycled the same map and felt far too familiar for its own good. I’m confused as to why Ubisoft isn’t being patient knowing that it could lead to a lackluster product. Did they not see Assassins Creed Rogue or the third entry? Was there a delay in another title or did the publisher see the success of Origins and went: “more of that please.”
Don’t get me wrong, Origins laid down the foundation for future iterations, but that doesn’t mean that Ubisoft should dive right in and assume that players have forgotten past failures. Greece is an awesome setting to explore and I’m optimistic but cautiously so, this could either be great or be average. Ubisoft had just started to redeem themselves too in the eyes of the public, so doing this could be a pretty big risk.
Assassins Creed doesn’t need to be average especially with Origins being great. More will be revealed regarding Odyssey at E3. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one to take down Caesar. In fact, I’m pretty sure that WILL happen