We live in an age of reboots and re-imaginings. From total reboots like 2013’s Tomb Raider to soft reboots like Assassin’s Creed: Unity, we’re seeing a lot of new trends in old ideas. While some games seem fine as they were, a few could benefit from a tune up. Today, let’s reboot (again!) Ubisoft’s hallmark franchise: Assassin’s Creed.
Assassin’s Creed (Soft Reboot)
Take us all the way online. Let’s make Assassin’s Creed a hybrid online experience, and take the idea way farther than Unity ever dreamed to take the franchise. Imagine a hybrid of Watch_Dogs‘ integrated multiplayer, Dark Souls‘ PvP, Warframe‘s MMO friendly parkour and combat, and Planetside 2‘s continent wide conflicts.
In the open world, you’ll encounter friend and foe alike and choose whether to strike or remain hidden. You can choose to play the game either cooperative or competitively, with matchmaking happening behind the scenes. The player count will still be fairly limited to only a few dozen or so in any region of the open world, but as a result we can keep the series traditional parkour and stealth gameplay.
On top of this, let’s set the game in the modern era and let you play as either faction. The Templars and Assassins are on equal footing in this storyline, and its your job to try and tip the scales in one out of three cities. Just like in Planetside 2, a single city can be held for a temporary amount of time, so staying active and maintaining control is key.
The real game changer here is that it won’t be huge battles with orbital bombardments, but instead focus on assassinations, conspiracy, and intrigue. Control of regions will be influenced by solo, PvP, and PvE activities, allowing all members of each society to change the balance of power. Every action counts, encouraging you to do daily missions and rewarding you as your faction grows in strength.
On top of this, we’ll take a note from CCP’s cancelled World of Darkness MMO, and include a political system for the top players. Prove yourself a worthy ally to your cause, and you can ascend the ranks, having a say in your organization; in addition to being able to place bounties on specific players. At the top as the Assassin Mentor and Grand Master Templar, you will not only have the same powers as those beneath you, but city-wide modifiers and the ability to unlock missions only you can activate.
If we really want to go deep with the system, then we could even allow friendly fire on certain servers. Back-stab to gain power and cross-faction alliances would make the game turn into a cunning, cut throat game world. While it would lack the economic aspect of EVE Online, it otherwise could be the action-platforming equivalent.
Now, I mentioned solo actions. What could those be in a world so heavily reliant on interacting with allies and enemies? It’s simple really; we bring back the Animus. There’s no First Civilization malarkey still, but the Animus allows for not only solo actions, but a retained historical aspect, and a core narrative. While in the modern world, you are a customizable blank slate. When in the Animus, you can be one of several ancestors, reliving critical memories in mini-sandbox missions.
The Animus serves as a means to do regular single-player content in between the grander scale open world.
By allowing the single-player missions fans love from earlier entries to live on, the game offers both what diehards will want and something new for fans of the series multiplayer. With a dynamic, player driven world, the modern day setting is brimming with opportunities for new play styles and opportunities.
Whether free to play, or buy to play, Assassin’s Creed Online could give the franchise a chance to stop rushing out new entries. New story missions could instead be via updates, or offered as paid-for expansions, and span longer periods in any ancestor’s life than a normal campaign could. Instead of pouring hours upon hours of effort into creating new massive open worlds year after year, the could just add new content to the existing three or so modern cities.
Traditional multiplayer modes from the series could even still be included as a separate practice mode for PvP in the open world. As strange as it is to think, an online Assassin’s Creed game is basically what Ubisoft has been building towards. From the open world activities in Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed proper, to the dynamic multiplayer integration of Watch_Dogs, it all makes a perfect fit.
Oh and also, for either of these reboots: the game gets properly bug-tested and run through a quality QA firm before release. A novel idea, I know, but I think it’s worth trying.
Which idea do you think would be best for Assassin’s Creed? Witcher/Hitman style solo experience, or a massive online reimagining? Do you have ideas of your own? Please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments, and let me know what games you’d like to see get a reboot in the future!