Nothing is true
Assassins Creed has been one of Ubisofts marquee franchises since 2007, so it only makes sense that another entry is on the horizon. As part of its earnings report today, Ubisoft president Yves Guillemot revealed that the company shipped 12 million copies of Assassins Creed III. The next line writing itself, Guillemot also confirmed that a new Assassins Creed would be out in the next fiscal year--between April 2013 and March 2014.
Guillemot had little to say about the game other than it would star a new hero in a new time period--confirming that the franchise may abandon its previous style of iterative, yearly sequels, but thats more than enough for us to start planning our next assassination vacation. Here are 10 things we want to see the next time we (digitally) stab a guard in the back
Get back to basics
Weve enjoyed watching the series grow and evolve with each new entry, but the next Assassin's Creed needs to refocus its efforts on what made us love the series in the first place. We didnt embrace the series for Homesteads, tower defense minigames, or Portal-esque first-person puzzles. We play Assassins Creed because being an assassin is fun.
Were hoping the series can refocus on exploration, stealthy kills, and exotic locales, leaving behind almost all of the ancillary features it accumulated over the years. We liked owning property and building a guild at first, but the mechanics have grown so cumbersome that theyre obscuring the core gameplay. And if that renewed focus could hopefully lead to fewer bugs than the ones we experienced in ACIII. Plus, the developers will probably have to limit their scope anyway if they arent making the next game for PS3/360. Speaking of which...
It should be next-gen
Both Microsoft and Sony seem poised to sell new consoles by the end of the year, and Assassins Creed has always been a cutting-edge series. Though the turnaround from current- to next-gen seems fast for a title as complex as AC, the series has to move quickly or risk being left in the dust by its triple-A competitors. And dont expect scaled down versions on current consoles, because Ubisoft isnt in the practice of keeping its top franchises on outdated hardware.
For as pretty as Assassins Creed III was, it appeared that the graphics had basically capped out for the series. Not only would the next-gen iteration potentially look much better, but the resource-intensive cities and crowds that AC is famous for could reach new levels of realism. Hopefully the upcoming systems will give the devs some extra legroom, ultimately making for an improved experience for gamers when it launches. And when will that be?
Its fall launch date should be revealed alongside the PS4
Its going to be a next-gen holiday season (hopefully!), and Ubisoft is known for its heavy day-one support of new consoles. We expect that, similar to the Wii U in 2012, youll see both PS4 and Xbox 720 get new Rabbids, Your Shape, and Just Dance games, all of which will be anchored by a brand new Assassins Creed. Much like Call of Duty, AC is the kind of huge series that easily sells more than 10 million copies during the holidays, so its unlikely Ubi would give up that quarterly cash cow.
And while previous entries have been revealed via magazine covers, Ubi will probably take advantage of the huge stage thatll be available on February 20. If the buzz is to be believed, thats the day Sony will reveal the PlayStation 4. Sony has showcased multiple Assassins Creed games at previous E3 press conferences, so we expect the console maker will once again lean on AC to help build buzz on 2/20. This doesnt mean AC4 will be a PS4 exclusive--were 99.999% certain it wont be--but itll be seen first on the PS4, and thatll be enough for Sony.
Put Patrice Dsilets back in charge
How can Ubisoft get a next-gen Assassins Creed ready just one year after a huge game like ACIII? Its all thanks to Ubis incredible network of developers producing multiple titles at once. Guillemot confirmed a new team is working on the next Assassins Creed, so we expect multiple studios all over the world have been plugging away at the game for months, if not years. But no matter how far along the game might be, Assassins Creed III proved that the series needs some new (by which we mean old) creative oversight, which we hope can come from former series director Patrice Dsilets.
Dsilets left Ubi after Assassins Creed II to start a new development team for THQ. Despite working on a game for several years, the title codenamed 1666 was never revealed before THQ closed down and the studio was purchased by Ubisoft. Now that Dsilets is back in the fold, perhaps he can at least consult on the next Assassins Creed, hopefully helping the devs rediscover what made the series great in the first place.
Make this new assassin an actual assassin again
So who will this new assassin be? Will he (or she!) be a brusque rule breaker like Altair? A charismatic seeker of vengeance like Ezio? A stoic outsider like Connor? No matter who it is, we want the character to be defined by the same back-to-basics approach we desire from the gameplay. In other words, how about we see this assassin kill people with some actual purpose again?
Similar to TV shows like Lost and The X-Files, Assassins Creed got way too caught up in its own mythology. Ezio, Connor, and Desmond were stuck searching for Pieces of Eden and decrypting Templar secrets instead of committing murder for hire. Hopefully that can get pushed into the foreground again while the massive conspiracy takes a breather after the events of ACIII. And the freshness of the past assassin needs to extend to the present day protagonist as well.
Introduce a new current day hero
When Guillemot says that the next Assassins Creed will have a new hero, we hope he isnt just referring to whoever you meet in the past. Without spoiling anything, Assassins Creed III ends the tale of current day hero Desmond, meaning the Animus needs some new blood, and we hope she or he can be completely unrelated to their predecessor.
First off, how about having the new lead be a little familiar with the Assassins Guild from the outset? That way, we can forgo too many needless reintroductions. Plus, we wouldnt mind seeing an entirely new support team backing the character up. And that group of people would also be completely unconnected to Desmond. Maybe they heard of his deeds, but these guys have their own problems without having to worry about anything that happened before. Again, this could be a brand new day for the series, starting with the characters, continuing on to the story, and then the new setting. Speaking of which...
It should take place in the Old West...
Assassin's Creed III succeeded in proving that the franchise's combat adapts quite well to the existence of firearms, so long as Templar aren't marching the streets with submachine guns. It also works well in less densely packed locations, making us think that instead of jumping to another country for the next game, the franchise should jump to another coast, landing whatever assassin we're going to be playing as in the Old West.
Gun tech in the late 1800s was still relatively primitive, but advanced enough to make for varied gameplay. The new assassin could have a hidden blade up one sleeve and a hidden six-shooter up the other, allowing him to stealthily assassinate people from up close or a far. The dusty towns the hero would travel between could be separated by wildlife expanses filled with side missions, mixing together Assassin's Creed with Red Dead Redemption to create an interesting, living world.
But if the series wants to move on to a new continent, Assassins Creed will find a perfectly acceptable locale in Asia, though theyd have to turn back the clock some from the American Revolution. The CG short film Assassins Creed: Embers not only detailed the final days in the life of series star Ezio--it introduced fans to Shao Jun. Hailing from China, the young female assassin ran all the way to Italy, seeking protection from Templars. After Ezio assists in dispatching her trackers, he hands her a mysterious gift and sends her back to Asia. Seems like a lot of narrative for a character well never see again.
Shao and her native land represent a massive amount of potential for the franchise. China in the 1500s would have so many unique cities and forests to explore. And the Assassins Guild of her country could be so far removed from the European guilds that their weapons and fighting techniques would be immensely different, giving the devs another excuse to revisit the gameplay. All that, and the built-in backstory of Embers, makes it very odd that the series hasnt gone to China already.
...or in the future
We've stood atop stone towers and surveyed ancient civilizations for five Assassin's Creed games now. That's cool and all, and we appreciate exploring locales that aren't seen in most of the other AAA games released every year, but we're starting to want for something different. Something... futuristic.
The current-day chapter of Assassin's Creed has closed--let's jump forward a few dozen (or hundred) years. We'd be abandoning the past, sure, but we'd still be accessing a totally alien world to us. But then again, the present day would be the past to our new hero, so perhaps this new star could jump into an upgraded animus to experience 2013 as one of his ancestors. Plus, said futuristic assassin could have access to super advanced weaponry, like flying electric assassins blades and nanobyte smoke clouds and holy crap did we just get excited about a futuristic Assassin's Creed you guys.
Keep evolving multiplayer
We're still shocked by how much we enjoyed Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's multiplayer, and we were happy to see Ubisoft continue to adapt and change the features as sequels were released. We hope this trend continues, and keeps most of the innovations found in Assassin's Creed III's competitive (and cooperative) modes.
Wolfpack multiplayer was great if you had friends--maybe this could be expanded to work better with more players, letting others take on the role of the hunted. We'd also like to see a story-based co-op mode, similar to Uncharted's, where teams of players are tasked with moving around the open world and accomplishing different objectives along their way. The framework is there; all Ubisoft needs to do is to keep advancing it.
Everything is permitted
Thats it for our off-the-cuff thoughts on the new game, but what do you expect from the next Assassins Creed? Tell us in the comments!
And if you're looking for more assassination fun, check out what we want to see in Far Cry 4?, and our list of the why Far Cry 3 is the best Assassin's Creed of 2012.