Ever since 2009, games developer Ubisoft has proudly pumped out yearly installments of its flagship franchise Assassin’s Creed, the epic story of a family of acrobats who like to climb shit and murder people. Just two years ago, Vice President of creative Lionel Raynaud was confident about the future of the series, saying, “We are able to offer people a new Assassin’s Creed every year because they want Assassin’s Creed every year.”
Today, however, the team at Ubisoft acknowledged that fans are getting bored with the annual offerings and that it might be time for something new. And not, like, a crappy Unity new where all the change is underwhelming and everything else is broken, but a real re-examination of the brand.
After the obligatory plug for this December’s Assassin’s Creed film adaptation starring Michael Fassbender, the team at Ubisoft spent a few sentences (finally) admitting that the series is lame now, saying, “Since the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, we’ve learned a lot based on your feedback.” That’s code for, “We get it, we know we fucked up, please stop sending us mean notes now.”
The team added:
“We’re taking this year to evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’re delivering on the promise of Assassin’s Creed offering unique and memorable gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground.”
And it’s about damn time, honestly. Not only did Unity’s botched technical launch cause undue problems for fans of the series, but the game itself was also just kind of boring even when it was running properly. Middling reviews reflected as much.
In spite of some adjustments to the formula, 2015’s Syndicate fared better only under critical fire because it half-worked on release. It’s a far cry from the halcyon days of Assassin’s Creed II. It’s an unquestionably smart decision to take a step back from the faltering franchise and let Michael Fassbender do the series’ heavy lifting in 2016. The only way it could possibly backfire is if the film sucks (which could happen).
At any rate, Ubisoft can at least rest comfortably for the time being knowing that fans are thrilled with the decision:
That’s all good news from a typically negative target audience. Hell, Ubisoft even found a Watch Dogs fan hiding in the crowd. Ubisoft has given itself some breathing room with its assassin’s tale, something the series hasn’t received since ACI went to ACII. Of course, given the vast improvement in quality between those two series installments, the pressure is now on for Ubisoft to get the job done in a way that it hasn’t in nearly 10 years.