Ubisoft Entertainment SA will apparently introduce what was initially supposed to be an Assassin’s Creed expansion into its own, standalone game. As first reported by Bloomberg, the massive video game company will introduce Rift, which was supposed to accompany 2020’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla as additional content, in order to bolster its release schedule.
Anonymous sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that Rift “morphed into a full game late last year” and will star Basim, a character from Valhalla. The game itself will be smaller than the typical Assassin’s Creed entry — rather than providing users with an open-world adventure, Rift will be more focused on stealth gameplay. It is set to release either later in 2022 or in 2023.
Since the series first took off, a new Assassin’s Creed game has been released annually, starting with Assassins Creed II. However, after the launch of 2015’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Ubisoft began slowing its output. Outside of the Origins and Odyssey releasing in 2017 and 2018 respectively, there has been at least a two-year grace period between titles.
Emerging challenges — Things haven’t exactly gone Ubisoft’s way in recent years. Some of this, like reports of a toxic work culture during the middle of 2020 which led to a number of employees leaving the company, was met with public backlash and was completely self-inflicted. This sort of mass exodus continued into 2021.
Additionally, the company has tried to sell its fanbase on in-game NFTs, much to resounding groans. A botched December rollout for the initiative led to the official announcement video on YouTube removing the total dislike count.
Ubisoft’s output has also been underwhelming — delays have plagued the launch of the online game Skull & Bones, and Beyond Good & Evil 2, an anticipated sequel to a fan favorite.
In the event that Rift drops sometime this year it will join Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok, which is described as “the most ambitious expansion in franchise history.” The latter is supposed to come out on March 10.
It’s moments like these when I imagine a parallel universe where the Assassin’s Creed franchise wrapped up in a neat trilogy, with our protagonist jetting off into space.