If the rumours are true, then the next game in the AC series release will be set in Ancient Egypt. Scheduled to hit the shelves in 2017, it will be the biggest departure from the main narrative yet and will include a massive revamp of the series. Ubisoft, it is claimed, will be going back to the drawing board to get the series back on track.
Outside XBox has already done a video on 7 things that irked them about previous games in the series and that they do not want to see return in any future games.
Humbly, I offer five suggestions for what I would like to see.
Build a World, Not Just A City
We have a real opportunity here on this generation console to build a real world for the next AC game. I loved exploring Victorian London and Revolution Paris, but sometimes a bustling city is not all I want to see. I want to see the countryside, tiny villages tucked away, I want to see the wildlife that makes up the ecosystem. Let me travel by boat along the Nile, climb palaces and temples and get lost in the desert. This is something that Black Flag did very well, and for an open world land-based comparison, we need look no further than the design of Red, Dead, Redemption (see video below). That game, aside from being one of the most popular on the last generation console, was simply gorgeous to look at and well constructed. AC can do this very easily.
Mysteries & Monuments
Missing since Revelations, the game lacks something without those relics to find inside and beneath famous monuments. It added an element to the sense of conspiracy and the ancient aliens and their technology left behind narrative that, though I think is nonsense in the real world, adds an extra attractive dimension to the game that has been underplayed in the last couple of games. I would dearly have loved to go inside St. Paul’s Cathedral to find an ancient relic in Syndicate and I sorely miss it. The Ezio trilogy did this very well but once we moved to North America, the need for it was gone and it never returned. Please bring it back Ubisoft!
Something To Do in Present Day
Look, I know that not everybody liked the present day sequences but if we are going to have them at all, make it substantial and integral to the story – but most importantly playable. I hated the half-arsed cut scenes in Unity and Syndicate; I’d rather they did away with them entirely. I also understand that Desmond Miles divided fans bitterly, but the problems with the character are not problems with the game play. It was fun and interesting to remove him from the Animus and have him running around modern Rome and Monteriggioni. It was a nice break from the animus time and was an interesting way to compare how the landscape had changed over time. So by all means, don’t bring in another protagonist, but please Ubisoft give me something to do like you did in Black Flag and Rogue.
With Multiple Protagonists, Let’s Have Distinct Skill Sets
Now we are no longer limited to the direct bloodline of Desmond Miles, I think one of the best changes came with Syndicate. Playing as the Frye twins was a great way to expand the game against unfair accusations of misogyny from a certain internet conspiracy theorist who shall remain nameless here. Nevertheless, the pairing and their relative skill sets improved the game dynamics. I have one problem with how this was executed in Syndicate though. It was the fact that the skill sets of the Frye twins was not distinct enough. With Jacob as the brawn Assassin and Evie as the stealth Assassin, there was a great opportunity to expand the depth of the skill sets available to each. Unfortunately, there were only 3 or 4 unique skills per character out of around 30. The skills were great, but they did not go far enough. Honing the skills and dividing them up a bit more will make the player think more carefully about how they use each protagonist.
Underused, almost wasted in the last two games and it has been so integral to the game since that first jaw-dropping (and to me unexpected) revelation at the end of the first game. Since then, it has been little more than a lip service, something lurking in the background. I know the modern story has had a paradigm shift thanks to Juno’s actions since Black Flag but it’s time to bring them back into the limelight – not just their technology, but the people – Minerva and Juno especially need to restart their conflict to get this aspect of the game back on track. The series is some 8 years old now, having produced games on two consoles. I can only assume that those people coming to the series later on (as in, those who haven’t played any games before Unity) weren’t entirely sure what was going on when they first played it and maybe feel unsatisfied. I love the big narrative, but it is time to stop being so cautious about it.
This seems a long time ago now…
And I miss the sense of excitement that Ezio was getting closer to the truth just as Desmond was. All that conspiracy stuff, as daft as it is, is integral to the game series.