2014 is a big year for the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Not only did Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag continue to sell well across the globe, Ubisoft is set to release two entirely new console additions later this year, Unity (for PC, PS4, and Xbox One) as well as Rogue (for PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U) – not to mention, the publisher-turned-film company is also in pre-production on a big screen film starring Michael Fassbender based on the blockbuster game series. Whereas Rogue will tell the final chapter of the Kenway family saga, Assassin’s Creed: Unity is aiming to take the series back to its roots – with a personal story of love, not necessarily revolution, that also introduces a number of next-generation gameplay features.
Walking in and out of buildings in the Paris sandbox is a seamless transition and Ubisoft is promising across the board refinement of mission structure and combat for the best, and most customizable, Assassin’s Creed game experience yet. Of course, after positive response to the series’ multiplayer component, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to hear that Unity‘s feature set isn’t limited to the story campaign. Previously, Ubisoft announced co-op missions and now, thanks to a leaked video, we’re getting word that Unity will also feature a leaderboard challenge mode, titled “Rifts.”
The publisher has yet to officially unveil “Rifts” – and the aforementioned leaked footage was pulled hours after it first appeared online. Yet, while readers will have to wait for a full reveal from Ubisoft to see Rifts in action with their own eyes, the video revealed a lot about what players can expect from the game mode.
In Rifts, gamers compete in a race against a competing data ghost to collect glyph icons that have been scattered around a series of environments. Fans who have been with the series from the beginning will, without a doubt, remember similar solo challenges – where the player is given limited time to parkour run and climb through a specific path in the larger city sandbox. This time however, the overall challenge will be determined by other players – with ghost data showcasing how previous Unity gamers faired in their best run.
The video only showcases one environment but a leaked screen teases different historical time periods/locales as well as playable characters from past AC installments – such as Altaïr (Assassin’s Creed), Ezio (Assassin’s Creed 2), Shao Jun (Assassin’s Creed: Embers), Haytham (Assassins Creed 3), Aveline (Assassin’s Creed: Liberation) and Edward Kenway (Assassin’s Creed 4).
Check out the screenshot from the Rifts level select menu below (click to enlarge):
As for how the mode fits into the larger game narrative, the original poster on Reddit (claiming to be part of a developer beta) asserts that Rifts occurs within the animus as the user tracks down errant data to help locate an assassin trapped within a corrupted map.
Overall scoring is dependent on three types of glyph behavior: 10 points for each static glyph (locked in place), 20 points for dynamic glyphs (which move around the map), and 50 points for encrypted glyphs (which require players to stand nearby for several seconds). Upon completion ghost data is saved and made available to friends and other players – with an overall performance score attached. Each run nets the player in-game currency as well that, presumably, can be used to unlock additional challenge maps.
At this time, it’s unclear whether or not there will be other Rift modes available beyond the glyph race run. Given the success of similar modes in other games (such as the Batman: Arkham Asylum series), it’s easy to imagine that Unity could also feature some form of combat challenge (where points could be awarded for combo chains or specialty kills) but, for now, that’s only speculation. Either way, Rifts should provide added replay incentive to an already robust package – especially for gamers who enjoy honing their AC skills but do not want to hop online for a kill or be killed competitive multiplayer session. Instead, Rifts would offer a venue for gamers to test their skills, learn new tactics, and challenge friends without being disrupted by other gamers.
That said, single player gamers shouldn’t be too worried that Ubisoft is trying to cram additional modes into the project at the expense of the core story experience. In a new video, the studio explains why the game is a return to series form – building on recent Gamescom demo footage that detailed how optional objective mods have been implemented into each mission for greater customization. Previously, added objectives were used to layer additional difficulty onto each campaign mission; however, in Unity similar challenges actually have dramatic benefits within the mission – providing players with additional approaches to every encounter.
Check out the latest Assassin’s Creed: Unity video from Ubisoft below:
Assassin’s Creed: Unity releases October 28, 2014 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
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