Ubisoft may have come under fire at E3 2014 for the lack of a playable female presence in Assassin’s Creed Unity, but there’s no denying that there is plenty to be excited about for the stealth action franchise’s first fully new-gen installment. The introduction of co-op campaigns and the stunning footage of 18th century Paris both have many fans (including the Game Rant crew) eagerly awaiting the October 28 release date. Although the franchise doesn’t have a terrible reputation for confusing new players with complicated lore, Ubisoft has something new in mind to make sure the game’s present day narrative is user-friendly for gamers fresh to the world of stealthy high-tech memory retrieval.
The Assassin’s Creed franchise may only be seven years old, but the developers have been hammering out new installments just about every year to the community of loyal fans. There are six existing titles in the main series alone, plus about ten tie-in games. The main chunk of content always takes place in the past (and is mostly self-contained), but the present day story can often be jarring and confusing for players new to the franchise. In Black Flag for example, the present day narrative really requires a lot of prior knowledge (or work) on the part of the player. It’s not totally incomprehensible, but without prior franchise context, there are definitely a lot of “what the what?” moments that hurt the game’s otherwise immersive experience.
It’s not far-fetched to suspect that all that franchise history could be holding some shoppers back from investing in a pre-order for the upcoming game. In a recent interview with Examiner, creative director Alex Amancio explained that the present day narrative won’t offer any problems for new players in Unity and that the new-gen game is actually a perfect jumping on point in the franchise’s timeline…
“It’s a new start, it’s a new narrative start. That is symbolized by a completely new context for the present day…
“You’ve seen a little bit of an evolution with Black Flag, [but] we’re not going to do the same thing. What we’re doing with Unity is really the beginning [of] this new cycle of Assassin’s Creed games.”
Beginning a new cycle for the overarching narrative at the same time the franchise fully transitions to the new generation of consoles seems like appropriate timing. Amancio went on to explain that the new present day narrative will free the creative team up to tell a compelling story without worrying that it will feel redundant to long-time franchise fans.
“Because it’s new, we can actually explain it properly because nobody is going to feel like it’s redundant. I would say that Assassin’s Creed Unity is the best entry point for the franchise since [the original Assassin’s Creed].”
Although the potential for a compelling and fresh present day narrative is definitely a perk, the visits to the past are likely going to be the selling point for the game. The sandbox for Paris is the franchise’s biggest playground ever and will offer players hundreds of quests, activities, and rewards. Although Black Flag was a ton of fun and plenty addicting, particularly the many side quests and activities, the main narrative of the past and the present were definitely the game’s weak point. Hopefully, introducing a new present day setting and environment will help breath some life into Unity’s narrative to make for a more well-rounded experience.
What changes would you like to see to the Assassin’s Creed world with Unity? Do you think a fresh present day narrative will help make the game more appealing to new players? Let us know in the comments.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity will be released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on October 28, 2014.
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