The number of video games being pushed from a 2014 release into 2015 may be growing by the week, but not every delay has been so disappointing. For fans of Assassin’s Creed Unity, the two-week delay the game was awarded means it will be launching alongside Assassin’s Creed Rogue – its last-gen counterpart. With one telling the story of an Assassin navigating through the French Revolution, and the other navigating the North Atlantic for the Templars, a new batch of screenshots shows neither are to be trifled with.
With the mechanics of gameplay all but established for the Assassin’s Creed series (something the makers of Unity are looking to change), fans have turned much of their criticism over past games toward the series’ heroes. Are they compelling enough? Entertaining enough? European enough? With that in mind, Ubisoft seems to have given both Unity and Rogue a historical hero who embodies a shift from the traditional thinking.
In the case of Rogue‘s protagonist Shay Patrick Cormac, the most important differences are the most obvious: for starters, he’s a Templar bent on hunting down and killing Assassins, not learning their ways. He’s already been trained as a member of the Assassin brotherhood, before a tragic event leads him to question the Order, turning his friends against him and driving him into the bosom of the Templars.
The shift in allegiance doesn’t just mean improved weaponry for both himself and his ship, The Morrigan, but that he’ll be spending quality time with one of the series’ more mysterious figures. Have a look:
We first learned of the role that AC3‘s Haytham Kenway would potentially play in Rogue when playing the game for ourselves, but the screenshot confirms that the game will shed at least some light on the Templar’s life. That story seems to walk hand-in-hand with the fall of North American Assassins – a decline we’re wagering Shay has a direct influence on.
As Rogue‘s events and characters will hopefully shed light on the story behind AC3, a few decades later (and a trip across the Atlantic Ocean) will see Arno Dorian pursuing answers of his own against the backdrop of the French Revolution. It actually isn’t just Arno who promises an evolution of Ubisoft’s storytelling, but his relationship with Elise de la Serre – his childhood love and a member of the Templar Order. Arno and Elise join forces in Unity‘s singleplayer campaign, but it’s the cooperative multiplayer that gets the spotlight in the newest screenshots.
We emphasized the similarities between Unity‘s co-op and traditional RPG mission design after playing it firsthand, and the new images highlight the mechanics and team-oriented abilities that Arno and his group of Assassin brothers will be able to use. Take a look at the abilities, ranging from healing to ammo refills and a ‘Communal Sense’:
Aside from a few new looks at a de-hooded Arno, the screenshots highlight some features we saw during our hands-on demo, and some new ones. The Communal Sense provides a twist on the classic Eagle Sense, allowing all members of the group to see enemy soldiers marked on their HUD if a single Assassin can see them. While the ability may defy explanation, it gives a squad the chance to embody all-knowing Assassins in a way that makes their enemies inherently vulnerable.
Add that ability to refill a co-op partners ammunition or heal them (while dragging them out of harm’s way) and it’s apparent that while Unity‘s co-op may be something of an unknown for the series, it hasn’t been tossed together without some balanced design. The last time Ubisoft experimented by adding multiplayer to the AC formula the results were intriguing, if nothing else; hopefully the addition of integrated cooperative missions will be similarly promising.
Which of these games are you most interested in playing? The tried-and-true Black Flag formula being expanded upon with Rogue, or the newer, more ambitious (but potentially rougher) next-gen Unity? Sound off in the comments.
Assassin’s Creed Unity releases October 28, 2014 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with Rogue releasing the same day for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.