With six major titles released thus far, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has been quietly pilfering our pockets for a generation. Following the ancestral escapades of one Desmond Miles, the series that took gamers from the New World to the Enlightenment — and soon enough your local movie theatre too — certainly shows no signs of slowing down. With the ale-glugging, redcoat slugging Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag bobbing ever closer to shore, developer Ubisoft is keen to keep its loot-laden vessel afloat, but will the pressure to iterate outweigh Ubi’s desire to innovate?
Apparently not, claims studio CEO Yves Guillemot, in an interview carried out at last week’s E3 festivities. Despite confirming the existence of up to three new yearly Assassin’s Creed titles (one of which is likely Black Flag itself) the gaming magnate was eager to stress the creative allowances involved in such an undertaking.
“We are making sure the teams who are creating the different iterations have enough time–two years, three years, so that they can take risk and they can change the concept enough so that it can be appealing and fresh.”
So what kind of change can we expect from title to title? Well, aside from incremental improvements to graphics, the series’ next-gen engine is likely to remain unscathed, barring one or two new gameplay wrinkles. Speaking of which – will each studio be beholden to the ideas of the studio that came before it? A one-year difference in release might sound like plenty, but what if critical feedback blasts a Black Flag mechanic to the extent that it has to be removed? Worse still, what if gamers ask for more of something that barely exists in its immediate successor?
The likelihood remains that 2014’s Assassin’s Creed will be something of a ‘safe’, albeit large scale add-on pack, doing for Black Flag what 2010’s Brotherhood did for Assassin’s Creed 2. It could also spell a return to handheld gaming, following last year’s languid Liberation title for the PlayStation Vita (read our review).
With the female assassin Aveline all set to appear in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (the result of advances in the series’ in-story Animus tech) might this exclusive PlayStation perk eventually lead to equally time-twisting appearances from the likes of Ezio, Altair and company? Could 2015’s unnamed Assassin’s Creed game find Desmond somehow uniting his many famous forebears together? Head to the comments section below to get speculating.
Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag will walk the plank on October 29th (US), October 31st (AUS), and November 1st (EUR) for PC, Wii U, Xbox 360 & PS3 and sometime during Q4 on Xbox One & PS4.