This fall season, Ubisoft has a special treat for all Assassin’s Creed fans. Also for fans of buying stuff. In addition to the expected yearly installment of the main series (Unity, now moving to newer consoles), those stuck in the undignified squalor of PS3 and Xbox 360 ownership will be graced with a pity gift of Rogue, their own special high seas adventure.
Adding to the bounty is additional DLC. This is known in the gaming world as: “I’ll gladly pay you today for a hamburger next Tuesday.” Why developers insist on this model is the topic for another discussion, but it bears mentioning that these announced additions include not only graveyard and sewer levels for Unity, but also a separate adventure involving Chinese assassins. We all enjoy going assassinatin’ and a-creedin’, although perhaps Ubisoft might be hedging bets on what it hopes will be another strong seasonal appetite for its series.
Hopefully each title will be polished and developed to its fullest. I’m looking particularly close at Rogue, which so far seems like a legitimate extension of the series. Nevertheless I cannot help but wonder just how many assets and other gameplay elements were recycled from previous entries. Who demanded more boats? So far Unity has not shown a single naval mission. How did the French Revolution get on without sea battles? I sincerely doubt these imagined Chinese assassins relied heavily on sailing. Not to underwrite the value it possesses to pad out the game length, but the third time around this mechanic may have outstayed its welcome.
The series could benefit from a change of pace, and squalid France does not present that possibility. New time periods beget new locations beget new ideas. Ancient Egypt, Feudal Japan and Victorian London are just some of the rumored locales for future installments. Not to suggest the series has gone wholly stale, rather striving for more distinct time periods and settings will reinvigorate anticipation for each new entry. With this, fans and the unfamiliar can look forward to more variety instead of last year’s game with this year’s improvements. Maybe Ubisoft will learn from Rogue’s miscalculations and discover that fans enjoy the series more for its echoes from Prince of Persia rather than the appeal of playing as some random dude getting his dinghy tossed.