With the series’ once stealth-oriented formula turning into a generic open-world RPG template, it’s no secret that fans of the iconic franchise have been getting restless. Since 2017’s Assassin’s Creed Origins, the series has been moving further and further away from what we’ve come to expect. The focus on the conspiratorial conflicts of two ancient orders – the Assassins and the Templars – has become secondary to detailed historical recreations and their contemporary narratives.
Of course, this has always been a major attraction of the series, ever since the debut’s Crusades era Middle-East and the Renaissance Italy of its sequels. However, it was also the modern-day narrative of Desmond Miles and his crew of modern Assassins that kept players hooked. In recent games, these bits have become essentially optional, having no real bearing on the game. These are just a few of the things that have seen the series decline in fans’ estimations. With Ubisoft recently announcing a change for the series, we’re here to break down what’s in store for this flagship franchise.
Assassin’s Creed Infinity
Last year, Ubisoft revealed plans for several new Assassin’s Creed titles. It starts with Assassin’s Creed Infinity, which isn’t a new standalone game but rather a “hub” or “platform” for future games. While they haven’t been entirely clear about this, it sounds like future games in the series will be accessible in Infinity like memories strands of the Animus.
They have revealed that this hub will essentially become the new home of the modern day narrative. It won’t feature Desmond or Layla, however. Ubisoft has said that they want Infinity to become the player’s own Animus and that you are the main character. It’s unclear whether that means you’ll have a player-created character, or if we’re looking at a kind of connected MMO-style hub. Whatever it turns out to be, it seems the Far Cry and Watch Dogs publisher seems to have ambitious plans. In interviews, they discussed plans for “crossover” experiences between their different games.
Assassin’s Creed Hexe & Red
Among the first new Assassin’s Creed titles they discussed, were the mysterious Hexe and Red. While Red seems like a continuation of their open-world RPG formula, with a Feudal Japan setting, whose samurai and shinobi seem like a perfect fit for the series’ focus on blades and stealth, Hexe seems like something quite different. Ubisoft has dubbed it “a very different Assassin’s Creed game” and the ominous music and rotting trees that were part of the brief teaser certainly seem to indicate that. The woodsy, folk horror vibes suggest that we may be getting something more horror-focused, or witch-themed. In fact, a rumour from Bloomberg suggested that the game will have a 16th-century setting and will take place amid the fear and hysteria of the witch trials. Time will tell what we’re in for, however, as neither Hexe nor Red are the first Assassin’s Creed titles we can expect.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage
Forget Red and Hexe for a moment, since Assassin’s Creed Mirage is the next game set for release. This upcoming title, set for a 2023 release, will take players to 9th-century Baghdad, just a few decades prior to the events of Valhalla. Players will be able to explore the city in its Golden Age, in a setting that will undoubtedly be reminiscent of the original Assassin’s Creed. The story will follow protagonist Basim in his exploits in 861, while the gameplay promises a return to the stealth-oriented focus of the original games. Players should be able to experience the renewed focus on parkour and stealth when Mirage drops later this year.
The future of the popular stabbing, running, and stealthing series may be somewhat uncertain, but it does sound promising. Ubisoft is finally trying something different with the tired series, for better or worse. At least it seems we’ll be getting a slate of different experiences, allowing you to ignore or enjoy the open-world RPGs as they come, while still getting something new.