Ubisoft’s big reveal is here: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is coming in October 2015. If it looks like Gangs of New York meets Sherlock Holmes: Game of Death meets Assassin’s Creed, and it turns out as awesome as that sounds, then Syndicate might just be the AC game to bring Ubisoft out of their latest slump. Which honestly for Ubisoft is a one-game streak, given their pretty successful history. Syndicate could be the throwback to the golden days of Assassin’s Creed that we’ve almost forgotten.
I was very late to the Assassin’s Creed party. I missed the hubbub and fuss when it made its debut back in 2007. I didn’t have a PS3 or Xbox360 at the time, and when it was ported to Windows I lacked a PC capable of running the game. But even if I had the required hardware I probably would have passed it by anyway; I was deep into RPG gaming (and Portal) and didn’t have interest in much else.
When I eventually got around to playing it, I was hooked. Going on assassination missions, gathering information, and doing some small side games was super fun. Altair was great, Ezio hit it out of the park, and the games just kept getting better. When Revelations was over I thought it couldn’t get any better.
And then like many popular titles the Assassin’s Creed franchise embraced the open-world sandbox design. The focus on assassination that was tight and spot-on in ACI and ACII was taking something of a supporting role. ACIII represented this first major shift. It featured a sprawling world with multiple cities more familiar to fans of the Witcher games or Skyrim.
Minigames such as the hunting quests and naval battles sweetened the pot, and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag cemented the deal. Not an assassin in the traditional sense any more but now a pirate, Assassin’s Creed moved squarely into the action adventure genre with stealth as more of an afterthought. Sure, the elements of sneakiness were still present but they paled in comparison to the rip-roaring sea battles and mass combats.
Fans and critics raved over Black Flag for these exact reasons. Rightfully so; it was a fantastic game. Open world exploration on land and sea was exactly what the players wanted. That it looked fantastic at the same time was icing on the cake, and Black Flag enamored many to the new direction Assassin’s Creed took.
Enter Assassin’s Creed Rogue, and the naval aspect only grew in prominence. Though this title didn’t fare as well as Black Flag in the critics’ eyes it wasn’t a complete failure and continued the open-world push of Black Flag. The series’ fate seemed set in stone, and its gameplay was developing well. All was good.
Good, that is, until Assassin’s Creed Unity.