The folks over at Ubisoft revealed that they are not including multiplayer in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Of course, they provided several reasons as to what made them come to this decision, but there are still those that are a bit unhappy with this development. Ever since Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, the franchise has included some form of multiplayer interaction and the modes were often quite good. They were unique, and really built upon what makes the Assassin’s Creed franchise so great in the first place. While Unity left much to be desired, it was still a solid multiplayer idea.
Because of this, many hoped that the trend would continue into Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. A fresh new city, with new technology and mechanics, as well as actual gangs which may have made things interesting. But the developers had a tough decision to make. As many readers may already know, Assassin’s Creed Unity didn’t have the best reception. Its large scope and attempt to do everything made it a bumpy launch that took quite a few patches to correct. Also, the potential to have four separate human-controlled players in the world at once sort of tied their hands when it came to making certain plot decisions. It isn’t exactly the easiest thing to convey a deep, compelling narrative while also giving four players relative freedom.
To that effect, Ubisoft has decided to make Assassin’s Creed Syndicate a single-player focused experience. And while that may be a bit disappointing at the moment, it is most certainly a good thing, especially for a company trying to prove that this franchise is still worth all the fuss. Remember, the developers are very aware of the shortcoming of the last entry in the series. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is them doing right by their fans, and sometimes that means making sacrifices in order to deliver the best possible gameplay experience they can.
When you look back at the first two Assassin’s Creed games, what you have there are experiences focused on compelling narratives and character development. The focus provided to those games allowed for the developers to add a sense of immersion that not only gave players freedom, but also allow them to really get inside the heads and motives of their controlled protagonists. This was one of the greatest strengths of Assassin’s Creed II and one of the reasons that game is considered the best in the franchise by many fans.
Now some of you may be wondering, “What does that have to do with competitive multiplayer?” After all, those modes are able to be completely independent of the central game. No need to tie in to the story, no need to even reintroduce main characters, so why cut that as well? Well, that also contributes to focus, just in a different way. While removing the co-op found in Assassin’s Creed Unity allows for a tighter story revolving around the protagonists Jacob and Evie, removing competitive multiplayer allows for a greater refinement of the core experience.
Developing a game requires time and resources. Creating multiple, separate modes within said game requires a splitting of those resources that can (though not always) seriously harm the game the developers were trying to make. It’s sort of like a risk/reward system. Ubisoft can take a quarter of the people working on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and have them develop some multiplayer element, but they run the risk of it being poorly implemented, or just not being used. A solid example would be the multiplayer component found in 2013’s Tomb Raider. That game managed to reintroduce the series to much fanfare, but its multiplayer wasn’t exactly the best thing. Many wondered why they didn’t just take those resources and develop more tombs to be explored in the single player campaign. It’s sort of the same dilemma Assassin’s Creed Syndicate could’ve been hit with.
Why not reward loyal fans by pouring all of their resources into the core game? A core which made them fans in the first place. That’s what the elimination of a multiplayer component stands to deliver. After years of games including every mode in order to entice as many gamers looking to part with their hard earned cash, it’s refreshing to see a developer realize that it’s not the only course of action. Building the best single-player game they can, and allowing that game to speak for itself, is quite possibly the best move Ubisoft has made in some time.
This return to focus is in many ways a love letter to the first entries in the series, and a return to form for one of the biggest franchises in video gaming. Of course, we will have to wait and see just how well this decision works out for the devs, but Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is shaping up to be something special. If the developers stick to their guns and manage to deliver the working experience they promised to fans during the reveal, then gamers are in for a real treat come October 2015.
What is your take on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate moving away from multiplayer? Are you happy that they’re more focused now? Will you miss assassinating strangers online? Let us know in the comments.