[As Read on GIO.]
[Titled: Breaking the Cycle]
Today’s blog title might seem a little ambiguous, and I could see why. The title might have no meaning to you, or you might automatically think of the achievement/trophy of the same name from Assassin’s Creed Revelations’ downloadable ‘The Lost Archive’ pack. If you chose the latter, or you cheated and read ahead, you are quite correct. Today’s blog is set to talk about all things Creed- and no, I am not referring to the band, although they do have some tasteful music, yes. Despite the fact that such a thing as shown in the picture above would never happen, and most certainly impossible considering the fact that assassins have not learned to replicate themselves, last time I checked- I will talk about a few key things about the series here, and explain my choice of title as well.
First things first- title. When Assassin’s Creed IV releases this October, it will not be the fourth game in the series, but the eighth game in the series, or ninth, if you count the iOS/Facebook ‘Legacy’. In a series with four man titles, two subtitled chronicles, and two handheld accompaniments, there is still quite a lot of room to work with, which is reassuring. The same people who complain about there being a new Call of Duty game every year will often be heard complaining about the next Assassin’s Creed title, and vice versa. The major difference I see in this matter however, is that, while both do have single player and now multiplayer selections, they are built from the ground up with opposite modes in mind. CoD is generally built and known for its multiplayer, whereas Assassin’s Creed is for its lengthy and stellar single player, and multiplayer was sort of an experiment tacked on for added benefit. And this brings me to the title once more. I intend to present a few options as to how AC can “break the cycle” so to speak, and really shake things up in the AC universe and games. The parts that may concern IV are, of course, completely based on coverage and speculation presently, but the others are rooted in both factual information and thought.
Point No. 1
A constant in the Assassin’s Cred universe has always been the versatility with which the assassins can hop around their environment and leap directly into combat in a variety of ways- up close, stealthily, or from a longer range. This has been an excellent formula thus far, and each game has been varied and steeped in its combat from title to title, albeit with the same core functionality remaining: assassinate that guy with your hidden blade to the face. Jokes aside, Black Flag looks to be doing what the others have in the past- changing up a few things, such as Kenway’s agility and method of combat technique, but many of the core values are still the same. Trust me, this is not a bad thing by any means, nor am I suggesting that it be changed immediately. However, this blog is meant to bring some radical thoughts to mind, and I think this is as great a place as any to start.
Instead of drastically changing such a honed and refined combat formula, maybe we could tweak it slightly more so here and there, or even do something three times as epic. We could have three different “loadouts” so to speak, and have each control scheme and attack sequence mapped into one of them as either a “stealth”, “assault”, or “assassination” prompt. I know this would make the game seem to similar to some FPS where you select your loadout before beginning the mission, but I think of it more as a toggle-able option such as that of the assault and recon prompts in Ghost Recon. Toggling one of these switches your squad to cautious and stealthy to Zero Dark Thirty breaking in and popping tangos. Just think, you could easily pause the game by bringing up your weapons and items wheels, where, on the side, there would be a little triangle that can be toggled to switch from method to method. This could not only change your attack animations, but make your character all the more smart and trainable without you having to do more than press a single button. If you switch to stealth, you would automatically take lighter steps and be more in tune with your surroundings- stopping every so often to take out an enemy passing by. With assault, you could be able to bring out the big guns (literally), and pick off enemies from any distance with your more special or powerful weapons. And last but not least, with the assassination setting, you could have a sort of mixture of both, akin almost to the specialist strike streak in MW3, and sport the best of both worlds- up close hidden blades and stealth, or crossbow to the head from afar, or throwing axe to the back. It just depends.
And the best thing yet? You don’t even have to switch the toggled setting if you don’t want to. Your assassin will adapt to the appropriate setting depending upon what weapon or tool you decide to use, and to the enemy AI’s perception to or reaction to your appearance. If the area is on high alert, it might automatically switch to stealth mode to save your skin, unless you decide you want to fight your way out for the heck of it. If you’re trying to assassinate a target, it might use the assassination setting, so that you can take him out whenever you get the opportunity, but still have some semblance of stealth to help you get around. It literally depends on the evolving circumstances around you. But that’s just my first thought.
Point No. 2
My second and final piece of interesting thought on the matter of radical changes to gameplay formatting in the Assassin’s Creed series concerns story. While the story of Desmond and the future assassins was quite an interesting one, and the Animus is definitely an intriguing piece of machinery, I have two points to put forward about the story here. The first is more of a suggestion. I think that, for future titles, the Assassin’s Creed series could completely forgo the present day setting and stick to its historical setpiece, without having to justify things by adding in ancestor memories and that kind of stuff. This will be explained here in point two. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the way the story meshed together, because I really did, it’s just that I’d like to capitalize on the fact that people often forget about the present day setting when they are roaming ancient Rome or Constantinople. You can’t help but be immersed in that world. And mind you, this is merely for a single player sense- having the whole Templar multiplayer basis is still perfectly fine. We aren’t trying to forget the current story or anything.
Point two is the more radical of the two in that it concerns an idea for a story and setting basis for a future Assassin’s Creed title- one that I think should be inherently obvious. We all played the present day missions in Assassin’s Creed 3, and were thankful that we could finally kind of actually explore the present day world for once. Well, why not make an entire game set in the present times, since the shakeup at the end of AC3? Interesting thought, no? Have a giant world area like modern day New York or somewhere, and even maybe something like the open wilderness that was AC3’s frontier between it and other countries or cities. Or maybe even have a main hubworld, where you can travel to different cities and ports a la AC2’s Italian provinces. That’s certainly a game thought worth merit, right? We have a nearly infinite number of time periods we could visit simply from 1000 to 2000 alone, and anything from the American Civil War to World War II is game. So if a modern timeline were to be interposed as well, it would only complete the cake. But that’s just a story thought.
Anyway, that’s the main meat of my slightly longer, more open-ended and thoughtful blog for the day, which I hope you enjoyed supremely. Whether or not you like the Assassin’s Creed series is out of the question of course, as it is unavoidably the topic of my blog for day four, but you can easily suggest your own thoughts as you see fit regardless. I will leave you with that thought, and on that final note. Adios.