When Franchises Over-stay Their Welcome

When Franchises Over-stay Their Welcome

Well, it seems like Ubisoft is just as sick of its repetitive series as we are. According to the latest reports, Ubisoft has confirmed that it will postponing both Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed annual releases for another year. In an interview with IGN, Tommy Francois (Ubisoft’s editorial vice president) left no room for doubt by stating that, “we believe Alpha for these games needs to be one year before release. We’re trying to achieve that. That’s super f****** blunt, I don’t even know if I’m allowed to say this. This is the goal we’re going for: Alpha one year before, more quality, more polish. So if this means biting the [bullet] and not having an Assassin’s game, or a Far Cry [in 2017], f*** it.”

Set my heart aflutter, are those swear words? Why, I never heard an official Ubisoft gaming representative talk like this in an interview! It’s actually quite nice to see them let loose once in awhile. Especially since this seems like quite a frustrating issue for Francois, as he further explains that “we still need to have an Alpha, and we need it available as early as we possibly can. Because the more time we have for this the more polish we have, the more time we can change, refine, swap systems. You just can’t take shortcuts.” By shortcuts, Francois is likely referring to the framerate issues and general glitches in Unity . I am quite glad to hear that Ubisoft wants to avoid these problems in the future and take the time to make the game right – and stable.

The vice president goes so far as to explain that this additional time will be dedicated to some much needed innovation, “I do think we need to break that formula. This year we’ve given Far Cry and Assassin’s some time to decant, innovate, and polish. The objective behind this is exactly that. You’d be surprised – there are so many prototypes of alternatives. It’s always the same thing, the player is king, so we play-test it and people are just like, ‘What the f***?’ And we’re like, ‘Oh no! We just spent a year prototyping this new macrostructure for an Assassin’s or other type of open world game and people are telling us it’s s****.’”

It’s refreshing to hear that Ubisoft is going to start listening to fans and kickstart its most famous franchise. The most we currently know from the rumour mill is that Assassin’s Creed’s next game will probably be set in Ancient Egypt and is code named Assassin’s Creed Empire . We have nothing on the next Far Cry so far, however.

I admit, I’ve only just gotten into the Far Cry series with Far Cry 4 (which is apparently one of the good ones). Thus, I’m afraid I can’t focus on what a revamped Far Cry will look like, especially since Ubisoft kind of already gave that a go with Far Cry Primal , which was a good time – no Mountain Dew required. I would say there is room for improvement concerning character development, but I quite liked the setting and mythos of Far Cry Primal . Assassin’s Creed , however, let me tell you.

If Ubisoft really wants to turn their franchise upside-down, Assassin’s Creed is going be a very different game. In preparation for that, let’s take a look at what this delayed Assassin’s Creed might look like. If the rumors are true and the game will be set in ancient Egypt, than the center of conflict in the series will no longer exist. Simply put, the Templars just didn’t exist until much later in history. Ancient Egypt existed from 3150 BC to 30 BC, whereas the Templars are estimated to have been formed around 1119 to 1312. There is no overlap here. Ubisoft could, of course, center around the formation of the Templars, but that would be very far away from Egypt. The formation of the Assassins, however, since they are a great deal more fictional, could have existed whenever Ubisoft says they did. However, it is my understanding that the Assassins formed in reaction to the Templars, not first by any means. Again, Ubisoft has the creative license with them, so such a fact can be explained away.

When Franchises Over-stay Their Welcome

With, for example, a reason for the Assassins to exist that doesn’t have anything to do with the Templars. Almost all of the Assassin’s Creed games have been hinting at some sort of enlightened alien race that built all of the ancient technology Ezio and others fiddle with. Perhaps that technology includes the pyramids and we will finally have a coherent storyline instead of some disembodied lady in robes confusing the hell out of poor Ezio. The Assassins could very well have been formed to protect the secrets of these aliens, a doctrine so old it is eventually lost in the debate between anarchy and tyranny.

The new game might very well focus instead on the builders of the pyramids. The goal, instead of fighting against the Templar’s next scheme, will be to protect the aliens from less enlightened humans. Who knows though? This is pure speculation. Ubisoft has played with the facts of history before, thus the developers might tell the prequel of the story in which the Templars and Assassins first come into conflict with each other during one of the many Crusades.

Nonetheless, I think we can all be very glad that Ubisoft is scrapping the annual release in favor of quality. Especially after the glitched up release of Unity and the many criticisms of the series’ repetitiveness, a delay is breath of fresh air. Here’s hoping that Ubisoft listens to its fans and gives its long-running series a shot of innovation.

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