Assassin’s Creed is a franchise with a long and successful history. The series has been a consistent stream of significant profit for Ubisoft, and there are no signs of that slowing down. And yet, fans of the franchise have been slogging through a bit of fatigue for years. With each release since the first following a troublingly similar formula, how can Assassin’s Creed change for the better?
Breaking the Habit
Though the series is beloved by millions the Assassin’s Creed formula has been all but set in stone for a decade now. It’s been a fun ride, and one with some innovations here and there. Yet there hasn’t been anything substantial done to alter the way the game is fundamentally played. Ever. While Origins and Odyssey have done an excellent job at changing some aspects of the series, it’s just the same old car with a fresh coat of paint. Several things need to be done to turn this old rustbucket into a snazzy new coupe.
Ditch Synchronization Points
This may seem like a strange proposal at first, but it’s one worth hearing out. A core allure of Assassin’s Creed is, of course, finding the highest points on the map and scaling them. It was fun when players explored the towering cathedrals in Florence, and it’s still fun now. But players will still do these things without an objective marker telling them to.
Abandoning synchronization points also allows Ubisoft to finally break the mold of the formulaic maps. “Climb this point to unlock more markers on the map,” is such a tired trope. Giving players quest incentives or cool items (No Ubisoft, not collectibles) would be a much more organic way of executing these visually stunning climbs to magnificent heights. When the way you do things has bled into several other franchises like Far Cry and even Horizon Zero Dawn over and over again it’s time to reconsider how you approach that mechanic.
Make Combat More Complex
This won’t be the section where Assassin’s Creed is asked to shift to a soulslike combat system. That’s not the goal, yet Hidetaka Miyazaki’s games can indeed serve as a proper inspiration for Ubisoft. Assassin’s Creed doesn’t need to be as brutally difficult as From Software’s titles, nor should it be! But the way the Japanese studio has impactfully altered combat across its various endeavors sets an excellent example.
While the two most recent titles have altered combat to make it more action-oriented and impactful, the bones of the system are still the same. By shifting combat’s mechanics to be more precise and deliberate this would shift the pace of the next game dramatically. Not only could this shift reinvigorate fatigued fans, but it would make their role as an assassin feel all the more impactful. A more complex, dynamic, and even customizable array of combat systems would bring a welcome change to the long-standing franchise.
Reduce the Bloat
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is, by all means, an enjoyable experience. The world is fast, combat is punchy, and if you chose Kassandra the protagonist is compelling. But one thing many at the time of release failed to realize was just how bloated the game is. From map size to hours in length, Odyssey feels intimidatingly robust.
It’s genuinely hard to recommend the game to those who don’t have a hundred spare hours to burn on one title. While the story is indeed compelling, the level caps ensure the artificial extension of the game’s length. Fulfilling side quests and grinding can quickly become a laborious chore at the worst of times. By reducing the sheer scale of the game for future entries Ubisoft would be able to tell a much more concise, meaningful tale reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed II.