So I know this idea has been thrown around before. Also, I’ve read some of the WW2 pitches on here as well as watched videos discussing that setting at length. I’m not trying to pitch this idea as the next game in the series since I think they’ll stick more closely to swords and horses in another time period for as long as possible. More so, this would function as a revamp when it feels like there aren’t a whole lot of new areas to explore under the traditional historical settings.
This may come across as a wild interpretation of the systems in AC and I hope you all know I’m a huge fan of the series and am not trying to throw everything AC is about in the trash. Like I said, this is just me offering a pitch for a fun new direction for the series.
Anyways, the main aspects of modern AC are open world traversal, combat and leveling up via stat points, abilities, weapons, etc, along with some sort of historical narrative following a central protagonist. All of these things are in my pitch for a WW1 based AC. Things I’d like to see return that have been set aside are stealth action and city parkour. I understand why the series has taken the direction it has since AC Origins but with the new things being added in my idea I think it’s important for old ones that made the series what it is to return. This would ground the experience and align it more with the traditional ones prior to Origins.
Let’s start with world design as that feeds into all the other aspects. I really like the idea sort of introduced in some of the games where you have open hub worlds. Valhalla had its main zone in Britain but then also had you traveling to other areas as well. I think this could be amplified for a global WW1 setting. You’d see parts of Europe condensed into their own open sections but then also be able to travel to other regions like Northern Africa for changes in scenery and for the story. This way you can have cities and their surrounding rural areas all in one smaller open map while being able to fast travel via plane to other regions that are their own distinct smaller open maps. The cities can vary between the ones that are war torn and crumbling versus untouched cities creating different rules of stealth with deadly or friendly factions in control. This is where parkour would be back to play a bigger role but without sacrificing the open world rural areas that connect certain cities. Some areas have battles being waged, some are quiet tranquil wilderness, some are bustling cities outside of the fighting. It’s really more about trimming the fat and providing more emphasis on varied terrain and locations.
Like I said earlier, plane fast travel would be an awesome way to connect the different parts of the global conflict, but when it comes to traversing the open world outside of free running, i think there should be two options. More traditional favoring players would still have the choice of using a horse, a stealthier albeit slower option in contrast to the new one: a motorcycle. I want a damn AC game with a motorcycle, like really bad. Similar to how I’ll discuss guns making the combat a bit of a departure, the bike certainly would feel different than previous world traversal tools but there would be incentive as well to use a horse in certain scenarios due to its navigability with certain terrain and stealth on a battlefield. Also, we’ve seen pirate ships, horse drawn buggies, and small boats to name a few of the ways vehicles have been different. A motorcycle feels like the perfect way to touch on motorized vehicles without going full GTA with cars and whatnot. I want to make sure to stress that while you’ll likely take on cars and tanks etc in action sequences, I think limiting the drive-able options to horse and bike makes for a more strategic system that feels more in line with the heart of the series. Maybe set pieces where this is changed up but not in open world traversal.
Alright, speaking of action, i think with these new options you have great ways to implement fighting in three areas: infantry and standard combat, stealth kills, and vehicular combat. Standard combat will see a lot more of a reserved approach. Even though guns will be the weapon of choice of the enemy, I’m suggesting this creates an underdog out of the assassin who is still reliant on swords, throwing knives, daggers, smoke bombs, and of course, the hidden blades. Rifles and pistols could be introduced but very carefully, definitely later in the game and essentially only to add flare to the combat but not to replace typical melee options. You’re one man against an army, using high mobility, a mix of stealth and whatnot could make for a really dynamic system that feels closer to Spider-Man’s combat where you’re dodging, human shielding, sliding and evading between taking out arenas of foes rather than just a circle of swordsmen you alternate between slashing. With an army of armed soldiers against you, there could be a cool system where you’re going behind enemy lines to thin the numbers before calling in air strikes or back up from friendly soldiers to unleash all out war.
This leads to the elephant in the room: trench warfare. I know that many who are reading this are thinking, “how do you make a stagnant, boring system of fighting that was the prominent method during this time period interesting?” The truth is, you barely touch it. Your assassin is not a member of the infantry, he’s a covert agent. He may have a small group of soldiers with him for certain scenarios but the actual trench battles would really only be explored in set pieces where you’re thrust into them, the other fighting is happening behind the scenes of history, you know, like how most of these games have implemented their ties to real world events this whole time? I think the best comparison is AC3. If the whole game mimicked combat from the Revolutionary War you’d have a pitiful AC game. That’s why key battles are their own set pieces and most of the combat is happening behind the scenes.
Ok, now for stealth. There are so many ways this can make a huge return, the fact that combat itself can be a blend of smoke grenading when overwhelmed, killing a few guys, retreating out of the line of fire, using a grapple to get high up and take out snipers; all these options to really inject this super important aspect of AC back into the series in a big way. But then you could have areas where pure stealth is required for, and I know this is equally as important if not more, assassinations. Prominent figures in the templars aren’t just hanging out on the battlefield. They’re in enemy bases, safely hiding in cities that are not active fighting zones, or hell, up in the sky in zeppelins. These could make for an awesome return to high key assassination missions. I’m giddy thinking about sneaking through a base, onto a zeppelin and then killing an important enemy lender in the air before leaping out with a parachute while dog fighters trying to shoot you out of the sky.
And when on the ground, I feel as though the varied vehicles of the enemies could make for some awesome mobile combat sequences. Jumping from a horse onto a tank to plant a bomb, shooting from a motorcycle at cars full of enemies, evading planes on your vehicle of choice; i feel like there are a ton of options and this would lead to ways to level up your horse and bike to make them more efficient at speed or fighting or both. This would add a level of variability when traveling if you’re not sure what you’ll run into out in the open areas.
So now that I’ve talked at length about combat and world traversal, I feel like story would be next. This is the part i’ve thought about the least but honestly i think it sort of writes itself. You’re an ally from one of the allied nations, maybe you’re an infantry member at first who gets promoted and therefore comes across the assassins when you’re getting involved with covert operations. You have a hand in taking down important enemy leaders, leading a small squad of other covert assassins or soldiers or whatever. There’s a lot of directions to go with this but i think if the rest of the systems are really good the story has the chance to explore some really interesting locations and historical moments. And yes, I know there’s some lore already taking place around WW1, also that you play through a scenario in this time period in syndicate, but regardless I still think way down the line this setting could make for a really great departure for the series and revitalize it after this mega open- rpg style that is the focus right now.
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