Assassin's Creed

Just an observation… it seems like Brotherhood was the last game in the series to be universally loved by hardcore fans and mainstream fans alike.

AC1 introduced the world to the series, AC2 perfected the narrative formula and sense of atmosphere, ACB introduced a sweeping new change to gameplay with the recruitment system, while also heightening the stakes of the stories of both Ezio and Desmond. All three pretty much received universal praise at their times of release.

Since then, it seems like every consecutive game in some way dissatisfied one group or another. I'll explain one by one below. (Keep in mind, these are just my own observations, and I'd be happy to see further discussion in the comments.)

Revelations (despite being my personal favorite game in the series) – while delivering an emotionally compelling end to Ezio and Altair's stories in a colorful setting, and generally being loved by the core fanbase, it turned off many casual fans with its short length and somewhat lackluster side activities and minigames.

AC3 (another one I love personally) – Despite introducing great new characters like Haytham, and breaking new ground in terms of series world design with the frontier, it received intense criticism for Connor being a far less charismatic protagonist than Ezio, and also for its admittedly disappointing modern day conclusion.

Black Flag – probably the closest to fan unification in the post-Brotherhood window. Received tremendous praise from mainstream outlets and casual fans, while leaving a bit to be desired for the core fanbase with a diminished narrative focus on modern day and a departure from a core focus on the Assassin-Templar conflict, instead focusing on an outsider's perspective with Edward.

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Unity – While perhaps the most pure iteration of the stealth gameplay formula, alongside a brilliant parkour system and immersive city with Paris, a broken launch mired its perception in the mainstream, so much so that it turned many of the uninitiated away from the series altogether and brought into question the series' longevity.

Rogue – Seen by many in the mainstream as Black Flag's weaker and shorter clone. Promised hardcore fans a nuanced take on the Assassin-Templar conflict, but ultimately failed to live up to many of these expectations, despite a handful of high points.

Syndicate – this mostly forgotten game largely disappointed the core fanbase by seeming to lack serious respect for the thematic core of the series, and being written more as a comedy set in the AC universe than anything. Didn't separate itself enough from Unity to turn very many heads in the mainstream.

Origins – Effective reboot of the series. Brought back a large contingent of the mainstream with its appeal to wide open-world, post-Witcher sensibilities and attractive setting in turn-of-the-millennium Egypt. Despite this, it retconned much of the series' expanded lore and was viewed by much of the core fanbase as too dramatic a departure from the core tenants of the franchise, sacrificing stealth aspects and sophisticated parkour environments at the altar of RPG likeness.

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Odyssey – Abandoned longtime fans by practically mocking the lore, all but entirely doing away with the "assassin" aspect of the series' name, and much like Syndicate, failing to take the AC universe seriously and treating it like a comedy. Found more popularity within the mainstream, largely among fans who had grown to hate the series since Unity. All in all, the worst game in the series, in my opinion.

Valhalla – Perhaps the closest we've been since Black Flag to a unified fanbase. Although it still is plagued by some of the shortcomings of the fundamental design aspects of its recent predecessors, makes big strides to win back the core fanbase with a greater respect for stealth, careful attention to lore, and most importantly, strong writing. Also keeps the mainstream fanbase satisfied by taking the best aspects of Origins and Odyssey and largely doing away with what wasn't working.


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