Fans of both, please read. We need to have an honest discussion about the direction of the series, accepting the pros and the cons of your preference. While commenting, please include if you are a fan of old or new, or both.
There is a rift between fans of the old games and fans of the new, that I believe can be fixed and both groups would benefit.
From gameplay to story, here are the things that would create a 10/10 experience. A mix of features from new and old to merge the two styles together, making everyone happy. Ultimately I feel the series should use RPG aspects but in a grounded way. Less about numbers and more about function.
As a general point I appreciate the franchise went in a new direction, but I think with effort from Ubisoft’s side, features can be implemented that both improve the RPG style of game whilst also building on old features of the franchise that long time fans loved about the games.
Story: An assassins creed story should be ultimately serious and mature. This is not to say that there are no light moments, they are integral in connecting us to the characters and makes the plot and the people in it believable. It should offer philosophical and moral discussion. It should also be emotional and moving. Shades of grey and nuance are core to the series. The story should have something to say to the player. Assassins creed is mature in its themes, no more light hearted fluff please.
Ultimately, the story of assassins creed is the philosophical and military struggle of two opposing groups who both have credence to their beliefs.
Our protagonist should ultimately be a good human being, despite struggling with choices. They should offer a broad range of emotions throughout the main story, and have a character arc – they should have some sort of newfound understanding by the time the credits role. They don’t have to be as charismatic as Ezio, and shouldn’t be as uniform of a character as Connor. AC3 may have been well written but Connor fails as a compelling protagonist. (This is not my opinion, merely fact. The majority of people did not like Connor, due to the fact that he is one note.)
The modern day must have a plot. The ones who came before don’t have to be shoehorned into every plot, only use them if you feel they add something to the story. Ideally the modern day would have playable sections, like in 3. Those are the only times we have engaged in modern combat. We need a direction for the series to head in that was lost when Desmond died and Juno was killed off in a comic. What happened to the assassin and Templar war? The premise the series is based around? The story of each entry needs to move a story forward towards a planned end point.
Most importantly, don’t hire any old git to write the story, hire a great team of writers with proven track records. Darby McDevitt is a writer who clearly understands the nature of the franchise and how to write. The script is the most important part of an assassins creed game. Writers however need the power to establish something that spans across more than one game, akin to the early ac.
The series is also sci fi, not fantasy. These instances of ancient technology should remain unbelievable, and in the shadows, just as if you found one. This knowledge is secretive and has been purged from recorded history, it’s legacy mutated through word of mouth and reached mythical status. The Isu should be foreign and creepy. Every seemingly fantastical element has a grounded explanation. This series is best when it is internally consistent with its own established rules and lore. Don’t like something and want to change it? Fine, but don’t just ignore the plot point, retcon it.
Combat: the series needs to return to a grounded combat system. I don’t mind light RPG elements and can see how it’s addition can benefit the game, but RPG elements are less important than the grounded, believable action adventure core. Maybe we innovate and adopt a faster, more streamlined for honor combat system. Besides this, we have two combat systems, the paired animation system which was 1-syndicate, and free form, which is origins to present. The paired animation looked really cinematic but didn’t have much mechanical depth whereas free form has mechanical depth but the animations are terrible. I propose a hybrid between the two, which would look something like ghost of Tsushima.
We need mechanical depth. Just an idea – our character would have 5-10 health bars depending on how upgraded they are. This means that hypothetically you can die very quickly. Enemy weapon and variation would determine damage dealt. A flanker with a knife could get behind you and get a good grab and stab in – 4 bars of health gone. You get hit with the slash of a sword? 1 bar. You get stabbed with a sword? 2. You get the picture – damage is serious and mitigating damage through proper defense, attack, and fleeing is vital. No sponges apart from a heavily armoured boss for instance.
Combining buttons would give you access to a variety of moves, and the key is using these at the right times to cut through enemies. Tap A to dodge, hold A to roll. Dodges aren’t leaps, they are used to evade heavy attacks. A roll takes longer to start but is ideal when needing to reposition in a fight. Tapping x is a normal attack, whereas holding x is a heavy attack. Heavy attacks do massive damage but must be used at the right times, for instance when an enemy is staggered or is open to one.
A and X would be an evasion attack, where the character would spin to dodge, and land a blow that does little damage, but using this incorrectly would leave you open to being knocked down. Running and a + x would cause a hook blade like attack to happen, where you keep your momentum and pass the enemy. This would tie into RPG light mechanics where you can unlock and learn new techniques.
There would be lots of different enemy types who employ different techniques, some will flank and group, others will oppress you. Some will get defensive and back off when on low health, others will charge at you wildly and might throw you off. Some will run if you take out their commander very swiftly. In this system, employing the right moves with the right timing would be key. Mastering this would make you god like. This system would also fall on the swifter side, allowing for an assassin to fight and run. Tools would also make a welcome return, things like rope darts.
Parkour: parkour has regressed in the series. Ac 1-R had the most mechanically engaging parkour whereas unity had the best animations. In this new trilogy, parkour is a means to an end. It is a tool to traverse the map rather than a gameplay mechanic. Parkour should be an engaging gameplay mechanic. Add a realistic wall run. Add other parkour moves like vault to hang and many more that the player has mechanical control over. Incorporate parkour into combat, for instance ejecting off a wall into an attack would deal lots of damage. Players should be able to look at an environment, plan a route and execute it using a variety of moves that they have control over. Players should not be able to climb every structure known to man. Style and substance. Climbing puzzles should also make a return, as with new moves these would become a lot more varied and engaging.
Stealth: a complete rework of stealth in the franchise is necessary. Look to popular stealth games like MGSV and splinter cell. Add a prone button, a light mechanic, (we do work in the dark to serve the light, right?) the ability to grab and interrogate or kidnap enemies, non lethal options for “unwitting pawns of evil”. Stealth tools like firecrackers, chimes, sleep darts, fire. Reimplement social stealth. With engaging mechanics, I feel tailing missions could return to the franchise as they would actually be fun. Communication between enemies would be core to this new system, too.
The return of social stealth. Hiding in plain sight. Unequip your sword for slower detection speed and smaller radius, however if you get caught not having a sword handy would not be ideal. Steal a guards uniform by knocking out or killing them, blend in with monks. Pretend to be drunk. Manipulate your surroundings to help you.
Assassination tree: alike the cult of cosmos and order but expanded upon. The player would have to use the clues gathered to locate them rather than unlock an icon on the map. You would discover and investigate clues that would point to a time and a place, from which you have to identify the target. Clues would not be “go here” rather something implying you to go somewhere.
World: ideally as immersive as possible. Minimal menu vendors – use skill points at your base, pay off a bounty at an appropriate location, purchase a weapon at a blacksmith. Encourage the player to not just chase map markers rather explore the world dynamically.
Please feel free to criticise or/and expand!
- The ultimate Assassins Creed.
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- Valhalla Proves that a Assassin’s Creed RPG could work, Albeit with a few changes.
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