Assassin’s Creed Has Found Itself In An Identity Crisis

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Ubisoft Confused Between RPG, Classic Approach, and Experiments like AC Hexe!

Story Highlights
  • Assassin’s Creed suffers from a huge identity crisis as the series doesn’t seem to have a specific route.
  • Ubisoft seems to be shifting styles with almost every major release.
  • The publisher has over 10 games in development for the series.
  • It can put the franchise back on top by striking a balance between the past and present.

Assassin’s Creed is one of the industry’s most prominent franchises. With its first release in 2007 for the PS3 and Xbox 360, this series cemented its mark as one of the finest action-adventure stealth games ever seen.

At the start, the direction of the IP was quite straightforward. We had one great game after another based on a consistent style. However, things changed once the studio transitioned to RPG releases.

Since then, Ubisoft has bounced back and forth between various styles. With more than 10 games in the works, this variation will only cause more problems as the studio continues to grapple with an identity crisis for Assassin’s Creed.

Why it matters: Having variety could be a major strength for this series moving forward, but it could backfire if audiences find the lack of a proper direction unappealing.

AC games
Assassin’s Creed Games Were So Similar Than They Became Formulaic Before Origins

The Core of Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed’s past identity was reasonably simple to grasp.

You had assassins and templars, two opposing forces who sought to lead the world through different ideologies. Gameplay revolved around parkour, stealth, and what we know as the generic Ubisoft open-world today.

The world was big enough not to feel cramped, but it wasn’t endless like the maps of the RPG era. Combat was also relatively simple, but elements like social stealth added a unique identity to the series.

Parkour was the most definitive characteristic that always stood out to me. While these ideas still exist in modern Assassin’s Creed, some have been watered down, while others have turned into entirely new concepts due to amalgamations with other mechanics.

This is where the identity crisis comes in.

Different Styles of Assassin's Creed
Ubisoft May Be Doing Too Much With This Series Today

Currently, the following games are said to be in development.

  • AC Nexus 2 (possibly canceled after first game disappointed)
  • AC Codename Jade (Mobile Title)
  • AC Codename Red (RPG Game Set In Japan)
  • AC Codename Hexe (16th-Century Witch Hunting Era)
  • AC Codename Invictus (Multiplayer Title)
  • AC Codename Nebula (Game Featuring 3 Settings)
  • AC Codename Raid (PVE Game)
  • AC Codename Echoes (Multiplayer)
  • Black Flag Remake
  • A Second Potential Remake

What Exactly is Assassin’s Creed Now?

Assassin’s Creed Mirage took a step back toward the classic Ubisoft formula. However, it was less than inspiring, with a not-so-memorable protagonist. The next entry, coming in 2024, is another RPG codenamed Assassin’s Creed Red.

Red delves into the RPG elements introduced with Origins. Moreover, leaks claim that this would be the last RPG. This means things will be quite different for codename Hexe, which is said to be a much darker game.

According to reliable leaks, Hexe is planned to launch in 2026 and will be the darkest entry yet. These themes will focus more on integrating supernatural powers into the gameplay.

So, Ubisoft seems to be confused about the future direction. In doing so, the studio runs the risk of completely alienating its existing fanbase and potentially failing to appeal to newer gamers.

I understand the need to innovate, but with so many ideas being thrown around, it really seems like Ubisoft is just looking to see what sticks. Nothing proves this point more than the modern-day elements of recent releases.

Between Assassin’s Creed 4, Unity, Origins, and Mirage, which didn’t have these elements, this series has struggled with the modern-day parts for nearly a decade.

Assassin's Creed
Assassin’s Creed Mirage Tugs At Your Nostalgia

Reconciling The Past With The Present 

I believe Ubisoft should take a specific direction and stick to it.

What I liked about Unity so much was that it felt like a brand-new experience that was still Assassin’s Creed at its core. I can’t say the same for more modern releases since they lean too heavily in one direction or another.

Like most things in life, finding a balance is the correct answer. Merge the older elements with modern systems, and you will have a recipe for success. I’m cautiously optimistic about Assassin’s Creed Red, but I know not to get my hopes up too much.

While Ubisoft seems to think it will be the biggest blockbuster release of 2024, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this identity crisis does not become the game’s undoing.

Ubisoft has also started remaking its older titles.

This creates another problem since we will eventually have about four types of Assassin’s Creed games on the market simultaneously. My biggest concern is that Ubisoft, in attempting to be the jack of all trades, will hurt its most successful series in the long run.

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