Assassin’s Creed has for too long been stuck in the past. Quebec studio now with the reins firmly in their hands, have been given the task of modernise the franchise and add fresh perspectives.
The creative director Marc-Alexis Côté reasoned that he picked Victorian London because, "the team felt it would really allow us to modernise the gameplay pillars”
“We’re modernising stealth, we’re modernising weapons, we’re modernising movement, and we’re modernising a lot else. The key thing is making a great game and a game that will feel great for our players.”
Assassin's Creed: Syndicate (Xbox One)
Assassin's Creed 3 was a critical disappointment, remaining stagnant and unchanged from previous releases, but with Assassin's Creed: Unity, ubisoft went to great lengths to improve the mechanics. It was unfortunate then, that the game had real technical problems when it was released, leading to outrage from the fanbase.
After tackling the French Revolution, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate will be set in London during the Industrial Revolution. Players will take control of twins, Jacob and Evie Frye who are both central to the game's narrative.
It is the first time Ubisoft has made a female character playable in the Assassin’s Creed world, a rather obvious move considering the Internet backlash against Assassin’s Creed: Unity not featuring a female assassin.
Marc-Alexis Côté, creative director on Syndicate, commented that “creating a new Assassin’s Creed game is like creating a new IP.” says Pelland. “We made the decision on London, 1868, the Industrial Revolution, and Jacob and Evie all very early on. And all of that shaped the way we made decisions in terms of innovation. We have the chance to make something interesting and something that’s new.”
Continuing with the push to move away from previous releases, syndicate has a clear and apparent dark and sinister dickensian vibe to it, which comes across immediately from initial gameplay footage.
One of the biggest changes is that their is two playable characters, both with their own personalities and traits. Jacob is said to be the more volatile character, hot headed whereas Evie is portrayed as the master of stealth. Not much else of her is known, but the team have promised that they will focus on her in detail at the E3 games event in June.
Paris in the last Assassin's Creed was not only a delectable visual feast, the depiction of Paris was monumental, and it is said the London of Syndicate is 30 per cent larger still. The city will be separated into several very individual and different boroughs; City of London, Southwark, Westminster, Whitechapel, Thames and the Strand.
Within the game, the player will have to unite the populace under the banner of "The Rooks" the name of Jacob and Evie's street gang. It is also reported that the studio wanted to "contextualise" the missions, in favour of creating endless stuff to do. It's extremely clear that they have taken strong cues from Far Cry 4.
Lastly, it is the combat additions that excite the most, with a rope launcher fitted to the assassin's gauntlet, allowing you to scale buildings without having to climb and to create your own horizontal platforms from which to launch assassinations from. You can also comandeer carraiges to get around London quicker, GTA style, which is a nice touch. When we get up close and personal, in the hand to hand fighting, there are brass knuckles, and a brutal kukri blade, and a revolver.
It is clear with all of the changes on show in the new game, that Ubisoft are desperately looking to avoid previous failures, and to set a new path for the franchise.