Since Assassin’s Creed II’s release in 2009, Ubisoft has never skipped a year to release a new game in the franchise. The one exception was 2016. Ubisoft decided not to rush another game and spent their time to set Assassin’s Creed Origins apart from the rest. The delay did a lot of good things for Ubisoft. It gave them the time to regain some footing, after disappointing fans for the past few years. It also helped build some anticipation for Origins. It also seems only fitting that the next game release in 2017, marking the 10th year of the series. Origins arrival is perfectly timed to celebrate a decade of Assassin’s Creed.
How did Assassin’s Creed ever get to the point where it needed to be redeemed? The series has been in a rocky situation ever since the overarching modern day story became messy with Assassin’s Creed III‘s upsetting ending. The mysterious story seemed to be such an interesting part of the game, but its ending just ended up leaving a sour taste. This left fans quite disappointed. Two years later, Ubisoft dug an even deeper hole for themselves.
Assassin’s Creed Unity, released in 2015, looked beautiful, had smooth controls, and the story wasn’t too bad. Even amongst skeptical fans, this game should have won their trust, but the opposite happened. The game was bugged and had some bizarre glitches that made our character’s skin disappear or it made it impossible to complete missions. To make matters worse, there was controversy over the three other male playable characters in cooperative mode. It seemed odd that Ubisoft could not have had at least one female character. Ubisoft’s response to this controversy only deepened the wound and turn some fans against the game. Alex Amancio, formerly Ubisoft’s creative director, claimed in an interview that creating a female character would require double the amount of work and adding about 8,000 animations.Female assassins are common in the series as NPCs, and Ubisoft may have not been trying to be discriminatory in their decision, but it turned out to be just that. Their lack of consideration for having even one out of the three co-op characters be female was not fair. Sure, we had Aveline de Grandpré from Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation and Shao Jun from Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, but those games were spin-offs. The first playable female assassin that was part of the main story was Evie Frye in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, but her brother, Jacob, is considered to be the main protagonist.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate‘s good reviews, inclusion of a female playable character, even if she did have to share the story with her brother, and the improvement with the side activities and main story from Unity, brought back fans and gave some hope for the future of Assassin’s Creed. However, Assassin’s Creed’s annual game releases were beginning to feel unnecessary and rushed. So when Ubisoft announced that there would be no new game released in 2016, I was ecstatic! Finally, they were going to spend some more time on development. If they had given more time for previous Assassin’s Creed games, I’m sure the series would be in a much better state than it is now.
The one year gap between the release of Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed II worked like magic, so, hopefully, it is the same way this time. For so many years, I have been seeing rumors of Assassin’s Creed set in Eqypt on forums and request from fans to Ubisoft. Even I considered ancient Egypt to be fit setting for the mythology of Assassin’s Creed. It seems like Ubisoft took a step back and thought over what new features they can add to keep fans engaged and excited. I think this break was necessary for them in order to make a comeback.
From gameplay footage, I noticed Origins borrowed other features we see in Ubisoft’s games, like the new ‘eagle vision’ where we use an actual eagle to scout. This was used in Far Cry Primal, where we send our owl to look around an area and tag enemies. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate involved a skill tree that you needed to build in order to fight difficult enemies, and Origins appears to use an more in-depth variation of this system.
It also seems like Ubisoft really used the additional year of development on the map size, since it is larger than any game in the series. With such a vast playable area, it means different enemies, animals, and landscapes which our character can adapt to.
Best of all, Origins is developed by the same team that developed Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. I was excited to learn about that because Black Flag really pushed players to spend time exploring the Caribbean, so I expect the same from Origins.
Their yearly releases were becoming overwhelming, Ubisoft has done enough to convince me to play Assassin’s Creed Origins with an open mind.