Assassins around the world rejoiced when it was confirmed by Yves Guillemot, the CEO of Ubisoft that the company was annualizing the Assassin’s Creed franchise. And now, Ubisoft has announced Assassin’s Creed: Rogue for the PS3 and the Xbox 360. As most of you would know,Assassin’s Creed: Unity is being released only on PC and the current gen platforms (PS4 and Xbox One). Two different AC games in the same year, each exclusive to a particular gen console; how is it going to affect the present day storyline of the franchise?
WHY NO UNITY FOR BOTH GENERATION OF CONSOLES?
The first question that pops up is why Ubi couldn’t release Unity for both generations of consoles. Three words; current gen race. Every leading game publisher is trying to set a down solid foot in the raw current gen market and Ubi might have thought that an AC game for the current gen consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) would help them in the race. AC: Unity was made keeping only the current gen consoles in mind. The features, gameplay and graphics were made to push the limits of the current gen; the last gen consoles wouldn’t be able to handle these games, even in their wildest dreams. So, if Unity were to be released on last gen, then it would most probably be downgraded. And we all know how that would go down (Enter Watch Dogs fiasco here). Hence it’s safe to say that Ubisoft’s decision to release Unity on current gen and PC was a good one.
WHY A NEW GAME?
The second question is why a new game? Many publishers have completely shifted to the current gen market, releasing sequels of famous franchises(Infamous, Uncharted etc) only for the current gen consoles so why should Ubisoft do any different? The thing is, the Assassin’s Creed Universe has a very large fan base. And a significant portion of the fans still play on their PS3’s and Xbox 360’s. So Ubi went on and announced that ‘it hasn’t forgotten its last gen fans.’ This way, not only is Ubi keeping the fan base intact, it’s also building an image of being fan friendly. Well played Ubi, well played.
HOW IS THIS GOING TO AFFECT THE FRANCHISE?
The third and the most important question is how are generation exclusive AC games gonna affect the franchise and its storyline? Every AC game until Assassin’s Creed 3 contributed significantly to the main story about the war between the assassins and the templars. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag had a great story in itself but it did little to contribute to the main storyline about the war between templars and assassins in the present time. So, how are the upcoming games going to deal with present time storyline? There are two possibilities.
One, the present time storyline remains the same for both generations of consoles. This means that although the players will be researching memories of different ancestors (on different consoles) the present time story will be same. It sounds tricky but Ubi could pull it off. This way, no matter which gen console a player is playing on, the main narrative of the AC franchise will remain intact.
Two, Ubisoft decides to take some steam off. Both of the upcoming games will act as buffer games; the main story of the whole franchise has already been convoluted to a large extent so this might be the right time for the main narrative to take a break. Hence, both the games will portray you as someone who is researching memories and give minimal contribution to the main storyline. Ubi might use these games to focus more on the history between the templars and assassins, rather than the present day storyline. The games will concentrate heavily on the narratives of the ancestors with little focus on present day storyline. This might be considered as commercializing the franchise but as long as they can come up with fresh settings and new gameplay mechanics, its fine.
However, if both games have a different present time story then it might complicate things; a last gen player will have to play the current gen game too to fully enjoy the franchise’s plotline. That wouldn’t be very comfortable. But, the only thing we can do, as of now, is speculate and hope that Ubisoft has made the right decision.
Assassin’s Creed Unity comes out for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on October 28th, 2014. Check out the trailer here. Assassin’s Creed Rogue comes out for PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 11th, 2014.