The Assassin’s Creed franchise first started in 2007 with the release of the first game and over the course of a dozen sequels and spin-offs, has evolved in some major ways. While it started off as a simple third-person action/stealth game, the series has since grown into a massive, open-world action game with hefty RPG elements. I had a blast playing the Viking-themed Assassin’s Creed Valhalla when it was released last year, and after finishing the last DLC for the game, The Siege of Paris, I’m extremely excited for the future. Following the confirmation of the next game in the franchise, Assassin’s Creed Infinity, the rumor mill is churning, with some fans speculating about the potential of a live-service game structure. In my opinion, this could be amazing, if executed properly.
Wrath of the Druids and The Siege of Paris
Both of the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla DLCs are self-contained adventures that take protagonist Eivor to Ireland and France respectively. While these shorter stories might not have the visual impact of the fantastical Assassin’s Creed Odyssey DLCs, I enjoyed the progression and new gameplay elements far more than I expected. With an emphasis on open-ended exploration, combat freedom, and some awesome upgrades, both of the Valhalla DLCs had me glued to the screen.
In Wrath of the Druids, Eivor travels to Ireland to help his cousin and soon-to-be King of Ireland, Barid. While battling against usurpers and bandits across the gloomy landscape, he soon uncovers a conspiracy involving a shadowy group of druids, capable of conjuring deadly beasts of legend. In The Siege of Paris, Eivor takes a trip to the volatile country of France, where the deranged King Charles the Fat wages war on Northerners. As he explores the plague-ridden lands, Eivor must exercise political caution and defend his allies, or risk war spreading to England.
Both DLCs have decent stories with fun characters and environments, but the thing that grabbed my attention was a notable push toward more player freedom in both combat and exploration. In Siege of Paris, there are multiple assassination opportunities for key targets, encouraging players to investigate their surroundings instead of brute-forcing through opposition. Similar to the recent Hitman games, it was fun to pull off more extravagant assassinations, which also call back to the series’ roots. The side-missions, while a bit underwhelming, have great potential. If anything, now is the time for Assassin’s Creed to make the jump to a Destiny 2-style formula, with an emphasis on content variety, long term progression, and online multiplayer.
What We Want in Assassin’s Creed Infinity
It will probably a few years until we get to play Assassin’s Creed Infinity, but we’re hoping the content shift we saw in the AC Valhalla DLCs is an indicator of what to expect. In both DLCs, players can pick up procedurally generated quests called Royal Demands and Rebel Missions, both of which reward you with a special kind of currency. In Siege of Paris, the currency you earn can be spent on upgrades, exclusive pieces of gear, and more. Wrath of the Druids also introduced trade posts, encouraging players to capture specific spots on the map and trade in their supplies for bonus loot. We would love to see these ideas fleshed out into daily, weekly, and monthly quests, rewarding players with fancy gear and unique upgrades.
While many players hope for a massive map to explore in Infinity, I would prefer a smaller, more authored hub-world that changes over time. If the rumors of a live-service structure are true, it would be awesome to jump to smaller, self-contained areas that explore various time periods or cultures. In addition to the expected story quests and assassination missions, the potential daily and weekly quests would give players a reason to continue to return to these different areas, gaining unique gear that marks their mastery of each area. Continuous world events would also be a great way to keep the map fresh, with new battles, bosses, and locations added over time.
This brings us to the last big expectation we have – online cooperative multiplayer. In both Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Valhalla (especially the Siege of Paris DLC), there is a focus on large-scale battles. If Infinity‘s map evolves over a season, it would be awesome to join up with friends for a massive climactic battle, whether based on historical conflicts or fictional ones. Like the season-ending live events in games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone, huge cooperative battles could inject some social action into the next Assassin’s Creed and give players a reason to hop back in even after completing the core content. Raising our power level in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has been lots of fun, and any opportunity to show off our abilities on an epic battlefield would be awesome.
The Future of Assassin’s Creed
Regardless of what direction Ubisoft takes Assassin’s Creed next, it’ll be impossible to please everyone. While I greatly enjoyed the RPG elements in Assassin’s Creed Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla, some mega-fans pined for the classic formula to make a return. If Assassin’s Creed Infinity makes the big jump to a constantly changing, live-service game, there will assuredly be naysayers. However, after spending over 150 hours in both Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Valhalla, I still want more. If there were timed events to play, I’d play them. If there were more secret bosses to uncover and slay, I’d kill them. If there were ultra-tough, four-player cooperative raids similar to Ghost of Tsushima: Legends, you best believe I’d be there.
No matter how you cut it, Ubisoft has done a stellar job fusing fantasy and history with the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Whenever the gameplay grew stale, the series was able to evolve with the times, remaining interesting and relevant for over a decade. As the industry sees a bigger movement toward social, online experiences, I firmly believe that there is room for Assassin’s Creed to shine. Other upcoming Ubisoft titles like Riders Republic and Far Cry 6 promise a bevy of content that will keep you entertained for hundreds of hours, and based on the success seen with Rainbow Six Siege‘s plentiful updates, we are confident that this new approach could work for Assassin’s Creed as well. No matter what happens with Assassin’s Creed Infinity, we’re excited to play it.