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Revelations shows Assassin’s Creed in need of a break

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 09:21 GMT By Johnny Cullen

With Revelations’ reviews on Monday showing a noticeable shock of 7s, should Assassin’s Creed take a break after next year’s game? Probably, says Johnny Cullen.

Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed was originally announced at E3 2006 as a PS3 exclusive, before eventually making the jump to 360 and PC.

There’s been a yearly AC release since Assassin’s Creed II in 2009.

Main titles – AC1, ACII, Brotherhood – have sold 28 million units as of May this year.

Revelations is Ezio and Altair’s final story chapter, but Desmond’s story will continue.

I’m an Assassin’s Creed fan. While the 2007 original got its fair share of kickings, I gave it its due for being a decent game. It would be silly of me to overlook its faults – and it did have a fair few of them, like bugs, glitches, repetitiveness – but the potential was there.

That potential was realised two years ago with Assassin’s Creed II. The sequel was such a turnaround. Jade Raymond, Patrice Désilets and their team at Ubisoft Montreal – mostly comprised of members of the original group behind the PS2 Prince of Persia trilogy – had fixed the mistakes of AC1 and, while it wasn’t perfect, it was in my top three games of 2009, behind Uncharted 2 and the Beatles: Rock Band.

Then, along came Brotherhood, which continued Ezio’s story. Did it need to? Probably not. Yes, ACII left on a cliffhanger, but so did AC1. It was here fans started to express concern that Ubisoft would go down the yearly route that’s been tricky for series like Need for Speed or Guitar Hero. It was the thought that Brotherhood, at least before release, should have been some sort of expansion for Assassin’s Creed II.

And yet, for all the worries, Brotherhood paid off for Ubisoft. It was a fully-fledged game that introduced multiplayer. Despite concerns, Ubi Montreal found ways to fit the narrative around it. If the story was about Desmond, Ezio and the Assassins, multiplayer could tie into Abstergo and the Templars. In a world of tack-on multiplayer, the game was rightly praised.

Revelatory?

But when Revelations started bringing in several in-house developers alongside Ubisoft Montreal, it could have been seen as a first sign of trouble. Ubisoft Annecy
Ubisoft Massive, Ubisoft Quebec, Ubisoft Singapore and Ubisoft Bucharest all helped with development. It shocked me to see the amount of studios coming up in the opening credits of the game. It’s worth noting that BioShock 2 went the same way, with 2K Marin the main dev being helped by five other studios, including the now Bethesda-owned Arkane.

Some of the feature additions this time also rang alarm bells. Is tower defence necessary, or just fishing for “something else”? A nice addition in theory, but it seems ridiculous to have Ezio, a character suited for open world exploratory, rooted to a rooftop. It’s a bit off. My personal experience of this wasn’t the best.

When you have six studios working on one single game, it’s time to take stock. For a series like Assassin’s Creed, it breaks my heart to say that.

Bombcrafting is probably the nicest addition to Revelations, but can be ignored despite the game basically begging you to take time out and make explosives. As good as it may be, you’re basically crafting grenades. Hand grenades. What else do you need to know about it? You pick your shell, then your ingredients to determine what kind of ‘bomb’ you want to make. Lethal? Non-lethal?

Don’t get me wrong; credit should go to Ubisoft for trying new things. It’s partly that reason that allowed Brotherhood to work so well. But I can’t help feel there’s too much unnecessary stuff here even for Assassin’s Creed fans to accept. In fact, it’s logical to believe that all these additions, and the story, could have worked better as a big DLC for Brotherhood, à la GTA IV, with the next full game being Assassin’s Creed III.

I haven’t finished Revelation, but so far 7/10 feels right. Eurogamer, Wired, Edge and Destructoid all scored it in the 7s range this week. So far, Ezio’s grand farewell may just be a farewell, plain and simple. I want Revelations to come back and turn around my initial impression, but it’s impossible to ignore the feeling that the series is turning down a slippery path from which it may not be able to return. We’re not at that stage yet, but it’s getting closer each year.

Ubisoft’s already confirmed a new game for next year, which will end Desmond’s story arc, and I can only hope that finishing Ezio and Altair’s story this year will help creatively with 2012′s release. But what comes after that? If the following year isn’t Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft needs to take a break. Plain and simple.

Assassin’s Creed may now be Ubisoft’s biggest cash earner, but it wasn’t made to be a yearly franchise in a similar vein Call of Duty. While multiple studios are working on CoD’s yearly installments – such as Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer – you only have Ubisoft Montreal working on main AC installments.

Which brings me back to my initial point of bringing in those five in-house studios to help out on Revelations. When you have six studios working on one single game, it’s time to take stock.

And for a series like Assassin’s Creed, it breaks my heart to say that.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is available now for PS3 and 360.

[Pic]

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17 Comments

  1. Razor

    Bring Sony Santa Monica on board to help develop Assassin’s Creed III. Job done :)

    #1 3 years ago
  2. mongbatstar

    With respect, you may want to give this a quick read over again :)

    “should Assassin’s Creed took a break after next year’s game?”

    “Despite concerns, Ubi Montreal ways to fit the narrative around it.”

    There are possibly more.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Patrick Garratt

    D’oh. That’s my bad. Sorry. I’ve fixed those.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. OrphanageExplosion

    The multi-studio arrangement has been in place since AC2 for what it’s worth, though I’ve no idea if the amount of studios has increased, decreased or whatever.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. YoungZer0

    @1: Yeah, i don’t see any problem with that.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Zana

    In any case, you are right. It’s still a great game but it’s seriously time they move on. The list of Ubisoft studios at the beginning of the game felt quite ridiculous to me. Maybe to them it shows how dedicated to the AC project the whole company is, but when you think about it, even Activision didn’t put the development of the last Call of Duty into so many hands…

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Christopher Jack

    I think the biggest issue was that it was just more of the same, shame that CoD barely gets criticized for it, hypocrisy. Although I do think true sequels need at LEAST 2 years difference, since Revelations & Brotherhood aren’t true sequels, I don’t see the issue, similar to how Activision does a Modern Warfare game through IW, then a random timeline game with Treyarch.

    I still think they’re overdoing it but you can’t compare it to all the annual sports titles out there. What I do think is that annual releases need a discount, sadly annual games are the biggest sellers regardless.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Anders

    #6: Then again, every Call of Duty title has two years in developments whereas the AC games have one. Infinity Ward developed Modern Warfare 3 (2011), Treyarch developed Black Ops (2010), IW developed Modern Warfare 2 (2009), Treyarch developed World at War (2008), IV developed Call of Duty 4 (2007), etc.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Superfrog

    “But when Revelations started bringing in several in-house developers alongside Ubisoft Montreal, it could have been seen as a first sign of trouble. Ubisoft Annecy, Ubisoft Massive, Ubisoft Quebec, Ubisoft Singapore and Ubisoft Bucharest all helped with development. It shocked me to see the amount of studios coming up in the opening credits of the game.”

    Almost the exact same constellation was in place for AC Brotherhood. And it worked out impressively well, no one complained. That means that Johnny’s article is rather pointless.

    In my opinion, ACR is of the same high quality as ACB was. I think both games are a good 8/10. It’s the reviewers who seem to be jaded by all the 9-10 out of 10 reviews of the past few weeks. Take EG for example: they rated ACB 10/10 just to drop down to 7/10 for ACR, stating that “the series shows its age” just one year later. Considering that ACR even improves on a lot of things ACB did (including graphics and mini games), that’s ridiculous.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Maximum Payne

    Only thing that I want from Ubisoft is that Assassin Creed III need to be little re-boot or major upgrade.Just like it was with GTA III was ”first” and then Vice City and San Andreas were ”spin off”.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. The_Red

    Thanks for this article. Ubi is slowly killing a great franchise that I used to love (AC1 and 2). Haven’t played Revelations yet but did finish Brotherhood when it came out… and that was my 2nd choice for the most disappointing game of 2010. It was nothing more than a DLC with bad narration, pointless gameplay additions, filler storyline and a super cheap ending sold at full price.

    Anyway, glad to seen another great original article on VG. Keep em coming :)

    #11 3 years ago
  12. kupocake

    “Take EG for example: they rated ACB 10/10 just to drop down to 7/10 for ACR, stating that “the series shows its age” just one year later.”

    Different reviewers. Unless Eurogamer turned into some kind of amalgamated consciousness.

    If EG were a Borg, it would be Eight of Ten.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Psychotext

    “If EG were a Borg, it would be Eight of Ten.”

    \o/

    #13 3 years ago
  14. joshua nash

    having read all the comments above me i happen to agree with most of them, though to be honest i haven’t really started to play revelations yet busy with skyrim, but i look at brotherhood and revelations more as spin offs of AC2, which is okay but seriously i do think that ubisoft might be starting to over reach with the AC series, i mean if its true from what i’ve read that the “den” defense gameplay is complete crap then i do think that they need to stop with the yearly releases, stop putting mp on the disk and treat it more like battlefield 1943,as in release the AC MP as its own game on live and PSN, that way they have more space on they disk to focus on the SP game being great and not so fucking rushed as the last part of the brotherhood SP felt

    #14 3 years ago
  15. PEYJ

    While I agree that the series will need a break after next years finalization of the story about Desmond, I do believe that some of the fatigue is more of a reviewer problem. There are so many big and great games out this quarter that sometimes too much of the good stuff can be hard to digest. It’s actually quite normal in our everyday lives and jobs, and I don’t see why it should be any different in this line of work.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. DuckOfDestiny

    I have to agree, me and my friend are both massive fans of the franchise and yesterday we both asked each others opinions and we both agreed that it had lost it’s spark, this coming from two people who loved Assassins Creed 1 despite all it’s flaws.

    Take some time out and really change things for Assassins Creed 3. Perhaps a new time period other than the Middle ages and Renaissance.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. bpcgos

    And yet, most reviewer are very forgotten towards COD despite its the same formula every year ( most of them even use ‘this is what we expect from COD’ as an excuse and not ‘this is what we expect from AC’ from AC review)

    Please, get rid of the score right away!

    #17 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    The Yo-Kai Watch IP has sold over 7 million copies, according to developer Level-5. The figure included both physical and digital download sales. Yo-Kai Watch 3 will be unveiled during Level-5 Vision 2015 next month. The first title is in the works for the west but is still without a release window. Thanks, Gematsu.

  • Bloodborne trademark returned to Sony after accidentally losing it

    In case you were worried or anything, Sony has once again obtained the Bloodborne trademark. Earlier this week it was revealed that Sony mistakenly abandoned the Bloodborne trademark along with four others registered with US Patent and Trademark Office: Guns Up!, Kill Strain; How Games Were Made to Sound, and No Heroes Allows: No Puzzles […]

  • GTA 5 PC official trailer coming next week, 15 new screenshots released

    New PC screenshots of GTA 5 have been released along with word of a new trailer coming on Monday. The screens below are from the PC version and you can view them in 4K glory over on Rockstar Newswire. The PC version of GTA 5 releases on April 14.

  • PSN real-time server status page launching in Europe soon

    PlayStation users in Europe will soon have its own a PSN Service Status Indicator. It was released earlier this month in North America. The indicator makes it easier to check whether PlayStation services are down or running as planned. This includes account management, PlayStation Now, the store, social services, etc. Sony told Eurogamer the service […]

  • Exclusivity contract prevents Bioware from revealing Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC release on PS4

    Bioware is unable to discuss when the Jaws of Hakkon DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition will arrive on platforms other than PC and Xbox One. According to various tweets from executive producer Mark Darrah, due to the exclusivity contract between EA and Microsoft, the studio is unable to announce a release date for PlayStation 3 […]

  • LEGO Batman 3 demo, Namco Museum, more added to North American eShop

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo for LEGO Batman 3, Namco Museum on Wii U Virtual Console, and various sales. Below is the full update. Nintendo eShop Dot Arcade – Wii U LEGO Ninjago – 3Ds LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Demo – Wii U Harvest Moon: The […]

  • Square Enix’s Easter Surprise bundle contains five mystery PC games

    Square Enix offering another mystery bundle to customers in the UK, which comes with five mystery PC games for £3.99. As before, customers will be unaware of the games they are purchasing in the mystery bundle, but the bundle contains triple-A titles worth £40 combined. One of Square’s previous mystery bundles contained Tomb Raider, Just […]

  • From Software’s PSone game Shadow Tower coming to PSN

    Shadow Tower, the first-person action-RPG developed for the original PlayStation by From Software, will be released on PlayStation Network. In the 1998 title, players took on the role of a mercenary who has returned home to the Holy Land of Zeptar to find the place has been sucked into the Underworld. He must use the […]

  • PlayStation TV gets price cut in the UK, now £44.99

    PlayStation TV has received a price cut in the UK. After several retailers started offering the console for less than the RRP of £84.99, users on DealSpwn began to wonder whether this is an official price cut, and not just regular deals or stock clearance. Sony later confirmed the new price of £44.99. “Starting from […]

  • Fast & Furious expansion for Forza Horizon 2 is now available, for free

    You can download Forza Horizon 2 expansion Fast & Furious starting right now. Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is available to download now through Xbox Live for Xbox One and Xbox 360. The expansion is standalone, so you don’t need to own Forza Horizon 2 to play it. It’s also free from now […]

  • Fire-based weapons come to PayDay 2 with the Butcher’s BBQ Pack

    The 20th DLC for PayDay 2, the Butcher’s BBQ Pack, is now available on Steam. The DLC will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: Piglet Grenade Launcher, 12G Steakout Shotgun and Mk1 Flamethrower Molotov cocktails and incendiary ammo Four new masks, patterns, materials and achievements The Butcher’s BBQ Pack is another co-development between Overkill and Croatian […]

  • Lords of the Fallen developer offers Hideo Kojima a job

    Amid the current turmoil between Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami, one studio has offered the legendary designer a position. Lords of the Fallen developer Deck 13 took to Twitter to extend a job offer to Hideo Kojima. Dear Mr. @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN In case you are currently searching, we have an open position as Head of Game […]

  • Destiny Xur update: should you buy MIDA Multi Tool?

    The question on every Destiny player’s lips today. And the answer, supplied by resident Destiny expert Paul Davies, is… Yes! We asked Paul whether or not he thought Xur’s Exotic weapon this week was worth the 23 Strange Coins. Here’s what he said: “It was already a great gun to own for PVP owing to […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 has an all-male cast to make it “more approachable”

    According to Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata, the main cast of the game is all-male because it makes the game “more approachable.” Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata spoke to Gamespot about the reason for his choice of making the core cast an all-male affair. “Speaking honestly, an all-male party feels almost more approachable […]

  • Hearthstone Blackrock Mountain is coming April 2

    Blizzard has given Hearthstone expansion Blackrock Mountain a solid release date. Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure pack will be released April 2 in the Americas region, and April 3 in Europe, Korea, Taiwan, and China. Blackrock Depths is the first wing to be released, others will follow one week apart. Other than the 31 new cards, […]

  • Bloodborne: if you can’t load your save after installing firmware 2.50, this will help

    If you’re having issues loading your Bloodborne save after applying firmware update 2.50 to your PS4, this should help you out. Reddit user KBALLZZ encountered an issue after installing update 2.50 on his PlayStation 4. Bloodborne started reinstalling the day one patch again and when it was done he couldn’t continue his game or load […]

  • Use this code to get 10% off on PSN purchases

    Sony is offering a 10% discount coupon to anyone looking to buy games on PlayStation Store this weekend. Sony’s latest discount coupon code is here. You’ll receive 10% off your cart total when buying from the PSN Store. The offer is not valid on purchases made on PS Vita, PlayStation TV, PSP, or in-game stores. […]

  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin upgrade path announced, system specs revealed

    Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will offer returning customers a chance to upgrade at a discounted price. Those who already own Dark Souls 2 on Steam and are interested in picking up the Scholar of the First Sin edition will be happy to know that publisher Bandai Namco is offering them an […]

  • Bloodborne: this is what happens when you have 40 Insight

    Insight is one of the currencies in Bloodborne, but it’s also a mechanic that affects the gameplay. There are MASSIVE SPOILERS below, so turn back now or one of Bloodborne’s gameplay mechanics will be SPOILED for you. Just like Blood Echoes in Bloodborne, Insight is used to purchase certain items from vendors in the game. […]

  • Phase two of Xbox One April update brings voice messages, dedicated servers for party chat, more

    The second phase of the April update for Xbox One is now open to members of the Preview programme and and it looks like there are even more features in store. Phase one of Xbox One’s April firmware update started a few days ago with improvements to party chat and achievements notifications. Today, phase two […]

  • GTA 5′s graphical “downgrade” is a bug, will be fixed in upcoming patch

    As of patch 1.8 for GTA 5 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a few graphical issues have cropped up leading some to believe there has been a stealth downgrade to the game’s overall graphics. Over the past couple of days, Reddit went nuts over a video showing what appears to be a downgrade to […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for March 27, 28 – MIDA Multi-Tool edition

    Xur: Agent of the Nine has arrived at The Tower in Destiny to rid you of your Strange Coins. Xur: Agent of the Nine has once again made it to Destiny’s Tower to sell you Exotic weapons and gear in exchange for Strange Coins and Motes of Light. For this weekend, Xur can be found […]

  • Destiny vault space upgrade will have enough room for every Exotic

    Destiny is finally getting the vault space upgrade players have been begging for almost since launch week. Destiny players can currently use vault space to store 20 pieces of amour, 20 weapons and 20 general item stacks. In the latest Bungle Weekly Update, the developer revealed that as of patch 1.1.2, due before House of […]

  • Half-Life 2: Update mod applies some sparkle to the original title

    Half-Life 2: Update will be available tomorrow, and thanks to the modding community, those who own the vanilla version of the game can apply a visual update to the 2004 title. The comparison video shows you the differences between the original version, and the version with Half-Life 2: Update applied. Here’s what the mod includes: […]

  • Neverwinter MMO can now be pre-downloaded on Xbox One

    You can now pre-download the free-to-play Neverwinter MMO on Xbox One. The game launches on March 31, but you will still need an Xbox Live Gold account to play it. Based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, the game can be downloaded from the Xbox Store.

  • Destiny of Spirits will go offline starting next month

    Sony will be ending service for Destiny of Spirits starting next month, Sony has announced. The free-to-play Destiny of Spirits was released in late March 2014 on Vita, and tasked players with collecting supernatural forces appropriate to their geographical location, and then trading them with others online. Gravity Rush spirits were added to the game […]

  • MotoGP 15 is out this spring on PC, last and current-gen consoles

    MotoGP 15 will be released in June on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Milestone has announced. Bike, rider and team customization are part of the latest release in the franchise, along with time-trials and enhanced career options. The game features over 20 bike models divided into three classes: MotoGP, Moto 2 […]

  • Cities: Skylines players should check out Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises

    Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises can now be yours in Cities: Skylines. Die Hard fans will be familiar with Nakatomi Plaza. Those who have never watched the first film and live in Los Angeles know it by its real-life name, FOX Plaza. It was created by Enos Shenk and is available through Steamworks. Those who […]

  • Call of Duty franchise has sold 175M copies, players have thrown 300B grenades

    With the Call of Duty Championship kicking off tomorrow, Activision has sent over a series infographic full of interesting figures such as the number of copies sold over 10 years and how many grenades players have tossed. According to the stats below, the Call of Duty franchise has sold 175 million copies across all platforms […]

  • Save up to 75% on select SEGA games on Steam this weekend

    SEGA has put many of its games on sale through Steam this weekend and the firm has also announced Eastside Hockey Manager is now available through Early Access. The sale runs through March 30. The entire Total War, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War back catalogs are discounted 75% and all associated DLC is […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight PC confirmed as digital download-only in UK

    Batman: Arkham Knight will indeed be a download-only title on PC in the UK, Warner Bros. has confirmed to VG247. Batman: Arkham Knight will be available as both a physical and digital release for PS4, Xbox One and PC in North America and Europe. Again, in the UK, the PC version will be “available as […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege release date set for October per GameStop Italy – report

    GameStop Italy may have let the release date for Rainbow Six Siege slip if a recent listing is accurate. According to the listing, the game will release on October 16. While this could be a placeholder date, October 16 is a Friday in the UK, the usual day new releases land at retail. The release […]

  • Watch the $1 million Call of Duty Championship right here

    The The Call of Duty Championship takes place this weekend, and you can watch all the action as it unfolds right here. The event takes place in Los Angeles tomorrow March 27 and runs through March 29, and the livestreams are below. 32 teams from five continents and 11 countries will be competing in Call […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: Battlefest kicks off this weekend with Double XP

    A new season of Battlefest kicks off this weekend, and starting today, you will earn Double XP in Battlefield Hardline. Battlefest for Hardline is similar to the event held for Battlefield 4 last year. For the entire month of April and into May, in-game events and competitions will be held by the developers and player […]

  • Don’t forget: the GTA 5 PC pre-order bonus cutoff is March 31

    Just a friendly reminder to those planning on purchasing GTA 5 for PC: you have until March 31 to pre-order if you want all the bonuses on offer. Those who pre-order will be handed $1 million in-game cash plus a bonus $300,000. It is split between GTA 5 and GTA Online: $500,000 for Grand Theft […]

  • Games with Gold offers doubled for April – six games instead of three

    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]