With Brotherhood being unanimously considered one of the best games of last year, it’s safe to say that we gamers are united in anticipation for the next Assassin’s Creed title. We caught wind of a new Assassin’s Creed game being in development for the 3DS at last year’s E3 but, whilst there is a certain hype that will accompany any release within the AC franchise, Lost Legacy is clearly intended to be a spin off title. Much like the handheld releases that accompanied the release of AC2, Lost Legacy looks set to further expand on the character of Ezio, but it’s probable that it will not further the overarching plot elements of the core franchise. Ubisoft have been consistently hinting at a third main Assassin’s Creed title launching sometime between now and the first quarter of 2012 but, with such a long wait until our next fix of open-world stealth action, we ought to sit back and think what we’d want from Assassin’s Creed 3.
There’s no point in speculating upon rumours that have already been put to rest, so we ought to round up what we already know about Assassin’s Creed 3. The first thing we have a handle on is the issue of character. Jean-Francois Boivin of Ubisoft has mentioned in interviews that each full numbered Assassin’s Creed game will introduce a new protagonist to the story. As much as we all loved Ezio, it will certainly be nice to get a bit of distance from him in AC3. We have also heard hints from Patrice Désilets, former series’ creative director, that the plot in the third Assassin’s Creed will focus heavily on Desmond and his cohorts attempting to prevent the end of the world in their own time by locating the temple’s left by “those who came before.” As the game’s have progressed through the series the frame narrative of Desmond and co. has become more and more important to the Assassin’s Creed story. Whilst the modern templars felt like a cheap narrative trick in the original Assassin’s Creed, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the sections of AC2 and Brotherhood where you play as Desmond himself. Whilst it would be interesting to see what Ubisoft would do with an AC game set entirely in a semi-modern setting, this seems unlikely on account of how Desmond will supposedly need to locate the temples that will save the world by investigating the past of yet more of his assassin ancestors. In a way I’m rather disappointed by this idea as, whilst I have really enjoyed all the Assassin’s Creed games up until this point, the idea of inhabiting yet another assassin from the past is starting to get a little old.
Despite a potentially recycled idea getting a little stale, the notion of Desmond investigating more of his ancestral past will open the series up to potentially new and wonderful chronological settings. The rumour mill would have had you believe that AC3 was set for a World War 2 setting, but this notion has been dismissed by AC writer Corey May, who has denied the speculation. This puts us back at square one in a way. Considering the previous games in the series have picked major turning points in history as their settings and have been progressing from the past toward the present, we aren’t left with many options. Perhaps we’ll see a completely new geographical movement for the series and find AC3 set during the Crimean war or Russian revolution. I can certainly see how a period of history so steeped in conflict and political ambiguity such as this could easily sustain the ongoing war between the templars and assassins that characterises the AC universe.
These issues of plot are rather hard to settle on due, in part, to their subjective nature. We’re more likely to be able to predict improvements and additions to gameplay mechanics. One of the smaller additions I enjoyed the most in AC: Brotherhood was the heavy sheath upgrade that allowed Ezio to replace his sword with a heavier weapon. For the first time I could use these different classes of weaponry for more than a single battle, and I didn’t have to steal them from my enemies in order to use them. For all the leaps and bounds the series has made since the original released in 2007 there have been very few new proper weapons introduced and we’d like this to change with AC3.
One of the other new aspects that was a genuinely new feature in Brotherhood was the inclusion of managing, recruiting and utilizing the other Assassins. There was a certain satisfaction in building up your elite guild of silent killers, and it would be great to see this element taking a larger role in Assassin’s Creed 3. I would also be curious to see if the Assassin management could not be expanded to alternate platforms. How awesome would it be to be able to manage your assassins from your iPhone or Android when you’re on the go and have these changes reflected on your 360 game when you get home? With Ubisoft’s Uplay service expanding more and more, it doesn’t seem like too far-fetched an idea to have this online cross-platform connectivity. I won’t be holding my breath, but it certainly would make a nice new addition to the series.
One of the other aspects of managing the Assassin’s Brotherhood that was so enjoyable was seeing them level up bit by bit as they completed their assigned missions. As shallow as the level up system was, it was satisfying knowing that your Assassins were improving all the time. It would certainly add a certain depth to the rest of the game if this sort of RPG element was added to your main character as well. It could also tie in with increasing the weapon variety if they introduced skill trees for each weapon. Allowing players to customize their main character in this way would allow the player’s individual play style to come through more, and will engender a greater bond between player and avatar. That and, we all love seeing our experience bars increase slowly but surely.
Much like how the original Assassin’s Creed presented a great idea that needed to be refined in the subsequent titles, the same can be said of the multiplayer modes we saw in Brotherhood. The multiplayer in Brotherhood introduced something genuinely fresh that made a nice break from the usual space marine crap we’re accustomed to in our online games. The skills and abilities you gained through levelling up were also well balanced and helped diversify the experience. It would be nice to see this multiplayer make a return, but with even more content. Whilst Brotherhood is being complemented by new modes and maps through DLC, we’d like to see AC3 ship with more modes and maps than ever before. With Ubi high ups stating in interviews that AC3 will be a “big game” this seems like a fair shout. More content is always welcome.
I would certainly welcome a few narrative changes to shake up the traditional formula of Assassin’s Creed but, aside from this, the series just needs to finish on a high. With AC3 being the final game in the trilogy, it really just needs to pull out all the stops. We need bigger worlds, more complex characters, more weapons and abilities and just more of everything. The gameplay has always been solid in Assassin’s Creed so just give us more of it. The main make or break point is going to be bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion and, until more details come in, all we can do is hope that this will be the case.
What kind of things are you hoping for in Assassin’s Creed 3? Let us know in the comments.