Little over a week ago, Ubisoft enthusiastically proclaimed in a CVG interview they intend for yearly iterations of Assassin’s Creed. Alex Hutchison, franchise head after Patrice Desilets left, spoke candidly about the series’ future, saying among other gems [on the series becoming ongoing]: “It wasn’t the original plan to be an ongoing series, no, but it became the plan. The curse of success, for want of better phrase.”
In that same quote he referred to Nintendo’s uncanny way of revitalizing its franchises even after so many years. He considers Assassin’s Creed “a franchise, like Mario or Resident Evil, that will have its ups and downs.” For frame of reference: Resident Evil has had 23 games between 1996-2012; Mario has featured in more than 200 since 1981; and Creed is sitting pretty at ten games after five years.
It isn’t outlandish to call it a franchise, a hugely successful one at that. Perhaps the most accomplished series ever produced by Ubisoft. But to compare Creed with longstanding and significant franchises like Mario and Resident Evil shows a dangerous (yet admirable) idealism on Hutchison’s part. Creed has yet to finish its original trilogy, thus until the third game hits, the direction is uncertain.
Any illustration of the series’ future, also, is quite premature. The publisher is openly committed, ostensibly a good sign, but the dynamics of this industry constantly change. As the eighth console generation creeps, for instance, after AC3 there might not exist a market for annual triple-A releases. Personally, I know many who’ve swore off buying Assassin’s Creed 3 because they’re tired.
The bigger question, however, is whether Ubisoft possesses the ingenuity to continue Creed for a prolonged period. AC3 brings many innovative additions to the formula like outdoorsy environments, survival aspects, and methods of travel (canoe). But it’s not Mario as a single franchise withstanding the test of time; it’s Mario as a character. Mario and friends, actually.
Just glancing at how diversified Nintendo’s platform is, comparatively, Ubisoft couldn’t possibly offer dramatic variations of the core formula without destroying what makes an Assassin’s Creed game. Unless Altair, Ezio or Connor suddenly develop inhuman traits. Sadly, high-flying gameplay and political intrigue can only carry a series for so long.
I’ll cut off the post here because I think I’ve got the point across. One other point Mr. Hutchison discussed was how gaming journalism is “subtly racist” to western developers, favouring their Japanese counterparts. I wanted to get more into that tomorrow. Anyway, enjoy your Monday.
To the readers: Do you think Assassin’s Creed is sustainable or is Mr. Hutchison too idealistic? Could Creed outlast Mario, maybe?
Image courtesy of the Assassin’s Creed Wiki.
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