Ordinarily, we’d be excited for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. But franchise fatigue has started to take its toll.
If you haven’t already heard, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has been announced by Ubisoft. The new Assassin’s Creed game will be taking place in ancient Greece, during the great Athenian & Spartan war.
Players embody the grandchild of the great Leonidas, who has no set gender (for the first time in the Assassin’s Creed franchise). At the game’s beginning you’re granted the choice to be either Alexios or Kassandra.
Either way, you’ll be a legendary Spartan hero with a mythical weapon granting you power enough to change the tides of war.
Yes, this will be an Assassin’s Creed game with actual war and battles to take part in.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey certainly has exciting elements.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will take place years before Origins. Now that is a weird one for sure. Origins depicted the forming of the brotherhood and its well… origins.
At first I was confused by this, before remembering the statues of legendary Assassins in the Vila Auditore in Assassin’s Creed 2 that depicted members of the brotherhood who would have come long before Bayek. This potentially means that we are finally digging deeper into the backstories of some interesting characters teased by the franchise early in its life cycle.
This franchise potentially just got a whole lot richer and meaningful.
On to weapons. Instead of the hidden blade we have the Spear of Leonidas, which would most likely be the pre-cursor for the hidden blade. It’s touted as being a Piece of Eden.
A new aspect of the game is Ubisoft’s integration of choice-based dialogue between your character and the NPC’s throughout the world. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – The Witcher, Horizon Zero Dawn, Mass Effect (erm, before the bad one) all made use of this mechanic to great effect.
Unfortunately, the gameplay did reveal poor writing and even poorer voice acting. Characters appear rigid and almost like statues.
I am not sure if this is what Ubisoft is intentionally going for or if it’s simply just apathetic.
Most likely, it’s just Ubisoft failing in an area they’ve failed in time and time again. Even in Origins, the dialogue felt like you were watching two statues struggling to become human.
Assassin’s Creed and Franchise Fatigue
Game fatigue is not uncommon with big titles and the Assassin’s Creed franchise seems to be suffering their own form of it.
While, as mentioned, Odyssey does offer some exciting explorations into the franchise’s history, such explorations will be stunted. The next title does not seem to feature a character that is to be immortalised in the sanctuary, which is odd because the roster of statues can each make up a game of their own.
For instance, using the character of Qulan Gal can take players to the ancient Mongols and the rule of Genghis Khan. An Assassin’s Creed title set in ancient Mongolia with snow and hunting could be their retribution for AC3. Imagine how badass you’d feel playing as a Mongolian assassin hunting tigers and bears?
Oh, and you’ll get to eliminate Ghengkis Khan. Cherry on top folks.
But Jaryd, how would we have naval battles in Mongolia? And to that I say, if we’re only getting a game in Ancient Greece for the naval battles, see ya later.
If the stories we are being told don’t take place linearly on the timeline they should at least make sense to the greater story of the Brotherhood’s formation. Bouncing around different time periods “just because” will get stale – if it hasn’t already.
Odyssey will be set 400 years before the events of Origins, a complete new story for a seemingly new series perhaps.
The short time between Assassin’s Creed releases doesn’t help with keeping the franchise fresh.
If a minimum two year break between titles was enforced, the longevity of the franchise will be restored.
While Ubisoft are taking time off to work on the next title, they can release DLC and extra content (for free!) on the existing title.
This way, Ubisoft will show more love and care for their IP’s and not just a thirst for more money. Players will enjoy the experience of a title for a longer period (especially if more time is put into it). Too often are these games released and then left to die for the next one.
Sporadic releases will also allow the players to miss the game somewhat, creating a greater demand for the next title.
GTA5 has been out since 2013 and it is one of the biggest games still played to this day. Follow a similar model and Ubisoft could succeed.
Perhaps I am being pessimistic.
After all, Odyssey is Assassin’s Creed‘s big makeover, a reboot of the whole franchise.
There’s no doubt this is a good thing – a step in the right direction. Players will finally be getting something new.
Assassin’s Creed will grant players the ability to experience the game uniquely, where myriad different outcomes are available. No two games will be played the same, and that’s one of the most genuine ways a game can be praised.
But Ubisoft are certainly trying their luck. Odyssey represents a positive revamp, a breath of excitement.
I can’t help thinking that if they had waited a little longer, that breath would have been far stronger.
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