The Ever-Ezioing Story: AssCreed So Far

By Alec Meer on November 15th, 2011 at 10:11 am.

Goodness, he keeps that hood ever so clean

Aha! I’ve just received word that PC review code for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is leaping towards my post box as we speak (WITtery due on Nov 29th, if all goes to plan), which means we can stop worrying that we’ll be waiting months for Ezio and Desmond to finally creep this way. So, it seems apt to run this AssCreed: The Story So Far videorama, given the time-hopping backstory of this series is fairly convoluted and not a little silly. Oh, I wish they’d lose the sci-fi stuff entirely, but ultro-lore does seem to be the default way franchises build frighteningly passionate fanbases.

What a long-winded way to say “it’s the past, right, and you can climb up buildings and stab people in the kidney.”

What I’m most fascinated by is that apparent abandonment of the plan for AssCreed to leap to a new era and character with every installment. While it’s a shame to not be parkouring around entirely new locations and their attendant technologies, it does allow the series to expand organically rather than hard-reset repeatedly. I’m hearing mixed reports on AssRev, but it sounds like it doesn’t quite strike the balance of comfortingly familiar and expanded that the surprisingly splendid Brotherhood did. Looking forward to finding out though – this series has steadily improved to date, even if it’s now a long way distant from the original chatter around the first game.

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36 Comments »

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  1. MistaJah says:

    They made AssCreed 2 a trilogy, and so the next one should have a new parkourer. Maybe in the modern day?

    • Belua says:

      I heard the same thing, and I’m anxious to see the next era and world they present us.

      I’m just now playing through Brotherhood now (I know, I’m very, very late to the party), and in one of the hidden riddle-sections I encountered yesterday there are a whole bunch of years mentioned by the computer voice, though it was not said what these years were about. I’m not sure, but I think I recognized two of them as the starting years of the first Assassin’s Creed and of Assassin’s Creed 2. If that’s true, it’s reasonable to assume that the other years (a dozen or so, I guess) are equally important and might be made into games. I don’t remember them all, but it started somewhere around year one hundred and went up to the early two thousands. That means, we’re in for a lot of sequels in a lot of time periods. Which is great, because I love the franchise!
      I’d really love to see how they’d do a whole AssCreed game set in the present, or in the early 20th century. I don’t know if it would work as a game without turning it into a Splinter Cell, Metal Gear or (ugh) Velvet Assassin, but I’d still love to see how they’d do it.

      If that is all old news or totally bullshit, I apologize for stealing your time.

    • ancienttoaster says:

      Vaulting around the rooftops of feudal Japan stabbing the shit out of daimyos and samurai is my suggestion.

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      Assassin’s Creed: Ninja! :D

  2. Belua says:

    I don’t know why everyone seems to hate the sci-fi part of Assassin’s Creed. For me, it gives the games a great, overarching story and context that ties them together and conveys very well that even though single stories might have been closed, the real, bigger conflict has been lasting for centuries and is still going on today. Also, I find it really interesting to see what’s going on in the present timeline and how it is connected to the past timelines.

    • ynamite says:

      ^ this.

      I’d surely like the games also if they were based entirely in the past without the sci-fi aspect, but I certainly love the premise of the AC franchise.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      That stuff became more interesting with AC2 and Brotherhood, but I could only roll my eyes at the ending of AC2 and the increasing tone of ‘everything important ever that happened in the past was because of the Apple, the Templars or the Assassins’. Conspiracy theories work better when they don’t try to explain All Things.

      Really enjoyed Brotherhood though.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheApologist says:

      Yeah – me too. A major point for me is that the art for the sci-fi bits is lovely – I like the juxtaposed highly realistic historical locations and abstract-data-in-your-head bits.

    • Christian O. says:

      I love the sci-fi conspiracy stuff exactly because it’s so grand and extremely stupid. They somehow managed to tie the creation of humans in with the Tunguska event and the assassination of JKF. It’s pretty much a parody at this point.

      The future angle works for me – I like the characters, it’s nice to have some overall progress and I like the design stuff.

    • Belua says:

      I also love the “turned up to eleven” conspiracy. And while a bit extreme sometimes, I think they do an amazing job of making each event they choose to include make some kind of sense as a part of the conspiracy, considering how ridiculously large the conspiracy is (and hell, with extinct gods and items like the apple, it probably would be that way in reality).
      Sure, suspension of disbelief is stretched a bit, but if you go with it, I think it’s really awesome. It kind of reminds me of the feeling I had when I watched the X-Files back in the day.

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      Zephro says:

      I will go out on a limb and say I found the sci-fi conspiracy terrible.

      Genetic memory? really? Only Dune ever pulled that off and that had a brilliant writer behind it, even then he still strained it past breaking point of making no flipping sense.

      Also who wants to have your time broken up playing some dweeb in a tracksuit? In fact the sci-fi element put me off so badly I never got past the 2nd or 3rd city of AC1.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Could you rank genetic memory on “it makes no sense” list of game plot devices and report how it fares? Specifically, I’d like it compared to magic in general, magic which obviously creates something from nothing, time travel of various sorts (specifically parallel time stream universes and single-thread time stream both with and without paradoxes), portals, warp speed, superpowers which are explicitly not magical in nature and 80’s fashion trends.

    • TheGameSquid says:

      Yup, I actually strongly dislike conspiracy theory stories, but I really enjoyed the story in AC2 because it was just so flat out bonkers. Instead of explaining things, it just threw you from dazzling piece of sci-fi nonsense to the next.

      Admittedly, AC1’s story was terribly executed and Brotherhood added nothing to the overall narrative. And most of the characters are pretty bad/irritating.

      Still , it’s a wild ride that (so far) doesn’t take itself too seriously.

  3. N says:

    Ezio is such a gay name lol. The story of this game is probably written by special ed kids on a smacktrip.

  4. Dawngreeter says:

    Abandonment? I thought it was clearly stated that each ‘numbered’ sequel will be a new era. Revelations is supposed to end the AssCreed 2 block and AssCreed 3, set in a different time period, is to follow. Unless this has changed somehow?

  5. Warluster says:

    I was under the impression that there was Assasain’s Creed 1 + 2 and then Brotherhood and Revelations were just ‘expansions’ of 2… so 2.1, 2.2. Noticed a few gaming sites calling Revelations ‘Assasain’s Creed 4′.

    I anticipate the next Assasain’s Creed though… I hope they bring it to 18th century Europe, but honestly they’ll probably go colonial/Asian, since Europe’s been done and dusted now?

  6. greg_ritter says:

    I think that the greatest flaw of these games is Ezio. Come on, THREE games about him. When I heard that AssCreed 2 wil be about completely new time period and completely new hero, I thought “Man, what a great idea!”. And then…. EZIO EZIO EZIO EZIO
    Don’t get me wrong, I love 16th century Italy. And heroes were great, and Medici looked EXACTLY like his portraits.
    But… Just imagine – after AssCreed 2 there would be other game with OTHER time period. Like the Great French Revolution. Paris in th time was built quite claustrophobically, so parkour and roof-jumping are no problem. Though firearms are ever present, melee weapons are used widely, so new hero can fence with his beatiful rapier, and then shoot somebody with his awesome pistol. And to write in some conspirology in the french Revolution – well IT’S ALREADY FUCKING DONE.
    Also you could kill Marat in the bathtub.
    Also sorry for poor grammar.

  7. sdtipps says:

    Not sure I agree that the series is actually improving. It is, and it isn’t. As repetitive as the first game was, it felt more free and open. I mean, there’s more content, more options, but the interface is terrible (obviously designed for twin sticks), which means it’s not exactly easy to use all of those options. The first game gave me the feeling that I was actually stalking my prey, with a choice of how I went about it, but now the whole game is just running around chasing the next marker on the map, meaning that there isn’t the same sense of purpose to my exploring, which is driven only by the hope that finding a bunch of hidden items will open up some extras.

    That said, the new toys are pretty slick, and 15th century Italy is beautifully modeled. There’s all sorts of promise that if they open things up a bit, with more side quests and the like, I’ll get the sense of immersion I had in the first game back. I have high hopes for my time in Brotherhood, and for the series in general.

  8. reticulate says:

    I rather like the Scifi angle. It allows for all manner of fucking ridiculous conspiracy theory awesome, especially in AC2.

    As for the leaping to new eras and protagonist thing, Ubi have been pretty clear that they wanted to do more stuff with Ezio’s story, thus the named sequels rather than numbered. The next one will have a new guy for what to use stabbing with, and just when it was needed.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      I agree, I too think the sci-fi stuff spices the game up a lot and I have no clue why everybody seem to hate it.

    • ynamite says:

      Yep, I agree also. Love it, although I do think that the series has become a little too convoluted over time, gameplay-wise. Brotherhood was already a little bit too much imo, but Revelations really overdoes it. Played it a little bit on the weekend and I miss the feel the first two games had of being the lone badass covert assassin on a mission.

  9. Avenger says:

    I dream of the Assassins Creed games spanning over different eras, with different locales and creative tools. Each assassin having their unique traits, wealthy homes and awesome toys…

    … and the last assassin is actually Batman

    Am I asking for too much?

    • Simas says:

      Agent 47!

    • Avenger says:

      Naaah. Agent 47 is too low-key and too cool to be a dashing, parkouring (not a real word) assassin…

      Come on man, BATMAN!

    • Ghil says:

      Not to rain on your parade, but Batman doesn’t kill. :P

    • bfandreas says:

      I don’t want to piddle into your tea but some things we did in Arkham Asylum looked quite lethal.

  10. airtekh says:

    Damn they’re releasing these games quickly. I had it in my head that AssRev wasn’t out until next year for some reason.

    I won’t be getting it anytime soon, I still haven’t bought and played Brotherhood yet.

  11. tinners says:

    “ultro-lore does seem to be the default way franchises build frighteningly passionate fanbases”.

    Hell yeah! If anyone ever told me they watched series one of Lost and then lost interest, i insta-hate them.

  12. LASture says:

    For those of you who have not finished Brotherhood…
    ==== SPOILER WARNING ====

    The next Assassins Creed will take place with a new ancestor (as declared by Ubisoft), and hints at the end of Brotherhood point that it will be set in the French Revolution. A really interesting choice, I think.

    ==== END of SPOILER WARNING ====

    • bfandreas says:

      I wonder why they chose that. To me the Second Barons’ Rebellion or the War of the Roses is much more appealing. Or the utter mess that was the Thirty Years War. I’m a little bit bored with the French Revolution by now.

      Just imagine: de Montfort vs. Longshanks before he was crowned. Yes, That’d work out nicely. PC exclusive, obviously. It’d be to high brow for anything else.

  13. Agricola says:

    They missed a trick not setting Brotherhood in Ancient Rome. These games have a (admittedly ridiculous) method of linking characters across different eras, so why not follow Ezio’s story in AC2 by choosing another relative of his from Ancient times. As cool as Brotherhood was, to explore Rome when it was at its peak, would have been epic. But I would say that!!

  14. adonf says:

    Where was the footage from Desmond’s kidnapping take from? It’s not from the first game, is it?

    I only played about one half of AC1 and I don’t think I’d know that Desmond is an assassin had I not read it on the internets. I thought that it would be explained later, but now that I saw this scene I’m starting to wonder if I missed something important. (I only saw the first few seconds of the video and cut because I plan to play the other games, so maybe it’s all new scenes that are not in the games, I don’t know)

  15. DK says:

    “Oh, I wish they’d lose the sci-fi stuff entirely”

    I wish they’d lose the past animus stuff entirely. Fuck Ezio, he’s been holding the series back for 2 installments now, simply because it’s a lot cheaper to just remake Assassins Creed 2 with a couple of new gimmicks than it is to actually make a NEW GAME.