Almost every time I watch a trailer for an Assassin’s Creed game, I think the same thing: I want to go to this place but I do not want to spend my visit climbing up the walls, collecting feathers, and bumping into people (and bumping people off). My repetitive cry of “great city, tedious experience” has itself become tedious. But here I go again because Ubisoft have released a new trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate [official site] and when the marketing department considered the target audience they wanted to reach, they were looking at a picture of me. It’s a beaut and I’m going to pretend it’s a trailer for a tourism simulator. Or Dishonored 2.
Imagine a world in which this is a video for an immersive sim based on Penny Dreadful. Imagine being able to exist in this place as a person with agency rather than the next in a long line of puppets tangled in the strings of a nonsense clash of conspiracies. I find the minute-by-minute experience of playing the Assassin’s Creed games aggressively dull, Black Flag aside, but I love that these slices of historical fiction exist. And by that, I mean the cities themselves, which are as remarkable as the crumbling Babylonian courtyard set of Intolerance (itself resurrected digitally in LA Noire, dontcha know).
I don’t expect to be won over by Syndicate but I fully intend to spend a day or two seeing the sights. That is unless the pre-release videos manage to scratch my itch before the game’s even out.