According to Kotaku, this one is going to be set in Victorian London, a time of Spring-Heeled Jack, anthropomorphic taxidermy, and mourning. Already, horrible racists are making Twitter jokes about the prevalence of hoodies in London.
The timing of the leak is a bit weird, and it’s difficult not to wonder if it’s an attempt to distract from the problems surrounding the recent Unity. From some truly bizarre bugs, issues relating to frame rate and resolution, to intrusive micro transaction content (the gaming equivalent of a door-to-door dishcloth salesman) Unity has been about as well received as an excitable tapir at a No-Tapirs Convention.
It's almost as if Ubisoft knew it was shipping a satchel of ass.
VICTORY IS NOT ASSURED
Apparently, Victory is being developed by a team that’s mostly new to the franchise – Ubisoft Quebec (who better to recreate a 19th Century Cockney knees-up than a bunch of French-speaking Canadians?). Yet that doesn’t really move us away from the reality that this all seems like an awful lot of Assassin’s Creed in a relatively short space of time.
These are ambitious games. We’ve had two this year alone, if you include the last-gen Rogue. Recreating, in somewhat tedious, historical detail, an entire period of history is not like churning out a new FIFA every year. Ubisoft is clearly seeing the series as something of a cash cow, and is sucking hard at its udders to drain every last drop.
But, if the experience of Unity is anything to go by, those teats are running dry, and what’s left of the milk is spoiled.
Black Flag was – for us at least – a creative high point for the series. There was a lightness to it, and a sense of widescreen adventure, that is sorely lacking in pretty much every other incarnation. Assassin’s Creed is, however you look at it, one of the most po-faced games series of all time. We fail to believe anybody really cares about its story, or the ongoing future era conspiracy. If they do care, then they are very boring people.
Surely, what normals like about these games is the action? But even that is getting old and predictable. Black Flag gave the series a much needed shot in the arm, an opiate injection of fresh ideas, but with Unity it was back to the same old Assassin’s Creed template. Aren’t we getting a bit bored of it all now? Yet another historical city, more guff, more tall buildings, more carts full of hay to fall into. Stab that guy. Tail him. Eavesdrop on her. Fall asleep. Repeat.
Is Victory going to be any better? Given the bugs and all that, and an enduring sense of having seen it all before, wouldn’t Ubisoft be better off resting it for a couple of years? Work on getting it right. Starve people of it, so that they’re hungry for the franchise to return. And maybe by then we’ll have forgotten what a fetid dog’s muff they made of Unity.