Assassin’s Creed: Unity is Officially Official
Just as leaked promotional art forced Ubisoft’s hand into revealing Black Flag early last year, this week’s unofficial info lowdown on a next-gen exclusive Assassin’s Creed sequel has pushed the publisher to publicly unveil the project.
Say hello to Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Disappointingly, the game does not chronicle the efforts of hood-clad rude boys inciting social and political upheaval — completely dropped the ball there, guys, in my modest opinion — but instead focuses on the ska devoid French Revolution, sending players to late 1700’s Paris.
Unity's concept alone seems to stray from Black Flag's relatively lightened tone, and the somber teaser above only supports that theory. I imagine Unity is a return to the cloak and dagger wetwork and violent but unseen influence series assassins such as Ezio and Conner have made a profession out of.
Though many a fan has hoped the franchise would begin to cover the assassins’ dealings in the Eastern hemisphere of the globe (namely China and Japan), France’s Revolutionary Wars are an exciting, albeit tumultuous and extremely brutal, period in history for Ubi’s team to play with. And, upshot, we’ll probably get to meet Napoleon Bonaparte and gamers the world over will finally get to learn that the sonuvabitch was of an average height.
The aforementioned leak also pointed out that Unity is actually only one half of the Creed equation this year, the other title being an unannounced installment built especially for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Fans will have to wait and see if this current-gen counterpart weaves into the fabric of Unity's narrative…
Leaked Assets Reveal New Assassin’s Creed Set During French Revolution
It’s ‘bout that time of year again, folks. And here I was thinking we might actually slip into April without an Assassin’s Creed leak. Alas, I was wrong and should continue not to gamble.
The above images, and more, were sent in to Kotaku (the giant watermark may have given that away) by an anonymous contact. The leaked materials refer to this installment as Assassin’s Creed: Unity, though the moniker is likely a code-name — Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was called Golden Age throughout development in reference to the game’s pirate theme (i.e. the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’).
Pairing hushed internet discussions and conversations with developers, Kotaku has pieced together a clearer picture of Unity to complement these very early-production screens. Unity takes place, at least partly, in 18th-century Paris, smack dab during the French Revolution. You’ll control a new assassin named Arno whose knack for parkour will be a step above his contemporaries’ thanks to new free-running mechanics.
We’ve caught wind of this rumor before but Kotaku again corroborates that Ubisoft intends on releasing not one, but two separate AC installments in 2014: one designed for current-generation systems and another specifically tailored for next-gen consoles. Unity would fall into the latter category, releasing for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The thought process behind the decision is actually shy of genius; it would mean Unity’s team can fully harness the power of next-gen hardware without the constraints of making sure the game runs on last-gen tech.
From a business standpoint, it appears particularly shrewd to double-up on a proven IP and go after both next-gen adopters looking to pad out their bare-bones libraries as well as the gigantic install base already established on PS3 and Xbox 360. Problem is, franchise fatigue can lay waste to a publisher’s best-laid plans.
I thought Black Flag was brilliant; my favorite sequel since ACII brought on the changes that would cement the series as a prime-time player. Yet I had a helluva time trying to convince my peers it was worth even playing, the malaise of “been there, done that” keeping them from revisiting the historically driven, free-running filled mythos of Assassin’s Creed.
Black Flag proved that Ubisoft understands the formula needs some shaking up to persist, and I’m interested to see if Unity follows suit and introduces a new way to strut around under the hood. We won’t have long to wait for more information, either. Unity and its unrevealed counterpart are said to release this Fall.
Watch Dogs Launches Around the World May 27th
The gaming public is all too familiar with delays, but it sure as hell notices when the belated title is as high profile a game as Watch Dogs is.
Originally meant to run out of the gates alongside next-gen consoles — while still dishing out current-gen counterparts — Watch Dogs slipped out of its November 2013 slot and into… well, seemingly oblivion. In the months following, Ubisoft uttered apologies while responding to date inquiries with a firm “when it’s ready.”
Can’t fault the publisher, though. Watch Dogs made a big damn splash when it was announced and all eyes have been glued since. With that much attention, and the hype train that came barreling in after its reveal, a mountain of expectation rests upon this untested IP.
Delayed for quality assurance, we’re now closer to experiencing Aiden Pearce’s technologically charged quest for good old fashioned revenge. Watch Dogs, releasing on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, is dated globally for May 27th. [Sorry Wii U people, no firm date for your hardware. Don’t hack the messenger.]
“Black Flag quickly ranks as my favorite Assassin’s Creed. It’s everything an open-world game should be: enormous, addictive, and completely worth pouring hours into…
Ubisoft does a magnificent job of making you feel like a high seas hardass. The development team didn’t lightly nudge into the pirate theme, it tackled it full-on.”
Ubisoft Shows Off Black Flag's DLC Campaign: Freedom Cry
Shipwrecked, abandoned, and unarmed, you assume the role of Adewale, a former slave that found unbound freedom as a pirate. Having served under Captain Edward Kenway as his first mate, Adewale received more than a crash course in piracy — he’s also an adept assassin.
Picking up fifteen years after the events of Black Flag, Adewale is stuck in the French controlled colony of Saint-Domingue where he’s forced to gather resources, persuade locals to join his crew, and, ultimately, jack his own ship. But his past catches up with him and soon enough Adewale begins fighting for the colony’s oppressed, hoping to share the freedom he took for himself in adolescence.
Freedom Cry will be a part of Assassin’s Creed IV's newly announced Season Pass ($19.99), which'll include a bevy of multiplayer content, and will be made available as soon as the game releases on Oct. 29th. Adewale's nine-mission campaign doesn't have a locked in date but the Season Pass' full lineup of content is expected out between launch and March of next year.
Assassin’s Creed IV Trailer Sets Up the Perfect Nautical Heist
Though the bandits of the high seas never seem to fail at capturing our imaginations — “Yo-Ho” pirates I mean; modern pirates would sooner hold you hostage than your imagination — their portrayal in pop culture as of late doesn’t quite jive with history. Somehow, heavy doses of mysticism and heavier amounts of eyeliner are what comes to mind when you say pirate.
That’s part of the reason I want Black Flag so badly. Assassin’s Creed, by its very video gaming nature, must take liberties with historical accuracy (you won’t find Ezio and Altair in the history books, sorry for the harsh reality check), but its devs assure us their pirates are right on the money. A producer’s comparison of Black Flag's cast of gloomy, galleon storming misfits to the Sons of Anarchy keeps bouncing around in my head.
Just the tone that sets has me sold on the narrative — which, glimpsed in this trailer, appears to have an extra touch of the cinematic — and it doesn’t hurt that every single person that’s demoed Black Flag immediately has a laundry list of praise to for it.
North American shores see the 360, PS3, and Wii U editions of the game on Oct. 29th, the PS4 version on launch day Nov. 15th, the PC version on Nov. 19th, and the Xbox One edition on its launch day of Nov. 22nd. You get all that?
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation Sneaking onto Consoles?
Evidence is mounting in support of Aveline, the series’ first female protagonist, making the move from her PS Vita debut to home consoles.
This graphic leaked all over the internet displays a list of familiar and not so familiar Ubisoft properties, including names for both Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD — the rumored console port in question — and Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, which is undoubtedly related to the forthcoming Black Flag and its focus on surly individuals that constantly keep the word “Ahoy” ready at the tip of their tongues.
The list of leaked titles, featuring mobile, digital, and free-to-play games, has been confirmed by Ubisoft to be real. More details are incoming September 10th, according to the publisher.
Handheld “exclusive” titles, more and more often, seem to be shedding that bond of exclusivity nowadays, huh? So long as its attached to a best selling franchise, publishers such as Capcom (Resident Evil: Revelations) and Konami (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate) are downright uncomfortable letting their breadwinners stagnate on one device and one device only.
I can see why. I’m a part of the demographic they hope to capture. With no Vita in my ownership and no close plans to alter that fact, I wouldn’t have had a chance to hunker on down with Liberation otherwise. Hopefully it isn’t an “as is” HD port, though — Aveline’s quest wasn’t without hiccups, apparently.
UPDATE: Ubisoft has confirmed console owners will get to pop their blades in 17th century New Orleans once Liberation HD releases for the PC, PS3, and 360 sometime next year.
Upping the scale from the small screen to the flat screen, the original game’s developers, Ubisoft Sofia, are enhancing the audio, finessing the graphics to match ACIII's visuals, and adjusting the AI. The transition won't be without loss, however, as missions reliant on the Vita's touch-pad are getting the axe (or the tomahawk, as it were).
ACIV: Man Versus the Sea
Want to know what made Black Flag so damn buzz-worthy even at PAX, a house home to nothing but buzz making titles?
How about dispatching a half-dozen foes armed with nothing but your swim trunks for starters? Or piercing your way to the ocean floor via an 18th century diving bell? Or how about harpooning sharks in a pirate-y take on that one bitching boss fight from RE4?
Credit is due to Ubisoft for not resting on their laurels despite their yearly release schedule for the series. Expanding on a proven formula is a tough, and usually avoided, prospect in this industry but Ubi seems determined to prove themselves to fans turned tepid after ACIII. If these ten minutes don’t convince you of that, nothing will…Well, besides playing the game. I guess that’ll do it, too.
Ubisoft’s Clearly Going to Make Another Far Cry
Tony Key, Ubi’s senior veep of sales and marketing, says Far Cry 4 is a no-brainer. And that’s the news, folks! …Okay, I’ll say more, but only in the hopes of Ubisoft letting me onto their wicked badass pirate ship in San Diego next week.
Though the gaming masses (rightfully) shunned Far Cry 2, something about playing as an over-privileged millennial transformed into a blood-frenzied bushman really resonated with people, thusly Far Cry 3 — under Ubisoft Montreal’s eye — put up strong numbers and kindly reviews.
This is where I say, “The game’s positive reception left many fans wondering if Far Cry 3's success could pave the way for a potential sequel?” But it's just you and me here; we can be frank. We're talking about the same publisher that has launched no fewer than five hundred Assassin’s Creed titles since 2007 (with another two hundred rumored to be in the works). Of course there’s going to be a Far Cry 4.
"It’s a great brand, and now it’s got the recognition it deserves," said Tony "T-Key" Key to Gamespot. “So we’re clearly going to make another one: more on that soon.” Key also spoke on consumers’ leaning on the open-world genre as a whole, stating that gamers’ tastes are becoming more attuned to less linear experiences.
"They don’t want linear; they want open [world]," said T-Key, admitting that Ubisoft pours considerable resources into the genre in part because of their aptitude for "large-scale, open-ended games." Key did backpedal a bit, affirming that "there’s always going to be a place for linear experiences." I can only imagine someone may have shot him these figures.
Now, if we can only get a Blood Dragon 2 into the “forgone conclusion” category, I’ll rest easy.
"Blood Dragon really is the game Duke Nukem Forever should have been. Whereas that meddlesome abortion half-assed it by showing up to ‘80’s Night in a Joy Division t-shirt freshly picked off a Hot Topic shelf, Blood Dragon crashes through the doors in a DeLorean, speakers ear-bleedingly capped at 11, cranking out ‘Bark at the Moon.’”