The following is purely a work of hypothesized fiction:
March 4, 2015. Ubisoft today put months of speculation to rest when it announced the latest Assassin's Creed game--Assassin's Creed VII: Sisterhood of the Blue Lagoon. While some may believe announcing a new Assassin's Creed game only six months following the release of Assassin's Creed VI: Marty McFly's Revenge is a bit much, Ubisoft said today it plans to release three new Assassin's games each fiscal year and that gamers should give in and continue to suck on the teet that is the Creed cash-cow.
Sisterhood of the Blue Lagoon is set in the Victorian era and follows the story of Emmeline Lestrange, a young woman, who along with her cousin Richard, are shipwrecked on the blue lagoon islands. It turns out Richard is involved in the Templars. The pair live in a small hut and live off the land and sea. Emmeline is uneducated and her older cousin, Richard, shows her everything she needs to know about sex. When asked why Ubisoft was taking such a risqué approach to an action-adventure game, a representative had this to say:
"We have hit all the major plot points outside of incest, and since the development team loves the movie Blue Lagoon, we thought, 'hey, let's do a game that rips off Brooke Shields' crap fest.' Well, we got the green light from upper management since our last 12 games sold like a bazillion copies, so we are just running with this idea until someone comes up with another idea."
Sisterhood of the Blue Lagoon is set to include similar gameplay as we've seen in the past 12 installments, with Emmeline running and jumping up buildings and trees. The same one-button combat mechanic is set to make a return, complete with a single-button counter option. New to the franchise is the first ever coconut collection mini-game. Players will have the chance to run up trees, snag some coconuts, and mix pina coladas to get Richard drunk. Players can compete with friends around the world to get the best sores on the leaderboards.
Assassin's Creed VII: Sisterhood of the Blue Lagoon is set to release on consoles on Nov. 4, 2015, one week before Assassin's Creed VII: Boris Goes to Jail hits PS Vita.
It is hard to believe that this pretend Assassin's Creed game could actually come out someday. OK, it will never come out; I admit it. But, the fact we could see an Assassin's Creed VII: Enter Sandman someday is absolutely mind blowing. For a series with each release promising some game-changing advancement, we've seen the same old routine time after time. It's a franchise that proves the sense of place is more important than what it is you do in said place.
Assassin's Creed III may have brought about a wonderfully fun naval combat mini-game of sorts, but is that really a game changer? Brotherhood brought about a new recruiting management system. The newly announced Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (it has nothing to do with the hardcore punk band, sorry kids) is introducing harpooning. Harpooning. Harpooning!? Since this is a pirate theme, naval combat will play a heavy role in Black Flag. You will get your own crew and ship to navigate around the Caribbean as you search for enemies, islands, and treasure (presumably, anyway—you are leading a pirate crew, after all). Other new gameplay elements in Black Flag include the ability to dive underwater and explore and find treasure.
If you need another Assassin's Creed game and want the ability to harpoon whales, get in bar fights, plunder loot, and dive for treasure, Black Flag is totally your game. More power to you for accepting another great franchise ruined by the yearly release plague. Assassin's Creed is now going the way of Call of Duty, all of EA Sports' lineup, and the other annual releases.
There is a perfectly good reason Ubisoft is pushing its Assassin's Creed franchise down our throats: money! The franchise has sold like liquor at a pirate party, with some 55 million copies sold to date. Assassin's Creed III alone has shipped some 12 million copies since it released last October.
There is no reason to huff and puff about Ubisoft releasing yet another Assassin's Creed game this year, right? Right. They are very solid games, typically with interesting narratives and enjoyable gameplay. The problem I have is nothing seems to indicate we'll get a completely redone combat system and no real new ideas. New weapons (that shoot in the water), the ability to dive, and a stronger emphasis on naval battles is fine, but couldn't that just be add-on content to Assassin's Creed III? Heck, even the protagonist, Edward Kenway, is the grandfather of AC3's hero Connor.
No, Black Flag couldn't just be add-on to AC3. First, Ubisoft will make a lot more money if it's released as a standalone entry. Second, it's coming out on next-gen systems, so presumably the team needs time to work with those new consoles.
More importantly, Black Flag deserves to be on its own, just like Assassin's Creed II, Brotherhood, and the rest of the lot. But how can I say that despite my clear disdain for the yearly release plague? Simple: I actually like Assassin's Creed games.
That's right, read it again. I LIKE ASSASSIN'S CREED GAMES. But, I don't love them. I have reviewed a couple in my days (played them for fun, too) and found them quite enjoyable. I'm probably like a lot of other people out there who don't play new Assassin's Creed games expecting some monumental step forward for the series' gameplay, especially combat. But why are we selling ourselves short and not demanding something that's actually new? That is the key: Ubisoft hasn't quite figured out how to make combat in Assassin's Creed interesting or fun. It's there; it's one-button-with-a-counter easy. Yes, we get new weapons each year, but they all pretty much have the same impact in game.
Free running is Assassin's Creeds' gameplay highlight, but the historical sense of place is the reason I (like so many other fans) keep returning. Forget all that Desmond Miles bull crap. Forget all that Templar rubbish. What made me excited about Assassin's Creed III was the idea of playing in the American Revolutionary War era. I was excited to explore Venice and see Rome in Assassin's Creed II and I'll be excited to see Ubisoft's take on the Caribbean in Black Flag.
Who can forget meeting Leonard Di Vinci and George Washington? What about Benjamin Franklin? The streets of Venice were abuzz with street merchants talking about what junk people from the Renaissance probably talked about: either about being super poor and hungry, or rich and negotiating with local bigwig artists for some paintings or sculptures. The streets of Boston were filled with drunk workers looking for some money while colonists plotted against the English.
This is what makes Assassin's Creed worth playing. This is what makes it so successful. But is it really ready for the big time of yearly releases? Has the team really come up with enough new ideas to make Black Flag super fresh and unique? I don't want to read the news in 2015 that Ubisoft has, in fact, announced it's working on Assassin's Creed VII: Sisterhood of the Blue Lagoon. That is, unless the development team figures out a way to make new installments play and feel extremely different than the previous five or six entries.
Thoughts? Opinions on the series? Drop them below.