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Would you be fine with playing an Assassin's Creed game that was heavily Sci-Fi/futuristic, without Animus content?

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Leo K's picture
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Leo K
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I voted [Yes] because while I do greatly enjoy AC's Historical aspect, playing a (well-made) game that used Assassin's Creed's Combat-Stealth-Navigation gameplay pool and took place in a time period not bound by much besides Developer Imagination would be awesome for me. It's one of those things that they could TOTALLY do, too. They are literally not bound by any time period, and as long as they could incorporate Templar/Assassin Lore/creeds/ideologies, it would be at least a very functional Assassin's Creed game.

In a perfect world, this wouldn't take resources away from Mainline Assassin's Creed productions - but it should still play and feel like one. Perhaps the one thing they might change is the Open World nature of it, and base the Navigation, Stealth and Combat around a more focused and directed experience.

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I actually thought way back when that this could be where they'd go at the conclusion of AC3: reveal you've been playing as a descendant of Desmond (his grandson probably) all along in an animus-within-an-animus situation, have you wake up in an Assassin headquarters where a wizened Desmond is Grand Master, and have him show you what you've been training for all along: a near future where the Templars have conquered everything, but the world has evolved drastically in technological terms (have the Assassins save the world from the solar flare, but be exposed to the world and have major First Civilization technology fall into Templar hands as a result). Sequences where you play as Desmond's earliest ancestor in Eden would make up the "historical" part of the game, which would actually act more like the present day sections of earlier games functionally, with the near future comprising most of the game.

So I guess... yes? If Eden doesn't count as "historical." I mostly just thought it was a neat idea, but it's obviously moot now, and I'd be shocked to see a game set mainly in the future in... the foreseeable future. Wouldn't be surprised if it never happens.

I'd love to see a spinoff game that's unbound by any time period, one that's pretty much entirely composed of relatively contextless black box missions, focusing on the core navigation-stealth gameplay with countless settings to draw from in terms of level design, player abilities and aesthetics. Ideally it would be very community driven, with a deep level editor, cooperative play and leaderboards, and be updated as time goes by with new features, themed by historical setting. That's my current pipe dream for the series. Call it Assassin's Creed Eternity. Another thing I doubt we'll ever see.

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InTehVaria wrote:
I'd love to see a spinoff game that's unbound by any time period, one that's pretty much entirely composed of relatively contextless black box missions, focusing on the core navigation-stealth gameplay with countless settings to draw from in terms of level design, player abilities and aesthetics. Ideally it would be very community driven, with a deep level editor, cooperative play and leaderboards, and be updated as time goes by with new features, themed by historical setting. That's my current pipe dream for the series. Call it Assassin's Creed Eternity. Another thing I doubt we'll ever see.

That's probably my favorite idea so far.
I'd even welcome it being a Free-to-Play game with Official Ubisoft Mission Packs (like sequences of levels) that you could buy for a tiny price of a dollar or two. All of the Player-Made levels would be free, and maybe you could unlock individual missions of an Official Pack with Credits just by playing the game a bunch. Being Community-Driven could do absolute WONDERS for Assassin's Creed. AC is the kind of game where solid level design would rise to the top quickly, and level design that just doesn't understand the core of the games would fall away under an online Ranking system.

Assassin's Creed Eternity earns a strong nod from me.

Even just the idea of being able to cut gameplay free of story constraints would be interesting. It makes me wonder, how many times over the series' lifetime have we seen gameplay be botched in favor of the story they were trying to tell?

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I didn't vote because I don't really agree with either option. I don't want a full AC game set in modern/futuristic times, but I wouldn't mind a smaller scale DLC or standalone game in that setting. Because anything approaching a full-scale open world AC game would inevitably require a full redo of most of the mechanics and systems in the game, or else it would feel very much like a historical game being retrofitted onto a modern skin.

AC3 kept the scale of its desmond missions small, and thus mostly got by on simple stealth, parkour, and combat stuff. The final mission was undoubtedly the roughest in terms of authenticity, because it was the most ambitious in scale and the seams began to show more clearly.

A game with smaller ambitions could either attempt to retrofit the existing mechanics into the modern world like AC3 + Brotherhood did, or start completely fresh mechanically, building things specifically to fulfill the needs of modern gameplay.

Either of those would be fine. I don't think ubi is in a position to do the second route at the same time as yearly games, but the retrofitting idea would work as DLC, easy.

And since Watch Dogs either came from an attempt at creating a modern AC or was designed to fill the demand for one, all of this seems pretty unlikely. AC carved out its niche by being a big budget full 3d open world historical game, in an industry where historical stuff is usually reserved for strategy games. That's what it's about, and its main series will always need to serve that.

And though I don't have a problem with a standalone piece of modern AC content, I can't say I'd actually be excited for it. The yearly release grind has worn the novelty off the idea of even more AC stuff. I'd rather there be less frequent AC stuff and only one kind of AC game. Being told more about the modern aspect than I would in a game where it wasn't the main focus doesn't bother me. That stuff can be interesting, but it's not interesting because of an arbitrary hour-count spent engaging with it. If it's good, it'll be good, regardless of the fact that the game isn't about it.

Brotherhood is the perfect example of that, where the main story lasts 20 hours or so and is formulaic and uninteresting, and the modern story is one of the best in the series despite only having about two actual missions and a bunch of optional cutscenes, emails, and collectibles.

TL;DR: my answer is "fine, I guess, but it doesn't seem very necessary and I care more about the main games being good."

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That's fair, and I admire your standpoint. The abolition of the Open World environment in a cyberpunk Assassin's Creed in favor of more linear gameplay could be just the slack they need to try to make a tight, tuned experience. Maybe Modern Day just isn't a period they want to mess with all that much. That's alright, I still want to land a laser-guided Orbital Drop Air Assassination jumping out of a moving plane. That possibility is the reason why at this rate I'd be more excited for a standalone piece of original, futuristic AC content than any historical stuff they could shove at me. Whether that's Modern or two thousand years after Modern makes little difference to me.

The past FIVE AC games I've played (ACIII, Liberation, Black Flag, Rogue, Unity) just hammered that nail in harder and harder with each successive one I've experienced.

It's like... You can either retool your franchise and try something radically new that works, or you can focus and knuckle down hard, taking as much time as you need to make the games amazing, but for god's sake, please pick one! And so far, they haven't done either. That's what I'm hurtin' about.

I'd welcome your "I care more about the main games being good," with open arms. I'd love nothing more than for Assassin's Creed to draw me in as effortlessly as it did during its first few releases. It's just easy to get cynical.

Here's where I mention I started playing Rogue recently, and I just keep noticing more and more things I genuinely dislike about my favorite series. It's making me sad.

I have great hopes for Victory. I don't TRUST that it will be good, I don't have faith that it will be good, I just hope it will be. I hope that the move to next-gen/current-gen was really as rocky for AC as Ubi wants us to believe it was.

EDIT:
Your note about Brotherhood is a great point. I think I've figured out what my "real" intentions with pushing for Modern Day actually were all along. An attempt to make AC feel fresh again. It's such a deliberate, earthquake-level shake-up of the game's main structure that it has to be fresh, or die trying.

If the core, historical-science-fiction Assassin's Creed titles achieve that feeling of freshness, and deliver smart gameplay, I will calm down SO fast.

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As I said, Watch Dogs is their "lets do something new for those who want it". I think it's a pretty good game, story aside.

And they called it "Watch Dogs" because there's no point in an old series changing itself to the point where it's unrecognizable, when you could just call it something else.

Question: why do you want something you're tired of to become something different so you'll like it? Isn't that your subconscious' way of saying "find something else that's different"? There's nothing really stopping you. AC isn't the only thing with ancient aliens and modern day secret societies, and it doesn't matter if the lore's different as long as you enjoy the story being told.

I've definitely been playing more different kinds of games as AC's failed to hold my attention, and would recommend it. It's not as if I can't come back if it catches my interest, I just won't have to worry too much about having one less game to pick between.

I think I've talked about AC needing a huge change or something to make it "good" again, but I think I've also talked about being slightly off-base on that. AC has always striven to include Big New Things in each game, but that has come at the cost of the core stagnating and design flaws and other issues remaining. Wild new mechanical and aesthetic directions won't fix that. AC needs the small picture sorted: usability, difficulty curve, female/non-white-male representation issues, structural issues, ect.

I should hope you wouldn't be won back solely by the game being set in modern times. After all, the setting has not been the problem with the entire series, yet the entire series has had problems. I know that my own interest in AC Victory will be far more informed by the minute mechanical details I can spot than the portrayed atmosphere of london. There's no point in debating the merits of that city and time if the ways we'll be interacting with it are half-baked.

Call of Duty can go to crazy future times because it has obscenely polished and refined mechanics that can still function if new ones are slotted in. We can talk about sending the main AC series there once it reaches a similar level of refinement. Because then it's not about bolting on new Stuff to AC, it's about AC being a solid enough foundation to support different kinds of things. That's the path of games' evolution. Fresh new things either rely on an already-solved form of play, or they start very small and very simple.

An artist can only paint whatever they want within the rigorously defined methods of painting they've learned. If they want to CREATE a new method, they have to start small, even if they've done giant murals of spaceships and supernovas before. This is what people mean when they say that gaming is a young medium: this does not mean that people can't make amazing, worthwhile things within it, but that the methods of making these things are still very limited in comparison to other mediums, and new methods are continually being invented.

I'll refrain from torturing this analogy any longer!

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Nor do I need you to torture that analogy any longer. I understand you. Believe me, I do. If new methods need to be created, and slowly and carefully, so be it. Just as long as that's a genuine goal for AC's creators. This is why I do appreciate Unity for at least trying something new. Now they know what doesn't work, and can try something else. If that doesn't work either, that's okay, as long as they keep trying. Now onto the rest, and explaining my mental/emotional stance on AC.

Calvar The Blade wrote:
Question: why do you want something you're tired of to become something different so you'll like it? Isn't that your subconscious' way of saying "find something else that's different"? There's nothing really stopping you. AC isn't the only thing with ancient aliens and modern day secret societies, and it doesn't matter if the lore's different as long as you enjoy the story being told.

I've definitely been playing more different kinds of games as AC's failed to hold my attention, and would recommend it. It's not as if I can't come back if it catches my interest, I just won't have to worry too much about having one less game to pick between.

First of all, to me, it does matter if the Lore's different. It matters a lot. I love Assassin's Creed's Lore and Story, and I want more of it. I want more Assassin's Creed without needing to suffer through its imperfections. That may be having my cake and eating it too, but considering most other games do just fine delivering on that, I'm inclined to say it's not.

I love the story, I am just becoming tired of its lack of refined mechanics and its lack of attention to either good fragmented stories (Animus), or a good overarching story (Modern Day).

AC may not be the only game that contains secret societies and ancient civilizations but to me personally, it is certainly the best game that does. I could not find the experience I'm looking for anywhere else. And while I can't find 100% of it with AC anymore, I certainly find more of it with AC than with anything else.

I do play other games as well. I'm not an Assassin's Creed-worshipping zombie.

(Okay, let's be serious, maybe 50% ;P)

I played Shadow of Mordor. I adored Shadow of Mordor. I played Far Cry 4, I thought it was great - good enough for me to make a series of videos speedrunning every single Outpost Master mission in the game. Aside from that, I play non-Creed-likes, like fighting games, and I have a deep love of Metroidvanias (Strider, Dust: An Elysian Tail and SteamWorld Dig were three recent favorites of mine.)

The fact is, I just love AC and the world that it's built too much, and after I finished Far Cry 4, after I finished Shadow of Mordor, the first thing that snapped to my mind was, "Man... That was nice... Wouldn't it be great if Assassin's Creed still felt this awesome!? :D" I have nothing but loyalty for this game and this series, and I'm not beyond being harsh to it if that's what its growth calls for.

If I did not like AC and its ideal (but seldom achieved) gameplay and mythos to the point that I do, I would not be commenting here. I would not be so passionate about wanting it to be better, to be different, to grow instead of stagnating and dying, a bloated and rehashed creature.

Calvar The Blade wrote:
I should hope you wouldn't be won back solely by the game being set in modern times. After all, the setting has not been the problem with the entire series, yet the entire series has had problems. I know that my own interest in AC Victory will be far more informed by the minute mechanical details I can spot than the portrayed atmosphere of London. There's no point in debating the merits of that city and time if the ways we'll be interacting with it are half-baked.

And I definitely wouldn't be won back solely by that. A definite good point that the setting has not been the problem, but the entire series has had problems. Kudos for bringing that up because it's extremely important and likely the true buried splinter of my agitation. I also thank you for bringing up the fact that our interactions with the city are more important than its portrayed atmosphere. Yet again, I have to say, designing for meaningful interaction with an open world is probably more difficult than designing for meaningful interaction in a linear game world. AC has lacked meaningful interaction with its open worlds since AC1 introduced Open World Climbing to the entire game industry in 2007. Another reason why taking an on-the-side foray into linear worlds might be beneficial.

The idea I was trying to get at was that if they made five sub-par games in a row, after making four great ones, then something is going wrong. And my adoration would only slightly hinge on a fresh setting that has more to offer me than the allure of "ye olden-times," and much more so on the implications for development that setting it could give the creators.

What I mean by that is that I'd like, as an experiment, to see how refined they could make the mechanics for a linear Assassin's Creed game. Where it is set wouldn't really matter to me personally, but to fans of the main-line games, a Linear AC that's still Historical would just be strange. This is the reason for my suggestion to set it somewhere far removed from the main games' target product. That "somewhere far" doesn't have to be Modern Day, but it would be easy for Ubi to set it there because it's unexplored territory, and they have decent amounts of Lore for it.

Don't get me wrong, I also liked Watch_Dogs enough to want to buy a sequel to it. But the reason I do not find Watch_Dogs an acceptable alternative is that it simply is not Assassin's Creed.

That should be simple enough, but I'll go on.

I need Templars and Assassins to be part of my ideal AC game to be satisfied. I need that lore like oxygen. In a way, I need the Animus, I need the history only insofar as a character having to dig through memories to become more knowledgeable about their current situation. Whether that's in sensible history, or in First Civ times doesn't really matter. I need Erudito. I need Abstergo Industries or what becomes of them. I need The Instruments of the First Will. I need Juno. I need references to The Creed, to Hidden Blades, to the legends that have been forgotten, but whose names never will be by the Assassin Brotherhood even 2500 years from 2012 - Altair Ibn-La'Ahad and Desmond Miles. I need all of that. If I can't have it, then at the very least it doesn't seem much to ask for to receive a decent in-Animus story and in-Animus gameplay.

I think I would have been more forgiving to Unity's total lack of Modern Day gameplay, if the gameplay and story it had presented was better. As it is, the reason for my despair is that I was hoping at some point, "Even though this isn't that amazing, at least the playable Modern Day story might be different enough to add some missing flavor in. Right? Right?" And then it didn't happen. The fatal flaw was that it presented me with something that quickly became tired, while giving utterly zero alternative.

If I ever got tired of Sequences in previous AC games, at least I'd rest easy in the knowledge that soon, Modern Day would hit and I'd get to "stretch my legs" a little before heading back into the action - which would often be more interesting immediately after such interludes.

But back to my point about what I play AC for. The lore, the mechanics and the world all combine for me.
That creates a little problem when it comes to playing something else. Here it is.

I literally cannot get what I need from other games, because Ubisoft has copyrighted and trademarked all of it.

This is a world I enjoy, a world I love being in, and Black Flag, Unity and Rogue have done me and others like me a disservice by;
1) Not giving enough of the story that I am invested in Assassin's Creed for.
2) Not giving a well put-together fragmented (in-Animus) story.
3) Not compensating for either by being a fluid, smooth, experience with great depth.

It struck out in all possible categories.

Shadow of Mordor wasn't perfect, but it was more focused than Assassin's Creed, it has less "stuff in the way," a better combat system, better controls, more depth despite being so embarrassingly simple. Perhaps that truly is a sign that AC just needs to master its small-picture better, as you said. SoM has so little core gameplay and next to no story. Yet in AC the lack of strong story was a weak point for me, and in SoM, the lack of strong story went unnoticed. That's probably because SoM's mechanics all fit together like a perfect puzzle. I doubt AC could get away with having a weak story just by giving us a good gameplay foundation, but I think you and I can both agree that it would certainly help a lot either way.

SoM wasn't perfect. It wasn't perfect because despite having all of AC's calling cards, it wasn't AC.

AC does need to have a good, solid, cohesive Core. You are right. I will throw myself at your feet when it comes to this, because here I cannot even begin to argue. And maybe eventually when a great AC game does hit, that stuff of mine can be "bolted on." That also makes sense.

I need to clarify that my hope with my original posts was not for Assassin's Creed to magically and instantly become "good" only as a result of a new setting. It was that with a new setting, Ubi could afford to try new things in games so far removed from their main series, without feeling the yearly pressure to maintain perfection as much as they do about the main games. Like a safe space for fresh ideas that don't all have to make it into Core games, but that players could give feedback on - all while still being very much a part of their biggest IP. I fail to see how that could be damaging in the slightest. Maybe I'm short-sighted (and would like how I am to be pointed out immediately if so) but I think this could only be healthy.

All that aside, I can wait. (I'll have to wait.)

I can be patient for a fantastic Assassin's Creed game, that will be lauded by THB, and critics, and everyone.

[EDIT 2: About Solid Foundation]
That AC needs a solid core to be able to support flashier things, and comparing it to Call of Duty really puts it out there that AC has refined very little of itself during its lifetime.

What I wonder is, why is that? What led to that, for this specific series, while other games understandably did "nail" what they were about, and how they functioned?

[EDIT 3: Cleaning A Room]
Slightly related, I was talking to a friend recently about the nice feeling one gets when they take all the stuff they don't need in their room, toss it in a trash bag and throw that bag out. I mentioned that it feels like Assassin's Creed needs that.

I firmly believe it's not about adding more things, it's about taking away as many things as possible while making sure the game still functions.

Which is strange to me, because I sit here thinking, "Isn't that conducive to what Calvar advocates?"

This in turn leads me to make the realization that the way I've been trying to communicate this (or the specific idea I have for it) has been the major reason for our butting heads against each other, more than anything else, more than content or thoughts or what-have-we.

Again, this comes back to my desire to have a side-Linear AC game and the logic behind that.

Making an Open World game is TOUGH. Way tougher than making a Linear game. By chopping away a lot and distilling AC down to its basic Essence of Navigation-Combat-Stealth in a more linear environment - one which would likely not make SENSE being set Historically as it would confuse consumers of the Main games - they could get a lot of great practice in, as well as opening fora for public feedback.

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I'm sorry if I implied you're a zombie! I just don't want you to get more burned out than you have to. I don't really agree that the past 5 games have all been bad, I think the series has come a long way, and definitely fixed SOME of the core problems. Going back to the old games recently has been really illuminating to me on how much has been fixed and improved, and also some of the good things that have been lost.

And I understand what you meant about modern times being freeing for the developers, but I actually don't think it is, because all that creative freedom means more work building new systems. It's an additional set of rules and restriction laid on top of stealth, as cameras, accurate rapid-fire guns, cars, and other modern systems are added to the mix. By comparison, history is a stripped down and simple version of what we have now: instead of cameras, you have a person standing lookout. So it's something that's simple to convey and can reuse many detection and open combat aspects from other enemies. Instead of cars, you have people mostly walking places, or taking relatively slow carts. There's less to build, less complex things to model, less need for players to switch between different modes of transportation.

That's why I think history is the ideal place to stay in the main series, while trying to improve the core. Don't get me wrong, anything involving human interaction is complex to accurately simulate, but it's not as difficult to approximately simulate within an older time simply due to the scale being far different. AC Unity can create an entire historical city to scale, while GTA or Watch Dogs must shrink significantly from reality due to the enormous scale of modern cities.

I sympathize with your feelings on the modern day of AC, though I must confess I don't feel the same. I appreciate that AC treats its lore as history, but to me it is simply a mechanism by which stories can be told. And I can enjoy a story told by some other mechanism just as much.

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Right. So that's a definite pickle they'd be putting themselves into.

- Making an on-the-side Linear AC would be harder if it were not Historically placed
- Making it Historical may confuse/alienate mainline game consumers because it's not open world... (But on second thought, would it?)

I think this would be far too much effort to be marketed as a downloadable, 20 dollar game. They would definitely have to charge full-price for it too.

What could they do to try and do this? Could they take it to a historical place and character that (at first glance!) has little to do with the main story? Oh, they could market it as an Abstergo Entertainment game and have none of the Modern Day stuff in it at all. Even the interface could make more sense than Animus UI, and there'd be even less intrusion than there was in Liberation.

We all know they're constantly working on at least two Assassin's Creed titles at any given time, both of which will be Open World. That means both of them have the same drain on resources, and on effort. Both will be working with the same amount of fervor, trying to make the game interesting within what seems to be a fairly linear mission structure. A fairly linear mission structure that, as you once said, still takes place in an open world. We can't make them stop doing that, they're not gonna stop doing that. If they're going to do that, it makes some degree of sense to have one of those two be a testing ground that doesn't have the burden of excellence on it.

Fans expected Unity to be amazing because it was the first next-gen, mainline, open-world AC. It did carry that burden.
It wasn't amazing because of the explosive risk of all the new things Ubi was testing out in it.

The impact of that would have been mitigated if they'd tested those things on a Linear title, for which fans have lowered (or no) expectations. Because you don't really know WHAT to expect from a Linear AC. Anything can happen, since it's such a different format than what we're used to. Players could go into that with mostly open minds, if marketed right. If there's one thing Ubi's pretty good at, it's marketing.

Obviously, what I'm talking about here would have been impossible to put into play just then, since they HAD to work out open world next-gen systems regardless of anything, and that would have been shaky no matter what.
But the principle, I feel, still stands.

Then again... This should be placed across from your idea that gaming in general, especially Assassin's Creed should abandon linearity even more than it has. I think you mentioned part of the reason why missions feel sort of flat is exactly because they've stepped into Open World territory, but with one foot only.

How they would emphasize mandatory exploration more, I'm not sure.
I know I'd play it though, just to try it out. It'd be a super new concept for something like AC.

A quick thought;
Would it be possible for them to figure out mechanics and small-picture details first, then transplant those into either a Linear or Open world? I imagine the nature of the game world would change some of those mechanics in subtle to massive ways, so maybe it wouldn't actually be possible at all. If that's the case, then they need to stop making two games at a time, or if they do, take even more time for polish, usability and design for each one. And they need to run as far away from linearity as possible. If Open World mechanics are the only thing that would work in an open world, then it makes sense that they should keep their gameplay Core the same (Navigation-Combat-Stealth) but rework their entire methodology for making missions.

Broadly speaking, it's changed little from AC2, maybe even AC1.
Both Unity and AC3 boasted about a Quest Log feature, but it never actually functioned in a way that you felt fine running around collecting quests before doing all of them in sequence. Maybe that's not what AC needs, but it's a thought.

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I definitely think that alternating styles of games each year would be helpful with experimentation, though I don't expect ubisoft to go that route. We'll see what happens! I would like to mention that I never meant to say that games in general should be less linear in structure, but that games proclaiming to be "open world" should.

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Calvar The Blade wrote:
I definitely think that alternating styles of games each year would be helpful with experimentation, though I don't expect ubisoft to go that route. We'll see what happens! I would like to mention that I never meant to say that games in general should be less linear in structure, but that games proclaiming to be "open world" should.

Ah, that makes sense.
I'm just not sure how a story-based game would go about being truly open-world.
To tell a story, you need a sequence of events to happen. And so far the only way I've seen to make that happen is to put markers in the game world that players can accept fairly linear missions from.

I guess one way would be to have mission acceptance be possible from anywhere, and to allow the completion of missions to expand much more than it is now. As it is, most videogame missions nowadays will only take 5 to 20 minutes. The only idea I have for making open world truly open world is, letting the player Save or Suspend in the middle of a mission, and letting those missions sometimes be hours long.

That's the only thing that would allow for the level of scope, exploration and interaction with the game world, I think.

What are your thoughts on this?

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DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
- Making it Historical may confuse/alienate mainline game consumers because it's not open world... (But on second thought, would it?)

I'm not going to read everything in this thread because I'm not interested in reading walls of text at this time. Maybe later.

To touch on DAZ's point though... aside from ACU, all the recent games have been linear games in an open world skin. They've tricked you into thinking you're playing an open world game already. "Press X to kill Haytham ... Press X to kill Charles Lee now." There certainly is an open expansive world in the games, but by no means has the story been much more than linear as is. I'm not sure how to answer your question except to say that I want to play open world/sandbox games. But I'm not holding out hope for open world/sandbox mission structures.

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
- Making it Historical may confuse/alienate mainline game consumers because it's not open world... (But on second thought, would it?)

I'm not going to read everything in this thread because I'm not interested in reading walls of text at this time. Maybe later.

To touch on DAZ's point though... aside from ACU, all the recent games have been linear games in an open world skin. They've tricked you into thinking you're playing an open world game already. "Press X to kill Haytham ... Press X to kill Charles Lee now." There certainly is an open expansive world in the games, but by no means has the story been much more than linear as is. I'm not sure how to answer your question except to say that I want to play open world/sandbox games. But I'm not holding out hope for open world/sandbox mission structures.

Yeah, I think that's something Calvar and I both touched upon at various points.
And I've definitely noticed it.
However, at least with main ACs the illusion of open world is decently maintained.
I'd just like to play good Assassin's Creed games that fulfill the fantasy of being a lethal rogue - format isn't super important to me.

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(sorry for rambling, or if this has been brought up before)

What if... get this... what if there was no main story.

Treat it sort of like a mashup of AC multiplayer and the Dark Brotherhood in Elder Scrolls.
You have a character wandering around, no menus to get you there, no direction at all in the game... do what you want in an open world, until you get bored enough to kill someone, then an Assassin's Guild reaches out to you, gives you an objective, you can complete it or ignore it, your choice. Eventually you complete it, because there's only so much running around the map one can do. .. and you get a reward! a shiny new sword! oh man! feeling good about yourself, you try to get contact with them again, but you can't find them, then they reach out again. You do their bidding, and this time you get a gear upgrade! sweet! this goes on, and you notice that these guys are connected somehow, you find out that the brotherhood is a real thing, confront them about doing their bidding, they agree to teach you their ways, and you keep going for hours of gameplay. a game of straight up assassin contracts / sandbox assassinations. eventually you stumble onto a PoE, or get inducted into the Brotherhood, or kill a high ranking Templar and find out that that was the game. you were a tool the whole time. a means to an end. and you thought you were just dicking around in an open world the whole time.

this has the added benefit of individual customization. people can design missions and you load into the database and the game assigns one to you for the progression of your character. you never have to know if the mission was an ubisoft designed one, or a player designed one... except that every so often you get an important mission to take out someone important and get the ubisoft cut scenes, etc.

this goes on forever. people designing missions, people completing missions. people designing gear upgrades. people earning gear upgrades.

no need for a story.
no need for an animus.
no need for anything but a minecrafty sandbox world for you to become a serial killer in.

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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I'd play the heck out of an AC like that - and it definitely supercharges the open world aspect.
I bet a LOT of people would play the heck out of an AC like that.
The heck, I tell you. And I'd make a heck of a lot of content for it too.

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I'd guess my "perfect" AC would be something like a mix between AC1 and Majora's mask Tongue

You have targets who all have daily routines which differ on each day/night and the player's actions actually influence the target's routine/behavior. Let's say you kill target 1 in broad daylight at spot X, then target 2 becomes a bit erratic and will avoid spot X during that time. Or lets say you do investigation Y which influences NPC Z which affects target 3 or whatever. Somethign that combines (social) stealth, parkour and non-linear assassinations.

AC1 comes in because that setting is still my favourite and its player freedom during almost every cutscene/gameplay and assassinations is still the best imo.

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It would be cool if there was a game (not necessarily AC) where you depended on your own found landmarks to find places. The characters might vaguely describe what's around the spot they need you to go to and you find it by the hints and your own observations. There's no HUD and it encourages you to plan ahead of each mission, especially when escaping. When I see too many things on screen that aren't a part of the world, it takes me out of the game. If they could take away the point of interest marker that leads you through buildings, it would be a more intense and immersive experience.

A lot of people might hate this, though, as a mainstream audience wants a little more hand-holding than that.

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I talked about the structure I had in mind in the text-wall topic. Basically, Assassin's Creed 1 but with less of a transparent favoring of assassination missions above all else. Missions with a linear structure in and of themselves, but the order in which you do them being up to you. within the sequence, so you can't just skip ahead to an end-game thing. (AC is about history, having stuff just exist as some generic mission not attached to a specific point in time would rob it of the ability to show how things evolve and change)

And also the same thing from AC1 of not having to do all the missions, except this time they'd be missions on the scale of AC2-on non-assassination missions, not small and generic ones. Since a choice of what to avoid makes your choice of what to do more meaningful. And in doing this and providing enough variety, I'd expect a shift away from sidequests, putting those resources into more main path optional missions.

Side content instead being more like state of decay, shadow of mordor, or Black Flag: a large-scale system that you can interact with to gain resources, but without the formalized structure of a mission. I think it's obvious what Assassin's Creed could focus on simulating: the power struggle between Templars and Assassins. But actually modelling secret meetings, raids on opposing hideouts, and street-level battles. I think the main missions would be important for representing the high-level of the struggle, but this could be the low-level: the operations of the rank and file the Templars use to do their dirty work. Not hugely complex missions, just simple objectives generated based on the status of the overarching system.

I don't mean to suggest a sandboxy main story is what I want. Even my suggested systemic side activities aren't "Sandbox". When I say that open world games should have some degree of nonlinear progression, I mean that as in: "you can physically go to places in the order you want". That's what an "Open World" means: not that there are no scripted and designed missions or systems, but that you can approach them in a non-linear way.

"Sandbox" is minecraft, DayZ, Rust, ect. Randomly generated, no overarching systems except the ones that players themselves construct. Not something AC has ever been or tried to be.

And none of this has anything to do with how many ways you can complete an objective. That's an entirely different sense of "linear", one which can apply to many games that are also sandboxes: if you could only defeat zombies in one way in Day Z, and could never escape them, every encounter with a zombie in Day Z would have a linear solution.

@Joey, objective markers should be turn-offable, but definitely on by default.

the posts a bit guy

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All of the ideas above sound freaking awesome. If games like that were made I would not be able to get a university degree, that's for sure.

I voted "no" on the poll though, and here's why. The 'historical playgound' that characterizes AC games is the main reason I bought AC1 a few years ago. I could never throw that out. Would I play a game as described above, without historical (in-Animus) gameplay? Heck yeah! Would I play an AC game like that though? No. AC does not feel complete without it to me.

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The above ideas would work better for spin offs than regular AC games because the bigger a franchise is, the less gutsy moves a studio can be expected to make and

DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
Ubisoft has literally no balls.

Concerning modern day in general, I remember reading the reason it wasn't implemented so much is because they would have to create all these modern day mechanics, like driving cars.

But they can easily come up with reasons you can't just get in a car and drive, the best reason being less-open-world and more-open-mission. Which they did in AC3, although the missions were too small and linear.

And speaking of open-world vs open-mission, it's another thing that has ruined the experience of some games. The MGS series and Batman Arkham series started open mission, most of the gameplay consisting of sneaking around inside buildings and other small areas. After the first or second game, the style was changed to accommodate large areas outside, making them more open world. But the result was more enemies to run into and fight, and less interaction with the environment around you.

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aurllcooljay wrote:
DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
Ubisoft has literally no balls.

Dat quote.

aurllcooljay wrote:
And speaking of open-world vs open-mission, it's another thing that has ruined the experience of some games. The MGS series and Batman Arkham series started open mission, most of the gameplay consisting of sneaking around inside buildings and other small areas. After the first or second game, the style was changed to accommodate large areas outside, making them more open world. But the result was more enemies to run into and fight, and less interaction with the environment around you.

Yes, this is a good point and definitely relates to the things I was talking/thinking about.
Making a game more open world comes with sacrifices. Since AC has always been open world, I guess that doesn't really apply that much. However, the reverse is also true; that making a game more linear comes with a plethora of benefits. Such as more interesting missions, more interesting interaction, more interesting world design. You pretty much nailed the Arkham example. The thing is, even Arkham City is better than Assassin's Creed when it comes to this, because Arkham City at least gives us Instanced buildings, each acting like their own closed-world, open-missions. This allows each one to feel unique, and give us unique situations to overcome using the game's mechanics.

Assassin's Creed barely ever even gives us that, despite the fact that you can seamlessly enter buildings in Unity.
When it does give it to us, it's so bland and uninspired they may as well have just kept the entire game uninstanced, unscripted and outdoors.

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that making a game more linear comes with a plethora of benefits. Such as more interesting missions

Wot. Making a mission linear is about the worst thing you can do for it to be interesting.

I still maintain that the Thief-Dishonored style of mission design is the optimum. You can really flesh out the mission area so it's not all cardboard cut-outs like most Western open world games, and the player gets the freedom to approach the mission how he or she sees fit. Ample opportunities for world building and story telling. You can even get some of the storytelling benefits of a linear mission by creating bottlenecks in your mission layout.
Obviously there are reasons to choose an open world design over this, and this doesn't mean open world is always bad (see: Dark Souls, AC1), or that linearity doesn't have its uses, but I think that by and large developers should be building sandboxy levels rather than relying on "the open world" or strict linearity.

If you want to discuss this, please keep your responses succinct. I won't read them otherwise.

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161803398874989 wrote:
that making a game more linear comes with a plethora of benefits. Such as more interesting missions

Wot. Making a mission linear is about the worst thing you can do for it to be interesting.

I still maintain that the Thief-Dishonored style of mission design is the optimum. You can really flesh out the mission area so it's not all cardboard cut-outs like most Western open world games, and the player gets the freedom to approach the mission how he or she sees fit. Ample opportunities for world building and story telling. You can even get some of the storytelling benefits of a linear mission by creating bottlenecks in your mission layout.
Obviously there are reasons to choose an open world design over this, and this doesn't mean open world is always bad (see: Dark Souls, AC1), or that linearity doesn't have its uses, but I think that by and large developers should be building sandboxy levels rather than relying on "the open world" or strict linearity.

If you want to discuss this, please keep your responses succinct. I won't read them otherwise.

Thief-Dishonored style design is what I'm talking about.
Your comment is why; sandboxy levels allow for more creativity within the actual mission space, both on the dev side and player side. Open world has its place and its uses for sure, but it's much more difficult to execute successfully. The cardboard-cut-out problem of Western open world design is what hurts AC right now.

A game more linear, not linear missions. Perhaps "closed-world" should have been the term I used.
Dishonored necessarily progresses from mission to mission in the exact order that it does.
Thief does the same.

Whereas you could do Investigations in any order in AC1.

Now that we only ever have a single "!" Marker in AC, what's the point of having an open world instead of missions starting one after the other? By only giving us a single "!" marker at any time, the exact same progression as Dishonored and Thief happens anyway - we just have to walk to it first.

While the other nice part of an open world is the series of collectibles that exist (which I almost always prefer doing over the main missions) they're still wasting one of the strongest benefits of an open world. Even getting access to missions should feel interesting.

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Example of how linear can be used in different contexts:

- Dishonored has a linear overarching structure because each mission is always followed by the next one.
- It has a non-linear internal structure within those missions, because you have several objectives and can reach them in whatever order you'd like.
- The ways of completing each of these objectives is non-linear, because there is more than one general path.

I think AC should be similar. Linear progression between sequences of memories, non-linear choice of which memories to do in what order, a certain amount of which will unlock the sequence-ending assassination memory.

(Linear is actually a fairly inaccurate term as we use it in video games, but it's often easier to use than re-explaining the entire concept, especially when people want things kept short. The downside being that its use becomes increasingly generalized and meaning is slowly fading from the word.)

the posts a bit guy

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Agree with all of that. Smile