This week, Ubisoft announced the upcoming launch of the Assassins Creed Infinity ‘hub’; but the question is, does it promise much for the next era of the gaming giant?
The introduction of Assassins Creed Infinity, a new ‘platform’ from which future and maybe old games in the series will be made available. No one is quite sure what it will look like, the details given by Ubisoft so vague as they were. However, they have said that the meta-narrative linking each game in the series (the modern-set storyline) will be a big part of Infinity. Clearly, the new innovation will have a big role to play in the future of this grand-old gaming franchise.
What Else Do We Know About Infinity?
Not much. Ubisoft is playing their cards close to their chest with Infinity. One interesting detail is that when a new game is purchased, the Infinity ‘hub’ will load before the game itself. The function of this has not been revealed. However, new games will be available to buy through infinity and will be listed as a ‘new DNA memory’. Infinity in this regard, could be considered a simple user interface through which titles can be purchased. The economics of this move seems clear. Indeed, Marc-Alexis Côté of Ubisoft mentioned that the move would improve the ‘discoverability’ of new additions to the franchise.
The video game industry is huge, potentially worth over $95bn, and Ubisoft play a huge role in generating these kinds of numbers. The economic angle of the new Infinity model is clear, and discoverability is only one part of it. Indeed, there is the belief that the ‘platform’ will also provide a greater opportunity for Ubisoft to produce DLC. It’s not hard to see that this new digital space provides greater opportunity in this regard. This is especially considering new content will not be bound by one game. Certainly, from a financial perspective, the Infinity model makes great sense for Ubisoft.
What About Gameplay Going Forward?
There’s a little bit to unpack here. The next installment in the game series is called Assassins Creed Mirage and it has been signaled as a return to the Assassins Creed of old. That is to say, a city-based game in which parkour, stealth, and assassinations are key. This signifies a welcome change for fans of the series in its original form, who have rued the game series’ shift towards an RPG format. The game will also apparently wrap up some of the story threads that still require addressing from the three previous installments Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla.
It’s not all good news on this front. however. Indeed, some fans have highlighted the lack of a compelling modern-day storyline since the death of Desmond Miles in 2012’s Assassins Creed III. For the launch of Infinity however, it was confirmed that the modern storyline will be relegated to the Infinity platform. This means that new games released will not include any content not set within a given time period. This will represent a positive change for some, with Layla’s story not well received.
With regard to the overall future of the series, it looks as if the RPG format is here to stay. The shift in the franchise towards this gameplay style has helped boost its popularity further. Therefore, it only makes sense for Ubisoft to embrace the change. For now, Mirage may represent a chance for fans of the old formula to kiss goodbye to the game style they once loved. Lovers of all things history and RPG should be very excited, however. The next RPG project teased for release is set in feudal Japan, a setting requested by fans for years. However much this fan-pleasing may irk some, it spells good news for the brand’s continued popularity.
New studies have shown that playing video games can actually have positive mental and physiological benefits for regular players. So, though Ubisoft’s new intentions are almost certainly driven by economics, the game’s broader appeal will serve a good purpose. No matter what your perspective, this is certainly another fascinating moment for a franchise that seemingly has no intention of going away any time soon.