Video Games: 'Assassin’s Creed' heads to London

Don’t look now, but the popular “Assassin’s Creed” video game series has become a full-blown franchise. The telltale signs are all there: spin-offs, novelizations and even a live action feature film! 

Last year’s installment, “Assassin’s Creed Unity,” launched with many graphical issues and bugs that severely hampered the quality of the game, prompting an aggressive post-release campaign from Ubisoft to win back customer good will. Thus, the pressure is on this year to deliver a strong release with “Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate,” which will release Oct. 23 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Ubisoft Quebec will handle lead development of “Syndicate” rather than Ubisoft Montreal, who headed up most of the series’ main installments. As is the Ubisoft way, at least eleven other studios will provide assistance.

In “Syndicate,” players will be transported to Victorian-era London, and the gameplay elements reflect this leap forward in time. Vehicles are now a significant part of on-land free roam gameplay, as horse-drawn carriages roam the streets and trains circle the countryside. Swords have vanished from the forefront of combat, replaced by brass knuckles and six-shot revolvers. Solving crimes and battling with gangs are two of the Assassins’ most important duties.

Speaking of which, “Syndicate” will also add a new wrinkle into the “Assassin’s Creed” formula by introducing two lead protagonists, twins Jacob and Evie, for the player to control. Perhaps inspired by “Grand Theft Auto V,” the two characters will both have their own missions while also occasionally participating in one same mission together. This should allow for interesting mission design opportunities, considering the freedom and excitement involved in performing assassinations.

As for some of the series’ well-known features, one fan favorite is returning as another departs. The modern day storyline, involving an ongoing conflict between the Assassins and Templars over alien artifacts, is making a full comeback in “Syndicate” as the narrative opens up a new chapter. However, unlike previous installments, there will be no multiplayer in the game. The developers will instead devote their full attention towards polishing the campaign.

Handing a huge franchise to an inexperienced developer is risky, but has succeeded in recent years – just look what refreshing surprises “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” and “Halo 4” were. If “Syndicate” can avoid a disastrous launch, it should be another exciting blockbuster during this busy 2015 holiday season.


Tyler Keating is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu.