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View Full Version : The Grand Experiment - The Chronicles Trilogy and its impact on the franchise



Sorrosyss
02-13-2016, 04:35 PM
http://i.imgur.com/5Kko0N6.png

When the Chronicles trilogy was announced it was mixed with a great deal of trepidation. In a franchise renowned for its 3D open world gameplay, we suddenly had some 2D scrollers - a much older and restrictive style of gameplay.

As someone whose ideal setting for an AC is China, I was in two minds about the first game prior to its release. I mean yes, I loved the setting, the character was familiar and looked great. But on the other hand, it genuinely felt like that this release was robbing me of the full game that I dreamed of playing.

When I actually played the game, I felt it was pretty average. Yes, the backgrounds were pretty, the architecture was used in an appropriate way but there were several things that just I outright found irritating, and throughout the trilogy in fact.


- Combat was just broken. Especially in the the later games where enemies have guns, you can barely get near to anybody before you are lying dead on the floor - forcing you to use stealth exclusively.

- The constant instant failure states. You have these grand chase scenes, where you continually fail a jump, or get caught by fire. It completely nullifies any tension, and replaces it with frustration.

- The abysmal voice acting. It isn't helped that NPCs repeat the same few lines of dialogue throughout each game. Don't even start me on the Ezio VA...

- Storytelling was consigned to flat single pane story boards, rather than the full in-game engine cutscenes we are used to.

- The 2.5D could have been used far better, but it amounted to little more than rotating around the edge of a building.

- The sniping sections that couldn't feel any more out of place.


I could go on, but the obvious counter argument to all of this is "Well they were never intended as full releases". This is entirely true, and in fairness to Ubisoft the pricing of the product has been wholly fair.

But then I have to question, why do we want to accept this? If you look at the comments on the main gaming sites, whilst the whole Unity debacle was in full swing, when China was released there was pretty strong vitriol towards the game, with many wishing the franchise "would just die" and similar comments. As a wholly different experience, do we really want these Chronicle games representing the franchise? In my mind, they represent very little of what the franchise encompasses, and you could easily have swapped out the Assassin characters and IP for near anything else - hence the constant comparisons to Mark of The Ninja.

Yes, it was an experiment, but in my mind this trilogy has done more harm than good to the franchise. As with the Identity mobile game, the companion apps, and the less than stellar iOS games, these are all sub standard titles that really have no right to bearing the Assassin's Creed title in my humble opinion. In a time where Ubisoft is re-evaluating the Assassin's Creed franchise, I would strongly urge them to no longer expend resources on these spinoff titles, and instead focus these teams into either producing more DLC, or Modern Day content for the main Assassin's Creed releases. If we are to combat franchise fatigue over the long term, lets make sure that what is released is something to be proud of. At this point, the Chronicles Trilogy just feels like a waste of three fantastic settings that should have been full titles in their own rights.

kosmoscreed
02-13-2016, 04:49 PM
This games are average and forgettable at best, they have some good qualities like the art but is not enough to make the experince worth in my opinion. The three games are plaged with poor design choices, poor combat and nonexistent story, they have wasted three great time periods in average games. They should have done just one game with better story and gameplay design.

Xstantin
02-13-2016, 04:58 PM
At this point, the Chronicles Trilogy just feels like a waste of three fantastic settings that should have been full titles in their own rights.

Agreed. I get that it was an experiment, fresh take on the Assassin's creed experience and all that, but it ended up more frustrating than fun IMO. The games looked pretty, but went nowhere.

dxsxhxcx
02-13-2016, 05:31 PM
I agree, complete waste of resources/story, I haven't played the games myself (I watched some gameplay videos on youtube though) and while I enjoy side scrollers, this is just too much AC, IMO they should stick with the main games and the comics only (and the comics should be used to enrich the game's universe and not tie up the game's loose ends, The Fall/Chain were excellent)

MasterSimaYi
02-13-2016, 06:11 PM
In a time where Ubisoft is re-evaluating the Assassin's Creed franchise, I would strongly urge them to no longer expend resources on these spinoff titles, and instead focus these teams into either producing more DLC, or Modern Day content for the main Assassin's Creed releases. If we are to combat franchise fatigue over the long term, lets make sure that what is released is something to be proud of.

Absolutely agreed. Focus resources on media that are worth investing time into, and not sub-standard entertainment. Stick to console games, comics and novels (preferably original novels, not game story rehashes) to build the game's storyline. Just taking one look at other transmedia franchises, like say Star Wars, already shows that these are the entertainment forms that people appreciate most.

CrossedEagle
02-13-2016, 06:26 PM
The Chronicles had great art and a few great moments, but you're right to say that they did more harm than good to the franchise.

I-Like-Pie45
02-13-2016, 06:27 PM
their legacy will be the same closet tower defense, Connor, and Unity got shoved into

HDinHB
02-13-2016, 07:20 PM
OP, I agree it was an experiment, an not an altogether successful one, but I think the Grand experiment title is reserved for the movie. Certainly the investment in money and prestige in the movie is far greater than in the side games, books, or comics. I hope they don't **** it up.


their legacy will be the same closet tower defense, Connor, and Unity got shoved into

...and Project Legacy, the Assassin's Network, Initiates, companion apps, modern day...Ubi must have one big-*** Walken closet.

dxsxhxcx
02-13-2016, 07:45 PM
OP, I agree it was an experiment, an not an altogether successful one, but I think the Grand experiment title is reserved for the movie. Certainly the investment in money and prestige in the movie is far greater than in the side games, books, or comics. I hope they don't **** it up.

if they are facing some problems in the game department (that is supposed to be their area of expertise) imagine in the movie one, I have yet to see a movie based on a video game that does justice to the source material, the only one I can think about off the top of my head is Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist and that's a web series.

I-Like-Pie45
02-14-2016, 05:45 AM
if they are facing some problems in the game department (that is supposed to be their area of expertise) imagine in the movie one, I have yet to see a movie based on a video game that does justice to the source material, the only one I can think about off the top of my head is Street Fighter and that's an old movie.

fixed that for you

Jessigirl2013
02-14-2016, 12:19 PM
fixed that for you

What happened to the rest of the post?

Sorrosyss
02-16-2016, 02:00 PM
Absolutely agreed. Focus resources on media that are worth investing time into, and not sub-standard entertainment. Stick to console games, comics and novels (preferably original novels, not game story rehashes) to build the game's storyline. Just taking one look at other transmedia franchises, like say Star Wars, already shows that these are the entertainment forms that people appreciate most.

I think you're spot on there. I have no qualms with comics, books, tv shows or movies - as they are all different forms of the transmedia. But when it comes to the gaming space, all resources should go to the main releases only. No more of the peripheral games, of which most fans did not even ask for.

Farlander1991
02-16-2016, 02:29 PM
I guess I'll be in the minority here and say that Assassin's Creed: Chronicles was a good experiment that suffered in the narrative department mostly, and partially in the gameplay department. Overall those are good games and more games like them, with improvements of course, in the AC universe deserve to be made.

Also, Chronicles was developed by a studio outside Ubisoft - Climax, so Ubi didn't put its developer resources there. And even if it would have, there seems to be a misunderstanding on these forums how game development resource distribution works.

In gameplay terms, game development is not 'more developers = feature done faster = feature done more quality'. Game development is when for each feature or part of the game you have certain free slots, and the development is most efficient when all those slots are full. Broadly speaking, 50 people working on a combat feature wouldn't make its development more effecient and quality than 25 people, as not only the other half would have nothing to do, they might actively mess up. So then what those people do? They work on another feature. And this applies to pretty much every different area as well, including mission design. However, scope of a game, regardless of how big it is, is still limited, so there's still a limited amount of slots to be had for full efficiency.

There's an idea that was really popular here that it would've been far better if Revelations team would be working on AC3 as well, but the truth is it wouldn't have mattered at all unless AC3 would raise its already huge scope. And putting more people on Revelations wouldn't have made it much better because the development was already at its full capacity for the VERY limited time it had to make the game. Issues in both games come from different place than 'where to put developers'.

So, no, having mobile games like Pirates, Memories, Identity, spin-off titles like Chronicles doesn't inherently mean that the resources that could've been used for a big title aren't used there, as there's 98% chance that it wasn't the case.

ze_topazio
02-16-2016, 02:36 PM
The stories were nothing to write home about, but I really liked them as games, and I wouldn't mind seeing more of them in the future.

cawatrooper9
02-16-2016, 04:41 PM
The way I see it, fans are demanding explanations, not further questions. Opening up threadbare narratives across titles that many people won't even play anyway doesn't move the story forward at all- and as many have said, at its worst it throws another few wrenches into the mix.

AC is getting a bit unwieldy. The answer is not "more content spread across media", that's for sure.

Farlander1991
02-16-2016, 05:10 PM
The way I see it, fans are demanding explanations, not further questions. Opening up threadbare narratives across titles that many people won't even play anyway doesn't move the story forward at all- and as many have said, at its worst it throws another few wrenches into the mix.

AC is getting a bit unwieldy. The answer is not "more content spread across media", that's for sure.

That's not an issue with the principle of transmedia and spin-off games on their own, though. That's an issue with how they're used which granted has been all over the place since AC3. Ideally the main games should have all the important lore information and plotlines while transmedia and spin-off has either side plot-lines or just something that makes the world more in-depth (which was the case with AC1+Chronicles+Bloodlines and AC2+Discovery and the Chain comic), after all if transmedia can't stand on its own without main games then it's as undesirable as when main games can't stand without transmedia.

Ultimately the Modern Day is very shaky after Black Flag (which I would argue has good modern day) but that's not transmedia's fault, but with the whole direction taken with how modern day is handled (which was problematic in Desmond's era as well)

ze_topazio
02-16-2016, 05:20 PM
You could say the box so far has been just a side thing irrelevant to the main story, it appeared on Embers, Freedom Cry, Rogue and the Chronicles trilogy, we may one day see the box in the main storyline, but how the Templars got hold of the box is for the most part irrelevant, so this "box saga" is what you're talking about, just a more in-depth development of the AC world outside of the main games.

cawatrooper9
02-16-2016, 05:26 PM
That's not an issue with the principle of transmedia and spin-off games on their own, though. That's an issue with how they're used which granted has been all over the place since AC3. Ideally the main games should have all the important lore information and plotlines while transmedia and spin-off has either side plot-lines or just something that makes the world more in-depth (which was the case with AC1+Chronicles+Bloodlines and AC2+Discovery and the Chain comic), after all if transmedia can't stand on its own without main games then it's as undesirable as when main games can't stand without transmedia.

Ultimately the Modern Day is very shaky after Black Flag (which I would argue has good modern day) but that's not transmedia's fault, but with the whole direction taken with how modern day is handled (which was problematic in Desmond's era as well)

Sure. I'm not saying transmedia is bad, just that it's not what this already over-extended franchise needs right now.

Farlander1991
02-16-2016, 05:27 PM
You could say the box so far has been just a side thing irrelevant to the main story, it appeared on Embers, Freedom Cry, Rogue and the Chronicles trilogy, we may one day see the box in the main storyline, but how the Templars got hold of the box is for the most part irrelevant, so this "box saga" is what you're talking about, just a more in-depth development of the AC world outside of the main games.

The problem with the 'box saga' however is that it's handled in an animated movie, a DLC for a main game, a sort-of-side-sort-of-main title and a set of downloadable games. That's an insanely convoluted way to track that plotline.

Plus it's apparently saga of two boxes.

Sushiglutton
02-16-2016, 06:49 PM
My two cents after recently completing China:

I enjoyed my time with the game. Yes, it's very similar to Mark of the Ninja, but that's not a bad thing in my book. Can't comment on the combat as I played it as a pure stealth-puzzle game (that is to say for each section I tried to find the stealthy solution, when I failed I let myself die) and as such I thought it worked real well, in many ways better than the 3d games. Mostly because movement and stealth rules are way more crisp and precise.

As it relates to the overall franchise I feel like the Chronicle games will have very little impact. Next AC is 2 years from now and will be set in Egypt. I think the fact that the chronicle games took place in China/India/Russia won't be a factor at all when Ubisoft decides future settings after that. Few people will remember them by then and the 2d games are so different that they are not really blocking anything.

So I wouldn't worry as much :)