PDA

View Full Version : Telling A Thousand Stories & Paving Your Own Path - A Preposition to Ubisoft



RinoTheBouncer
11-24-2016, 09:06 PM
In an interview with Ubisoft CCO, Serge HascoŽt stated that he wants future games to allow players to tell a thousand stories, not just one, and the the first game to follow that example is the next Assassin’s Creed, which means it’ll allow players to choose their own path, that you’ll be able to complete missions your own way, without being restricted to a certain set of limits that force you to assassinate your target in a certain manner, or take a certain route to reach your target.


Here’s the thing, I'm not quite sure how this benefits the series. I’m excited for new styles of gameplay, indeed, as the whole sync/optional objectives as well as the multiple routes to complete a mission always felt restricting and stood in the way of completely enjoying how you finish the mission the way you see fit, without being told that you did something wrong, when in reality, you got the job done. Especially with certain side objectives being either too restrictive or too nonsensical, such as Brotherhood’s tank mission and skinning a alligator while tailing a target in ACIV: Black Flag.


However, we spent 9 years with Assassin’s Creed, and each game tries to convince us that synching with the memories is important, and that we need to conform to the actions that out ancestor performed, instead of improvising or doing things differently, and this was used as a gameplay enhancer to add challenge, while taking away freedom, be it by getting Altair's armor, doing optional objectives, playing side missions or forcibly completing a mission without being detected, because you immediately desynch if you do, even if the guard only saw you after you stabbed him, like he's gonna be able to tell on you, and even when you can actually finish the mission despite being detected, because you've done others with the same circumstances, minus the mandatory or optional objectives, or when you’re told multiple times that you cannot jump straight to a farther memory unless you relive the ones before it, chronologically, which is why we went through the trouble of reliving Altair, Ezio and Connor’s memories just so we can reach a specific moment where they find the Pieces of Eden or the location of The Grand Temple key.


So I must say, it just feels new that now we can take multiple paths or make choices in a device that is supposed to allows you to do things exactly like someone else did, in other words, you're being told to choose when you're in a situation where you're literally just repeating something that has already happened. Gameplay-wise, it's fun to be able to choose, it's fun to see consequences for your actions, to feel that you are actually in that historical moment, as if you travelled through time and you did things your way. You are becoming the Assassin and you are making decisions as you see fit, as if you're really there, without the guidance of the Animus or anyone around, telling you what or how you should do things.


I have though about multiple possibilities for how you can implement the new system where you can complete a mission in multiplay ways or in a different order:


Introducing Supportive Missions: these missions exist within main missions. They replace side objectives, and they only exist as a helper mission to the main one. It’s like the first Assassin’s Creed, where you have to synch viewpoints to find places to find investigation spots, then you gotta eavesdrop to learn something, then tail someone else to pickpocket a document or item and once you could draw a picture of what to do next, you can either choose to investigate further to head towards the target, based on the information.


Supportive Missions take that system further and turns it to broader missions where you either help someone in need and they’ll give information in exchange, tailing someone, eavesdropped on individuals, blending in and walking among people in relevant spots, in hopes of overhearing information, threatening characters to give out information or even Assassinating and learning more through a White Room conversation. These missions are optional. Each main mission will feature many of those, and you can do 1-3 of them and find enough answers. However, you have to draw your own conclusions, either by focusing on what’s said and done, or by checking your diary to find the information that the Assassin have collected from all these sources and based on those, you can plan your attack. You could be right or wrong. If you didn’t finish all of them, you have to rely on the information at hand, and not ever mission gives the full picture, so you could be mislead and not find your target. But if you finish them all, then the answer will be definitive. And of course, you could also be right even by doing none and just striking randomly at the right spot (or if you replayed or known how to do it, you just go straight to your target, depending on the time of the day and weather. Will elaborate on that in the next section).


So it’s up to the player to decide how many of those missions they play, and which ones, and how to plan the attack and when. It’s basically giving you the freedom to determine your own game’s difficulty and giving you so much time to play and extend the experience within the main story, without adding plot-less and irrelevant quests that feel unrewarding or unrelated to the Assassin’s story.


Multiple Paths Have Multiple Consequences: Let’s say you’re on a mission where you should not be detected, or without even the game telling you that, you’re an Assassin, you’re supposed to be stealthy, you’re supposed to not kill innocents, you’re also supposed to refrain from being caught and never compromise the brotherhood.


You started a mission and you got detected, therefore, you could get captured, unless you kill everyone or escape and come back later. Possibility A) you escaped or got killed in conflict. B) you got captured and that’ll lead to either X) dying or Y) surviving, yet you'll be identified and get forced to A) confess, if you do, they'll invade the Assassins den, but you may escape, and if B) you don't, you could die or escape. The invasion of the Assassins Den could A) affect future missions, where you'll either be forced to carry out other missions alone, and without the aid of the brotherhood, be punished or get demoted by your Mentor or B) if all is done right, you get to have their full support. All this could effect not only the story but the difficulty. It’s like Final Fantasy where if you reach a boss fight and you’re not leveled up, you simply will not win, or you could win but by spending your resources on healing items and stuff that could compensate for your lack of leveling up.


Another example would be completing missions in a different order, this could lead to certain missions becoming harder to figure out, because if a character is supposed to hint you about your target was killed later, he would not appear again to tell you how to do it or where to look, and therefore, you’ll be forced to either find new people who know or you just stumble upon clues by chance or by using Eagle Vision and other investigation skills, making the game easier or harder, depending on what you did, or choosing to do a mission during a sandstorm or a clear weather, during day or night. It all effects your stealthiness, your ability to track and see, the type of people who will be available or unavailable at the time. For example, during a sandstorm, a character who could lead you to your target will be at home, while during clear weather, they’ll be in walking in the streets. If it’s daytime, you find them working, and if it’s night, they’re at home or in a market or by a river bank.


Freedom vs. Restrictions: Completing missions your own way could extend to putting consequences on failure. For example, a man told you to save his wive, child, caravan or camel, if you fail, the person will not help you, or they could become hostile towards you, which will lead you to following a different lead. And this of course, could mainly work with the small objectives, because main ones should have more definitive conclusions. In the next section, I’ll explain how freedom can work between main and supportive missions.


Every main mission will grant the player the freedom to find their answers the way they like and to reach their target however they see fit. Let’s look at main missions as hubs. Imagine being in a large room which opens to other rooms, yet they’re all inside the same complex. You’re free to roam around and do whatever you want, but for example, you cannot leave that complex unless through a certain door. This is only a metaphor, meaning that the you cannot finish the main mission without succeeding, but supportive missions can allow failure. You cannot finish a main mission by simply deciding that the target is not worth assassinating, but you can choose to abandon the small missions or fail them and move on to next ones.


This sense of freedom will also help giving a story value to the rewards we'd get from finishing missions. For example, we no longer need to be told that we've finished a mission with 100% synch and be given a gift out of nowhere, but instead, if when we play the supportive missions, we'll be able to find items, whether the people we help give to us or we find in our path or take off the body of our target. Which could erase the feeling that we're trying to cater "scores" or "points" to be rewarded by our game with a gift. But instead, give a logical reason as to why we got this armor, the sword or this sum of money.

Synchronization and Progression: synchronization has always been a big deal in Assassin’s Creed games, like I mentioned above. If we’re to be given the freedom to tell the story our way, then this could be explained by telling the modern day protagonist that a new Animus has been invented that simulates the world to the Assassin without restricting them to a certain path, but they have to match certain requirements for synchronization.


A synchronization bar will determine how many of your actions have you performed like the ancestor, from the simple, mundane ones, to the major and essential ones. This bar fills up, like a score or a currency. Certain main missions will not unlock unless you’ve matched a certain level of synchronization. Meaning that you’re free to do some missions before others, but in certain instances, you’ll be restricted, either by your lack of Synch or by not finishing a certain main mission (hub) which is related to the one after, in a way that it’s impossible to play the two in a different order.




Example I - Synch Requirements: you have finished 4 main missions without any investigation, without doing anything like your ancestors did. You can only play the 5th or the 6th mission (provided that these two missions can be played in a different order) if you go back and achieve better synchronization, either by replaying missions or by completing side objectives that the ancestor did to be allowed to access them. In that case, you might be allowed to play Missions 6 but not 5, because 5 needs a certain percentage of synch.





Example II - Chronological Order: let’s say you’re supposed to Assassinate a certain politician/king, they have guards, they have working times, routines, habits and schedules, mission 8 could be where you investigate about him/her and maybe even kill their main guard and mission 9 is where you assassinate them. In that case, it’s impossible to do 9 before 8 while it was okay in the previous example to play mission 6 before 5.



Following this system, the game will not sacrifice narrative for freedom, nor will it do away with everything we’ve learned about synchronization to give players more liberty and choice. Otherwise, we’d just synch the final missions, and let the modern day characters know what they’re after and end the story.


The Animus is a simulator. It reads your memories and creates a reality based on what you remember, and renders everything in great detail. What you have to do is follow the story to certain points in order for the Animus to “understand” and simulate the next chapter, based on the given actions of the previous ones. So it’s not like traveling in time or walking in your ancestors footsteps in great precision, but rather match certain nodes, more like IF/THEN actions, so that the next chapter is deciphered and simulated for you.

Thanks you for your consideration.

My utmost respect and kind regards,
RinoTheBouncer

SixKeys
11-27-2016, 11:15 PM
There's a lot to take in here and I'm not sure I understand all of it. Just commenting on a few things that stood out to me:

-About supportive missions: not sure if this is where you're going, but in the AC1 Director's Cut (aka PC version) instead of only three core missions that repeat every mission - eavesdropping, pick-pocketing and beating people up - there are 5 or 6 extra missions (including flag collecting, mini-assassinations, rooftop racing and merchant stand destruction) and the player can choose which three to complete in order to proceed to the main assassination. So instead of having to always do the same three mission types, you have a little bit more leeway. It doesn't matter which of the mission types you pick, so long as you finish three of them. Since you mention having to get a certain percentage of synchronization before you could move on in the main story, this is how it could work. There could be many different side quest mission types and you would need to finish at least three of them before unlocking the main assassination. Each mission type would reward you with a different piece of information about your target, just like in AC1.

-I don't understand why it should be possible to play e.g. mission 6 before mission 5. We had that in Syndicate with sequence 8 becoming available mid-game and it made absolutely no sense.

-I do like the idea of missions rewarding you with specific items. Like how Lorenzo de Medici gave us a cape that had direct consequences for gameplay (reducing notoriety in certain cities), that sort of thing?

ERICATHERINE
11-27-2016, 11:25 PM
-About supportive missions: not sure if this is where you're going, but in the AC1 Director's Cut (aka PC version) instead of only three core missions that repeat every mission - eavesdropping, pick-pocketing and beating people up - there are 5 or 6 extra missions (including flag collecting, mini-assassinations, rooftop racing and merchant stand destruction) and the player can choose which three to complete in order to proceed to the main assassination. So instead of having to always do the same three mission types, you have a little bit more leeway. It doesn't matter which of the mission types you pick, so long as you finish three of them. Since you mention having to get a certain percentage of synchronization before you could move on in the main story, this is how it could work. There could be many different side quest mission types and you would need to finish at least three of them before unlocking the main assassination. Each mission type would reward you with a different piece of information about your target, just like in AC1.

Well I can't say for xbox, but we also have the "more than 3 mission types" you're talking about. On PlayStation, we also have flag collecting and mini assassination. It's in the form of helping a fellow Assassin, which will then reward us with informations. On the other hand, we don't have the 2 others you named, though we can still do that by roaming. ^-^

SixKeys
11-27-2016, 11:32 PM
Well I can't say for xbox, but we also have the "more than 3 mission types" you're talking about. On PlayStation, we also have flag collecting and mini assassination. It's in the form of helping a fellow Assassin, which will then reward us with informations. On the other hand, we don't have the 2 others you named, though we can still do that by roaming. ^-^

Being only familiar with the PC version, I couldn't remember off the top of my head which ones are present in the console versions and which ones not. I checked and these are the extra mission types included in the PC version:

Archer Stealth Assassinations
Informer Escorts
Rooftop Races
Informer Assassinations
Merchant Stand Destructions

ERICATHERINE
11-27-2016, 11:38 PM
Being only familiar with the PC version, I couldn't remember off the top of my head which ones are present in the console versions and which ones not. I checked and these are the extra mission types included in the PC version:

Archer Stealth Assassinations
Informer Escorts
Rooftop Races
Informer Assassinations
Merchant Stand Destructions

Ah, now if those were all missions and not done in freeroam, then yes, they can't be done on PlayStation. ^-^

Edit, that is also "if informer assassinations" is about killing the informers instead of killing someone else, because he asked for it. ^-^

Sigma 1313
11-28-2016, 01:59 AM
I feel like you're missing another possibility of where Ubi could go. I've been thinking there's not really going to be a main story like previous games, but instead you have multiple districts or economic zones controlled by an important General all of which are working for the main bad guy. The entire assassin v templar story is told through gameplay with you investigating and killing lieutenents and eventually learning enough information to take out a General, a bit like Shadow of Mordor. If the entire game takes place within a single year, then maybe only the assassinations were recorded by your ancestor, and even then, only the assassination white room talks.

Essentially we are dropped into Inaros's Egyptian Rebellion and we take down say 15 Persian Generals before taking down Achaemenes. At the same time, we might have a more linear set of side missions or a quest line to find Osiris's tomb and find the Ankh. Then we'd have normal side quests. But that way everything goes towards the narrative of helping the assassin cause while being less story driven and allowing the expanse of gameplay.

Just a thought.

RinoTheBouncer
12-02-2016, 06:30 PM
There's a lot to take in here and I'm not sure I understand all of it. Just commenting on a few things that stood out to me:

-About supportive missions: not sure if this is where you're going, but in the AC1 Director's Cut (aka PC version) instead of only three core missions that repeat every mission - eavesdropping, pick-pocketing and beating people up - there are 5 or 6 extra missions (including flag collecting, mini-assassinations, rooftop racing and merchant stand destruction) and the player can choose which three to complete in order to proceed to the main assassination. So instead of having to always do the same three mission types, you have a little bit more leeway. It doesn't matter which of the mission types you pick, so long as you finish three of them. Since you mention having to get a certain percentage of synchronization before you could move on in the main story, this is how it could work. There could be many different side quest mission types and you would need to finish at least three of them before unlocking the main assassination. Each mission type would reward you with a different piece of information about your target, just like in AC1.

-I don't understand why it should be possible to play e.g. mission 6 before mission 5. We had that in Syndicate with sequence 8 becoming available mid-game and it made absolutely no sense.

-I do like the idea of missions rewarding you with specific items. Like how Lorenzo de Medici gave us a cape that had direct consequences for gameplay (reducing notoriety in certain cities), that sort of thing?

Regarding Supportive Missions, this is exactly what I mean. Something like that but with more depth and value than just racing around and breaking merchant stands or racing others or collecting stuff, but more like true investigation missions where you get answers that once you finish some, you can view the information you gathered, you can try and guess where the location of your target or his/her identity might be.

To be honest, I don't really like playing missions out of their order, but in the interview with the CCO, he mentioned that this could be the case, and it was like that in WD2. In ACS, I didn't understand or like how sequence 8 was open early. It didn't have any justification, but if this system is to be employed, then I really hope that it involves missions that do not contradict with each other in terms of chronology. Like for example, mission 5 "Deliver a letter to person X" and mission 6 says assassinate target Y. Neither has anything to do with one another and both take place in the same timeline, like for example the original Assassin did both missions the same day or week, so none of them will require us to go back in time, like say one missions shows the death of Joan of Arc while the following one shows her still alive and talking to you. Just an example. In the latter case, I do not want to be able to play missions like that.

Yeah. Exactly, like the Medici Cape. It's like we get items that are either given to us by the character we're interacting with him/herself and for a convincing/logical reason, or that we find them along the way, because that's where they logically belong, but not like for example in RE5, where you kill an animal and find money in its place LOL.


I feel like you're missing another possibility of where Ubi could go. I've been thinking there's not really going to be a main story like previous games, but instead you have multiple districts or economic zones controlled by an important General all of which are working for the main bad guy. The entire assassin v templar story is told through gameplay with you investigating and killing lieutenents and eventually learning enough information to take out a General, a bit like Shadow of Mordor. If the entire game takes place within a single year, then maybe only the assassinations were recorded by your ancestor, and even then, only the assassination white room talks.

Essentially we are dropped into Inaros's Egyptian Rebellion and we take down say 15 Persian Generals before taking down Achaemenes. At the same time, we might have a more linear set of side missions or a quest line to find Osiris's tomb and find the Ankh. Then we'd have normal side quests. But that way everything goes towards the narrative of helping the assassin cause while being less story driven and allowing the expanse of gameplay.

Just a thought.

To be honest, this is exactly what I do not want to happen in AC games. I'd rather have a linear AC game, like Uncharted or The Last of Us, where there's one cohesive and important story to focus on, than a game where the story feels fragment and you're only thrown in a certain setting and randomly following threads here and there, that do not add up to something big, or that you somehow feel like you're lost or that there's no main and important story to follow.

I think if we get a game that spans over years or even decades, something like ACII, it would help a lot in showing more of the Assassin's life and shows enough events to make the game interesting, like a movie or a book.

Sigma 1313
12-03-2016, 02:32 AM
To be honest, this is exactly what I do not want to happen in AC games. I'd rather have a linear AC game, like Uncharted or The Last of Us, where there's one cohesive and important story to focus on, than a game where the story feels fragment and you're only thrown in a certain setting and randomly following threads here and there, that do not add up to something big, or that you somehow feel like you're lost or that there's no main and important story to follow.

I think if we get a game that spans over years or even decades, something like ACII, it would help a lot in showing more of the Assassin's life and shows enough events to make the game interesting, like a movie or a book.

I 100% agree, but I was just suggesting a way that Ubi could make future games based on what they've said.