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MnemonicSyntax
07-09-2018, 02:54 AM
I've been thinking a lot about what Assassin's Creed was and what it is currently. All this talk about no creed, no hoods, social stealth, parkour, hidden blades, etc. got me thinking that Ubisoft is once again trying new things. Both Origins and Odyssey are set in time periods that don't really tromp on anything previous to that. For example, gameplay and storywise, Altair could blend with other scholars but Ezio can blend with a crowd. This is taught to Ezio by Paola.

These current games, Origins and Odyssey, are trying out new things that might change going forward. While I loved Origins, the combat isn't very "Assassin-y" and there isn't any sort of social stealth or much in the way or parkour... but that's because it hasn't been invented yet, so to speak.

Other things, such as dialog options, or choosing a protag instead having a concrete canon story... I cannot speak for. They may decide to change those things based on public outcry.

We know from experience that AC uses different formulas and tries things out and either keeps them going forward or removes them. Den Defense is an example of this. Dialog options and whatnot might just be a future example of Den Defense. We also know from experience that Assassin's Creed carries itself on the same engine through multiple iterations.

I know this doesn't help things now, but stuff that fans since the beginning have come to rely on might continue to change going forward without too much of a retcon.

Either way, these are just thoughts I have. I'm not telling all of you to wait and see because that ship has sailed for some of you. And that's fine. I'm just thinking out loud here.:D

ProdiGurl
07-09-2018, 11:54 AM
We know from experience that AC uses different formulas and tries things out and either keeps them going forward or removes them. Den Defense is an example of this. Dialog options and whatnot might just be a future example of Den Defense. We also know from experience that Assassin's Creed carries itself on the same engine through multiple iterations.

I know this doesn't help things now, but stuff that fans since the beginning have come to rely on might continue to change going forward without too much of a retcon.

Either way, these are just thoughts I have. I'm not telling all of you to wait and see because that ship has sailed for some of you. And that's fine. I'm just thinking out loud here.:D

Den Defense was something fans requested & I still think it was a good idea - the mechanism they chose for Den Defense was where it went wrong imo. It was clunky. complicated and unnecessary to do it that way. A free-for-all with a small band of your Assassin recruits & some citizens would have been much more fun and probably alot easier. Maybe even throw a timer on it where you'd have to achieve a specific Kill of the Captain (or whoever) within a certain amount of time or you lose. Much as I hate any timed events, there has to be some risk of losing the Den..

As for AC in general - the original recipe of the game worked very well for the first few games because it was a unique, brand new concept but it's nothing you can keep reheating and serving to keep the Series alive a decade later. I've said a few times that by Brotherhood/Revelation's releases, players were already tired the usual AC stuff like full synch. (and in losing the synch, that's where we all stopped literally reliving that Assassin's actions & where the door opened to straying from the AC formula becuz we all do our missions differently according to preference).
Plus they have to find ways to gather new players and from a video I saw of 2 AC Devs, they didn't appear to have alot of enthusiasm for the old way of things either. Most likely a combination of things.

Another problem they may be facing is that a good chunk of their fans don't follow or know the whole backstory w/ Juno or the animus, etc. Have they even played AC1- Ezio's Trilogy?
As time goes on, they gain new players that don't have knowledge of the original aspect of 1st Civ & all that so how do you mesh the 2 worlds together without making the game more & more complicated through choices, options & ultimate direction in who you cater more to?

No matter what Ubi does, it will always be a risk with this particular game's direction becuz of its original concept as they gain new fans along the way each new release. All we do know for sure is that they can't please everyone.

quanzaizai
07-09-2018, 10:55 PM
The series has gone for more than 10 titles; one way or another there has to be changed somewhere and people will may or may not like it. The choice has to be made and my dear assassins To say that everything is permitted, is to understand that we are the architects of our actions, and that we must live with their consequences, whether glorious or tragic :)

SixKeys
07-10-2018, 02:30 AM
Den Defense was something fans requested & I still think it was a good idea - the mechanism they chose for Den Defense was where it went wrong imo.

Uhh, what? I don't remember ever seeing anyone suggest "hey, can you please put tower defense in our stealth/action game?".


Regarding the OP, I can see both sides of the coin. I'm not happy about some of the radical changes to the formula. On the other hand, I also sympathize with devs who are tasked with keeping a 10-year-old series fresh and relevant year after year. Whether Odyssey ends up failing or succeeding, I believe it's better to support devs who are passionate and willing to shake things up a bit rather than settling for what is easy and safe.

AnimusLover
07-10-2018, 03:48 AM
Uhh, what? I don't remember ever seeing anyone suggest "hey, can you please put tower defense in our stealth/action game?".

Yeah, I don't know what she's talking about lol. Nobody wanted that. It was a filler feature.


Regarding the OP, I can see both sides of the coin. I'm not happy about some of the radical changes to the formula. On the other hand, I also sympathize with devs who are tasked with keeping a 10-year-old series fresh and relevant year after year.

Well, for one, they could try not release the game year after year... If they took more time in between releases the franchise wouldn't feel so stale.

MnemonicSyntax
07-10-2018, 05:21 AM
Thanks for the responses all, except for the Den Defense one. No one wanted that. I can tell you that was a unanimous vote among the entire fandom. I asked. Everyone. They all agreed it was turrible (sic)

More to the point though, as far as mechanics go these two games aren't set in a time period that is during or beyond what we've already experienced. The Assassin's proper know how to use social stealth or use cover. These protags (Bayek/Mr. and Mrs. Greek Smith) aren't familiar with such ideas (using these as examples, but they can be expounded upon).

One of the things though is wall-leaning (from the Kenway saga) and cover (from everything else after not including Origins and Odyssey). I also never understood why Arno didn't use a whistle as distract uh... "bombs" (lures?) were kinda stupid.

I'd chalk it up to him not knowing how to whistle, but he does it in a friggin' cut scene!

As for the devs and trying new things, I'm always open for new methods. I'm not exactly keen on dialog options but I'm going to give it a shot. I'm also going to try out Alexios, because it's an option. Canon or not, it'll be interesting to mix it up.

I loved Origins and find it to be extremely fun (though thanks to AnimusLover I have no intention of playing it without a HUD because I can see the emptiness that goes on) but I wouldn't want the franchise to continue down this way forever. And knowing Assassin's Creed, it won't. But I'm not going to make guarantees or promises here and speak on anyone's behalf (except that the devs do appreciate kindness and being polite, but that's because I was told that directly).

I feel honored that you posted in my thread, SixKeys. Thanks for your input.

As for the yearly releases... Ugh. I LOVE AC. I'm not getting any younger. I don't want to miss games but I don't want a shoddy product either. Tough about that one.

I am excited for Odyssey though.

darklion2043
07-10-2018, 09:02 AM
In my opinion AC is going better when we speak about gameplay mostly combat. I really love , not like, really really love this new gameplay. Yes devs need more improvements over skill tree, enemy levelling, enemy type, animations, level up system and region levelling system but they really did good jobs at these changes for me. And You are right about social stealth but for Leap of Fate, Devs showed us at Origins it came from Bayek's Grandpa to teach Bayek overcoming his fears. I really like this idea. But now Devs said us anyone can have that type(climbing so good, fighting really well...) of abilities can jump a haystack or roses. It may look understandable but this is not good for AC that change a main symbol in story at this Franchise. And choice dialogs are rewriting history for me. But my real problem is progressing at main AC story. Too slow and much separate these days. I really see a good or an evil end this Fascinating AC story. Like God of War or Witcher. After then we can't discuss, argue or criticize pesimist way about AC story and possibilities and we'll play new AC games with new changes. We may customize our assasins, go many historical or epic places, assasinations, fighting legendary fighters, meeting legends or hereos, seeing that places image or imagining that time period in a game. I'm sure playing AC while they'll create AC games.
These are only my thoughts and my reasons about critics.
Have a nice day everyone.

ProdiGurl
07-10-2018, 10:51 AM
I never said Den Defense as a fan request was a highly popular request - I remember tons of ideas being kicked around and remembered seeing that. There were other requests in adding alot of Den features at that time too, like customizing them for the assassins (most likely since Brotherhood had assassin recruiting).
I didn't claim it was anything like what we're seeing with people requesting shields being added. Every new game that comes out, people throw out a bunch of ideas. I remembered seeing that at the time. Nothing more than that.

SixKeys
07-10-2018, 12:14 PM
Well, for one, they could try not release the game year after year... If they took more time in between releases the franchise wouldn't feel so stale.

Absolutely agreed, I'm disappointed that Ubi didn't take a year off after Origins considering how much the break factored into fans' goodwill towards the franchise. Always keep in mind, though, that Ubisoft the publisher is different from Ubisoft game devs. The devs are tasked by the publisher with keeping the series alive year after year, and making it accessible for both newcomers and veterans. In order to do that, you need people with bold ideas who are excited about taking the franchise in directions that they are passionate about (like RPGs).

We, as fans, don't always have to like their decisions, but having been in the fandom for many years (as have you) I continually see so many fans who think the series should always stay the same, suspended in time, forever repeating the Ezio formula from nearly a decade ago while the rest of the gaming world has moved on. We still see fans who reduce the series to nothing but hoods and hidden blades and demand that every single game have a mandatory scene where the characters parrot the Creed at each other, as if we haven't already heard it explained and re-explained so many times. People want safe and familiar, while sometimes a bold new direction can yield surprising results. A lot of people (myself included) were skeptical about "Pirate's Creed" (AC4), and it ended up becoming one of the best loved entries in the series.

It's a tough balancing act for sure. You need fresh ideas and controversial decisions, but you also can't completely sidestep the established lore lest you risk alienating the core fanbase. There is still much we don't know about Odyssey at this point. Time will tell if all the things fans are nervous about will be resolved in the final product.

Kiroku
07-10-2018, 12:41 PM
It maybe sounds crazy but I will copy paste my viewpoint here I posted on another thread a few days ago:

The feature playing as a person the life of another person (the animus system) was one of the reasons the game was great for me. The modern day aspect too since it was the sci-fi-ish flair with all the mystery around the artifacts and the first civ. I wanted to know whats up by having a lot of fun playing the ancestors like altair and ezio until finally reaching the end to get more clarification on the whole mystery.

Another important aspect for me why I loved AC was the gameplay system that my actions as an assassin were not unseen and the crowd and enemies further in the game reacted to that by being scared of a shadow walking thorugh the cities hunting evil templars to seek justice. Which ended up by me as a player being on the wanted list which was super fun because from that point I had to be more sneaky and careful.

Shaun, Rebecca, Lucy and Subject 16 were also very nice and deep characters I loved to see again and talk to.

When thinking about Assassins Creed the first words that come to my mind are: Stealth, sneaky, unseen, working in the shadows to serve the light

And I dont see this being the main focus since Origins. Instead over the last couple AC games they always try to put something new into the series and hope it will somehow work like the brotherhood system in ACB which was fine and also fit to the franchise, the tower defense system from ACR which was weird and boring, hunting in AC3 which was somewhat a nice idea but took way too much time to farm the resourcess, ACBF with the pirate simulator which was fun but also had nothing to do with "AC" until the end of the story, AC Unity with some more sidequests, tons of NPC's with the same face and not being able to implement the "choose your gender" system but at least a more diverse stealth system, ACS with the rooks which for me made totally no sence being an assassins and having gang members but was okay since we could play evie with more stealth aspects and last but not least ACO with huge open world, tons of sidequests which were story-telling wise not that interesting because of repetition but a good change, a souls-like combat system and other rpg-elements and odyssey with huge battles to shorten this.

The most weird feature I have seen came with black flag (I guess it started with ACBF Im not sure). When they started selling packages to save time and get all the treasures immediately. For me that sounds like they fill the game with so much useless boring stuff that doesnt even make fun that players will go for those items with real money because they dont want to collect all of this by themselves. And for those that want to go for all of that stuff like in AC2 were we can collect like 100 feathers or flags in AC1 its a occupational therapy.

So many changes for a franchise influenced by the marketing trends just to give people what they want to see instead of overthinking what "Assassins Creed" really stands for and being proud of it.

It is okay to take some time releasing a couple of titles to explain how this all started to give the franchise some fresh air and also have the time to think about its future. I will try Odyssey and take a look into it of course since I was a huge fan from the beginning. But I will leave this to what it has become if they keep this up and dont go back to the actual Assassins Creed and focus on that.

It feels like they dont even know what to decide. Should we leave the whole animus modern day system and let them only play the past as an ancestor?
Or should we at least give the good old fans what they want and make it optional?
Should we bring the animus and its modern day story back with more focus like before?

Seriously.. I really hope that some day they will finally choose a way and stay with it.

dxsxhxcx
07-10-2018, 01:08 PM
The yearly releases destroyed this franchise, period.

cawatrooper9
07-10-2018, 02:45 PM
This is probably a bad time to mention that I didn't hate den defense.

I mean, if anything I think it was just a rough system that had a ton of missed potential, but still...

*shields up*

ninja4hire10
07-11-2018, 01:37 AM
100% agree with the OP and what others stated, as I said the same myself in other threads: Both Odyssey and Origins are intentional, calculated departures from the standardized AC we've grown accustomed to because it needed to happen. This new direction has very little in common with typical ACness because, like Ash himself said of Origins, this is a soft reboot. Odyssey continues the reboot. No hood, no Hidden Blade, etc. all means it will come back (and it will) in a very big way.

Comic books reboot all the time. Ditto for TV shows and movie franchises. Sp have Ubi effectively "killed the Creed?" Nah, more like rejuvenated (resuscitated?) a rapidly aging big name AAA gaming franchise.

Swailing
07-11-2018, 12:37 PM
I'm feeling pretty positive, despite the Origins/Odyssey style not being something I particularly want. Conceptually, I prefer the dense city approach of II, Brotherhood, Unity and Syndicate, but I still enjoyed Origins enormously. However, I don't think these massive worlds are the permanent way of things. Origins was ~40GB and ~70GB including the DLC, so I think we're a long way off from the fans' dream of a game with as much long distance travel as Odyssey but with several cities with as much detail as Unity. It's one or the other, and I think there's a reason why we're getting the giants now.

Where the games often leaned on the spectacle of densely packed detail, Origins and Odyssey draw a lot of visual splendour from their epic-scale landscapes. Just knowing how much land was out there leant Origins a kind of luxurious feeling, and seeing the jaw-dropping range to the horizon from mountaintops really sold that. If I'm right, I think that's why they're changing up the combat and dialogue with these locations. Though I'm sure it has its own challenges, it must be easier to fill acres of space with organic land, and where there are buildings they're relatively simple: specialist features are more diluted in the architectural stock. Combat can have a lot of 'spill' here, and dialogue (which is really a kind of marker creation, after all) can set tasks for the player with no particular urgency. After all, if your dialogue options lead to a task across the other side of the country or even in a different country, nobody would expect you to get there inside of a week (even if the player could technically get there before the sun sets). Everything is believable here. Therefore, I think these expansive worlds are test beds for new features that can be refined here and finally perfected in future games. I'm like a broken record with this, but as I keep saying; when these dialogue options make their way into a city, with an ACII-style political intrigue story underway, it's going to pay off enormously.

But there's here's a problem with all games, and one that I feel with AC in particular, where the lack of true urgency really hurts the game. You're told to go somewhere RIGHT NOW because someone's life is in danger, it's only a few streets away, but you can get there two Thursdays from now and it'll be fine. The victim will be clashing swords with the rogue guards, and they'll shout to you, "Thank God you arrived in time! Thank you, my friend!". Whereas in other cases, such as one particular mission in Origins, you're told that you have to run to save someone's life and you really do have to do it right now. And I'm sure many of us had the same thought: "Well... I do, and I don't. You [the game] are making me run there, but when I arrive, she will be dead no matter what".

I believe the dialogue options are going to raise the sophistication of AC to such a degree that this kind of thing will stick out like a sore thumb, and become ever harder for the devs to ignore. And when it's addressed Ś when you really do risk someone's life by not running straight to save them, or when there are other consequences for inaction Ś the game will become exponentially better. Imagine having competing pressures. Imagine how your role as the community protector and assassin changes, when you really feel that burden of failing some matters while you win others, and the genuine tension of going out to fix the world's ills. Imagine the feeling of seeing your intelligence rewarded, when you correctly realised that prioritising Thing B and Thing C was more beneficial than pursuing Thing A would have been. When there's all of this going on in a game that's based in one or two cities, and where your dialogue choices can also be a careful manipulation of the local web of politics and society, I think we'll be back in 10/10 classic territory.

kissybyc
07-12-2018, 12:31 PM
I harbor quite a mixed feeling about the new direction taken in Origins and Odyssey.

It's clear that in Odyssey there's greater emphasis on story telling and writing, which are sorely needed in this franchise. The number 1 reason why I get so tired of the "ubisoft open world" is its lack of narrative-driven contents. The map is filled with markers to clear and collectibles to collect, but why should I do those things? When I see the improved cutscenes and hear about the improved writing, I am overjoyed that this franchise which has been too soulless for too long is getting back on the right track.

However, with Origin and Odyssey I also think that Ubisoft is renovating away from their strengths instead of renovating toward it. I mean two things that were huge stepbacks: parkour and social stealth. Coming from Unity I couldn't believe how rudimentary the parkour was in Origins. Arno's beautiful animations gave way to repetitive jumps, a complex urban parkour playground gave way to simplistic geometries and empty spaces. And social stealth, urgh, why would anyone think it is a good idea to remove one of the most iconic features of the franchise? Having "NPCs with daily schedules" is not an excuse - you can always design "blending spots" or a dynamic blending system triggered by the number of NPCs in your proximity... All that to say is, until today I have not seen any other game pulling off a parkour system and a social stealth system nearly as well as AC franchise does, yet Ubisft, in the pursuit of "newness," abandoned their own strengths and tossed away some of the best systems they designed themselves.

Renovation is needed in the AC franchise, yes, but a wise dev should renovate where they were weak at (narrative), and keep what they are strong at (parkour, social stealth, action). I just hope future games will bring together every strong element of the franchise.

MnemonicSyntax
07-12-2018, 01:32 PM
However, with Origin and Odyssey I also think that Ubisoft is renovating away from their strengths instead of renovating toward it. I mean two things that were huge stepbacks: parkour and social stealth. Coming from Unity I couldn't believe how rudimentary the parkour was in Origins. Arno's beautiful animations gave way to repetitive jumps, a complex urban parkour playground gave way to simplistic geometries and empty spaces. And social stealth, urgh, why would anyone think it is a good idea to remove one of the most iconic features of the franchise?[/QUOTE]

This part right here is the meat and point of my post. Sure, we came off of Unity and Syndicate game-wise. But we didn't come off of them timeline wise. Social Stealth wasn't even a thing until AC2 (late 1400s) and has been the same thing ever since. I'd hardly call it a "one of the most iconic feature of the franchise" to walk with a group of people and you're the only dude armed to the teeth wearing a white hood... in any time period. Black Flag was supposed to introduce better social stealth but it sorta fell out. Hovering around a campfire, drinking, hitting on women sitting on benches... but all that fell through. Unity did a bit to improve on it, but again differences from E3 gameplay (on both Black Flag and Unity) show that social stealth blending was improved upon and eventually cut in the final game. It's hardly iconic in any sense of the word.

Parkour's the same way. It wasn't really a thing until Altair did it and from there, it was improved upon each game which for the most part went forward in time to improve that.

So my point is, having these games take place in a time period before what we know is what we know... doesn't really affect that. This is what I mean by Ubisoft trying new things in an epoch where it doesn't really mess with what we're already familiar with.

Had "Origins" or Odyssey been in a time period after or during other games where social stealth and parkour were more prevalent, then I'd absolutely agree.

kissybyc
07-12-2018, 06:07 PM
This part right here is the meat and point of my post. Sure, we came off of Unity and Syndicate game-wise. But we didn't come off of them timeline wise. Social Stealth wasn't even a thing until AC2 (late 1400s) and has been the same thing ever since. I'd hardly call it a "one of the most iconic feature of the franchise" to walk with a group of people and you're the only dude armed to the teeth wearing a white hood... in any time period. Black Flag was supposed to introduce better social stealth but it sorta fell out. Hovering around a campfire, drinking, hitting on women sitting on benches... but all that fell through. Unity did a bit to improve on it, but again differences from E3 gameplay (on both Black Flag and Unity) show that social stealth blending was improved upon and eventually cut in the final game. It's hardly iconic in any sense of the word.

Parkour's the same way. It wasn't really a thing until Altair did it and from there, it was improved upon each game which for the most part went forward in time to improve that.

So my point is, having these games take place in a time period before what we know is what we know... doesn't really affect that. This is what I mean by Ubisoft trying new things in an epoch where it doesn't really mess with what we're already familiar with.

Had "Origins" or Odyssey been in a time period after or during other games where social stealth and parkour were more prevalent, then I'd absolutely agree.

I'm sorry, but I don't quite see these reasons as adequate justification for cutting back on parkour and social stealth etc.

Unless it can be proven from a lore perspective that earlier assassins were really not as good as later assassins when it comes to parkour/social stealth, cutting back on these features would appear to me to be a design flaw instead of respect to the lore. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm aware, Altair didn't invent parkour, and Ezio (or Paula) didn't invent social stealth - these techniques existed long before these people came into the scene. Simply because Bayek or Kassandra lived in an earlier time period does not automatically mean that they must have not learned how to do parkour or social stealth as well as Ezio/Edward/Arno did. Sure, Bayek and Kassandra shouldn't have pistols like Edward did, but to say that they didn't understand the concept of blending in a big crowd? That's stretching it too far.

Justifying regress in gaming mechanics with lore reasons is an uphill battle. Case in point: in Unity Arno can vault over obstacles whenever I prompt him to, but in Origins Bayek cannot do that reliably. He sometimes vaults over obstacles, but most of the time he just has to jump on and then off that little fence. What lore justification is there for such a limit? Is Bayek's physique of such a perculiar nature that his muscles somehow register different movements when crossing one piece of fence and not the other? Ezio couldn't vault over anything - is it because Ezio was a clumsier assassin? Did the Italian brotherhood forgot the technique of vaulting, only to have it rediscovered by the Paris brotherhood centuries later? Did it take ~1800 years for the assassins to figure out that "wait a minute, if I can vault over this fence, surely I can also vault over that one of equal height?" You see how ridiculous this gets. So no, stepbacks cannot be justified by "lore." Stepbacks are exactly what they are: stepbacks.

MnemonicSyntax
07-12-2018, 06:40 PM
I'm sorry, but I don't quite see these reasons as adequate justification for cutting back on parkour and social stealth etc.

Unless it can be proven from a lore perspective that earlier assassins were really not as good as later assassins when it comes to parkour/social stealth, cutting back on these features would appear to me to be a design flaw instead of respect to the lore. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm aware, Altair didn't invent parkour, and Ezio (or Paula) didn't invent social stealth - these techniques existed long before these people came into the scene. Simply because Bayek or Kassandra lived in an earlier time period does not automatically mean that they must have not learned how to do parkour or social stealth as well as Ezio/Edward/Arno did. Sure, Bayek and Kassandra shouldn't have pistols like Edward did, but to say that they didn't understand the concept of blending in a big crowd? That's stretching it too far.

It's not really when the whole point of parkour is to evade your enemies, correct? It's specifically stated by Bellec that assassins before Altair's time used to do it in broad daylight to send a message and were quickly cut down because they made no chance to escape. That says that Altair's time frame started this non-kamikaze version the Brotherhood.

With respect to the "lore" Altair could *only* blend with scholars. He could also sit on benches to evade guards (in combination with parkour) but it wasn't until Paola taught Ezio how to blend into a crowd that we could actually become a "blade in the crowd" and use social stealth to our advantage.


Justifying regress in gaming mechanics with lore reasons is an uphill battle. Case in point: in Unity Arno can vault over obstacles whenever I prompt him to, but in Origins Bayek cannot do that reliably. He sometimes vaults over obstacles, but most of the time he just has to jump on and then off that little fence. What lore justification is there for such a limit? Is Bayek's physique of such a perculiar nature that his muscles somehow register different movements when crossing one piece of fence and not the other? Ezio couldn't vault over anything - is it because Ezio was a clumsier assassin? Did the Italian brotherhood forgot the technique of vaulting, only to have it rediscovered by the Paris brotherhood centuries later? Did it take ~1800 years for the assassins to figure out that "wait a minute, if I can vault over this fence, surely I can also vault over that one of equal height?" You see how ridiculous this gets. So no, stepbacks cannot be justified by "lore." Stepbacks are exactly what they are: stepbacks.

Except when it comes to a technical issue. For example, this is a new engine used for Origins and Odyssey. Guess what Arno can't do? Pick up dead bodies. You know why? There was an issue with the engine that prevented it. It was resolved in Syndicate. This ability to vault over certain objects might be a limitation of that engine.

As for justification, I'm not justifying anything. My point is that at least it's being done outside of a time frame that we know such abilities exist, in a time frame before hand.

Ezio can't vault over anything because he's wearing an entire basket of laundry as an outfit./Zero Punctuation Reference

I mean, you can complain all you want about it, but that's not the point of this thread.

cawatrooper9
07-12-2018, 08:18 PM
With respect to the "lore" Altair could *only* blend with scholars. He could also sit on benches to evade guards (in combination with parkour) but it wasn't until Paola taught Ezio how to blend into a crowd that we could actually become a "blade in the crowd" and use social stealth to our advantage.
.


To be fair, there were also levels of profile in AC1 that affected detection.

It definitely was a different type of social stealth from what we got later, though.

I was pretty bad at it. :p

MnemonicSyntax
07-12-2018, 09:58 PM
To be fair, there were also levels of profile in AC1 that affected detection.

It definitely was a different type of social stealth from what we got later, though.

I was pretty bad at it. :p

This is true. But, it's not really all that "social" either.

That's my problem with it, is that it hasn't advanced much since 2. Sure, Arno can do a few things, but it needs to be more natural. People that you stand with should have an occasional response that is bemusement to the point of possibly even moving or aggression.

Helping people, like Arno did with the broken wagon is great. The Discovery Tour had places the actors could stand and actually do things. These would be perfect for some sort of social stealth but what we have now (Origins not withstanding) isn't really all that "stealthy."

I'd love to see Social Stealth like the Black Flag first game play video.

SixKeys
07-12-2018, 11:25 PM
It's not really when the whole point of parkour is to evade your enemies, correct? It's specifically stated by Bellec that assassins before Altair's time used to do it in broad daylight to send a message and were quickly cut down because they made no chance to escape. That says that Altair's time frame started this non-kamikaze version the Brotherhood.

With respect to the "lore" Altair could *only* blend with scholars. He could also sit on benches to evade guards (in combination with parkour) but it wasn't until Paola taught Ezio how to blend into a crowd that we could actually become a "blade in the crowd" and use social stealth to our advantage.


I have to disagree with this. AC1 had social stealth, period. The way the Animus simulated it was simply more rudimentary in showing how Alta´r blended in. It's ludicrous to suggest that just because the game only shows him blending with monks it means those were the only people he ever blended in with. It's ludicrous even within the confines of the game itself (just put your hands together and you magically become invisible to the people around you), which is why we have the convenient excuse that anything that doesn't make sense can be explained by the Animus' limitations. Ezio's brand of social stealth is just as ridiculous if you take it at face value: he's able to enter groups of people who stand in the same spot through an entire day/night cycle and who never start to complain about this hooded stranger listening in on their conversations? The things we are shown aren't an exact 1:1 recreation of events, just an approximation.

This is why I can't find it in me to get worked up about small things like whether or not Alta´r invented obstacle-vaulting (it's possible in AC1, but hard to pull off consistently) or whether Arno never learned to whistle. Even Alta´r not knowing how to swim was later retconned as a "glitch in the Animus", despite the original manual for AC1 explicitly stating that he never learned to swim. The Animus has limitations, having gone through countless iterations, and those limitations change depending on how advanced the current version is, or even if it's Templar- or Assassin-controlled. It's safe to assume that most ancestors shared the same basic skills, as long as they make logical sense. Maybe the reason Arno can't whistle in Unity is because he never felt the need to use it as a distraction. Clearly we were able to relive through his life without seeing him use that skill, so it must not have been essential to fetch his memories.

Mechanically, the curious thing about AC1's stealth is that it's different from all the other versions that came after. Alta´r isn't incognito only when he blends; he is incognito by default. When you step into a guard's line of view and the detection indicator turns yellow or red, that's essentially a fail state. You can see this if you sit on a bench on a street that's hidden from view and then get up to move again. Even after Alta´r exits blend mode, the indicator remains white (incognito), until you step out into the open and are seen by an enemy. Whereas Ezio (and every other game since with social stealth) only turns incognito when he enters a blend group. AC1's social system relies wholly on the world accepting the player as an NPC by default, until they reveal their presence by breaking away from NPC-like routine behavior. Post-AC1, the system is always aware of the player, and the player must fool the system by using certain "cheats" that allow them to temporarily mask their status as an anomaly.

If you wanted to read that from a lore perspective, it could be argued that Alta´r was by definition the best at social stealth since he literally lived in a world where he was always incognito by default. :p But in the end, these are games, and IMO it's pointless to get wrapped up in technicalities to such a degree. "Blame the Animus."

MnemonicSyntax
07-13-2018, 12:19 AM
I have to disagree with this. AC1 had social stealth, period. The way the Animus simulated it was simply more rudimentary in showing how Alta´r blended in. It's ludicrous to suggest that just because the game only shows him blending with monks it means those were the only people he ever blended in with. It's ludicrous even within the confines of the game itself (just put your hands together and you magically become invisible to the people around you), which is why we have the convenient excuse that anything that doesn't make sense can be explained by the Animus' limitations. Ezio's brand of social stealth is just as ridiculous if you take it at face value: he's able to enter groups of people who stand in the same spot through an entire day/night cycle and who never start to complain about this hooded stranger listening in on their conversations? The things we are shown aren't an exact 1:1 recreation of events, just an approximation.

This is a good point and something i mentioned previous about anyone wearing a white hood could just walk into a crowd of people who weren't wearing one.


This is why I can't find it in me to get worked up about small things like whether or not Alta´r invented obstacle-vaulting (it's possible in AC1, but hard to pull off consistently) or whether Arno never learned to whistle.

Hey. LOL. That whistle gripe I had was because the attract bomb/cherry bombs or whatever they were, were frustrating as hell and I think Ubisoft has learned that going forward because... they're no longer present in later games. The whole Arno thing was a headcanon excuse but then he whistled later. Had the bombs worked better, I wouldn't care.


Even Alta´r not knowing how to swim was later retconned as a "glitch in the Animus", despite the original manual for AC1 explicitly stating that he never learned to swim. The Animus has limitations, having gone through countless iterations, and those limitations change depending on how advanced the current version is, or even if it's Templar- or Assassin-controlled. It's safe to assume that most ancestors shared the same basic skills, as long as they make logical sense. Maybe the reason Arno can't whistle in Unity is because he never felt the need to use it as a distraction. Clearly we were able to relive through his life without seeing him use that skill, so it must not have been essential to fetch his memories.

Another valid point. Again, my headcanon for the instances I brought up previously was to help me "get over it." As stealth tactics weren't necessarily a thing back then (Origins and Odyssey) it sorta makes sense to not have them around. But that's my headcanon. It works for me. It doesn't work for others.

I also like that the Animus has limitations and couldn't allow such things. Maybe this is why Hepzefa could pick up unconscious bodies and Bayek couldn't! :O


Mechanically, the curious thing about AC1's stealth is that it's different from all the other versions that came after. Alta´r isn't incognito only when he blends; he is incognito by default. When you step into a guard's line of view and the detection indicator turns yellow or red, that's essentially a fail state. You can see this if you sit on a bench on a street that's hidden from view and then get up to move again. Even after Alta´r exits blend mode, the indicator remains white (incognito), until you step out into the open and are seen by an enemy. Whereas Ezio (and every other game since with social stealth) only turns incognito when he enters a blend group. AC1's social system relies wholly on the world accepting the player as an NPC by default, until they reveal their presence by breaking away from NPC-like routine behavior. Post-AC1, the system is always aware of the player, and the player must fool the system by using certain "cheats" that allow them to temporarily mask their status as an anomaly.

Wow. This is... wow. Great observation and something I never noticed before. Nice job SK.


If you wanted to read that from a lore perspective, it could be argued that Alta´r was by definition the best at social stealth since he literally lived in a world where he was always incognito by default. :p But in the end, these are games, and IMO it's pointless to get wrapped up in technicalities to such a degree. "Blame the Animus."

I do like Yahtzee's review of AC1 on Zero Punctuation in that somehow walking slower while on a horse somehow makes the big neon sign on your back that says "HEY LOOK, ASSASSIN HERE!" somehow disappears.

That's the Animus for you.

I like this. Damn Hepzefa "Do not leave bodies lying out in the open" of Siwa though!

AnimusLover
07-13-2018, 05:33 AM
I'm feeling pretty positive, despite the Origins/Odyssey style not being something I particularly want. Conceptually, I prefer the dense city approach of II, Brotherhood, Unity and Syndicate, but I still enjoyed Origins enormously. However, I don't think these massive worlds are the permanent way of things. Origins was ~40GB and ~70GB including the DLC, so I think we're a long way off from the fans' dream of a game with as much long distance travel as Odyssey but with several cities with as much detail as Unity. It's one or the other, and I think there's a reason why we're getting the giants now.

Where the games often leaned on the spectacle of densely packed detail, Origins and Odyssey draw a lot of visual splendour from their epic-scale landscapes. Just knowing how much land was out there leant Origins a kind of luxurious feeling, and seeing the jaw-dropping range to the horizon from mountaintops really sold that. If I'm right, I think that's why they're changing up the combat and dialogue with these locations. Though I'm sure it has its own challenges, it must be easier to fill acres of space with organic land, and where there are buildings they're relatively simple: specialist features are more diluted in the architectural stock. Combat can have a lot of 'spill' here, and dialogue (which is really a kind of marker creation, after all) can set tasks for the player with no particular urgency. After all, if your dialogue options lead to a task across the other side of the country or even in a different country, nobody would expect you to get there inside of a week (even if the player could technically get there before the sun sets). Everything is believable here. Therefore, I think these expansive worlds are test beds for new features that can be refined here and finally perfected in future games. I'm like a broken record with this, but as I keep saying; when these dialogue options make their way into a city, with an ACII-style political intrigue story underway, it's going to pay off enormously.

But there's here's a problem with all games, and one that I feel with AC in particular, where the lack of true urgency really hurts the game. You're told to go somewhere RIGHT NOW because someone's life is in danger, it's only a few streets away, but you can get there two Thursdays from now and it'll be fine. The victim will be clashing swords with the rogue guards, and they'll shout to you, "Thank God you arrived in time! Thank you, my friend!". Whereas in other cases, such as one particular mission in Origins, you're told that you have to run to save someone's life and you really do have to do it right now. And I'm sure many of us had the same thought: "Well... I do, and I don't. You [the game] are making me run there, but when I arrive, she will be dead no matter what".

I believe the dialogue options are going to raise the sophistication of AC to such a degree that this kind of thing will stick out like a sore thumb, and become ever harder for the devs to ignore. And when it's addressed — when you really do risk someone's life by not running straight to save them, or when there are other consequences for inaction — the game will become exponentially better. Imagine having competing pressures. Imagine how your role as the community protector and assassin changes, when you really feel that burden of failing some matters while you win others, and the genuine tension of going out to fix the world's ills. Imagine the feeling of seeing your intelligence rewarded, when you correctly realised that prioritising Thing B and Thing C was more beneficial than pursuing Thing A would have been. When there's all of this going on in a game that's based in one or two cities, and where your dialogue choices can also be a careful manipulation of the local web of politics and society, I think we'll be back in 10/10 classic territory.

I did find this odd however I can see why the devs decided not to make time sensitive stories literal in gameplay terms. You pick up quests and you don't know where they will lead so if there are time limits and you don’t want to do the quest right away you'd just end up with annoying restarts due to auto fails. The only way this could work is if the player is allowed to permanently fail these quests like in Skyrim or Kingdom Come Deliverance – the latter in which the NPCs can complete active quests without the player’s involvement. However, Ubisoft, across all their games, have shown that they are not fans of letting players miss parts of their game. I feel like if they’re going full RPG they’re going to have to overcome this, as missing aspect of the game is a defining feature in most RPGs that makes each player’s experiences unique.

Also, remember there will be slave slots for Odyssey… that means a player can just reload before starting a quest that is time sensitive.


I harbor quite a mixed feeling about the new direction taken in Origins and Odyssey.

It's clear that in Odyssey there's greater emphasis on story telling and writing, which are sorely needed in this franchise. The number 1 reason why I get so tired of the "ubisoft open world" is its lack of narrative-driven contents. The map is filled with markers to clear and collectibles to collect, but why should I do those things? When I see the improved cutscenes and hear about the improved writing, I am overjoyed that this franchise which has been too soulless for too long is getting back on the right track.

However, with Origin and Odyssey I also think that Ubisoft is renovating away from their strengths instead of renovating toward it. I mean two things that were huge stepbacks: parkour and social stealth. Coming from Unity I couldn't believe how rudimentary the parkour was in Origins. Arno's beautiful animations gave way to repetitive jumps, a complex urban parkour playground gave way to simplistic geometries and empty spaces. And social stealth, urgh, why would anyone think it is a good idea to remove one of the most iconic features of the franchise? Having "NPCs with daily schedules" is not an excuse - you can always design "blending spots" or a dynamic blending system triggered by the number of NPCs in your proximity... All that to say is, until today I have not seen any other game pulling off a parkour system and a social stealth system nearly as well as AC franchise does, yet Ubisft, in the pursuit of "newness," abandoned their own strengths and tossed away some of the best systems they designed themselves.

Renovation is needed in the AC franchise, yes, but a wise dev should renovate where they were weak at (narrative), and keep what they are strong at (parkour, social stealth, action). I just hope future games will bring together every strong element of the franchise.


I think the problem with this franchise is too often the baby is thrown out with the bath water so what you end up with is one step forward and 2 steps back. Whilst I am glad Bayek isn’t Spider-Man like Arno, I do think the parkour in Origins was a major step back. It was just too unpolished, unresponsive inconsistent. You could tell the devs expected players to be riding around on horseback most of the time due to the wide-open spaces so consequently didn’t feel the need to make it a priority. It was also still too automated for my liking which means Bayek climbs things you never mean for him to. Furthermore, the problem with the “climb anywhere/anything” approach that they adopted from BOTW is that Bayek can’t actually climb anywhere.... sometimes there are surfaces that seem climbable but he can’t reach it for some reason. In previous games you knew exactly what you could and couldn’t climb just by looking at the surface of the walls. I like the animations in Unity but in terms of how it felt I would say it was far too floaty so didn’t feel as satisfying. There was just no sense of danger. They need to find a good balance, I think.

The stealth in Origins is just plain broken mainly because of the game’s desperation to get the player into open combat. When it's not blatantly spawning enemies in front of Bayek (rendering recon pointless) the AI sometimes detects him from far away when he's hidden in haystacks, or he’ll whistle but they won’t walk over, instead they’ll just stand there for several minutes looking at where he whistled from. Thus, in instances where this happens inside a building (meaning Senu can't harrass them) the player has no choice but to jump out of the shadows and end the chicken stand-off.

When it “works”, it’s too easy… the enemy NPCs always patrol to where the player is even if it makes no sense for them to go there which makes for a quick, easy kill.
And “reflex mode” needs to go. This is yet another example of how Ubisoft copies mechanics from other games without understanding why they worked. In The Phantom Pain reflex mode put the camera in first person so you could see exactly who spotted Snake. It also lasted longer and the sound effect that accompanies it resembled a ticking clock, all of which was to instil panic within the player during those crucial seconds.
In Origins it activates in open combat which makes no sense… If Bayek attacks a guard in open combat that is the player telling the game they don’t care about being detected. The Phantom Pain is a stealth game so it makes sense for it to activate even in open combat. Origins is not.

As for social stealth, it's never quite come together the way I think Ubisoft had hoped, except in Brotherhood when they used it creatively in missions. Other than that, I've always thought it was a bit silly. It would have been helped if the ancestor/Altair/Ezio/Conor/Arno told the people he was blending in with, “hey, I need this to look like we’re friends, someone is after me and I don’t want to make a scene.” And maybe have the NPCs ask some questions like, “who is after you?” They could have crafted entire NPC dialogue around social stealth. Instead, the AI just carried on as if it wasn't weird that some rando was suddenly following them around.

SixKeys
07-13-2018, 11:31 PM
Hey. LOL. That whistle gripe I had was because the attract bomb/cherry bombs or whatever they were, were frustrating as hell and I think Ubisoft has learned that going forward because... they're no longer present in later games. The whole Arno thing was a headcanon excuse but then he whistled later. Had the bombs worked better, I wouldn't care.

Oh, I wasn't referring to you specifically. Lots of people have remarked upon Arno's inability to whistle or carry bodies as if it means it must be canon that he never learned to do those things, which to me is silly. I actually kind of liked that Unity didn't have those features as they do make stealthing very easy. In Unity if you didn't want to leave bodies lying around, you had to plan ahead more, like only killing a guard when you were sure his body wasn't on anybody's patrol route. I also liked the distraction bombs in principle, but they were admittedly a bit fickle.



Wow. This is... wow. Great observation and something I never noticed before. Nice job SK.

I can't take the credit for the observation as it was Farlander1991 who pointed it out to me. https://static5.cdn.ubi.com/u/ubiforums/20130918.419/images/smilies/wink.png It is a fascinating detail and it's a shame they never pursued an enhanced version of that system instead of the AC2 (and onwards) approach. The multiplayer was the closest we ever got, as the goal in the MP was to act like an NPC to throw off other players, right down to mimicking certain glitchy NPC behaviors.

AnimusLover
07-14-2018, 03:46 AM
I actually think Unity was sincere in its attempts to encourage stealth hence why they kept the same combat system but made the enemy AI more aggressive. However, it was ruined by enemies with super hearing and X-Ray vision plus a lack of resources dedicated to it possibly because they ran out of time.
I'm glad they ditched that detection system in ACII - it's cool that the game treated the player like an NPC but that doesn't mean the player should be forced to behave like one because... they're not. They're the player. It was a bad idea.

SixKeys
07-16-2018, 03:41 PM
I'm glad they ditched that detection system in ACII - it's cool that the game treated the player like an NPC but that doesn't mean the player should be forced to behave like one because... they're not. They're the player. It was a bad idea.

I both agree and disagree. The problem wasn't that the player was expected to act according to the social system's rules - that's the entire basis of social stealth and most games have some version of it. The problem was that the player was the only one who could break the rules. The enemy AI would immediately zero in on the player when a crime occurred, even if it was due to circumstances outside the player's control, like if an NPC managed to get onto a roof, fell and died. AC2 introduced rules whereby it was possible to have NPCs breaking the law and being punished for it, like Borgia messengers running on rooftops would have the guards shoot at them just like they do with Ezio. But there weren't enough of these occurrences, and it's an aspect that the games have struggled to address ever since. We only have a few agents of chaos capable of attracting the enemy AI's attention, and most of those agents are still under the player's control. I.e. thieves and courtesans can technically break the system's rules and draw attention to themselves, but only when Ezio hires them. We don't have random people running on the streets and bumping into others even though that's a thing that happens in RL. For all that Origins (and probably Odyssey) boasts of having a "living, breathing world" because of NPC schedules, there's still not enough unpredictability in the system.

Instead of factions with unique agendas (like bandits who always appear in groups), we need individual NPCs with agendas. I'm wondering if such a thing could be achieved by creating categories of behavior and dividing NPCs according to those categories instead of predetermined factions.

Example: NPCs belonging to the category "Aggressive" (who aren't guards) would have an aggressive agenda, be drawn towards confrontation and be more likely to start trouble. If they spot the player fighting with guards, they might join in or cheer the player on. If their scheduled route takes them past a guard post, they might be inclined to act confrontational towards the guards, creating a possible distraction for the player. They might be drawn towards other aggressive NPCs and either form friendships with them (street gangs, bandit groups) or start fights with them.
If there is another NPC category such as "Timid", the aggressive NPCs would be more likely to pickpocket or intimidate those NPCs, creating random situations that the player can anticipate and potentially intervene in.

This could lead to cities naturally forming their own "good" and "bad" neighborhoods: aggressive NPCs would mostly congregate amongst each other while timid people (like aristocrats) would inhabit areas where there's less crime and confrontation. Aggressive NPCs might be less inclined to pay attention to bad behavior from the player (i.e. ignoring them when they pickpocket or kill innocents) whereas timid NPCs would be extremely law-abiding and vigilant, immediately screaming for the guards if the player exhibits aggressive behavior.

The player might even, through their own behavior, be able to influence NPC attitudes and invisibly change their categories. For example, if the player spends a lot of time in a "bad" neighborhood and saves many civilians from street gangs, word might spread that there's a vigilante dealing justice to criminals. Imagine each NPC that belongs to a certain category as having a certain value assigned to them, like "Aggression level: 8". Some NPCs' aggression meters would be lowered by witnessing the player's actions, possibly so much that they end up switching from Aggressive all the way to Timid. This NPC would completely change their life around, avoiding confrontation and starting to hang out with other Timid people. They might open up a shop or stable, creating an advantage for the player. That NPC getting mugged or injured might raise their aggression meter by +1. If they encounter enough hardship, they might eventually snap and be reclassified as Aggressive.

These are just two potential categories, there could be many more. I'm no programmer, so I'm not sure how feasible this would be, but it could potentially create situations that are more reflective of human nature.

darklion2043
07-16-2018, 04:34 PM
The player might even, through their own behavior, be able to influence NPC attitudes and invisibly change their categories. For example, if the player spends a lot of time in a "bad" neighborhood and saves many civilians from street gangs, word might spread that there's a vigilante dealing justice to criminals. Imagine each NPC that belongs to a certain category as having a certain value assigned to them, like "Aggression level: 8". Some NPCs' aggression meters would be lowered by witnessing the player's actions, possibly so much that they end up switching from Aggressive all the way to Timid. This NPC would completely change their life around, avoiding confrontation and starting to hang out with other Timid people. They might open up a shop or stable, creating an advantage for the player. That NPC getting mugged or injured might raise their aggression meter by +1. If they encounter enough hardship, they might eventually snap and be reclassified as Aggressive.

That is a good idea. My hope it may possible other games after Odysses.

Also they'll change levelling system. My dream is our assasins like footballers at the games. We'll reach 100 points at each abilities. Like health, regeneration speed, durability, speed, stamina, strenght, fight skill, combat experience, aggressive or socializing, stealth, acrobatics, etc... Then we'll learn new things when we'll reach 70s, 80s and 90s for each abilities. Abilities will improve by statistics. For example we want to be a legendary fighter, kill many enemies and try not take too much damage. But if we'll kill soldiers or polices whatever we called, it decrease our socializing or increase our aggressive ability. We'll do everything but all of this things have rewards and punishment with this system. And statistics may more important.

They'll add many sword combinations like God of War, Star Wars Force Unleashed 1-2. We'll learn them with a master at game progress or have them when we'll reach the point that includes a combination with a few abilities average.

AmaterasuCALI
07-22-2018, 02:44 AM
more mythology fantasies, flying mounts pegasus and griffin, and ADD THE GODDESS OF LOVE HERSELF APHRODITE. would love to see an interaction with her rated M for a reason.