PDA

View Full Version : Mentors Guild Community Discussion - Multiple Timelines



SixKeys
07-16-2018, 07:16 AM
Hi everyone, here is the community discussion topic for July 16 - 22, 2018, inspired by this article: https://www.vg247.com/2018/07/05/assassins-creed-next-gen-multiple-timelines/


MAKING SURE THE FANS ARE HEARD

As part of a set of new Community Initiatives, we'd like to give opportunities to the community to give more direct feedback, and will now host weekly discussion on specific topics that relate the Assassin's Creed Franchise. These community discussions will take place on the AC subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/assassinscreed/), the Official Ubisoft Forums (https://forums.ubi.com/forumdisplay.php/27-Assassin-s-Creed), and on the Mentors Guild Twitter (https://twitter.com/mentorsguild). These discussions will be open for 1 week. The threads and responses will be shared directly with the Assassin's Creed Community Development team, who will then pass that info on to concerned parties within Ubisoft itself.

While the Mentors get opportunities to speak directly with the creators of Assassin’s Creed and frequently communicate with the Community Development Team, this is not the case for every fan. We want to change that. We want fans to have their voices heard directly, in the same ways the Mentors do. These activities are a step towards meeting this goal. If you want Ubisoft to see what you have to say, this is the place to do it.


THIS WEEK'S TOPIC

Topic: Multiple Timelines in a Single Game

Info: Thus far, AC games have only explored multiple timelines in linear, limited-scope missions (such as the Time Rifts in AC: Unity). In an interview with VG247 (https://www.vg247.com/2018/07/05/assassins-creed-next-gen-multiple-timelines/), a Ubisoft executive teased the possibility of multiple timelines appearing in a single game, thanks to advances in next-gen technology. He also mentioned the live service model allowing for a steady stream of post-launch content, which in AC terms could hint at entire new countries and/or historical eras being added as post-launch DLC in future games.


"According to Ubisoft EVP Lionel Raynaud, one game with a number of different historic timelines that the player can travel between would be possible as singular finite games give way to live services that update a game post-release.

“We would be able to – in the same world – have several historical periods, for instance, in Assassin’s Creed, and use the Animus to travel from one to the other,” he told the Ubi Blog.

[...]

The line between a singular game that stops after reaching a conclusion, and a game that is constantly updated with new content blurs every year, according to the Ubisoft exec.

"This line gets fuzzier every year. We have bigger post-launch periods, longer lives for each of our games. Even the ones that used to be solo-oriented games, like action adventures, they now have a very strong post-launch, and people are staying in our worlds for a long time. So this line is absolutely fuzzier and fuzzier,” he said.


QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

-How do you feel about the ever-expanding scope of open-world games?

-In your opinion, could having multiple open-world timelines in one game negatively affect story focus?

-How would you feel about the possibility of an open-world historical timeline AND open-world modern day timeline in the same game? Or even a First Civilization timeline?

-Would you be open to remaking older games with this new technology? E.g. expanding Alta´r's sections in AC: Revelations to be as big as Ezio's, or expanding AC: Unity's Rift missions to allow Arno to explore Paris in full during the Middle Ages and Belle Epoque?

-Can you see this affecting the price of the base game?

-How much would you be willing to pay extra for post-launch DLC promising an entire new country or timeline to explore?

-Can you imagine Ubisoft potentially charging extra for various Collector's Editions that come with access to exclusive timelines? How would you feel about such a possibility?

-What other pros and cons can you think of for an AC game with multiple timelines?


REMEMBER:

While these discussions are meant to allow for honest and raw feedback directly from the community, the best way to ensure your voice is heard is to be constructive - be critical of the process, not the people. Be specific with your criticisms and suggest tangible solutions and improvements.
We hope to see active participation and that this will be a successful way of getting the fans' voices truly heard.

darklion2043
07-16-2018, 08:39 AM
-How do you feel about the ever-expanding scope of open-world games?

I like huge open world for seeing many beautiful environment and sights. Also see the imagination of the creators impressive.

-In your opinion, could having multiple open-world timelines in one game negatively affect story focus?
It's about story strong and deep. If a story is strong enough and deep, game or players can't affect negatively to focus story. Sometimes it is a bit hard understanding or swallowing what we are doing that mission or that timelines and gives us a lonely dry leaf feeling on a tree at Autumn. But after finishing mission or end the game we take a delicious taste it in my opinion.

-How would you feel about the possibility of an open-world historical timeline AND open-world modern day timeline in the same game? Or even a First Civilization timeline?
It is exited me especially visit a First Civilization timeline. I really wonder to play First Civilization timeline after 11 years.

-Would you be open to remaking older games with this new technology? E.g. expanding Alta´r's sections in AC: Revelations to be as big as Ezio's, or expanding AC: Unity's Rift missions to allow Arno to explore Paris in full during the Middle Ages and Belle Epoque?
AC: Unity's Rift missions aren't my favorites but I want to see it like Altair's sections in AC: Revelations. I like Altair's memories at AC: Revelations. It connected and reminded me with previous games and also showed me heroes cloudy life after the games.

-Can you see this affecting the price of the base game?
I want to say 'can't' but this is Real World and probably yes I can see this affecting the price of the base game.

-How much would you be willing to pay extra for post-launch DLC promising an entire new country or timeline to explore?

How many missions and how many hours that I can play this DLC give me an idea about its cost.

-Can you imagine Ubisoft potentially charging extra for various Collector's Editions that come with access to exclusive timelines? How would you feel about such a possibility?

I must be honest. It's all about money. If a company sees a good opportunity to earn money, everything is possible. It's bad thing for me because I can't buy many of them.

-What other pros and cons can you think of for an AC game with multiple timelines?
Empty;)

cawatrooper9
07-16-2018, 02:30 PM
-How do you feel about the ever-expanding scope of open-world games?

If by that we mean size, I think we've hit a point of diminishing returns. For instance, I'm playing Horizon Zero Dawn right now, and I don't feel like the map's size needed to be as big as it is- it could probably been about half as big, and would've been fine (same goes for Origins, really). I don't dislike the big map, even though it can make travel burdensome, but I think sometimes a smaller more compact map can be even more effective.

If by "scope" we mean the increasing attributes that games try to cover, I'll say I honestly prefer something more simplistic. I like how, for the most part, Origins just had quests. There weren't races (outside of the Hippodrome, I mean), there weren't a ton of collectibles littered across the map, there weren't weird minigames meant to be gamefiller. Everything felt like it naturally was part of Bayek's jurisdiction as a Medjay, generally. So again, I think that "less is more" tends to work pretty well here.




-In your opinion, could having multiple open-world timelines in one game negatively affect story focus?

Sure, it "could". I don't think it's a given, but we even had people complaining that the two main protagonists in Syndicate affected story focus, and they were at least in the same timeline!


-How would you feel about the possibility of an open-world historical timeline AND open-world modern day timeline in the same game? Or even a First Civilization timeline?

Personally, I'd prefer MD or First Civ stuff with a strong story and linear gameplay. It helps keep it focused, and also is a nice way to differentiate it from the bulk of the rest of the game.


-Would you be open to remaking older games with this new technology? E.g. expanding Alta´r's sections in AC: Revelations to be as big as Ezio's, or expanding AC: Unity's Rift missions to allow Arno to explore Paris in full during the Middle Ages and Belle Epoque?
Nah. Honestly, I agree with darklion2043 here. Despite all the talk of open world stuff, Revelations should actually be gold standard on how to incorporate other timelines. I'd hate to see that changed.

I don't want Unity's stuff remade, either, though I'd love to see something like this finally made good on. Maybe not exactly, but at least in spirit.

https://venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Assassins-Creed-dummy-menu.jpg?fit=578%2C325&strip=all


-Can you see this affecting the price of the base game?
I'd be surprised if it did, and I think it would be an awful PR move.


-How much would you be willing to pay extra for post-launch DLC promising an entire new country or timeline to explore?
That really depends on how expansive the DLC is. I mean, it's totally possible that if Brotherhood had been made today, it would've just been a DLC for ACII.

If that was the case, I'd have expected it to run about 30-40 dollars, tops. I know that's weird, since I happily paid full price in 2010 for it as a standalone game, but I think the public has different expectations for DLC.

If it was smaller (something like Freedom Cry or The Hidden Ones), I think those were adequately priced already.


-Can you imagine Ubisoft potentially charging extra for various Collector's Editions that come with access to exclusive timelines? How would you feel about such a possibility?
I'm already a little stressed out about the potential backlash that would cause :p

Definitely don't do that, please.


-What other pros and cons can you think of for an AC game with multiple timelines?

I think it really just plays to the series' strengths in a way that AC has rarely done before. The end of Revelations is beloved for really tying the story so far at that time together, but by setting a game's story across multiple timelines and running a thread through it all, we could have a microcosm of that type of thing in a single title!

I think it does run the risk of having the game lose focus, but if we had a "main timeline" and then multiple ACR-style linear stories throughout various other eras, we'd be pretty grounded. Plus, the phrase "History is Our Playground" would never have rung more true.

ninja4hire10
07-18-2018, 01:07 PM
-How do you feel about the ever-expanding scope of open-world games?

I love it. OW games are my favorite type, and with new (and future) tech, I think devs haven't even begun to scratch the surface of being able to create sprawling open worlds. Glad I'm around to witness it.

-In your opinion, could having multiple open-world timelines in one game negatively affect story focus?

As long as careful attention is paid to sticking to the overall narrative, then fine, like if there's a PoE being chased after and we see the pursuit throughout different time periods, only to then end up in the MD to see a finale. Hope that makes sense.

-How would you feel about the possibility of an open-world historical timeline AND open-world modern day timeline in the same game? Or even a First Civilization timeline?

See above. Although I'm not as fanatical about MD as some are, I see its value in the lore. First Civ though? If handled well it could be interesting but to be honest, I could take it or leave it.

-Would you be open to remaking older games with this new technology? E.g. expanding Alta´r's sections in AC: Revelations to be as big as Ezio's, or expanding AC: Unity's Rift missions to allow Arno to explore Paris in full during the Middle Ages and Belle Epoque?

Absolutely. AC1 would stun if remade with today's tech. I'd buy it. Also would love expanding the WW1 rift in Unity, which I adored (and I didn't think I would,)

-Can you see this affecting the price of the base game?

Well, yeah. And I don't mind. More content = higher price, and I'd pay for it.

-How much would you be willing to pay extra for post-launch DLC promising an entire new country or timeline to explore?

Depends on the size of the additional content, but anywhere from $15 to $30 sounds okay by me.

-Can you imagine Ubisoft potentially charging extra for various Collector's Editions that come with access to exclusive timelines? How would you feel about such a possibility?

Yes. And if I find a particular timeline attractive, I'd buy that edition. I always buy the Gold Edition of every release so such a purchase is kind of my norm.

-What other pros and cons can you think of for an AC game with multiple timelines?

Remember the TV show "Lost?" The writers had too much going on and kinda lost focus because of too many threads happening. It just got away from 'em. This can and could happen if too many timelines are intro'd in the same game, so like mentioned above, as long as all timelines follow a singular path it I think the idea would work and the devs wouldn't be victimized by their own ambition.

RinoTheBouncer
07-18-2018, 04:32 PM
-How do you feel about the ever-expanding scope of open-world games?



I think it depends on the game and the type of expansion. A smaller and a higher quality world with an immersive story is a lot more interesting than a big-for-nothing world full of random quests and collectibles and a bland setting or a boring story. But if the expansion also increases the quality, then I feel positive about it.



-In your opinion, could having multiple open-world timelines in one game negatively affect story focus?



Not really. Having more than one timeline allows us to explore the setting in more than one period in its history and since Ubisoft seems pretty adamant on using a setting only once (like the protagonists) then perhaps a game should offer more than one period of time from the history of that period because many locations have vastly different atmospheres across history, like for example Egypt in 2700 BCE is different from Egypt during the Islamic Age, Napoleonic Wars and 49 BCE. I'd very much love it if the games offer some types of content that take us to different points in the history of said setting.



-How would you feel about the possibility of an open-world historical timeline AND open-world modern day timeline in the same game? Or even a First Civilization timeline?



If this is every implemented and expanded upon, it would be a dream come true, especially the modern day timeline and First Civilization one.



-Would you be open to remaking older games with this new technology? E.g. expanding Alta´r's sections in AC: Revelations to be as big as Ezio's, or expanding AC: Unity's Rift missions to allow Arno to explore Paris in full during the Middle Ages and Belle Epoque?



Absolutely!



-Can you see this affecting the price of the base game?



If it does and it's high quality, I wouldn't mind that because I'd pay a good price for great content, whether it's in the form of an increased base game price or DLC/Season Pass.



-How much would you be willing to pay extra for post-launch DLC promising an entire new country or timeline to explore?



$50 per season pass. People pay that price all the time for multiplayer games. I'd be willing to pay that for story content, because I'm more interested in exploring new settings and expanding the historical, present day and first civilization stories for a higher price than paying that for outfits, weapons or random battles and loot or online play.



-Can you imagine Ubisoft potentially charging extra for various Collector's Editions that come with access to exclusive timelines? How would you feel about such a possibility?



I wouldn't feel bad about it as I always get the biggest collector's edition, but I believe these content should be sold with a season pass or the base game, rather than being strictly limited to a collector's edition, unless you mean that said edition has the season pass included.



-What other pros and cons can you think of for an AC game with multiple timelines?




Pros:




Seeing different points of history for each location which offer much more variety in the style and atmosphere as governments, religions, architecture, affairs and systems changed drastically across time. That's something incredible and it's such a waste to use a setting once and in one period only and lose all other possible points of history.

Playing as different characters and exploring the story from different angles as well as expanding the lore, because this could offer more modern day content, more first civilization content and more insights on how the creed and the political affairs have evolved and changed overtime and how the changes rippled across history, for example, we see how Bayek's work in Egypt could affect Darim (Altair's son) centuries later, and how that affects Layla in present day Egypt for example.

Cons:

None.

dxsxhxcx
07-25-2018, 08:30 PM
This discussion is over but I've liked the thread and the subject interest me so I'll give my two cents...





QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

-How do you feel about the ever-expanding scope of open-world games?

It looked promising in the beginning now I think we should go back to the way things were during AC1/2 or at least make (much) smaller maps with the cities close to each other, Ubisoft needs to drastically improve the quality of their side content as well, among other things to justify these huge maps.


-In your opinion, could having multiple open-world timelines in one game negatively affect story focus?

Yes


-How would you feel about the possibility of an open-world historical timeline AND open-world modern day timeline in the same game? Or even a First Civilization timeline?

I really think the modern portion of the game should be DRASTICALLY improved but I don't think they should aim for something as big as a huge open world set during modern times. The MD is there to serve the narrative and for that IMO we don't need something bigger (in size) than what we got in Brotherhood, but much more should've been done in Brotherhood to make a good use of the setting we had. It was a HUGE missed opportunity.


-Would you be open to remaking older games with this new technology? E.g. expanding Alta´r's sections in AC: Revelations to be as big as Ezio's, or expanding AC: Unity's Rift missions to allow Arno to explore Paris in full during the Middle Ages and Belle Epoque?

I don't think that's necessary.


-Can you see this affecting the price of the base game?

IMO it shouldn't but it's Ubisoft we're talking about so...


-How much would you be willing to pay extra for post-launch DLC promising an entire new country or timeline to explore?

If there's enough content to justify something as big as that, full price I guess, but unfortunately at this point I don't trust Ubisoft would deliver...


-Can you imagine Ubisoft potentially charging extra for various Collector's Editions that come with access to exclusive timelines? How would you feel about such a possibility?

I can imagine Ubisoft doing anything for money, I would feel sad about the missed opportunity to create an awesome game solely for money' sake.


- What other pros and cons can you think of for an AC game with multiple timelines?

Lack of story and character development, weak story, etc.. I don't have any pros in mind, I don't think they should follow this route.

Swailing
07-26-2018, 06:11 PM
-How do you feel about the ever-expanding scope of open-world games?

Good, but I'd prefer a super-dense big city/cities to the giant landscape of Origins, most of the time. It depends on the setting. I'd like to have massive numbers of truly individual NPCs, alongside the randomised hoi polloi. It would be great to form relationships with particular NPCs that I'd taken a shine to: if my first thought on waking up in my Prague apartment was, "I must go and see Alzbeta, and then see how Ambroz is doing". I'd prefer more individual buildings, businesses, and maybe working theatres, to hundreds of mountains or villages.

-In your opinion, could having multiple open-world timelines in one game negatively affect story focus?

They could, but I think the expansion would be overwhelmingly positive. It's much harder to think of ways in which they could be negative (less time in your favourite timeline?) than it is to think of ways they could be positive.

-How would you feel about the possibility of an open-world historical timeline AND open-world modern day timeline in the same game? Or even a First Civilization timeline?

This could be great. The AC games of the past tried, with limited success, to make what was happening in each timeline be essential to what happened in the other (although you can't affect the past, of course; more of a thing where if we fail in the present, we can no longer look at the past).

I'm less enthused about a First Civ timeline, simply because I think Ubisoft messed up the Isu from the moment they started showing them. I wish we'd only ever seen them as slightly indistinct humanoid clouds of triangles, or as blurry shadows, or if we did have to see them distinctly, that they'd been a bit more believable than the silly pantomime monarchs we saw from ACII onwards. I wish their characters had been better, or their society more interesting, or their motives better written. I wish we'd never seen the Star Trek costumes and shopping mall-esque buildings in the end of ACIII.

-Would you be open to remaking older games with this new technology? E.g. expanding Alta´r's sections in AC: Revelations to be as big as Ezio's, or expanding AC: Unity's Rift missions to allow Arno to explore Paris in full during the Middle Ages and Belle Epoque?

No. As for Revelations, you can't put lipstick on a pig, and I don't want to play some weird mixture of a game I've already played with its many fixes. I'll feel like I'm constantly hopping in and out of the familiar, and where something has been edited it will only serve to remind me how bad the original was. I also don't know what Ubi would have to do with the problem of building scale. If they had as much work to do as they would to make a fresh game, it shouldn't be done. Istanbul deserves a fresh game that maybe references Revelations but does not remake it. And every member of the team should be forced to read My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk ;)

Unity is a more tempting proposition. If there was a way to interweave an important Belle Epoque story into Unity, and maybe rework some of the things that didn't work in Unity's main game, and maybe even correct the worst matters of political and historical inaccuracy... this really might be worth doing. Unity could get a re-release, and a second bite of the cherry. Not a bad idea.

-Can you see this affecting the price of the base game?

This is the biggest issue affecting a game like this. If you're going to include additional time periods, they have to matter. They can't be disposable chunks that you can parcel out to a larger payment plan, as if Assassin's Creed was an insurance company with different price plans for greater peace of mind. And if they are to be vital, then the base game must be bigger, and perhaps the base price must increase.

It's a tough prospect. The game's price has already crept up, and there are many detractors of the series who are just waiting for any apparent stumble in sales to declare the game dead. And if sales do slip, maybe it's just a lot of people who will snap up the game when it becomes cheaper in the spring, but that could still look bad to the market. I think it's worth the risk, if you bring on board truly brilliant writers: if you sell the game specifically on a superb story.

Has the team seen the TV show The Terror? Imagine if you had writers of that calibre on the team. Then you would have something to stake the new price on. But if you do it, be prepared to ditch all "special editions" except those with physical collectibles. Ditch the entire edition structure. Make the base game more expensive, but make it definitive.

With that done, then you can think about additional DLC that requires an extra purchase.

-How much would you be willing to pay extra for post-launch DLC promising an entire new country or timeline to explore?

Potentially, I might pay the game price all over again. I've said before that I'd love to see a main game for which the city/cities are built, and then in the next year a new game which stands on the shoulder of that giant: maybe remodelling parts of the game world here and there to fit a new era, but using the work already done as a springboard to more creation.

-Can you imagine Ubisoft potentially charging extra for various Collector's Editions that come with access to exclusive timelines? How would you feel about such a possibility?

Don't do this. Unless it's a "season pass"-like discount on the future expansion(s), don't do it.

It's the first rule of digital commerce that you make it simple and quick for the customer to part with their money, when they're still at the phillip_j_fry.gif stage of excitement. I ought to approach buying an Assassin's Creed game with all my enthusiasm intact, and hand over my money before I can begin to reconsider.

But instead, I have to check a spreadsheet. I open several tabs for price-comparison. I start doing equations of plus packs A and C but NOT B versus [basegame] plus NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

The longer the process takes, the more likely I am to feel embittered by the apparent cynicism of the company, the more likely I am to think of other games that look like better value made by companies that look less shark-like, and the more likely I am to think that scumbag key site might as well get the purchase. I shouldn't think like that. I should think that those businesses are bad, but sometimes the Ubi Shop makes them look like the good guy.

[B]-What other pros and cons can you think of for an AC game with multiple timelines?

Pros: Obviously, story. So far, we've been funnelled into different timelines according to what Rebecca or whoever told us to do, in search of the location of a PoE or whatever we needed to know. But if we could be the detective and figure out where/when we needed to go, and follow a trail of evidence ourselves, that would be a huge leap forward. You'd be edging towards something that's less like a video game and more like the 12 Monkeys TV series, only with personal agency.

You could reward the player's learning about the history of each era to figure out where to go, which is something the games have never done before. Of course, you should probably have NPCs prepared as failsafes to ensure that the player is eventually told where to go if they really can't understand what's being asked of them, but the sense of achievement for the player who figures it out and gets to go there *quicker* would be pretty thrilling.

[edit] Ooh, big one: meeting 'yourself'. The player could turn up in a different timeline as a different character, and see the character they'd previously played at a different age as an NPC. That would be a really interesting feeling, given the way you feel so much like your assassin is 'you' after a while.

Cons: Not many, but as mentioned above, you might be forced to leave a timeline and characters that you were really enjoying. Maybe the other era's narrative wouldn't be as strong. But then again, you could also have it as a strength, that you get to catch up with your favourite characters at an older age.