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View Full Version : Ubisoft´s biggest questions......There could be spoilers!



Megas_Doux
12-03-2014, 03:58 AM
Pre considerations:

1 I wish Ubi had taken 2015 off . I even want the whole annual releases to be ditched for tons of reasons that deserve their own thread.
2 I wont discuss story/history related stuff..
3 I greatly enjoyed Black Flag and its naval stuff but I dont want that becoming a trend within the franchise.

Despite the fact I considered -and I still do- the state in which Unity was released plain INTOLERABLE; bugs, framerate and app failures alike and the game is FAR from perfect in its strong points. I´m enjoying Unity´s general gameplay approach, for I consider it a return to the roots of the franchise. The combat seems hard enough to a point in which engaging more that four enemies is dangerous. Most of the assassinations are designed to kill the target the way YOU want with many possibilities at your disposal in the likes of having different doors, windows, underground entrances or going berserker if you wish. All of that in a huge urban environment with accessible 1:1 scale buildings and the most "alive" city in the franchise. Thus I have concluded -my opinion of course- that Unity is pretty much AC I 2.0 and with I mean I see the game as step into the "right" direction, or at least the one I like.

Thing is that MANY important/famous/big youtube personalities in the gaming industry like AngryJoe, Totalbuiscuit, as well as professional reviewers and fans alike in several gaming sites think -may be alienated by the already discussed technical HELL of a release- of Unity as a step backwards gameplay wise from Black Flag. They saw AC IV and its more action oriented naval gameplay style and non urban setting as a fresh of breath air the franchise so desperately needed. Some of them explicitly said they like that game despite its AC´s overall inherent boringness....

So the big questions:

1 The eternal struggle that plagues any content creator, gaming company/developers included. "Victory" is already in the making, but for the future. Should Ubi continue trying to improve the core mechanics -generally perceived as boring- as they attempted in Unity, or develop new fresh ones like the naval stuff, or similar, in order to maintain innovation and gain more "casuals"?

2 What would you YOU like them to do????

Cheers!

VestigialLlama4
12-03-2014, 04:45 AM
They saw AC IV and its more action oriented naval gameplay style and non urban setting as a fresh of breath air the franchise so desperately needed. Some of them explicitly said they like that game despite its AC´s overall inherent boringness....

The point is it was more Fun and refreshing, and it was nice that a series can become a pirate game at the drop of the hat. Whereas UNITY had modest ambitions but took a very immodest story and blew it.



So the big questions:

1 The eternal struggle that plagues any content creator, gaming company/developers included. "Victory" is already in the making, but for the future. Should Ubi continue trying to improve the core mechanics -generally perceived as boring- as they attempted in Unity, or develop new fresh ones like the naval stuff, or similar, in order to maintain innovation and gain more "casuals"?


I think Assassin's Creed was ''always'' geared towards casuals. AC1 was hardly this especially hard or difficult game. It was more open than the sequels but then it's not really all that open and adaptive. It was not a game for stealth specialists or for combat enthusiasts and it had fewer activities than GTA3, but people liked it because it was an old-school adventure game of the kind that people wanted in Next-Gen consoles but few were making. That was its real core. It never was this ultimate combat/stealth game and if it tries to become that, it will stop being AC.

Xstantin
12-03-2014, 04:49 AM
I think Unity was going in the right direction. "Clean" quiet kills felt more satisfying than earlier games (I know it sounds horrible), then again I had fun trying to keep "Prowler" rating consistent - I hope the next game expands on the protag's approach to the missions.
I'd never worry if they push extra fluff to the DLCs or something like that

Megas_Doux
12-03-2014, 05:23 PM
I think Unity was going in the right direction. "Clean" quiet kills felt more satisfying than earlier games (I know it sounds horrible), then again I had fun trying to keep "Prowler" rating consistent - I hope the next game expands on the protag's approach to the missions.
I'd never worry if they push extra fluff to the DLCs or something like that

I agree!

Personally I want the core stuff to be expanded, Unity aimed for that. I prefer it over adding "make up" thing such as naval and dont get me wrong, I loved naval.

AssassinHMS
12-03-2014, 06:43 PM
I think Assassin's Creed was ''always'' geared towards casuals. AC1 was hardly this especially hard or difficult game. It was more open than the sequels but then it's not really all that open and adaptive. It was not a game for stealth specialists or for combat enthusiasts and it had fewer activities than GTA3, but people liked it because it was an old-school adventure game of the kind that people wanted in Next-Gen consoles but few were making. That was its real core. It never was this ultimate combat/stealth game and if it tries to become that, it will stop being AC.

No. See, AC’s actual core is stealth, combat and navigation. You can babble all you want about what AC’s “real” core is to you but this is AC’s factual core.
Those three pillars were “always” poorly developed. They were poorly developed in AC1 due to their developer's limitations and they stayed poor because Ubisoft decided to stop improving AC so that it remained a generic experience capable of pleasing a large and diverse crowd.

While some want AC to achieve its full potential and give birth to great games that challenge the player’s many skills, others prefer that casual, generic experience which comes from a poor and weak core that leaves room for all the additions that make the games bigger but not better.


Now, if you actually care about AC and want to see the franchise grow, not in width but in strength, then you want a stronger core. If however, you just want AC to serve your need for mindless action and cheap violence despite the fact there are plenty of games out there that do that already and regardless of the fact that you would be taking a dump on AC’s core, then you're not really thinking about the franchise.

Regardless, AC’s core points one way – Assassin simulator. If you improve stealth, combat and navigation, that is the result you will get. And what complements these three pillars best, some random mechanics like naval and a linear/cinematic experience or open missions where you get to investigate and plan beforehand while making full use of the three pillars?
AC is “meant” to be an Assassin simulator because of the core. Ubisoft only has three options:
- quit on improving AC again so that it becomes less specialized/more generic which allows more people in but results in more backlash and criticism towards Ubisoft;
- change AC’s core and premise so that it suits a more over-the-top action focused tour;
- improve the already existent core and premise and allow AC to achieve its full potential.

VestigialLlama4
12-03-2014, 06:57 PM
No. See, AC’s actual core is stealth, combat and navigation. You can babble all you want about what AC’s “real” core is to you but this is AC’s factual core.
Those three pillars were “always” poorly developed. They were poorly developed in AC1 due to their developer's limitations and they stayed poor because Ubisoft decided to stop improving AC so that it remained a generic experience capable of pleasing a large and diverse crowd.

Patrice Desilets stated that he was quite happy with it. The simple gameplay of those pillars allowed them a lot of variation in applying it to different contexts, it was never attempting to be THIEF.


While some want AC to achieve its full potential and give birth to great games that challenge the player’s many skills, others prefer that casual, generic experience which comes from a poor and weak core that leaves room for all the additions that make the games bigger but not better.

There are great games already achieved - AC1, AC2, Black Flag and Very Good Games - AC3, Revelations, Brotherhood - it provides us great missions, fun things to do and plenty of awesome buildings to climb and ships to battle.


Now, if you actually care about AC and want to see the franchise grow, not in width but in strength, then you want a stronger core. If however, you just want AC to serve your need for mindless action and cheap violence despite the fact there are plenty of games out there that do that already and regardless of the fact that you would be taking a dump on AC’s core, then you're not really thinking about the franchise.

I am thinking about the Franchise by concentrating on why I was interested in it, I like aggressive and assertive stealth, I liked the social stealth, I want to play a stealth game that was slightly different from being in Crouch position all the time. I like the metaphor that any time you and your guards fight it's not really happening in your ancestor's memories, it allows you to separate your experiences from the character in a brilliant way. And in any case for a series like Assassin's Creed, the gameplay is one element, but equally important is level design and more than that the story. These are games of high adventure.


. If you improve stealth, combat and navigation, that is the result you will get. And what complements these three pillars best, some random mechanics like naval and a linear/cinematic experience or open missions where you get to investigate and plan beforehand while making full use of the three pillars?

I think doing one kind of mission in a game with such a wide scope is a bigger cheat. If they had made it a pure historical game/fantasy set in the Crusades with no Animus and conspiracy to the present day, than the modest "Three pillars" approach makes sense. But once they introduced that, well they allowed themselves to be a game where it could be any kind of game at any moment and period. That freedom of invention, the insanity and crazy stuff in other words, is what makes these games unique.


quit on improving AC again so that it becomes less specialized/more generic which allows more people in but results in more backlash and criticism towards Ubisoft;

From a particularly vocal minority yes, they'll get backlash.

Megas_Doux
12-03-2014, 07:02 PM
To me, Unity has the best mission design in the franchise, for it takes a certain degree of skill a to the point many those are somewhat challenging, the most open ones ever in this series. I understand though, some or even many can consider that either difficult or even boring.

VestigialLlama4
12-03-2014, 07:20 PM
To me, Unity has the best mission design in the franchise, for it takes a certain degree of skill a to the point many those are somewhat challenging, the most open ones ever in this series. I understand though, some or even many can consider that either difficult or even boring.

In terms of difficulty, the hardest missions before were probably the Legendary Ships side-missions, which require you to go full out and use all your naval skills to outmatch and outclass your opponent and no matter how many times you replay it, it still retains that difficulty and challenge(in that you hardly ever knock them down on first try). I like the missions which give you a final exam, testing all your skills at one go and forcing you to change your strategy in the middle of a mission.

The missions in UNITY hardly struck me as engaging on that level. I didn't find it difficult, challenging or fun on that level, nor did it call for the same level of skill. They struck me as open to the point of being lifeless and feel like a multiplayer map which I am sure is entertaining but not especially original. If they can make Assassination missions as unique, challenging and interesting as say the levels in DISHONORED(a game that does call for skill, which is open but which is never boring ever), where every mission is singular and original, as well as dazzlingly open and filled with dozens of possibilities, than it would be interesting, but I think for that to happen it would not be an open world game anymore.

AssassinHMS
12-03-2014, 07:24 PM
Patrice Desilets stated that he was quite happy with it. The simple gameplay of those pillars allowed them a lot of variation in applying it to different contexts, it was never attempting to be THIEF.
He also talked about the necessity of quietly scoping the environment, about players being meant to use stealth or facing certain defeat, about players having to think like an Assassin, etc.
No one here wants AC to become Thief. All I am suggesting is that AC games become BETTER with time and not simply bigger, that AC moves forward instead of staying in the same place forever getting larger and larger in order to try to please an increasingly bigger fanbase that points in every direction.



There are great games already achieved - AC1, AC2, Black Flag and Very Good Games - AC3, Revelations, Brotherhood - it provides us great missions, fun things to do and plenty of awesome buildings to climb and ships to battle.

They are great TOURS, they are not great games. A great game has a solid core, they have not. Also, games are about challenging the player in rewarding ways. AC2 and that crowd aren’t. They’re tours. The purpose isn’t to overcome a challenge, but to do what the game tells you to do, watch explosions, do some casual stuff and be done with it. A game is nothing more than a challenge. It needs solid mechanics to convey the player the tools necessary to overcome the challenge (whether it is to infiltrate a well-guarded mansion quietly or to finish a race in first place). The better the tools (mechanics/core), the greater the challenge needs to be (to an extent) and the better the game (the reward). A tour doesn’t need strong mechanics/core because tours aren’t about challenge. In a tour, the player isn’t the one being evaluated, the game is. They’re about marvelling at the game. The action, the cheap blood, the animations, etc. It’s all mindless and doesn’t require skill or effort from the player.

So, like I said, AC titles are NOT great games but great tours. Unity is the first exception (although not by that much).


The franchise can offer great games but for that to happen it needs to work harder on the core and improve the premise. Staying generic, big and casual won’t do any good.





From a particularly vocal minority yes, they'll get backlash.
At first, yes. But give it a year or two and you’d see more and more people complaining and getting tired of the same tours being sold to them. Soon AC would become more hated than loved.

Xstantin
12-03-2014, 07:34 PM
I am thinking about the Franchise by concentrating on why I was interested in it, I like aggressive and assertive stealth, I liked the social stealth, I want to play a stealth game that was slightly different from being in Crouch position all the time. I like the metaphor that any time you and your guards fight it's not really happening in your ancestor's memories, it allows you to separate your experiences from the character in a brilliant way. And in any case for a series like Assassin's Creed, the gameplay is one element, but equally important is level design and more than that the story. These are games of high adventure.



Technically, Unity has more of all that than earlier games though - you still can blend with crowds, throw money, sit on benches etc. Variety is always good, I actually like how ACU lets you to fight and tail people less which is nice imo. Speaking about Dishonored, I agree that it was in some ways more creative than Unity cause you could "mix and match" with improvisational gameplay better - then again it always had an easy route just like Unity for the most part.

VestigialLlama4
12-03-2014, 07:53 PM
No one here wants AC to become Thief. All I am suggesting is that AC games become BETTER with time and not simply bigger, that AC moves forward instead of staying in the same place forever getting larger and larger in order to try to please an increasingly bigger fanbase that points in every direction.

That part I actually agree with completely.

My feeling is that if these pillars are their interest then they need to rethink the Franchise completely, and create something that justifies that, and for me these cores only make sense in a time when the Assassins are a historical reality, during the Crusades. You can't fall back on it in a historical setting like the Revolution and shoehorn and make it work or have any meaning to the player, especially after all the games that came before it. They should ideally have remade the first game for NEXT-GEN instead of catering to demands for a Revolutionary setting which they obviously had no interest in.


They are great TOURS, they are not great games. A great game has a solid core, they have not. Also, games are about challenging the player in rewarding ways. AC2 and that crowd aren’t. They’re tours. The purpose isn’t to overcome a challenge, but to do what the game tells you to do, watch explosions, do some casual stuff and be done with it. A game is nothing more than a challenge. It needs solid mechanics to convey the player the tools necessary to overcome the challenge (whether it is to infiltrate a well-guarded mansion quietly or to finish a race in first place). The better the tools (mechanics/core), the greater the challenge needs to be (to an extent) and the better the game (the reward).

I can think of several games that qualify as tours on that definition, such as Wind Waker, Sands of Time, Psychonauts, ICO. People play games for all kinds of reasons and that kind of definition leaves out a great portion of imaginative, brilliant titles.


A tour doesn’t need strong mechanics/core because tours aren’t about challenge. In a tour, the player isn’t the one being evaluated, the game is. They’re about marvelling at the game. The action, the cheap blood, the animations, etc. It’s all mindless and doesn’t require skill or effort from the player.

I don't play video games to evaluated nor do I need video games to evaluate myself or my skills, I play them to have fun and enjoy a great story. Completing a difficult mission or a hard challenge doesn't prove anything to anyone about any skills the game itself teaches me to use.


At first, yes. But give it a year or two and you’d see more and more people complaining and getting tired of the same tours being sold to them. Soon AC would become more hated than loved.

The fact is the games that people love are AC2 and Black Flag the same tours you criticize. As long as the Franchise provides new opportunities for gameplay in each new setting, engages with its settings and stories, and updates and refines its core than nobody will complain. After a point they are going to run out of settings that's inevitable of course.

AssassinHMS
12-03-2014, 09:14 PM
I don't play video games to evaluated nor do I need video games to evaluate myself or my skills, I play them to have fun and enjoy a great story. Completing a difficult mission or a hard challenge doesn't prove anything to anyone about any skills the game itself teaches me to use.


I guess it’s my turn to explain the obvious now, as usual.

Have you played classic games like tetris or pacman? They're pretty basic? Do you know why people play it? Because it’s fun. And what’s fun about it? Challenge. There’s nothing to it, just the reward of overcoming a basic challenge. That’s it.

I could go on and on until I reached more complex games but I think you can connect the dots. The point is, challenge is FUN.

Stupid random arguments incoming:
“But challenge can be frustrating!”/#But challenge is for hardcore gamers, too much challenge is bad!”/ “These are games, they’re not meant to be challenging!”

And too much ice cream gives you a stomachache.
Challenge is the essence of gaming, whether you realize it or not.


This tendency to shun challenge and welcome handholding leads to the creation of tours that pass for games.
The joy of a game is mostly in the reward of overcoming the many challenges provided by combining strong mechanics (tools) and the player’s smarts/skills.
The joy of a tour is in watching the game play itself. Sure, the player presses some buttons but there is no skill or reward there. The point is to watch some mindless spectacle. It’s not about sweeping the reward that comes from overcoming a challenge, it’s about feeling overpowered, about being “wowed” by eye candy, by how gruesome that animation was or by how cool you felt when the game defeated that battalion and pretended it was you. A game is centered on the player. A tour is self-centered and the player is just there for the ride.

Get it?







The fact is the games that people love are AC2 and Black Flag the same tours you criticize. As long as the Franchise provides new opportunities for gameplay in each new setting, engages with its settings and stories, and updates and refines its core than nobody will complain. After a point they are going to run out of settings that's inevitable of course.
Like I said, they are great tours, and the casual gamer sure loves them tours. Thing is, AC1 wasn’t that strong of a game to gather a real following. AC2 came right afterwards and nailed the tour aspect which shifted the fanbase. So obviously AC2 and Black Flag got more love than AC1. Not to mention all the new fans that Ubisoft desired so much came exactly due to the new tour aspect (pretty much the only good thing left in AC by then).

pirate1802
12-04-2014, 08:39 AM
Challenge is fun yes, but that is not the only source of fun. There are a million ways of having fun than just be challenged. Tetris and Pacman were the times when you could excite the player only by challenging him. It is not so these days. Now you could get immersed in an otherwise easy game and have fun (well I could, but then my fun probably counts for less, right? ) Which is why you see less emphasis on difficulty these days, because nowadays that's not the only way to enthrall a player; to which the h4rdc0R3 G4maR crowd pull out their pubic hairs in frustration and wonder how anyone can have fun at something so unchallenging. So I can't get aboard this challenging = game ship. I agree with VestigialLlama on this. That definition leaves out a great many great games.

It can also be said that fun is the essence of gaming, whether you realize it or not. :rolleyes: It incorporates your challenge/game idea and expands to include other games which are great ..and are clearly games and not movies or books for example. So yeah, just my two rupees.
Stupid random counterquestion incoming: But if you don't like challenges you are the reason videogames are going downhill! To which I'd say that I never said I never like challenges, merely that challenge is not the only way to have fun. If you disagree to that... well then you're a funist.

VestigialLlama4
12-04-2014, 10:19 AM
I guess it’s my turn to explain the obvious now, as usual.

Have you played classic games like tetris or pacman? They're pretty basic? Do you know why people play it? Because it’s fun. And what’s fun about it? Challenge. There’s nothing to it, just the reward of overcoming a basic challenge. That’s it.

I could go on and on until I reached more complex games but I think you can connect the dots. The point is, challenge is FUN.


I don't think the element of challenge should come at the price of the other elements which made this series great and original and you know I don't think UNITY having open missions makes those missions greater than the more linear missions before.

I think there are rooms for challenges and open-missions, and coming up with gameplay that moves towards that certainly. The missions after AC1 tended to be more linear and cinematic yes. In AC1, I well know how much I enjoyed replaying assassinating Sibrand, one time hopping across the boats and poles(and Altair can't swim) to reach him on that boat, fully stealth, other times coming in by the land. In terms of challenge, the Bonfire of Vanities AC missions in the DLC of AC2(now integrated in the GOTY Edition) are also great, since each one of those targets provide a different Assassination mission and provide you multiple opportunities and means to achieve it.

But the fact is, there's no real going back to AC1 mission style gameplay unless you integrate it properly into the historical background and element of the games that came after it, you have to really embrace the difficulty of providing a balance between instinctive gameplay and some room for it. That was the problem of leaving the Crusades and the Middle East and going towards quasi-historical fiction and trying to have them battle for history.


A game is centered on the player. A tour is self-centered and the player is just there for the ride.

So it's a roller-coaster, a merry-go-round, a dashing-cars spectacle...the amusement parks are far away you know, and the sensations produced by that are not without value. And games like AC are like that.