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View Full Version : Co-op pushes Ubii in a narrative corner. Solution? Separate SP from MP.



Perk89
01-18-2015, 05:44 AM
I, like many of you, have had much disappointment in the game's Co-Op feature. Disappointment birthed out of the realization that 99.9% people are simply not cut out for this kind of multiplayer experience. What initially seemed like a great idea-Assassins teaming up to take out a target-proved disappointing in implementation thanks to a number of reasons. While poor Unity mechanics such stealth, parkour, and combat take some of the blame, the brunt of its failure stems from the apparent mathematical certainty that when you take a group of 4 individuals, one is bound to be the glory hog, sprinting ahead to the objective marker as quickly as possible so that he can be the "hero" and we can all bask in his magnificence. This causes a domino effect, where the other three players also sprint ahead without so much as a care for the mission or tactics, as they desperately try to simply keep up with the progressing story and objectives.


This disappointment had me consider if I even want Co-Op in an Assassin's Creed game. It is, afterall, a story driven single player experience. As I began to think on it, the more and more I realized I wanted the removal of Co-Op. Why? Simple: The need for Co-Op in the single player campaign forces Ubisoft into a narrative corner. What I mean by that, is that each installment of the series now mandates that we are part of a well developed Assassin Brotherhood. Whereas that may not an immediate issue, as I know many of us were eager to get back to that "fraternity" feeling after Connor's borderline solo quest, Edward being... Well.. Not an Assassin, and Shay becoming a Templar-it will provide a problem in the future. Think back to some of the series best storylines: AC2, AC3, and Black Flag, All three of these plots involved the story of our hero on his journey to becoming an Assassin, and strengthening his brotherhood. A plot point that is guaranteed to creep back into discussions of future sequels in the Ubisoft board room during planning. This is where the problem comes in:


Will the company's desire to have co-op in the game force them make to certain decisions when constructing a narrative? Are we now forever limited to being part of a strong, lasting brotherhood in whatever setting we go to? I won't go into all the ramifications of that decision as an extension of that by limited storycrafting device, but the list is long.
What's more, does the implementation of Co-Op take away from the single player experience? Certainly. Not just in terms of plot length (No, Ubisoft, we don't want co-op as a part of main campaign missions, that isn't what I'm saying so please don't consider it) but in terms of things available for Ubisoft to use in the main story. Unity's co-op missions all revolved around a notable event of the French Revolution-events that could have been used to increase the quality of and lengthen the game's SP experience. Afterall, we have seen the many complaints people have with the events surrounding the game-the Revolution-not really having all that big of an influence on the game.


So there I was, all set to inform Co-Op that we would no longer be needing its services, along with a lengthy rant on the official AC forums saying why-but them the idea struck me- it was so simple, effective, and better yet, it opened up so many more possibilities for the company.


Make Co-Op it's own, separate game mode.



No different than a co-op mode you'll find in any Call of Duty game or whatever. A dedicated mode to the feature occurring in its own bubble, outside the SP campaign. And here come the best parts-imagine what kind of opportunities this opens:


-Ubisoft can tell their own co-op narrative, akin to Splinter Cell Conviction, completely separate from the main story.
-You can have a plethora of time periods and locales, never being confined to just one as they would be in SP. You can finally hit all those locations the company has wanted to do but never felt would carry for a full game
-Add all the fun MP stuff that the gaming industry is obsessed with throwing in their games these days. Class systems full of weapons, robes, equipment. Whatever you like. Etc etc. A full on, dedicated, Co-Op system.


And finally,here's the real kicker-have a secondary company/studio work on the Co-Op, just as you did with the multiplayer for years. This allows the lead studio developing the game to focus solely on the SP experience. The plot, the world, the characters. The whole 9. They would, by the way, be completely free to tell the story they wish to tell without having to "save" anything for the Co-Op missions. And it allows the co-op studio to really focus fully and completely on improving the co-op, making a legitimate game mode-as in more than just a feature and therefore increasing replayability-with lasting enjoyability instead of disappointment as it is now.

Finally, while I have the mic, let me just add this as a bonus since it isn't worth it's own thread but has been on my mind-Please, the collectables are getting out of hand. Seriously. Stop. They aren't fun anymore. It's just too much. Thanks.

Altair1789
01-18-2015, 06:00 AM
I hope they separate co op from singleplayer in Victory, but also let you freeroam in London with friends. I agree with most of what you said, but I want the separation for other reasons

SixKeys
01-18-2015, 11:27 AM
Co-op doesn't have to limit the narrative in any way. Unity didn't handle it in the smoothest way, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. Already back during AC1's development Patrice Desilets and his team toyed around with the idea of co-op, but the technology was limited. AC's adversarial multiplayer also didn't affect the single-player narrative in a negative way. It's already possible to do all the co-op stuff solo, so you're not forced to play with other people.

All they really needed to do was create a plot that takes advantage of co-op. A perfect way to do this would have been to have the plot revolve around assassins having to unite against an army of Templars, or even assassins and Templars striking a temporary truce to unite against a common enemy. The way it's done right now feels completely disjointed from Arno's story. There's the single-player story, in which Arno cares about nothing but getting back Élise, everything else is secondary to him. Then there's the separate co-op missions, in which Arno joins a bunch of nameless, character-less assassins to do stuff that has nothing to do with hunting down Germain. There's no connection between Arno and his teammates.

Contrast this with if the co-op option had existed in AC4, and we could have done missions with the Flying Gang (Blackbeard and company). Those characters were already a part of Edward's personal story and we knew their personalities. Imagine getting to play as four established characters with your friends! Getting to do missions together would have strengthened the sense of camaraderie between those characters and made the story more emotional. Unity just has Arno 1, Arno 2, Arno 3 and Arno 4.

Reaper-59
01-18-2015, 12:54 PM
I don't mind the Co-op part of the game as I can just ignore that and it will still be a single player if I want, although I do enjoy the co-op part anyway. It's the other parts that are linked to the games I hate (Companion app, Initiates, club competitions) They really need to lose all that, or if they really want to keep it then let us unlock the content another way, I.E buying the content for a lot of money (in-game money of course)

Perk89
01-18-2015, 05:30 PM
I don't mind the Co-op part of the game as I can just ignore that and it will still be a single player if I want, although I do enjoy the co-op part anyway. It's the other parts that are linked to the games I hate (Companion app, Initiates, club competitions) They really need to lose all that, or if they really want to keep it then let us unlock the content another way, I.E buying the content for a lot of money (in-game money of course)



Thats what makes this such an effective move though. It allows each gameplay mode to be fully fleshed out without there having to be any consultation on how to force Co-Op into single player. I don't think anybody wants he Companion app to return, but I know most here DO want a quality, lengthy single player campaign that has some ties to the selected era's people and events. Give us that rather than a meaningless, directionless Co-Op mode, and allow the Co-Op to tell its own story and showcase things Ubisoft has wanted to, such as features, locations, and time periods, but never been able to.

Perk89
01-18-2015, 05:36 PM
Co-op doesn't have to limit the narrative in any way. Unity didn't handle it in the smoothest way, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. Already back during AC1's development Patrice Desilets and his team toyed around with the idea of co-op, but the technology was limited. AC's adversarial multiplayer also didn't affect the single-player narrative in a negative way. It's already possible to do all the co-op stuff solo, so you're not forced to play with other people.

All they really needed to do was create a plot that takes advantage of co-op. A perfect way to do this would have been to have the plot revolve around assassins having to unite against an army of Templars, or even assassins and Templars striking a temporary truce to unite against a common enemy. The way it's done right now feels completely disjointed from Arno's story. There's the single-player story, in which Arno cares about nothing but getting back Élise, everything else is secondary to him. Then there's the separate co-op missions, in which Arno joins a bunch of nameless, character-less assassins to do stuff that has nothing to do with hunting down Germain. There's no connection between Arno and his teammates.

Contrast this with if the co-op option had existed in AC4, and we could have done missions with the Flying Gang (Blackbeard and company). Those characters were already a part of Edward's personal story and we knew their personalities. Imagine getting to play as four established characters with your friends! Getting to do missions together would have strengthened the sense of camaraderie between those characters and made the story more emotional. Unity just has Arno 1, Arno 2, Arno 3 and Arno 4.


I was was actually going to address this as it's a significant concern of mine. I don't want them to try and "correct" this by having every PC around you appear as some important character in the story, or even some "ally" of the Assassins, such as thieves or what-not. It'd be a cheap way to railroad in a Co-Op because "zomg! It was in Unity,we have to bring it back!" and the last thing I want to see is the supporting cast Im supposed to be developing a connection to cheering smoke bombs along side me while they ruin my gaming experience. These missions are made to be co-op, regardless of how much they advertise "you can do it solo!"

SixKeys
01-19-2015, 03:57 AM
How about this for a compromise:

Co-op wouldn't feature four versions of the main character, but would be his assassin recruits that he sends on missions in faraway locations. Like the recruit missions in ACB/ACR but fleshed out. That would allow more missions to feature unique locations and everyone would still be free to tailor their character as they see fit, without feeling disconnected from the main character's quest in SP.

Perk89
01-19-2015, 05:59 PM
How about this for a compromise:

Co-op wouldn't feature four versions of the main character, but would be his assassin recruits that he sends on missions in faraway locations. Like the recruit missions in ACB/ACR but fleshed out. That would allow more missions to feature unique locations and everyone would still be free to tailor their character as they see fit, without feeling disconnected from the main character's quest in SP.

This is actually not a bad idea either. I'd still like to see a separate studio develop it on their own as the multiplayer was done to allow the single player dev team full commitment to the single player campaign, but at least here we have a disconnect from the main campaign that won't have to "babysit" the co-op, in that I mean we won't have to dedicate significant moments of that place in that era to the directionless and kind of pointless from a narrative standpoint coop missions, and the co-op itself would be free to bloom on its own without "consultation" from the single player side.

Shahkulu101
01-19-2015, 06:18 PM
I think a separate team did develop the co-op, Ubisoft Toronto. It's why the two feel so disconnected.

Personally I don't want co-op to return in any form, but if it was separate from the main game and didn't disturb by single player experience I would have no problem with that. I don't think co-op was BAD, I just don't like multiplayer being integrated into single. I keep my ketchup in the cupboard, not the fridge.

That last sentence was not, I assure you, nicked from a Yahtzee article.

RADAR__4077
01-19-2015, 07:12 PM
I have actually been wanting to play co-op with friends since brotherhood. I don't like being forced to play the same co-op missions over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again to unlock gear for single player. I like co-op when I play it on my terms.