This week Ubisoft released the newest Assassin’s Creed: Unity trailer. Though made up primarily of footage shown at this year’s E3, the trailer is a promising reminder of everything that the Assassin’s Creed series does right.
The first thing fans of the series will notice about the trailer (apart from its homage to this week’s Bastille Day) is how eerily similar some of its imagery is to the trailer for the very first Assassin’s Creed game. By subtly referencing the series’ origins, Ubisoft is sending the message that Unity will be going back to the basics – and that’s a good thing.
The revolutionary Paris of Assassin’s Creed: Unity looks to have the violence, uncertainty, and warring factions that made the holy land the perfect introduction to the series. A sprawling Paris should make for an intense, tightly-packed chessboard on which Assassin’s and Templars can play out their intrigues. The crowded city lends itself to the climbing and parkour the Assassin’s Creed series is known for.
The history attached to the setting also bodes well for the overarching Assassin’s Creed story, which seems to have spun out of control in recent years.
Assassin’s Creed 3 was supposed to be the culmination of a century-spanning story combining intrigue,science fiction, and the supernatural. Instead, fans of the series got a game packed with half-baked new gameplay ideas and a convoluted plot.
That was followed up last year with Assassin’s Creed 4, a fantastic pirating simulation game. The title received high marks from both critics and fans, though it felt only loosely connected to the overall franchise.
With the modern-day Desmond clutter now out of the way, Unity should easily be able to twist an alternate history tale that slots right into the conspiracy-laden French revolution. And while the series has played on many iconic historical settings in the past, never have the game’s developers had access to such a bloody, romanticized image as the guillotine.
The only thing the game will need to become one of the most entertaining Assassin’s Creed games yet is a solid main character. Part of the reason AC3 was such a letdown to many fans was that Connor was such a boring, straight-faced character compared to the charismatic Ezio that fans had grown to love in previous titles. Assassin’s Creed 4’s Edward brought the series back toward the cocksure antihero and was better for it. Assassin’s Creed: Unity will have to do the same to confidently propel the series onto the new generation of consoles.