Fans of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series were left delighted recently as their current title got a surprise update.
It’s been 18 months since fans of the series last saw a major update and despite the longevity of the game, it seemed to be very much a case of the developer moving on to pastures new. New details on Assassin’s Creed Ragnorak seemed only to confirm that Odyssey was done.
That’s why fans of the rejuvenated series were surprised when the huge RPG crossover got new content in March. The big addition is the ‘Ezio Roma Set’, a pair of costumes for Kassandra and Alexios which throwback to the second AC game and subsequent series set in Renaissance Italy.
With a handful of bug fixes too, the 4gb download looks set to add value to a series that has seen a rebirth since the derided arrival of Unity on the next-gen console.
The Assassin’s Creed games arrived in 2007, featuring Altaïr as the main protagonist and spanning the cities of Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus. After the hugely successful follow-up and its sequels, the game rose to real prominence becoming a staple of the seventh-generation hardware.
That ground to a halt after the arrival of the eighth-gen machines, with the disastrous Unity and the failed follow-up Syndicate, set in Victorian London. The developer took some time away after that release, rethinking their approach for the new audience.
They came back with a setting that was hugely popular, as well as a reboot of the games core mechanics. The Assassin’s Creed games rely on the historical accuracy of their plots as well as engaging settings and they rebooted with Origins, bringing in elements of RPG along with a whole new combat system which worked incredibly well.
Origins was set in Ancient Egypt, a time period that has inspired many game developers. Through classics like Tomb Raider and Age of Empires, Ancient Egypt has always captured gamers’ imagination. This is why even non-traditional gaming platforms have incorporated the imagery and history of Ancient Egypt into their tiles. Cheeky Bingo has titles such as Cleopatra Gold and Fortunes of Egypt that remind players not only of Ancient Egypt, but also of the previous classic games set in this period. This gives players an instant recognition and connection that games set in other locations won’t have. And with all types of gaming genres still embracing Ancient Egypt it is easy to see why Ubisoft chose it as the setting for Origins.
Ubisoft followed that up with Odyssey, set before the first game in Sparta and Greece, once again an engaging setting which drove the sales beyond that of its prequel and saw it nominated for a host of awards, including the prestigious Game of the Year in the Golden Joystick Awards.
Fans have seen two lots of DLC arrive since its release, Legacy of the First Blade and Fate of Atlantis, both adding much more depth to a game that was already the biggest in the series. It appeared the ambitious series was ready to move on to the next project, but this recent release will help keep hardcore fans of the series engaged a little longer.
The big question is how Ubisoft will keep the franchise feeling fresh and innovative moving into the third game since their rethink. If they get that right, then Assassin’s Creed will have survived the uncertainty of an eighth-generation stumble and will move onto the next-gen of machines as strong as ever.