Strap yourself in, this is a long 'un.
has unveiled a new future where development of its flagship open-world single-player series Assassin's Creed
is concerned, which now involves the merging of respective custodians Ubisoft Montreal
and Ubisoft Quebec
, into a cross-team single release effort. Which is to say they'll no longer be leapfrogging entries in turn, but rather collaborating as a cohesive development team on each new release in the franchise going forward.
This new setup came by way of a news post on Ubisoft.com
that broke down what this means for the series' future:
... we wanted to share some key updates on the talented and creative minds that will now be working in a collaborative, cross-studio structure between Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Quebec that will guide, grow, evolve, and define the overall future of Assassin’s Creed that includes an important upcoming, early-in-development project codenamed Assassin’s Creed Infinity.
The new cross-studio, collaborative structure will be led by Marc-Alexis Côté, who will serve as executive producer of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. One of the founding members of Ubisoft Quebec, Côté began his Assassin’s Creed career working on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood before becoming creative director on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, and most recently senior producer on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Côté will be joined by Ubisoft Montreal’s Étienne Allonier, brand director for Assassin’s Creed for the last 10 years, and their respective teams in ensuring the Assassin’s Creed franchise continues to exceed the expectations of fans who have been asking for a more cohesive approach to its development over the past several years.
Joint production efforts on Assassin’s Creed Infinity will be headed up by Ubisoft Montreal’s Julien Laferrière who has been named senior producer, overseeing production at both studios. Laferrière brings along extensive experience with the franchise, having worked on Assassin’s Creed since 2007 before most recently becoming producer on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
This cross-studio collaborative initiative seems like a good idea, though you could argue the series will lose a level of 1Up-personship where each studio tries to outdo the other in the features and evolution department. But a homogeneous direction with series veterans leading the charge might help with design consistency as well as better incubation of new ideas normally segregated between installments, and within smaller teams (by comparison to the unified two teams).
This approach is something I've personally thought Activision
needs to do with the Call of Duty
series, as releases in that franchise tend to peak and trough and so would better benefit from a chorus of development voices with a single vision. But that also serves as a bit of a segue into an area we're a bit unsure of, which is how Ubisoft recently suggested it would have a bigger focus on live service games, and if that could relegate this new collaborative directive into an ongoing Assassin's Creed experience. Whether this would look like a Destiny
-type of service or not would remain to be seen, if it existed in such a framework at all, but there are plenty of questions around what all of this means, especially when the gaming giant has made statements
around focus shifts and more in recent times.
If it were to go to a live service offering, the publisher-developer's learnings and understandings from the success of The Division
, as well as the failings of the more recent Ghost Recon
would go a long way to providing a solid benchmark. And you need only to look at GTA Online
and Red Dead Online
to see how pre-existing open-worlds can offer up a directed experience to players in a multiplayer/co-operative setting.
Of course it could be an entirely new kind of live service that is wholly single-player, which would be unique, though how doled out content would work there would also a "remain to be seen" situation.
Whatever the outcome, big things are happening in Assassin's Creed land, and we can only hope the positive trajectory of the reinvigorated series Origins onward is at the fore.