Thoughts on Assassin’s Creed Chronicles
And now for some real Assassin’s Creed news from our end. (Sorry I’m not more sorry.)
The announcement trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles was released just two days ago on YouTube. Beyond the gorgeous art style that they’ve chosen to employ for the game and more expertly selected background music, it displays glimpses of the game play that people ought to expect should they buy the game. Check out the video below to see for yourself.
For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with news on the release, here are some deets lifted from Polygon’s report.
Ubisoft announced Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China last year, when it was originally planned as part of the Assassin’s Creed Unity season pass. Developed by Climax Studios, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China stars Shao Jun, the last remaining assassin of the Chinese Brotherhood. Her adventure is set in through China in 1526, as the Ming Dynasty begins its downfall. Shao Jun previously appeared in Assassin’s Creed lore as a student under Ezio Auditore in the “Assassin’s Creed Embers” animated short and Assassin’s Creed Revelations novel.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India and Russia star assassins Arbaaz Mir and Nikolaï Orelov, respectively, who have appeared in Assassin’s Creed graphic novels. Arbaaz Mir’s story is set in India in 1841, as the Sikh Empire finds itself at war. Nikolaï Orelov’s story is set in 1918, in the aftermath of Russia’s October Revolution.
Personally, I’m not sure what to expect out of these games. The dramatic shift from four-dimensional historical action game to two-dimensional side-scroller feels, simultaneously, like an attempt at something new by going “back to the basics”, and an aesthetic choice that, if done right, may be able to tell the stories of each of the featured assassins in a poignant and creative fashion. Conversely, this shift may also end up falling rather short of producing something fresh for the franchise, which has faced some criticism in the direction of their creative choices for the titles within the main series. As things stand, some of the folks who have checked out the preview for the game aren’t too impressed by it so far, with claims that the aesthetic shift seems like a bit of a desperate attempt to set Chronicles apart from its predecessors, or even the other 2D games that inspired its production team. Case in point: Emanuel Maiberg’s review over at PC Gamer.
On another note, Chronicles also appears to be a shout out to fans of the franchise, for some of us do remember the sneak peak that we had of Shao Jun and a much older Ezio Auditore in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag IV. Particularly meticulous players of Black Flag may also note that Ubisoft dropped more than a few Easter Eggs about Arbazz Mir and Nikolai Orelov – something that people following the fiction for AC probably already knew about, and may now be rather excited for. There were many hints that Ubisoft planned on dramatically expanding the world that they have built with AC, and Chronicles seems like a concrete manifestation of these plans coming to fruition. If I’m to be totally blunt about it, should Chronicles not flop TOO badly, at least Ubisoft’s team will have something that they can draw some valuable lessons from and use to build better games for the franchise in the future. Conversely, if it’s good, then we’ve got three new games for an already impressive series to play, and more pieces of the puzzle that is the Assassin’s Creed world to put together.
At the end of it all, I have settled for being cautiously optimistic. I also think that that was a really pretty trailer and you all should watch it.
The release date for the trilogy is April 21 for North and South America; Europe will have its own release a day later. Each chronicle will reportedly cost USD9.99, and will be available on the Playstation 4, XBox One, and PC.