Assassin’s Creed Victory is a thing: a Victorian London-set gothic installment in Ubisoft’s sprawling series. We know very little about it so far other than the fact it’s got grapple hooks and top hats, but that’s not stopped us thinking that it could be pretty great. Provided it’s not Unity, that is.
Unity’s pretty, but that’s not what makes Assassin’s Creed special. We want cool new systems to toy with and interesting villains to stab in the eye. So we thought we’d write out a wish list and hope it’s not too late for some of these features to make it into the final game.
Unity is set against the backdrop of the incredible French Revolution, but is so caught up with its Assassins vs Templars war nonsense that it neglected to do much with that rich tapestry of historical events and figures. Victorian London has plenty of historical texture to get creative with, and this should be a massive key part of Victory’s world. For this installment Ubisoft should go all pulpy and look to classic Victorian literature for its characters. A London inhabited by Sweeney Todd, Spring-heeled Jack, The Ripper, and Sexton Blake opens up a world of gleefully-daft opportunities that would brighten the po-faced tone.
Imagine going on fetch quests to dig up cemeteries in search for body parts for Victor Frankenstein, or helping a distraught Jonathan Harker rescue his wife from the clutches of a pale-skinned, sun-adversed Count working for the Templars. The amusement of tying all three strands of historic fact, literature narrative, and Ubi’s own Assassin lore together is absolutely irresistible.
More than London
If Unity has proved anything, it’s that a change in scene is not what Assassin’s Creed needs. Black Flag’s open-seas pirating was the gimmick that the series needed, and Victory needs to be something more than simply exchanging Parisian rooftops for London ones. With the Victorian setting, it seems obvious to cash in on the Industrial Revolution. By this period Britain was an economic powerhouse, and whilst London was vital to this success it wasn’t alone. We need to be able to travel and see other key British cities.
We know railroads will be a part of Victory, and Britain’s canal network was well developed by this period. So let us hop on a train up to Birmingham or across to Bristol where we can settle our affairs with corporations who are in on the Assassin’s plans.
Make it a war for the economy
Killing people is all well and good, but why are we assassinating these targets? Victory should offer up an end-goal of the Assassins capitalising on Britain's position in the global economy. Across Victory’s cities should be industrial buildings of strategic value that can be captured and utilised. Capture a shipping company in London and the BSA factory in Birmingham and start trading weapons. Intercept Templar shipments along the Grand Union Canal to destroy their profit margins. The system should be dynamic, with Templars using both violent raids and take-over bids to attempt to seize your industries away from you. Defend your factories, take on the right companies, build up your industrial empire, and make yourself king of the world economy.
Blood and smoke in the streets
London needs to feel like a living world, and your actions on the city are going to cause some pretty huge changes. That needs reflecting in the actions of the people around you. What Assassin’s Creed needs is its own answer to Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis system; something that creates persistence in enemies and allies that you can see in the world.
Victorian England was plagued by street gangs. Assassin’s Creed Victory could see various Assassin and Templar agents pose as leaders of these gangs and fight for supremacy over the streets of the city. A dynamic system would see territory expand or contract depending on gang action, and persistent leaders would rise to power and become prominent figures in London culture, gracing the pages of the penny dreadfuls. Taking one out becomes the equivalent of catching Jack the Ripper himself.
Whilst we’re writing a wish list, we’d also really really like it if Victory actually ran properly. The PC version needs to have a massive dose of care and attention; it needs to be properly optimised for our hardware. It also needs to be ready for release the same day as the console versions. It needs to be properly bug tested too; the only time we want to see the flesh under someone’s face is when Jack the Ripper has been doing some handy work, not when a graphics glitch comes to crash the party. A solid frame rate, a parkour system that works fluidly, and scenery that isn’t full of invisible tentacles that pull us into the ground or hook us on to door frames.
Also all the app nonsense has to go. Everything Victory offers must be in the game and accessible from the game’s world. Don’t send us to an app to perform shipping registers, don’t have us sign up for a website to unlock some chests. Just keep it easy, and tangible in the game world.