Assassin's Creed is no stranger to endings. The world was going to end with the Desmond arc, and that never happened, instead moving along so we could get to experience the much more interesting Edward arc. But that has a definite ending too, but it won't be the end of the Assassin's Creed franchise, explains Ubisoft's Darby McDevitt to Edge.
"[T]here’s been a bit of confusion in that [Black Flag game director Ashraf Ismail] once said that Assassin’s Creed has an ending – that’s not exactly true," McDevitt said. "This storyline has an ending, but because all of history is open to us we see the universe as a Doctor Who type thing. There are so many possibilities we don’t want to definitively end the universe, but we can have storylines that have endings."
It's suggested that Edward Kenway buggers off to London after doing his pirate thing, and that's where he father's Kenway junior, who went on to make a terrible mistake and father boring Connor. That does not, of course, mean that we'll get to see England, of that era or later.
A Easter Egg email found during one of the early Google Ubisoft Abstergo Entertainment sequences hints at future time periods, with the design team discussing possibilities like Shogun-era Japan, 1960s America and the Summer of Love or Victorian England, but these are just concepts fans had already discussed, no ideas Ubisoft is necessarily considering.
"The email thread that’s in the game, I wrote that very swiftly in an afternoon but I didn’t realise that Kotaku would write like two huge articles about it," explains McDevitt. "What a lot of people don’t realise is that the time periods I picked were not necessarily the ones we were considering, it was just me parodying the ones that the fans had asked for back to them. So the fans generated that list, we didn’t generate that list."
Assassin's Creed isn't going to be a game of threes, if it ever was, considering that the Desmond arc included five games. And instead of being some big, bad Abstergo plot, as was the main focus of Desmond and his ancestors' adventures, going forward it will be more about the worlds, like the Caribbean in Black Flag.
"The backbone of this series is visiting different time periods and bringing them to life. A lot of hardcore fans really like the present day stuff, and while that’s the bookend and narrative wrapper of this series, that’s not the point," says McDevitt. And as someone who thinks the present day guff is the weakest element of the franchise, next to slowly following people and listening to their trite conversations, I couldn't be happier.
With Black Flag, Ubisoft attempted to scale back the present day stuff in favour of exploring the historical setting more and giving players increased freedom "I was less interested in driving the plot forward and more into making the player feel like a pirate – this theme of constant acquisition that’s so common in games fits the setting so well."
After Assassin's Creed III, I really thought I was done with the series. Black Flag sucked me back in, and I've gotten to the point where I'm ravenous for more Assassin's Creed and I'm more than happy to play the speculation game. Where will it go next? Personally, I need my Ancient World fix. The Roman Republic, the Greek City States, Ptolemaic Egpyt - I'd be in heaven.