Assassin's Creed Infinitywill be bringing back multiplayer to the Assassin's Creed franchise, and Ubisoft should try its hardest to emulate Assassin's Creed Unity over the classic PvP multiplayer modes of old The older Assassin's Creed multiplayer was far more focused on self-contained multiplayer matches that saw players compete to assassinate targets, but Unity took a far different approach. While Unity may not have had the best launch, it still had one of the best multiplayer modes of any Assassin's Creed title yet.
Assassin's Creed Unity chose to go for a more co-op approach to its multiplayer than the multiplayermodes of the older titles. The game has pretty much been forgotten thanks to its launch state, but when the multiplayer worked it was a lot of fun. Ubisoft has yet to shed light on what this new multiplayer will look like, and it very well could a new version of the competitive mode of previous entries. However, Ubisoft should really consider looking to AC Unity instead when it develops the grand return of multiplayer to this 15-year-old franchise.
What the Old Assassin's Creed Multiplayer Was Like
Multiplayer was first introduced to the Assassin's Creed series with Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. It was set up to look like Abstergo's new Animus training program and had players take control of several notable characters during the Renaissance. They would compete in various game modes by assassinating targets and evading pursuers. These game modes were broken down into team-based and free-for-all modes that saw players track down each other, and it was a pretty fun experience.
The multiplayer mode was expanded upon in Assassin's Creed Revelations with the introduction of brand-new modes, maps, and characters. Ubisoft chose to introduce a larger narrative to the multiplayer that saw players unravel more information about Abstergo as they leveled up. The majority of the game modes still revolved around assassinating other players, but these new modes did help shake the formula up a bit.
Assassin's Creed 3 and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag also included multiplayer modes, and each brought some new additions. Assassin's Creed 3 saw the introduction of a new co-op mode that tasked players with killing NPCs instead of other players, and Black Flag let them create custom game modes. This version of multiplayer was not carried over to Assassin's Creed Unity as it brought a whole new way of doing things.
Assassin's Creed Unity Offered a Whole New Type of Multiplayer
Instead of competing in PvP matches across various maps, Unity further expanded upon the co-op elements that Assassin's Creed 3 introduced. It took it to the next level by allowing up to four players play through the majority of the game together, and it could be a lot of fun.
Players could go to the various taverns that dotted Paris and group up with other players to complete missions together. Each character would still play as AC Unity's protagonist Arno, but they were given a lot of control over just how their version of Arno looked. The players would then be able to playthrough much of the story together, but there were some missions that were locked to single-player only.
This multiplayer was the major selling point of Assassin's Creed Unity, and Ubisoft really tried to showcase this. However, the game has become infamous for its launch state and Assassin's Creed multiplayer has not been seen since. It was filled with game-breaking bugs upon release, and the servers suffered from many connectivity issues. It was so bad that Ubisoft suspended sales of the season pass and offered a free digital download of one of its other titles. This also marked the beginning of the end for the action-adventure Assassin's Creed titles as Ubisoft pledged to evolve the series, and that saw the creation of Assassin's Creed Originsthree years later.
Assassin's Creed Infinity Should Follow Unity's Example
While Assassin's Creed Unity failed to make the impact that Ubisoft wanted, the studio should still look to it when crafting this new multiplayer experience. The PvP matches of the older games were a lot of fun, but nothing beats being able to run through the streets of a vast open-world city together. Unity was trying to deliver that experience, even if it faltered, but that should not be the death of co-op Assassin's Creed experiences.
Ubisoft has been making a lot of co-op experiences recently, and it seems to have been able to mostly nail down just how to do it. Tom Clancy's The Division has delivered some post-apocalyptic co-op PvP and PvE gameplay for players to enjoy, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon has been throwing players into vast jungles together to overthrow regimes. Both games have been pretty fun to play with others, and they both kind of feel like what Assassin's Creed Unity could have been if it worked well.
Ubisoft has not been totally clear about what players can expect from Infinity, but it will serve as the location of the future multiplayer mode. It will supposedly connect all the new Assassin's Creed games, and that will allow a co-op mode to take many forms. Players could spend hours exploring Feudal Japan together thanks to Assassin's Creed Codename Red, and then explore a whole new locale once Assassin's Creed Codename Hexe rolls around. Those that would rather play alone could do that too, and Ubisoft could even sprinkle in some PvP if it wanted to.
If Ubisoft looks to the lessons it learned with Unity and the fun that people are having with some of the newer Tom Clancy games, then it could deliver a good co-op Assassin's Creed experience. Letting players run through history assassinating targets together would be a lot of fun, and would fit right into the concept of the Assassin Brotherhood. Assassin's Creed Unity showed the potential of a co-op experience, and all Ubisoft has to do is get it right this time.
Assassin's Creed Infinityis currently in development.