Earlier today, Ubisoft let loose upon the world nine minutes of pre-alpha gameplay footage, showing us their vision for the next Assassin’s Creed entry, Syndicate.
Here’s what we know about the basics so far:
- Like Unity, Syndicate will only release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. There are no plans for a Wii U version.
- Console versions will release in October, while PC is listed as “Holiday 2015”.
- You can already pre-order the game, including a massive Collector’s Edition that comes with the season pass, a double-sided map of London, a statue of protagonist Jacob, an artbook, a soundtrack, and access to an exclusive mission. The Collector’s Edition is listed at $119.99.
- It’s been in development for roughly 3 years, and is being helmed by Ubisoft Quebec. They’re the development studio that brought us the Assassin’s Creed III: Tyranny of King Washington and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Freedom Cry DLC packs, and have been assisting with the series since Brotherhood. All nine of Ubisoft’s studios are helping with Syndicate, but Quebec is the main developer.
With more consumers adopting current-gen consoles, I’m not surprised that Syndicate won’t be available on Xbox 360 and PS3. In this day and age, I’m also not surprised that you can already buy the game’s season pass. If Syndicate has been in development for 3 years, Ubisoft had obviously decided early on what content they wanted cut in order to sell it as DLC instead.
So what’s Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate all about?
- It takes place in 1868 London, during the peak of the Industrial Revolution.
- The game features two playable protagonists, twin siblings Jacob and Evie Frye. In most cases, you’ll be able to choose who you control, although some missions do require one or the other.
- Each protagonist has their own skill tree to level up, offering a bit of gameplay variety.
- Your primary role is to create your own criminal syndicate in order to overthrow the Templar. You’ll rally others to your cause by way of main story scenarios and optional side-quests.
What makes Syndicate different from previous entries?
- Evie Frye will be the first playable female lead in any major Assassin’s Creed release, although Ubisoft claims that Unity’s “female characters are too hard to animate” debacle had nothing to do with their decision to make one of Syndicate’s leads a woman.
- Female crime lords were also prominent in the 1800’s, so expect to see your fair share of them on the streets of London.
- Ubisoft has confirmed that there will be no multi-player mode in Syndicate in any way. They’ve tailor made the campaign in such a way that strictly focuses on telling the tale of Jacob and Evie Frye, and didn’t want multiplayer getting in the way of that. You can read all about it right here at Gamespot.
- You can use a grappling hook. A GRAPPLING HOOK!
- You can hijack and drive a small amount of vehicles, like carriages, that take damage in real time. You can also use your carriage as a personal hiding place, or as a murder device to trample opposing criminals.
- You can interact with objects in the environment to take out your enemies, as shown in the gameplay trailer.
- Stealth has been given a drastic overhaul. The Frye twins won’t need to blend in to crowds or dive in to haystacks, and will instead use a “soft snap” system that works like crouching and sneaking in most modern action/stealth games. This allows you to make better use of the environment, as opposed to just finding a hiding spot and waiting things out.
- Combat will be a little more in-depth, focusing more on crowd control than countering and stabbing everyone to death. If you find yourself surrounded, enemies will no longer take turns punching you in the face. They’ll react differently, and you’ll be required to make use of smoke bombs or exploding fire sources with your throwing knives in order to stay alive. Think of it as being more realistic and reactive.
At first glance, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate looks like any other game in the series. As you can see, however, that’s anything but true. Ubisoft Quebec has been at this for three years now, and they seem to have a lot of great ideas in order to evolve and modernize the aging formula. With Unity being such a clusterfuck though, we’ll have to wait until October (or “holiday”, if you’re a PC gamer) and see if those great ideas are effectively executed. A great idea on paper is nothing more than a marketing ploy, after all.
So what do you think? Have you lost faith in the series already, or are you excited about taking Jacob and Evie Frye through the criminal underworld of London in order to overthrow the Templar?
Personally, it just looks like they modernized the game a bit, but they’re not doing anything other games haven’t been doing for years now. It may be different for Assassin’s Creed, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before elsewhere.
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling reviews, public relations, and our social media communications on Facebook and Twitter. He’s no stranger to sinking an absurd amount of time in to an MMO, but also has a deep seeded love for pro wrestling, horror films, and his hometown of Baltimore, MD. Get in touch with him by e-mail at the address above, or follow him on Twitter.