Assassin’s Creed is one of the biggest names in AAA video games, and has long struggled to maintain a compelling and consistent identity.
Almost every game that releases now attempts to shake up the franchise in one way or another, and for better or for worse. However, one major flaw in particular has plagued the series since the very beginning.
The Assassin’s Creed series with their inability to maintain a consistent narrative. The individual stories in each game is an area that Assassin’s Creed has actually improved on over time. However, the overarching narrative remains full of holes due to the modern day aspects of the series.
Back in the early days of Assassin’s Creed,Ubisoft gave us a protagonist to rally behind. Desmond was an enjoyable character to experience the game through, even if some of his segments were dull.
Not only was Desmond bearable, but he was the knot that tied together the series’ larger narrative. The games were more than just Ezio as an assassin trying to kill Templars hundreds of years ago. Rather, the series was an intricate web of political espionage and warfare spanning thousands of years, with Desmond serving as its anchor in the modern era.
Then Assassin’s Creed III happened. Widely regarded as one of the worst titles in the series for numerous reasons, Assassin’s Creed III‘s biggest sin includes killing Desmond. The series has failed to fully recover from Desmond’s death, and has since lacked that one knot that helped tie the overarching Assassin’s Creed narrative together.
We’ve been left with a jarring disconnect between the two parts Assassin’s Creed‘s narrative, and the modern part is now often regarded as rather inconsequential to each game. It instead serves to hinder players’ enjoyment of the game with pointless cutscenes. They’ve started taking steps towards fixing this issue with the last two installments of the series, but they still have a long way to go. We have a modern day protagonist to rally behind, but currently lack any real reasons to do so.
Fixing the Problem
There are two ways to fix this problem. The first is to further develop our new modern day character, Layla.
Unfortunately this is a tad bit risky. While this could benefit the series immensely, fans are already rallying against all modern day parts of the series. There are articles after articles, rants after rants, all about why the Animus should be removed from the franchise entirely.
The Animus is the device that connects the modern day characters to their ancestors’ memories. It’s the key variable in the formula that makes up the current Assassin’s Creed narrative.
Solution two would be to remove the Animus from the series. Not only should they remove it, they should just retcon it all together. The Assassin’s Creed franchise doesn’t need a modern day aspect to tie the series together, especially since it’s been one of the series’ largest issues since the beginning.
Instead the series should start taking a more Final Fantasy approach. Each game’s story could be almost completely disconnected from one another, united only by title and the conflict between Assassin and Templar. As long as the individual narratives remain as strong as they have been, the series will do just fine without all the jumping between time periods.
Cutting the Animus from the series would allow the writers to focus on aspects of the series fans actually care about, while simultaneously ridding them of the part they hate most. It would be a major step towards maintaining a consistent identity for the series as well.
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