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Is Assassin’s Creed getting the COD treatment?
Assassin’s Creed is spectacular, and I am an unabashed fanboy of it. Even when I’m not entirely enjoying it, I find ways to love it. I also enjoy the Call of Duty franchise. I say “enjoy” because I no longer love it. The yearly releases and constant recycling of practically every feature gets tiring, even if it is polished and flawlessly executed year after year. At first I called it “the Madden effect” after everybody’s favorite football game series of the same name (successful most likely because there are very few actual competitors, but I digress). After some thought, however, I decided that “COD effect” is the better option because it made the transformation from new experience to careful retread over such a short period of time. It has hardly grown as a game since the first Modern Warfare. I know the saying is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but the motto forgot to add on “also don’t resell it annually with a new coat of shine.”
With the yearly releases of Assassin’s Creed games and the growing multiplayer aspect (which is awesome and original, but not central to the plot), it would come as no surprise to me if the series was prolonged, spinoff-ed, and retreaded into oblivion. I’m all for more playable content, but not if it comes at the cost of quality. Eventually the lack of time to work on each game will catch up to Ubisoft Montreal (or whoever else gets put on the many, many potential games in the future), and I’ll be stuck paying the same old $60 for an inferior product. The AC story is fantastically creative. There is care put in to each aspect of the world. Breakneck speed is in no way equal to care. I don’t want that! Do you want that?
The most obvious thing that makes big-name games fall into this pattern is simple: money. As long as gamers make a repetitive series rich, the executives whose pockets you are padding will continue upping the speed and the DLC and the general monotony until our game systems cry game-system tears of pain. The developers are cool — they want to make great games. But they don’t get to make all the calls. I just hope that the Creed series stops at this pace, maybe even tones it back after Black Flag, or this could quickly go downhill with no hay bale to break its fall.