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Back in 2007, UBISOFT used to be cool.

Having closed out a successful previous generation with the hugely influential, successful titles like ‘Prince of Persia’ trilogy, the respective stellar ‘Splinter Cell’ and ‘Ghost Recon’ entries. Titles that not only provided an extensive level of attention to detail in games but pioneered next generation movement , mechanics and level design and laid down a blueprint for next gen developers on how it was going to be done. Sorry to disappoint R* fans but UBISOFT got there first. You know it’s true.

And with the announcement and successful, almost incredible demonstrations of an incredible looking, feeling title set in the Holy Land in the crusades they called ‘Assassins Creed’, they promised us the best was yet to come.

This was going to be their piece de resistance. The culmination of every lesson they learned from last generation coupled with incredible technological prowess and an unprecedented immersion into a historical landscape, they promised to delight and amaze gamers everywhere with a brand new, groundbreaking experience.

November 2007 now seems too long ago.

What was supposed to be a title that ushered in a new era of free form gameplay and open ended level design is now considered the ultimate harbinger of AAA mediocrity and is blamed for spearheading and popularizing some of the worst traits of modern game design/ publishing. It’s often criticized for it’s unnecessary annualization, bloat, regressive game design and stubborn refusal to take risks.

Whatever goodwill there was in the first place due to its’ impressive attention to historical realism has now all but disappeared due to sloppy world building and poor characterization.

It’s a series that for all intents and purposes has no legitimate reason for existing and If you’re expecting me to go on a ‘what the hell happened?’ rant, rest assured I don’t need to. Everyone already knows. It’s modern day Ubisoft. Corporate greed and mismanagement. That’s what happened. But I don’t want to rant about any of that.

What I however WILL rant about is the fact that You


That’s right. I said broken. You know it is. People complain about Call of Duty all the time and while I’m no fan, that game at least works. It may not be good, or inspiring or innovative but It IS playable. Going from one corridor to another to shoot similar looking enemies in highly scripted sequences works because at its’ core it is functional. Like paying for pepperoni pizza, it might not be healthy but it is meant to satiate you in some capacity, even if its’ bad for you and you hate yourself later. Activision at least had the decency to figure out a prototype that works and only then proceeded to hammer it over everybody’s heads.

Comic for arcaderage.co
It’s broken and you know it

But Assassin’s creed doesn’t even do that. It had the gall to declare itself innovative before it launched and then turned out to be a damp squib. Aside from the climbing/parkour mechanic, which has been severely overplayed in recent years, it has absolutely nothing to offer to people. The open world is an illusion and there is virtually no level design and its’ version of varied gameplay is making sure you the player learn to somehow wrestle against it’s shoddy mechanics and try and have a good time.

It boasts of the ability to interact with historical figures but then precedes to make Leonardo da Vinci seemingly the most boring man in the world. It has no personality, soul, magnetism and charm. Sure, it may LOOK accurate to a certain time period but does not reflect on anything interesting about it or has something to say. Once the thrill of exploration gets old (and believe me it does REALLY quickly), all you feel like is a tourist visiting a foreign destination without a tour guide.

And yet you people keep on buying it.

Sure, people buy lots of crappy things all the time. Like Justin Bieber albums, KFC buckets etc. etc. but by and large they seem to be happy with those purchases. When confronted by intelligentsia and people will better taste, they have the excuse of declaring: ‘It’s my life . My money and I do what I please’.

In the case of Assasins’ creed, they don’t even do that. They seem actively dissatisfied with their purchases. I was once witness to a person exclaiming that ‘The last two Assassins creed sucked but I’m really excited by the next one’ which once heard, had me dropping my jaw in disbelief.

Sure I knew marketing and consumer culture took over the entire world but I never knew it used gestapo tactics and sadomasochism.

Everyone hates Assasins creed. Okay maybe not but most people are at least indifferent to it. There are no tributes/parodies on YouTube. No ‘Top 10’ videos. People don’t dress up as fucking Altair and Ezio in comic cons. People don’t debate the story choices. It is not part of any relevant conversation regarding game design or progression. I have not met one single person or encountered one comment thread that has discussed anything relating to Assassin’s creed with hints of even a smidgen of any sort of passion. It inspires no discussion, provocation, deep thought or offers any new perspective on what makes us love video-games so much and why we identify it as a medium of boundless expression, creativity and potential. It is just a big, black void in negative space. Just a big, empty nothing.

So of course it gets to be spun off into a $100 million franchise movie starring Michael Fassbender.


It’s funny that video-games are still regarded as an evolving medium despite all the strides they’ve made in the last decade. What was once a niche hobby is now a multi-billion dollar industry with some of the most groundbreaking technological and creative work being done in every aspect. Some of the smartest, most passionate people work in the gaming industry. Genius level IQ’s who are able to spin tens of millions of dollars creating products with immense sophistication and interactivity that are designed to trigger various different sorts of feelings in players and can provide experiences that include joy, catharsis, elation, melancholy and even self actualization.

Games shape our personalities and change us to our very core. We should all go out and explore the medium further. See what the paradigms are and maybe if we can change and affect them too. As gamers, we should all strive to be explorers . The Jules Vernes’ or Christopher Columbus’ of the digital landscape. Use our money to support talented developers and studios.

But we keep on buying Assassins’ Creed instead?

But at least first acknowledge the terrible impact these games have had on modern game design and how much they’ve gotten away with. In so much as they’ve made a statement that bloat and repetition is an OK trend in the evolution of open world games and having tons of extraneous content is substitute for what is being called ‘content’.

Most of it is rubbish but at least Ubisoft can brag about having 45 gigabytes of data and ’40 hours of gameplay’. And since, the series is so successful , other developers tend to jump on to copying it’s bullshit structure as if it is some sort of magical formula.

How many games have you played the last 4-5 years where you have had to liberate check-posts, unlock fast travel points and go on collect-a-thons for trivial items? It’s become so tired and nobody but Ubisoft is to blame for this horrible trend.( Not to mention their penchant for repeating it in almost every other game of their comes across as sad desperation).

It’s harmful to the sanctity of game design. Sooner or later, we may be playing a Metal Gear Solid game that is chock to the brim with filler objectives and repetitive structure.

Oh what’s that? Yeah, that’s right. We just DID. ( MGS5 can go to hell).

What I don’t get it why so many people can seemingly pine for something that is so mediocre. I can make the comparison with McDonald’s but the truth is, I ENJOY several of McDonald’s burgers.  I DON’T enjoy Assasins creed. And I’m not taking about my objective opinion and nitpicking. It’s just the obvious truth. The fact of the matter is, when you remove the bells and whistles, there is NO other franchise that goes through so many lengths to be so aggressively mediocre.

It goes through a lot of effort and iterations and comes across worse on the other end each time. I can’t even enjoy it ironically, since it dosen’t even have the guts to be completely terrible because it never swings for any fences.

Heck, I even feel that I’m wasting my energy trying to fathom any sort of passion when ripping on it. It’s the very definition of ‘vanilla’. I mentioned ‘Call of Duty’ earlier and while for all the flack that it gets. Activision makes it a point to make sure each entry is an actual playable, polished entry that works. COD has NEVER had the gall to ship a broken piece of shit software like ‘Assasins’ creed: Unity’ to the consumers.

So why the hell do people keep on buying it?

The easy thing would be to say is that it’s all marketing. UBISOFT with their Hollywood style presentations and major press conferences manage to gain all the spotlight and their constant emphasis and promotion of its’ mediocre products makes the user FEEL like its’ buying something important and that they need to do it each time. A majority of our voraciously media consuming population have been completely brainwashed into thinking that they need to buy the game and that it is fun.

seriously why?
seriously why?

If they go on every rooftop and yell as loud as they can then maybe we will feel a Pavlovian obligation to pay attention to it. I mean ‘Monster Hunter’ is a great game but it doesn’t have Aisha Tyler hyping it up in press conferences. Above all, it’s just a reminder that no matter how shitty and consumerist marketing is, it works. And UBISOFT are the masters at it?

Want to know how I know this?

They made WATCH DOGS and people bought it.

Goddamn WATCH DOGS. A game even WORSE than Assasins’ Creed. I bet the next 20 installments are on their way too. Boy, I can’t wait to rant about that one.


You see, this is not game development/publishing. It’s a hostile takeover. UBI has found a way to capitalize on our current homogeneity inclined, mass consumption addicted public. They’ve positioned buying Assasins’ Creed in the same capacity as like Apple has positioned the Iphone after Jobs’ Demise.

They’ve figured out that their production cycle of pumping out new variations of the same thing preys on our insecurity and need of constantly wanting bigger and better. We buy an Iphone 6 and gloat but immediately get insecure when the next model is announced next year. We curse Apple, swear never to buy it again and then book it in advance before release date promising that ‘this is the last time’. And then we do it again next year. Rinse and repeat.

They’ve figured out that we are so unhappy with ourselves and our lives that only our rabid need for consumption can make us better. So now we have Assasins’ Creed prequels, Spinoff games, Side-quels, Comic books and a fucking movie. Sooner than later, we will have Assasins’ creed themed holiday getaways and luxury cruises.  And they’re going to keep on doing this until we are empty husks completely consumed by capitalism unable to make proper choices for our children and future generations. And then there will probably be mass genocide and a nuclear holocaust.

Screw all this. I’m going to go play DOOM again.

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