Through various interviews, Assassin’s Creed Infinity Project Lead Marc-Alexis Côté seems to be pointing towards the fact that future games part of Infinity will not have any modern-day segments, but there will still be some sort of modern-day story or ‘meta’ which will be a part of Infinity but separate from the games.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Coté said, “Infinity is not a game, per se. It’s going to be the single entry point for our fans into the Assassin’s Creed franchise into the future.”
This points towards the fact that Infinity will be a house or ‘hub’ for future Assassin’s Creed experiences that will be accessed through Infinity as if it were actually a launcher. Coté also spoke about what we might see the games being sold as.
When asked about physical versions of Red and Hexe, Coté said, “the idea is for Red, for Hexe, to be available as box products, but the thing is, if you install them, the first thing you’re going to see is the Infinity hub, and that will launch Red or Hexe. At the same time, if you’re playing Red and Hexe comes out, then you’ll see it available as a new DNA memory that’s available for you and you can directly purchase it from the Infinity hub.”
Finally, when asked about the modern-day narrative, Coté said, “It’s like you’re the present-day protagonist. You are exploring memories of the past for purposes that will become clearer when we reveal the story. But the abstraction that we’re using is not that of Desmond or that of Layla, but that of yourself. And you’ll have to see exactly how we do that.”
As can be inferred, rather than having separate characters experiencing memories through the Animus, now YOU are the character experiencing these memories, and Infinity is a database, a hub, much like the Animus, that will provide you access to these stories set in the past.
When asked about how this happened and what led to it, Coté had quite a detailed answer:
I think we were challenged in the past on this aspect, and I’ll give you my very blunt analysis of the subject. For people who love the meta story, we’ve never been able to give them enough. They would love an entire game based on the meta story, with gameplay, and full immersion. On the other side, and I think this represents a sizable part of our audience, a lot of people do not care about the meta story, and would love to jump straight back in time. We’re in a situation where no one’s happy with it, in the sense that people who love it never get enough and the people who don’t like it will always have too much. So that’s where we’re trying to change the paradigm with Infinity. So when I say it’s synchronous and concurrent, it means I want this story to live independently of the big cycles of the game. So you can expect the hub, the stories that we tell, to be updated independently of the games. On the other side, it shows a lot of players that don’t want to be involved in this [a way] to jump straight into our past experiences. All they see is the DNA Explorer and, boom, they jump straight back.
I want to keep the DNA explorer abstraction or the Animus because I think for whoever plays Assassin’s Creed, it’s important that they understand that you return to the past not to change it, but to learn something about it. And I think it’s important to keep that abstraction. And I’m sorry, I’m giving you a very long-winded answer, but I think our meta story has also been an obstacle to people entering the franchise. When you talk about Assassin’s Creed, it’s like, ‘oh, it’s complicated’. ‘Coming to Valhalla, I’m interested by the Vikings but the whose this girl Layla? It’s the third act of her story?’ And it can stop you from enjoying those games. So by changing our paradigm, I feel the people who want to focus on ‘like, oh cool, there’s a Viking experience, I want to play’, they can. But again, [we will] serve better the people who love the Abstergo, the Assassins, how this plays out and give them more content.
As can be seen, Coté argues that while many liked the modern-day story, there were many who just wanted to go in and play the past-set stories and weren’t bothered with the modern-day stories or characters. They tried to consolidate the two groups but were torn between them and were not able to please anyone.
Thus, now the modern-day story will be a part of Infinity but separate from the main games, and players will be able to just jump into the games without having to pay attention to it.
Similarly, Coté was interviewed by IGN and mirrored his statements and ideas. When asked if Infinity would have a modern protagonist and how the modern-day story would be told, he said:
“The way we tell the story will evolve with time. It’s something that we’re doing for the long term, not for the short term. But the abstraction that we want people to have is [Infinity] is your Animus. It is your DNA explorer on your desktop. You are the main story character.”
In these interviews, he has also provided various interesting tidbits about the plans they have for infinity and Assassin’s Creed. Coté said that while Assassin’s Creed Red will be a full-fledged RPG like Odyssey, Valhalla, or Origins, Hexe would not be an RPG, and would be a smaller experience.
He says in both interviews that Infinity will allow various in-house developers such as Ubisoft Sofia, to craft their own experiences for Infinity, and they will now give developers longer development cycles.
Coté described in an interview for Axios that as part of a production revamp, Ubisoft is projecting longer development times for its Assassin’s Creed games, with the Red project, led by Ubisoft Quebec, getting more than three years of development that the studio had to make 2018’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
“By giving teams the same development budget in terms of dev months over a longer period of time, we believe our games can reach higher quality and be more sustainable from a human and technological point of view,” he said.
He also confirmed to Axios that a remake of the first Assassin’s Creed and a series “crossover” set in Egypt were completely rumors and not happening at Ubisoft.
Whether the modern-day set segments will be playable is still confusing. When asked by Eurogamer about these segments having playable portions, Coté said that the Infinity hub would evolve with time and as the meta-story evolves and that it would offer new opportunities over time.
When asked again to confirm if there would be gameplay portions, he said, “With time. We could go into the definition of what is playable, but I expect it to offer more opportunities for gameplay as it grows.”
When asked about the speculations that the main character of Assassin’s Creed Red is a female, and if there would be female Assassin-led games in the future, Coté said that the developers would reveal more about the former later but about the latter, he said, “Yes, in the future, people can expect to see a female protagonist lead an Assassin’s Creed game.”
He also said, “There is the possibility for us to integrate our past games into Infinity as the abstraction, the idea is that you’re exploring memories. How we’re going to do that will be revealed at a later time.”
Infinity is without a doubt a very ambitious project that will be far from being complete even as it launches. Speaking to IGN, Coté said:
“So [Infinity] will not start out as a game. The version of Infinity that we launch will not be the final version of Infinity. It’s something that will evolve through time as our experiences grow and we can connect them more together. So I think it opens up a world of possibilities as to what we can do that go far beyond being just a launcher for our different games.”
How Infinity has shaped up to be, only time will tell. We sincerely hope that Ubisoft strikes gold with it and delivers memorable experiences.
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