As­sas­sin’s Creed: Ori­gins Gives Ubisoft a New Mis­sion

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Over the course of 10 years, nine ma­jor edi­tions, and a 2016 fea­ture film, As­sas­sin’s Creed has be­come France-based gam­ing com­pany Ubisoft’s flag­ship fran­chise, sell­ing more than 105 mil­lion games. But the jug­ger­naut fal­tered in re­cent years, with a buggy re­lease of As­sas­sin’s Creed: Unity in 2014 and slid­ing sales for its fol­low-up, Syn­di­cate, in 2015. Ubisoft’s re­sponse: Take a year off and come back with a reimag­ined prod­uct. As­sas­sin’s Creed: Ori­gins, which lands in Oc­to­ber and is set in an­cient Egypt, es­chews the rigid nar­ra­tives of pre­vi­ous years in fa­vor of open-world play­ing, a for­mat that al­lows gamers to find some­thing new ev­ery time they play. “The hero in our game is not the as­sas­sin, it is the world it­self,” says Lau­rent De­toc, pres­i­dent of Ubisoft North and South Amer­ica. “We want ev­ery player to go in and make their own story so they don’t feel like they’re play­ing yet an­other As­sas­sin’s Creed game.”

In Au­gust, the com­pany opened a new stu­dio, in Stock­holm, and tasked it with cre­at­ing a game adap­ta­tion of James Cameron’s hit movie Avatar. Though it won’t be re­leased for sev­eral years, Avatar will give Ubisoft a chance to do what it does best: cre­ate rich, de­tailed worlds with un­pre­dictable com­bat. It also re­flects the com­pany’s push to de­velop open-world con­tent. Those kinds of per­son­al­ized nar­ra­tives will be more im­por­tant in keep­ing play­ers en­gaged as VR and AI in­vade the space (Ubisoft is ex­per­i­ment­ing with the tech­nolo­gies). “We went from try­ing to have ed­i­to­rial con­trol to think­ing about how play­ers want to play,” De­toc says. “You change the game based on what peo­ple are do­ing with it.”

The new ad­di­tion to the se­ries is set in an­cient Egypt.

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