There has been a lot in the news recently about Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed. While there’s a deeper issue that’s much more important here about the company’s business practices, in this article, I want to address just how Assassin’s Creed as a franchise might be moving away from stealth. This all started with Assassin’s Creed Origins, moving onto Odyssey and then Valhalla. These three games resemble The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and that’s not a bad thing. What is though, is that they seem to have moved quite far away from the intrinsic stealth and social stealth that was present in the games up until Origins.
For many Assassin’s Creed fans, this is a dealbreaker. The Assassins live in the shadow to battle those in the darkness. They hide at all times, and they often lose when caught in the open. Every protagonist in these last three games has been on the peripheral though. Bayek’s partner was the key Assassin, not him. Kassandra and Alexios weren’t Assassin’s, and neither is Eivor. These characters all encounter the Assassins and work with them in some ways but also against them. There’s nothing tying them to each other.
Conversely, all the games leading up to Origins either starred an Assassin or a character who became one. That’s where stealth has gone wrong. With no Assassins in the spotlight, there’s no emphasis on stealth unless the main character calls for it, and that doesn’t happen often. The thing is, the combat in these games is so good that it doesn’t matter. You’re also given the option to be stealthy and sneak through bushes using a bow and arrow to kill your targets. There is stealth, but it’s a far cry from what Assassin’s Creed offered before.
As I’ve mentioned, I don’t feel that strongly about this. The games were evolving before Origins, and they’ll continue to evolve after. This third-person open-world adventure franchise is what it is now, and at least it still involves the Assassins. I think that Ubisoft should get closer to the source material again, but I also like where these games are being taken in terms of their own identity.