Assassin’s Creed: Unity got off to a rocky start. However rocky, and publicly criticized upon its release, it has managed to bounce back a little. Ubisoft announced that Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Assassin’s Creed: Rogue have sold a combined total of 10 Million copies across both titles.
While it’s not too surprising given the fact that it’s a game released after the frankly-brilliant Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, you have to wonder if Ubisoft will backpedal a little from their initially apologetic stance to customers aggrieved by Unity‘s technical and mechanical failings. Dale found the game to be lackluster, saying, “The overwhelming feeling with Unity is that of a franchise increasingly existing solely at the behest of a board of shareholders, rather than one created for the joy of creation. Some of its constituent parts show promise, but are relegated to the sidelines. Other parts that have long been staples of the series are now locked behind increasingly obtrusive barriers. The overriding sense is that Assassin’s Creed has lost its way, and Ubisoft needs to do something pretty impressive next year if it wants to convince us that the series still has what it takes to remain in the big leagues.”
That said, he found that things did improve somewhat in the follow-up epilogue DLC, Dead Kings: “Dead Kings is a satisfying and enjoyable epilogue to Unity, with plenty of content to keep players occupied long after completing the main story missions but held back by some of the same problems as the main game. But a darker atmosphere and entirely new area mark it apart from Unity, and its narrative manages to be far more engaging.”
Unfortunately, we weren’t provided with a review copy of last-gen-exclusive title Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, and haven’t got around to it. Though by all accounts it was an enjoyable – if predictably safe follow-up with the same core gameplay as Black Flag, designed to plug the narrative gap between that game and Assassin’s Creed 3.
The Assassin’s Creed sales news came along with Ubisoft’s third-quarter financial report, which included a number of other titles from 2014. Ubisoft head Yves Guillemot seems hopeful to avoid the worst of the issues that plagued Unity in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed titles – one of which, Victory, had its existence leaked to the press late last year. “Each time there’s a new transition of consoles, we try to create engines that take full advantage of the capacity of those consoles,” he said. “In the case of Unity, we had to redo 100 percent of the engine.”
He continued by saying, “when you do that, it’s painful for all the group… and everything has to be recalibrated. With this game, a few things were not perfect when the game was launched. But the engine has been created, and it’s going to help the brands to shine in the future. Next fiscal year we will launch a new Assassin’s Creed game based on the same technology that powered Unity [Editor’s note – that, no doubt, is a reference to Victory, which Ubisoft still hasn’t formally announced despite the media leak]. We are very confident that the experiences learned, along with the customer feedback, will help us take Assassin’s Creed to the next level of quality and innovation.”
Given that Ubisoft has had a long list of rocky starts and consumer upsets over the course of its lifespan, one can only hope that their releases will improve in the coming year.