Why 'Assassin's Creed' Needs A Remake

'Assassin's Creed' titles are churned out year after year. But is it time for Ubisoft to go back to the drawing board to keep 'Creed' relevant?
Assassin's Creed Remake
We're due a remake overhaul of the first entries of the 'Creed' franchise. Source: GamingBible

Yes, we do live in the age of the Great Remake of films and games. Whether it's remastering original games, rehashing ideas and characters, spin-offs, or sequels, the entertainment industry seems afraid to tread new ground and develop new franchises.

But hey ho, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That being said, one of the most entertaining but flawed franchises is 'Assassin's Creed', and it needs to be remade to fix its' own continuity and intrigue. 

The first 'Creed' game debuted way back in 2007, and gave us the time-hopping stories of Desmond Miles, an unassuming bartender in the present day, kidnapped by the shady organisation Abstergo, and forced to relive the memories of his ancestor through his DNA in a machine called the Animus; and Altair, an assassin from the Crusades who stumbles upon a powerful artefact called a 'Piece of Eden', that the Templars seek both in the past and in Desmond's present. 

The first game was hailed as revolutionary in its' scope, but over time classed as repetitive in its' execution for its 'seek, kill escape' format. Nonetheless, it gave gamers the impression that the events of the past were leading up to great ramifications for present-day protagonist Desmond. 

Ezio in Assassins Creed 2
New Italian renaissance protagonist Ezio Auditore. Source: Microsoft

Two years later Assassin's Creed 2 was released and seemingly improved on every gameplay element. Makers Ubisoft addressed the routine format by making Renaissance Italy more of an RPG open world and added more stylish combat.

This time we were introduced to Ezio Auditore in the 1400s, another ancestor of Desmond's, who comes across the same artefact as his ancestor Altair centuries before him. 

At the finale of the game, after all his troubles with the Templars culminating in him touching this 'Piece of Eden', Ezio encounters an apparition of the goddess Minerva who calls him 'the conduit' and then turns to the camera to address Desmond.

It's a jaw-dropping moment to learn that she is aware of the Animus and that Desmond is watching hundreds of years in the future. She gives him a cryptic message of impending doom. The tensions and expectations for Desmond to be some sort of 'chosen one' mount higher. 

Minerva in Creed 2
Minerva addresses Desmond in Ezio's time. Source: WhatCulture

In 2010, instead of being introduced to a new historical protagonist, gamers were treated to more of Ezio's escapades. Ezio and his companions discuss Desmond, who at that time is 600 years away from even being born.

'Brotherhood' had the same great mechanics enhanced even further, with an ally system and mini-game, and took us around ancient Rome in a bid to topple the Borgias. Desmond has acquired many of Ezio's skills through the 'bleeding effect' granted from the Animus, giving him some much-needed fighting ability and agility.

The present-day assassins even hideout at Ezio's old house in Italy, and it's chilling to see the merge between past and present, as though it's all leading to something great.

To roam Moneriggioni as Desmond, where there are cars instead of horses was truly surreal. But it helped cement the bond between past and present, and serve to help the gamer realise that the dives into memory were important for a present-day purpose. 

Sadly at the end of this game, Desmond encounters the same goddess from the piece of Eden that Ezio hid all those years ago, and she puppets him into killing Lucy, the double agent assassin who'd been helping him throughout all three games. It's upsetting and bewildering and made gamers yearn to know the reason why. 

In 2013 we were given Ezio's swansong, as he was such a beloved character. 'Revelations' was the tantalising title that promised us some answers. Desmond's mind is stuck deep in the Animus in his guilt after killing Lucy.

It's vaguely revealed that she was working for the Templars all along, which was never seen by the gamer, and left an unsatisfactory taste in the mouth. Desmond converses with the previously unseen 'Subject 16' who apparently went crazy in the Animus and died. He speaks a load of waffling bullshit that isn't nearly as cryptic as he thinks he is, and again there are no straight answers. 

A much older Ezio visits Constantinople on the trail of Marco Polo's memory discs that keep a record of Altair's movements through his life. He is looking for answers to the pieces of Eden, why the Templars want it, and who Desmond could possibly be. 

Ezio meets Altair's skeleton
Ezio meets Altair's skeleton at the end of 'Revelations'. Source: YouTube

There's a touching moment in the finale whereupon Ezio encounters the skeleton of Altair, and addresses an unseen Desmond, loosely stating that he knows he's watching somehow, he's felt him over his shoulder all his life.

He sees Desmonds' apparition and whispers some unheard advice, that snaps Desmond out of his fugue state. It's a great moment for the series that unites past, present, and future, with Ezio as the conduit.

The deeds of Altair's and Ezio's entire lives were to help Desmond without even knowing it. The expectations of Desmond doing something great were pushed to the limits.

'Assassins Creed 3'. Finally, a numbered sequel that promised to be the climactic culmination of a war a thousand years in the making. The past protagonist this time was Connor Kenway, a young, vengeful Native American man from colonial times who's father Haytham was a Templar. Interestingly the gamer got to play as Haytham and learn of the Templar's side of things. 

While diving through trees and having a tomahawk axe was exciting and different, I found Connor pretty disengaging to play as. He has no interest in Assassin lore or the pieces of Eden that Ezio worked so hard for. He is one-track minded on killing one man, and a lot of focus was placed on upgrading his ship for some reason. 

Cut to the present day storyline, where Desmond and his small crew are working inside one of the fabled Vaults of Eden. All that work for over a thousand years! Generations of Assassins hiding secrets! And Desmond's great task is to…. 

… touch a ball and die. 

Seriously. After six years of waiting for an epic conclusion and Desmond literally touches a ball of energy and releases his DNA to make a shield around the world that protects us from a deadly solar flare. I wish I was joking.

Somewhere down the line was a hasty rewrite or a poor intervention. People hail 'Mass Effect' as having one of the most disappointing game endings of all time but that had better-written justifications than 'Creed 3'.

And that was the turning point for the continuity of 'Assassin's Creed'. While later games were, and still are a success each time for delivering a new point in time, location, and protagonist, the present-day storyline stumbles and suffers for having no reason to exist.

Perhaps Desmond achieving his goal of destroying the Templars kills off the possibility of future games, so he was ultimately taken from the equation. 

'Black Flag' may as well have been called 'Pirates Creed' for Ubisoft's growing obsession with naval battles that aren't very subtle or Assassin-y. Edward Kenway was a swashbuckler and fun to play as, around the gorgeous Caribbean, but the present-day story was where you played as a vague Abstergo initiate, and connected with the existing assassins through clandestine emails and unsatisfactory video clips. 

Abstergo is some sort of immersive experience company, catapulted onto greater heights than before, and is extracting Desmond'S blood to use his DNA further. This is poor fan service at it's worst/best, to literally bleed itself dry for continuation.

We played through five games as Desmond, for him to be killed off so easily and carelessly. For all the trials and tribulations of Ezio and Altair to be for nothing. But 'Black Flag' is hailed as one of the greatest Creed games of all time. 

AC Black Flag, Unity and Syndicate
Left to right: Unity, Syndicate and Black Flag, The 'Post-Ezio' Trilogy. Source: Microsoft

'Unity' was set in revolutionary Paris, with a similarly unengaging lead called Arno. There was even less focus on the present day, again confined and ham-fisted into some vague emails.

'Syndicate' was set in Victorian London and was surprisingly fun, as you could play as two characters, Jacob and Evie Frye, and the combat was much more brutal and fluid. But again there was next to no present day storyline, and seemingly no end to the Templar order. 

The present-day storyline was the whole point or background subplot of 'Creed' games at one time. But research studies must have shown that gamers mainly only really cared about playing in the past, so Ubisoft took focus away from the present. The problem is that there was nothing to unite the storylines. No link. No point. 

There was a brief hiatus after 'Syndicate' for Creed games, where I hoped for a remake to wipe the slate clean and try again with Desmonds' storyline. This didn't happen but there was a complete engine overhaul where Ubisoft made its next outing 'Origins' a 'Witcher' style RPG with a 'Destiny'-like loot system.

'Origins' was great, set in Egypt with a lead called Bayek, and could use a pet eagle as a drone surveillance system. There was a new present-day playable lead called Layla. It was a breath of new life for the franchise that was seemingly trying to correct its' errors with back and forth continuity. There wasn't much gameplay as Layla however. 

Layla Hassan in 'Creed Origins'
New present day lead Layla Hassan in 'Creed: Origins'. Source: Polygon

Then there was 'Odyssey' set in ancient Greece where you could choose to play as Alexandrios or Cassandra, a brother and sister story, and an eye-wateringly large map. The gamer got to play as Layla again, so seemingly the present was being addressed again. Then the latest installment was 'Valhalla' where you play Eivor, either male or female, a marauding Viking. 

The crux of the issue is that Ubisoft messed up at 'Creed 3'. They introduced an unwelcome character who wasn't even a cog in the wheel of continuity, had nothing to do with the storyline as a whole, and fumbled the present-day storyline with a hasty conclusion that displeased everybody. 

Where they improved however was with the 'Origins' engine overhaul. The 'Witcher' and 'Destiny' style gameplay would certainly benefit a remake of the earlier games.

Let's have a quick look at how a new series could play out:

1. New Assassins Creed 1

Imagine playing through the Crusades as Altair, where you have some of the same targets but a vastly expanded map, quicker horses, and a more vast array of weapons. The combat can be slick, quick and stylish, as befitting the newer games, and incorporate a skill tree points system.

You can loot chests that increase a monetary system, which can be spent on armours, weapons, sprucing up the Assassin temples, or aiding the military presence.

This game could encompass the events of Altair's whole life, including some of the scenes from 'Revelations', and the game ends where he sits in the vault and dies. There are the usual back and forths as Desmond, but still trapped by Abstergo at this point, until an escape with Lucy at the end. 

2. New Assassins Creed 2

You have Florence, Venice and Rome, and it is basically 'Creed 2' and 'Brotherhood' rolled into one game. All the main events of Ezios' life, his growth, condense the dealings with the Borgias, and maybe omit most of 'Revelations' altogether.

New 'Creed 2' present-day storyline could be Desmond's present-day escape from Abstergo, training, and hideout at Monteriggioni, and finding of the piece of Eden exactly one scene after Ezio hides it in the past.

Ezio's final scenes could be where he tracks Altair's tomb-like at the end of 'Revelations', but give him a scene where he dies, better than the short 'Embers' that ties in with the events of the new 'Creed 3'.

Lucy doesn't die either, she's a genuine friend and paramour of Desmond. 

3. New Assassins Creed 3

The sky is the limit. Hey, I'm not a scriptwriter for Ubisoft. But with an alive Desmond and great possibilities for him, you could pick any one of the protagonists that came after Ezio, and do some fan service for them as well.

Evie Frye would be my choice, as its' a comfortable middle ground between the 1400s and 2000s, or perhaps someone new from the 1600s, as long as all the protagonists are related and share DNA it could be great.

The DNA could be tied to the Pieces of Eden, as though the 'Apple' chooses to imbue itself with a strong bloodline, that is somehow key to the present-day cataclysm, whatever form that might take.

They could maybe even devote a whole present-day, globe-trotting game to Desmond bringing down Abstergo properly, and uniting all the 'Pieces of Eden' from the vaults to create some sort of barrier what 'the ones who came before' didn't have.

They could somehow eradicate the Templar's reason to exist, their whole belief system, and thereby render the Assassins obsolete for needing no force to counter.

This would make a proper resolution to one of the finest game franchises in history, and restore some damage made by bad writing. Everything is just speculation at this point as to where the franchise will go next, but it will undoubtedly be fun to play at least. While 'Creed' remains as strong a franchise as ever, it's truly lost its way in terms of continuity and narrative purpose.

Jason is a freelance content writer living in Nottinghamshire whose preferred topics are movie/game reviews and climate change.

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