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In the middle of November we will be getting the third yearly
entry in the Assassin's Creed series since the second game.
Like most people, I was very skeptical if Brotherhood was going to be good, but then it turned out to be quite awesome and I began to wonder: Can Revelations do it again so soon? Brotherhood certainly didn’t feel like a full sequel to Assassins Creed 2. It was more like a really well made expansion pack, similar to those made by many PC developers.
Whether or not its perception among enthusiastic gamers skews negative won’t have any drastic effect on its success. Assassin's Creed is a multi-million dollar franchise at this point, but if other games are any indication, yearly sequels can do terrible things to their image eventually. Need for Speed's quality certainly began getting worse between Most Wanted and Hot Pursuit and its sales plummeted as a result. If not for Criterion's intervention, I doubt anyone would even be talking about the franchise anymore.
I really enjoy Assassin's Creed, mostly for the crazy story and narrative and the world it has developed. Out of all the games where traversal is a central mechanic, I would be hard pressed to think of another that does it so well. The games in this series are defined by their mix of game genres, like many modern titles, and you can never really talk about them as being part of one single genre. They are open world sandbox RPGs and stealth games and straight up action games all at the same time. We will continue to see the lines between genres being blurred as the years go on and it will only get harder and harder to define what a game is and whether or not it is succeeding at what it is trying to be. Even if you despise the AC series for whatever reason, it would be a mistake to argue that they aren’t a defining experience of this generation’s accomplishments and, in terms of game design, an example of the growing potential of the medium.
That said, here we are two years after AC2 and yet another full priced title has been made, and looking at the gameplay footage released thus far, it is safe to assume this is going to be another Brotherhood. Much like it, Revelations has just as much potential to be mediocre at best. I'm pretty convinced it will be a fun, well-made game and no one at the point would say it won't sell millions of copies, but outside of the casual audience who doesn’t really care about innovation and the hard-core fans who will buy anything with a hooded man on the cover, does this series have any appeal to people not among those demographics now? Of course it doesn’t need to, but there is always going to be that general gamer audience who greatly influence the success or failure of a series.
If Revelations were to sell only a few hundred thousand copies (which would be a comparative failure for the series) would it be a glowing sign to Ubisoft that people don’t want yearly Assassin's Creeds or would they just shrug it off and keep doing the same? This is the last game covering Ezio’s story so it could very well be the final AC release we see this generation, meaning the next would be Assassins Creed 3 on the new consoles, widely believed to be coming in 2013.
That would make complete sense, but if this latest sells
even more than Brotherhood, which itself sold more than AC2, why wouldn’t Ubisoft
want another made for next year?
While I can ask all these questions now, there won’t be any answers until we look at the numbers a few weeks after the games release. I hardly expect anything below the usual three-million copy plus selling, triple-A success story, but who knows. Maybe bomb crafting, a hook grapple and a “I’m too old for this” Ezio crossed with Altair flash backs won’t be enough to entice as many people this time around. It only takes one bad entry in a franchise to potentially destroy its popularity.
Assassin's Creed Revelations releases on November 15th, the same day as Saints Row 3 and Halo Anniversary. Which game are you most interested in playing? Sound off in the comments below.