Assassin's Creed Unity is cutting a major feature from the past few games. Ubisoft revealed at E3 2014 that the game won't have competitive multiplayer modes.
AC Unity's lack of competitive multiplayer is mentioned by Kotaku in their preview of the game. As the site notes, this makes Unity the first game in the series since Assassin's Creed Brotherhood not to have a competitive component.
The competitive multiplayer for Brotherhood and more recent games was essentially assassin-versus-assassin. Players took on the role of Abstergo assassins hunting each other down in crowded public areas. Unlike most multiplayer offered by AAA games, the Assassin's Creed matches weren't just non-stop action. Instead, they were subtle hunts. Players hid in the crowd, striking at their opponents when they least expected it in order to maximize their points.
Assassin's Creed Unity is ditching competitive multiplayer in favor of four-player co-op. This feature was glimpsed in the cinematic trailer and gameplay videos for Unity unveiled at E3. Ubisoft clearly sees it as a major selling point for Unity.
These missions, Ubisoft told Kotaku, are all optional. You'll find them throughout the game world just as you'd find any regular campaign missions or side gigs. The co-op missions can be completed solo as well, so lone wolf players won't be missing out on content.
I was always really impressed by how Ubisoft managed to make a competitive mode that stayed true to Assassin's Creed. It's a bit shocking, then, to see that feature not return for Unity.
As I said before, though it's unfeasible for each new Assassin's Creed to incorporate every feature of past games. The weight of an increasing list of returning features just leads to stagnation. Developers spend so much time simply dressing up old aspects of the game that they don't have time to make anything new. Assassin's Creed 4 had everything Assassin's Creed 3 so the innovations were limited to what, sea shanties? Ship stealth?
Hopefully, by cutting out competitive multiplayer, Ubisoft freed up some development time that they can use to improve some other aspects of the AC formula. If the basic stealth, combat or parkour of Unity was an improvement over predecessors, we'll hear a lot fewer complaints about the shorter feature list.
Plus, I'll bet the assassin-versus-assassin multiplayer isn't gone for good. I could see Ubisoft bringing it back in Assassin's Creed 5: We Made A Feudal Japan Game So You'll Stop Complaining or Assassin's Creed: Unnecessary Side Story.
Unity will launch on October 28th on PS4, Xbox One and PC.