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Assassin's Creed Unity will be the seventh game in the main series but that shouldn't intimidate newcomers. AC Unity creative director Alex Amancio said that the game is a great "entry point" for players who never played any previous chapter.
"It's a new start, it's a new narrative start. That is symbolized by a completely new context for the present day," Amancio told Examiner. "You've seen a little bit of an evolution with Black Flag, [but] we're not going to do the same thing. What we're doing with Unity is really the beginning [of] this new cycle of Assassin's Creed games."
"Because it's new, we can actually explain it properly because nobody is going to feel like it's redundant. I would say that Assassin's Creed Unity is the best entry point for the franchise since, [Assassin's Creed 1].".
The first five games in the series were tied together by Desmond, an Assassin living in the present-day. He was using a machine called an Animus to relive the memories of his ancestors, a Assassins living in time periods ranging from the Crusades to the Revolutionary War.
Desmond's story was wrapped up at the end of Assassin's Creed 3. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag had a different person in the Animus: an employee of Abstergo Entertainment. This employee was mining the memories of Captain Edward Kenway to find vital information for his corporation's nefarious plans. Ubisoft Montreal senior producer Vincent Pontbriant said last month that the modern-day sections of Assassin's Creed Unity won't return to Abstergo Entertainment.
“So you played this third-person character in the present, and we wanted to go one step beyond that," Pontbriant said. "We decided that you’re actually, you the player, are the pilot of the Animus. So you start the game and then at some point you get contacted by the Assassin order to explore the memories of Arno through the Animus, and basically figure stuff out for them in the present."
Pontbriant's quote suggests a big change to the series. If we're just playing ourselves in the present day, that means that there's no real modern-day character. We''re just the invisible hand guiding Arno (the Assassin in AC Unity) through the French Revolution.
There are positive and negative sides to this approach. On the one hand, it means we won't have a protagonist like Desmond to become emotionally invested in. On the other hand, allowing players to be the Animus Pilot means that the full emphasis is on Arno's journey. There's one less layer to the story, making it easy for players to dive right in even without any experience in the Assassin's Creed series.
I'm left wondering whether there will still be modern-day stealth and platforming segments. If so, how would that work if the game uses a third-person camera? Would the player choose their own appearance at the start of the game? Assassin's Creed Unity is only three months away so we should get answers to these questions soon.