Assassin’s Creed Infinity is pivoting to live service. According to an report from Bloomberg, Ubisoft aims to “create a massive online platform that evolves over time” and Infinity will “contain multiple settings with room to expand to others in the months and years following its debut.” Ubisoft itself hasn’t confirmed any of the live service changes, but did write in a blog post that Assassin’s Creed Infinity will be a huge cross-studio effort.
It’s undeniable that these types of experiences have been wildly successful in the modern gaming industry, as titles like Fortnite and GTA V have become some of the most profitable games of all time due to their live service structure. But is this the best direction for Assassin’s Creed?
Is live service truly the best direction for Assassin’s Creed?
On one hand, I’m excited by the prospect of visiting multiple settings, as one of the core strengths of the franchise is the ability to explore and immerse yourself within various different historical eras. On the other, I’m concerned about what a “massive online platform” would look like for a series that has its roots firmly planted in the singleplayer action RPG genre. Will Assassin’s Creed Infinity act as a hub for numerous different singleplayer adventures, or will it shift the franchise in the shared world multiplayer direction? Will there be microtransactions and grinding for loot? How will the story and narrative — one of the franchise’s core pillars — be conveyed to players?
It’s impossible to make any concrete judgements before more details about Assassin’s Creed Infinity are revealed, but regardless, I think it’s strange for Ubisoft to take such a big risk with its largest and most successful franchise. A live service Assassin’s Creed may be profitable, but will it appeal to the series’ core audience that has come to appreciate Assassin’s Creed as a feature-rich singleplayer series?
Something that’s also worrying is Ubisoft’s consistently poor track record with live service experiences. Both The Division and The Division 2 struggled to stay relevant over long periods of time due to issues with bugs and Ubisoft’s inability to keep players interested, although the publisher is admirably planning to bring more content to The Division 2 later this year. The unique medieval fighting game For Honor has long been criticized for its painfully slow balancing and milquetoast season pass rewards. Hyper Scape, Ubisoft’s vertical mobility-focused battle royale shooter, felt like it was completely dead on arrival. Ubisoft has only seen true multiplayer success with Rainbow Six: Siege, its tactical multiplayer shooter.
Ubisoft hasn’t proven it can support live service experiences well.
For live service games to succeed, they need quick hotfixes, frequent tuning and balancing patches, and reasons to keep coming back for more as time goes on. Almost all of Ubisoft’s previous and current attempts at creating a satisfying live service experience have lacked these requirements, and because of this, I fear that Ubisoft isn’t prepared to give Assassin’s Creed the support it needs to thrive in this side of the industry. It feels less like a natural evolution for Assassin’s Creed and more like a vain attempt to follow trends — potentially alienating its core audience in the process.
Overall, between the potential shift away from the singleplayer RPG gameplay that put Assassin’s Creed on the map in the first place and Ubisoft’s consistent failure to foster successful live service games, I’m very skeptical about Assassin’s Creed Infinity. Ubisoft has a lot to prove here. The ball is in its court.
Do you agree with me that Ubisoft has a lot to prove with Assassin’s Creed Infinity, or are you confident that the game will be good? Let me know your opinion in the comments.
Also, for the latest Assassin’s Creed RPG, check out Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. It’s one of the best Xbox games on the market right now, and my colleague Jennifer Locke stated that she enjoyed the game in her Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review. She noted that “despite some pitfalls, Valhalla is a strong game with plenty to enjoy. It features a beautiful world to explore, interesting mythos, and engaging combat to keep you on your toes.” It’s available for $60 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PS4 and PS5, and Windows 10 (and Windows 11) PCs.
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