I know we’re all sitting here wondering whether the Assassin’s Creed Mirage trailer’s hidden djinn is really Loki after that epic cinematic reveal, but there’s so much more to look forward to when it comes to Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed game. While I can’t speak for this leak’s authenticity, a new insider known as Adrien Perea online has suggested that Ubisoft is going to borrow several features from Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption series for its next AC title – and this has sparked something of a conversation that needs to be addressed. I firmly believe that Assassin’s Creed Mirage needs to adopt features from GTA and RDR to raise the game (and the series as a whole) to the next level – and here’s why.
Firstly, we need to identify which features Perea has claimed will be introduced to the Assassin’s Creed series through Mirage. As you can see for yourself in this tweet on the leaks, they believe a wanted system will be present in Assassin’s Creed Mirage that will have you “chased and captured” by enemies, alongside camps similar to those you find in Red Dead Redemption 2, where the player can “rest and train”.
I know that every Assassin’s Creed game so far has offered players their fair share of authority to avoid and escape, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen any system remotely resembling the wanted system you’d find in Grand Theft Auto V or Red Dead Redemption 2.
In Assassin’s Creed, the guards and soldiers scattered throughout the Holy Land would increasingly attack on sight as you progressed through the game, killing more and more of your targets. In Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations, there was a more concrete notoriety system in place that would lead to guards and soldiers being more suspicious of you and your actions in certain areas.
This notoriety system was simplified in Assassin’s Creed 3, offering up a mechanic where players would find themselves with one of three levels of notoriety depending on their actions – and whether anyone saw them killing any British soldiers. This, at its highest level, will lead to you being attacked on sight by guards and soldiers – in certain areas, anyway.
Following this development, however, Ubisoft effectively abandoned the notoriety system it had been establishing. In Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag, this system was adapted to introduce Pirate Hunters to the seven seas, but there was no equivalent on land. This then continued into Unity, Syndicate, and beyond. Of course, enemies would still attack you on sight in some situations – or they would start to chase you if you began causing a ruckus – but the persistent notoriety system that was being developed throughout the first few Assassin’s Creed games was effectively abandoned. Once you lost an enemy in the crowd, or just by breaking line of sight, you were safe and all was forgiven.
And, that is exactly why Assassin’s Creed Mirage would benefit so much from adopting a wanted system akin to what we see in Rockstar Games’ open world adventures. The lack of logic when it comes to the guards and soldiers in modern Assassin’s Creed games is astounding. You can quite literally just kill your way out of trouble, something that seems to act in antithesis to the guiding principles of the Hidden Ones and Assassins.
Not only would the adoption of this feature add a welcome layer of realism to Assassin’s Creed Mirage, it would also add a new weight to stealth, well-thought-out assassinations, and the decision to engage in open combat. With the series reportedly returning to its roots, I think it’s fair to expect a more stealthy gameplay loop that rewards avoiding open combat.
This isn’t the only feature Perea mentions, though, and the introduction of camps (like you’d see in Red Dead Redemption 2) is another thing that could make Assassin’s Creed Mirage stand out from the rest of the series.
In city-based Assassin’s Creed games, there’s often only one location you can compare to what a camp in Red Dead Redemption 2 represents. Sure, there are shops and merchants often scattered about, and more than enough landmarks to use for navigation, but very rarely is there more than one location that acts as a ‘base’ for your character.
Introducing multiple locations that act as a base for your character to Assassin’s Creed Mirage would add a new level of depth to the world – and could be an important avenue for environmental storytelling. We already know Assassin’s Creed Mirage follows Basim’s journey from young street thief to Master Assassin, and bases could be used to showcase the development of the Assassin’s order as a whole, expanding and improving over time.
In addition to this, they could be used to facilitate a development on the viewpoint-based fast travel system Assassin’s Creed games have been using for years.
There’s nothing wrong with this system, but I think it’s time for Ubisoft to bite the bullet and move on from what has become something of a staple for open-world games. Coincidentally, something like Red Dead Redemption 2’s fast travel system could actually work quite well in a city-based Assassin’s Creed game. You have to imagine that an urban area with a well-established Assassin presence would have a network of tunnels to hand.