Assassin's Creed: To Infinity And Beyond!
Sorrosyss, September 22nd, 2022

The recent Ubisoft Forward event held in September 2022, gave us a great deal of insight into the future of the Assassin's Creed franchise, mainly thanks to a dedicated Showcase of what is in store for players. Naturally, most fans are focused on the next entry, Assassin's Creed Mirage, but we were also treated to teases of the “next gen” games, which will be running under a dedicated content hub currently dubbed as Infinity.

The Infinity platform will represent a gateway for players that will be present whenever you launch any of your Assassin's Creed games. Essentially, it will be a visualisation of an Animus system, where you as a player will effectively become an operator and protagonist to proceedings.

Away from the presentation, there have also been some more revelations in media interviews as well, providing some further details of what we can expect from Infinity. Two rather crucial changes are that the Present Day story elements are actually going to be separated from the main games, and that multiplayer is finally returning after a decade's absence from the franchise. With Infinity still a few years away from realisation, what will this actually mean in practice for future releases then? Let's take a look at what has been said and try and add some theory to matters.



We begin with the main game releases. The historical story is and always has been, one of the strongest draws to the game series. Essentially it is a time travel window into history, yet wrapped into a wider entertainment story within that.

Let's get this out of the way first. Assassin's Creed Mirage is a bit of an outlier to the upcoming Infinity future. Based in ninth century Baghdad, it offers us the origin tale of Basim Ibn Ishaq, and how he came to join the Hidden Ones. Presumably, as a Reborn Asgardian Isu, Loki resides within his body and will vest for control of his mind at some point. By all accounts although it was originally conceived as an expansion to Assassin's Creed Valhalla created by Ubisoft Bordeaux, it has since instead turned into a full release all of its own. As the game will still release on last generation consoles, it doesn't really factor into the “next gen” Infinity model that is to come though. However, we do already know up front that it will have minimal Present Day content (more on that later), yet with a stronger emphasis instead applied on improvements to parkour and stealth mechanics. For long term fans of the very original game, this nostalgic “back to basics” approach is music to their ears.

But what of the longer term? Well, let's start with Codename Red, which is not expected until 2024 at the earliest, and will coincide with the launch of the Infinity platform. Developed by Ubisoft Quebec, we have been advised that this will be a full blown Feudal Japan RPG in the style of Assassin's Creed Odyssey. It will also have multiple years of post-launch support. This is interesting, as on the one hand Mirage is clearly pointing towards an older style of content model reminiscent to the original games, whereas Red is more akin to the newer RPG model games that really only started with Assassin's Creed Origins.

This is not by accident though. Ubisoft have stated that it is their intention to try and alternate the types of releases they have, in order to try and cater to the various genre tastes that are now spread out across the fanbase. We already know this is going to be the case with the further next release Codename Hexe, currently being developed by Ubisoft Montreal. By all accounts, this is going to be a spooky adventure set in Germany, during the witch trials of the Holy Roman Empire. However, we have also been promised that Hexe will be a different style of Assassin's Creed experience, and that it will not be a full scale RPG. At this point it's anyone's guess what this will end up as, but it is pretty intriguing to see that Ubisoft is already committed this far in advance to providing content variety to the franchise going forwards.

What's my best guess to what Hexe might be? Well, I made the joke on Twitter that this could well be “Assassin's Creed Bloodborne”. The gothic architecture and clothing of the witch trials period (16th century~) would look aesthetically pretty similar to what you see in the FromSoftware release “Bloodborne”. I also do not believe the similarities stop there. For those that played “The Forgotten Saga” DLC of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, you will note that Ubisoft was already trialling rogue-lite mechanics within that content. The rogue-lite game genre style has become enormously popular in the games industry in recent years, and I
would not be surprised if this is the unique gameplay style that is hinted to be coming to Hexe. Certainly, a repeating environment is something that could be explained narratively in a number of ways, such as Hex Magic, psychedelics, Animus glitches, or the old favourite – Isu technology.

Speaking of Those Who Came Before, some fans have wondered whether Infinity's approach to focusing on the historical story means that Isu content will be pared back. From what I can see, they were never really mentioned in the interviews. However, they are an inescapable part of the Assassin's Creed franchise, and a huge influence throughout the history of this fictional saga. On a personal note, they were also responsible for some of the most mind blowing narrative moments in the entire franchise, so I would hope that Ubisoft knows that the fans want our favourite precursor race to still be present going into Infinity.


Going back to the media articles, there were some very interesting comments made around some of the smaller studios of Ubisoft. For
Concept image by BrunoHM
those unaware, several of these studios have often been tasked with developing dedicated systems, specific map areas or even creating entire DLCs (or expansions) for the larger releases. For example, Ubisoft Singapore created the Legacy of the First Blade campaign for Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

The suggestion going forwards, is that these studios may in fact be given the opportunity to work on their own individual narrative experiences. We usually tend to get DLCs that typically last 8 – 10 hours in length, as such we could perhaps expect to see several small scale narrative adventures in brand new locations with unique characters. I can imagine this is pretty exciting for those smaller studios, as they would get the chance to flex their creative freedom on making some concise and compelling content for players. Ubisoft suggested that they might consider doing more Crossover Stories, or potentially returning to previous game stories and settings under Infinity.
Some of these experiences have been promised to be free as well. To my mind, I think this is all a brilliant idea for the smaller studios. This is namely as so many of the recent DLCs have all been self-contained stories for main protagonists, that rarely have
they had any real impact and often felt disconnected from the main storylines. We could, quite frankly, have skipped those stories entirely if we so wished.

Yet with this new concept for Infinity, players could be treated to varied and new story content on a more frequent basis. This will certainly be warmly received by players that felt the likes of Valhalla suffered from bloat by having simply too much content on the same subject matter. Fans might remember the infamous “Helix” screen that was briefly depicted within Assassin's Creed Unity. If the Infinity plan plays out as Ubisoft is suggesting, we may well end up with a very similar looking menu screen within the Infinity hub. Honestly, that's really exciting. Especially if they are alternating pieces of content, potentially switching styles between a classical stealth heavy experience, to an RPG, to something new or different. All tastes of the fandom should theoretically be catered for, which is a good thing when you consider how diverse those tastes already are.



One of the big changes going forwards is that the “Present Day” story content will no longer be directly within the main historical narratives. It will instead be moved to its own dedicated section within the Infinity hub. Suffice to say this news
was met with abject horror by Modern Day fans, who long argue that the Present Day meta story is essential and primarily the main framing device to the reason and rationale as to why we are exploring the past in an Animus. For those who know me, I can honestly say I have been firmly defending that very same standpoint myself for many years.

However, a few years ago I wrote an article on the perils of producing content for the Present Day narrative, along with the challenges that Ubisoft faces in trying to placate its supporters versus its detractors. Within it I tried to illustrate all of the various types of fans that are out there now when it comes to fans engaging with the Present Day narrative. A newcomer to the franchise today has a rather daunting 15 years of content to play through now to get up to speed on Desmond and Layla's stories. Would a new Valhalla player even understand Layla's final story arc without playing the last two games? Equally, is it fair to expect a newcomer to therefore play through all that entire catalogue of previous content? Probably not, but then they have that option. The issue for people that dislike the Present Day content, is that they invariably have not had the choice to skip it.

What the new approach for Infinity essentially means is that the Present Day narrative will become optional content. However, it also empowers the player with choice. If you dislike being forced into the Present Day in your historical story, you will now have the option to engage as you so wish with the types of content available to you. Now I know what a lot of the hardcore fans will scream at me. "How dare you, present day is part of the glue to the meta story etc". And yes, you'd be right. But can we honestly say that Layla's story arc matched up to Desmond's? The Present Day story reboot was essentially already attempted with only moderate success. To my mind, it is simply not working in its current guise.

The beauty of having dedicated separate content sections, is that it is really down to the players to show Ubisoft how popular each of these components really are. If a huge amount of players engage in this dedicated Present Day section, then for sure there will be investment and more content created for it. Therein lies a danger though. How does Ubisoft know what type of content Present Day fans want?


If we look back at the Present Day content from the past, you can see that we have had quite a selection of different content types. Here's a small summarised list:

  • Desmond stuck in a room. (Assassin's Creed I and II)

  • The glyph puzzles. (Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood)

  • Desmond exploring historical locations like Monteriggioni and Animus puzzles. (Brotherhood)

  • The puzzle explorer in Lost Archive. (Revelations)

  • Desmond exploring an Isu temple, Brazil, a skyscraper, and Abstergo HQ. (Assassin's Creed III)

  • The unseen and voiceless Floaty Tablet™ protagonist. (Black Flag and Rogue)

  • The dedicated cutscenes. (Unity and Syndicate)

  • Text files or emails with images. (Project Legacy, The Watch, Initiates etc)

  • Transmedia. A movie, comics and novels. (Various, but outside the games obviously)

  • Layla in a cave waiting on a helicopter. (Origins)

  • Layla in an office. Then a watery cave. (Odyssey)

  • Layla in a hut. Animus Anomalies. Then an Isu vault. (Valhalla)

As someone who was active in the fandom through all of these games, it was interesting to observe different takes coming out over the years. For example, I recall sections of fans really disliking Desmond in the early games. Sure enough, he ended up killed off in Assassin's Creed III. After his demise, the floaty tablet saga was pretty widely hated, despite it being playable. By the time Unity and Syndicate had reduced the Present Day to just cutscenes, we were eventually left with mere text files keeping the meta story moving for a few years. The Ubisoft Forums and Reddit cried out for a playable protagonist to return, until sure enough we got Layla. Despite a promising start though, some questionable character traits left her also not particularly well liked by the fanbase. In short, the Present Day just feels like a load of unused potential that has never truly had either the resources or the dedication that its fans desire.


With Infinity then, could we expect a new approach? Frankly, I would be most eager to see it. Being drip fed serialised snippets of Present Day has never really sated fans, so having it all contained in one location could well be ingenious. Certainly, looking at
Concept image by BrunoHM
the content's past, I would highly urge Ubisoft against just falling back to a text file approach initially for Infinity. The likes of the Initiates platform was always better suited to PC users, and console players would likely not take kindly to scrolling through reams of text on a controller. Whatever the new Present Day content is, it needs to be interactive, engaging, and above all else – playable.
You need only look at the recent codebreaking that fans have come together to solve, such as the Isu language, to see that many enjoy puzzles and the mystery side to the franchise. Present Day fans will not want to be held hostage to low effort content though, if the promise of something playable is constantly teased on the horizon. It needs to be strong from the start, otherwise Ubisoft will receive mixed feedback when they look at overall engagement on this content.

So what could they do that's different? There might be a hint in the upcoming China set mobile game, Codename Jade. Within that,
Concept image by BrunoHM
players will be able to create their own Assassin using a character creation tool. Could this be exactly what the Infinity hub needs for the Present Day? After all, if we are to play as ourselves in the Animus interface, it could be kind of refreshing to have the option to create our own avatar. This would actually have a further benefit to funding the development of this content, especially if there is a plethora of cosmetic microtransactions to dress our new avatars as we see fit. Presumably with no direct game linked to this separated section of Infinity, the Present Day will ultimately need to find some way of monetising its likely free-to-play existence I would suggest.

Of course, some of you reading this would point out that if we are interacting on the Animus, how can we explore the Present Day if we are inside the system? This is a minor point I'd suggest. They could simply show your character closing the Animus menu and rising up from their chair. For those who have always wanted a Modern Day set game, we could then explore an urban environment, or perhaps even perform some missions out there in the real world. With the promise of interaction being possible with other players, imagine if we could venture out into an Abstergo lobby and meet our friends virtually there. This could even be a platform to jumping across into multiplayer sessions in theory.



Speaking of multiplayer, brings me onto the next major reveal for Infinity. To much applause from fans, it's been announced that there will be a dedicated multiplayer section contained within the Infinity hub as well, currently codenamed Project Invictus. Given the trends in the gaming industry, it really should come as no surprise to hear that Assassin's Creed wants to get back into the multiplayer arena.

At this time, details on Project Invictus are pretty scarce. We know that veterans of Ubisoft titles Rainbow Six Siege and For Honor will be working on this, and that it will likely end up as another free-to-play model. By association, we can probably expect the likes of “Battle Passes” and cosmetic microtransactions to be a given.

Media were separately shown a slide about Invictus that had several classic characters present upon it. These were Kassandra, Evie, Ezio, Cesare Borgia, Haytham and... a minotaur guy. We can only presume by implication that these characters will be selectable and playable within the multiplayer in some kind of way. We were also informed that the multiplayer would not have a particular single setting, suggesting that multiple timeframes and settings could be possible – though that would kind of be a given if the multiplayer sessions operate within the Animus environment as most likely expect it to.


Concept image by BrunoHM
So what kind of game could it be? Well, I won't go into too much detail here, but I had some fun trying to scope out a potential dedicated multiplayer concept awhile back. Frankly, there are a lot of options they could go with.

Besides my aforementioned suggestion of a character creator to create our own avatar, if we can indeed play as classic characters as well, I can certainly see cosmetics and different outfits being rolled out to keep the monetisation in check for the free-to-play model, especially if there are social lobbies to show off our appearances. If we wanted to replicate the wider invisible war, you could easily see a faction choice between the Assassins and Templars being added as an additional step, perhaps with some kind of territory control battle in tow. With the Present Day backdrop, it could even tie into a mobile app for phones perhaps, to allow players to interact with Infinity away from their main gaming device.

To my mind, the most obvious content candidates are tied to two concept types – PVE and PVP. For those unfamiliar, PVE (Player Versus Environment) would incorporate a setting where players would be pitted against AI in some fashion. Certainly, we saw this concept previously within Assassin's Creed Unity, where teams of up to four Assassins could take part in a shared environment to complete a mission.


Concept images by BrunoHM

These kind of 'black box' missions with multiple approach routes certainly would appeal to players who enjoy playing in teams in a cooperative manner. You often see the likes of 'dungeons' and 'raids' in MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games, where players can find themselves pitted up against difficult encounters and bosses. Most of those games tend to have some kind of grind element, usually in the form of obtaining equipment upgrades like armour and weapons. Content can then often have a “gear score” to encourage players to level themselves up to take on greater challenges. It's a tried and tested approach to keep players engaged, and I can certainly see something similar being offered in Invictus, especially if there is some kind of overall XP bar for players to work on. Every hamster has to jump on the wheel at some point, especially if there are appropriate rewards and payoffs promised in the long term for committed players.

The other gameplay type is PVP (player vs player). Indeed, the very first multiplayer mode in the franchise started out like this in
Concept image by BrunoHM
Brotherhood. For those who did not play back then, players were offered the chance to choose a specific persona from a variety of characters, and were dropped into a crowd of repeated clones of all the personas there present. It was then down to players to use stealth, cunning, and abilities to wheedle out enemy players from the AI clones. It was a fun and unique gameplay model that is sorely missed to this day, despite being previously present on multiple games within the franchise until ending with Assassin's Creed Black Flag. Certainly, from the slide that was provided on Infinity, it could be possible that those personas will be replaced by some of the more beloved characters of the franchise instead. It would certainly be interesting to see a playable area where the likes of Ezio, Connor and Edward are squaring off against each other. Of course, this is just one example of a potential PVP mode. You also typically see deathmatch free-for-alls, arena contests, or perhaps even duels akin to a fighting game mode.

In terms of replayable content, these days we do see a lot of the big multiplayer games offering creation tools – for example Fortnite has a pretty extensive creative mode that lets you build entire maps and challenges for fellow players. The benefit to this is that when players exhaust or tire of the official content, the playerbase itself can self sufficiently create new material for itself. It would certainly be pretty fun if we could create our own parkour courses, black box challenges, dedicated deathmatch maps, or even perhaps have our own social locations (apartments perhaps) to personalise and invite our friends to.

In short, there is a huge amount of different gameplay options that Ubisoft could add to a dedicated multiplayer space. If sufficiently supported, it could continue to expand and hopefully offer more gameplay modes even beyond those that we were previously familiar with in the franchise. Having an online connected space for fans to play with their friends is tremendously exciting. The likes of GTA Online and Destiny have proven you can maintain a large player base in these online worlds if you appropriately support them with sufficent and frequent content. I will be intrigued to see what overall template Ubisoft ultimately comes up with for Project Invictus.


Infinity has enormous potential, on paper. The narrative releases sound like they have a good variety of content to keep fans engaged, and the segregation of content types appears a pretty sound plan. If successful, we could quite easily get ourselves in the situation where entire Ubisoft studios are dedicated to producing content for each of the Present Day and Multiplayer arenas. Honestly, that could be exactly what is needed for both of those fields of content.

In the end, it is ultimately down to the players to engage long term, but Ubisoft in turn needs to provide the content to keep them within Infinity. Hearing that all development projects will now have longer development cycles as well can only be a good thing. It should reduce burnout on Ubisoft employees, as well as offering more opportunities for fans to engage in alpha and beta testing (especially important on a multiplayer title) providing further valuable and resolvable feedback to make better final products.

Personally, I'm keeping an open mind and will see how Infinity all plays out. As often is the case, concepts can sound amazing, but it is the execution that matters most. Ubisoft has a huge opportunity here to reset the franchise, to bring in a new model that will not only attract a wide audience of multiple interest types, but to also welcome newcomers to a choice driven collective experience. The launch of the Infinity hub in a few years time will certainly be a very interesting future for Assassin's Creed fans.

Poll time! If you would like to give multiple answers, remember you can vote multiple times!

Which aspects of Infinity excite you most?

Assassin's Creed: Codename Red
Assassin's Creed: Codename Hexe
New Shorter Narratives
Present Day Section
Multiplayer Returning

Sources used for this article:

    "Assassin’s Creed’s Modern-Day Story Will Now Be Told Through Infinity"
    "Ubisoft explains what Assassin's Creed Infinity actually is"
    "Ubisoft announces 6 Assassin’s Creed games and a franchise shake-up"
    "The Future of Assassin's Creed: Feudal Japan, Standalone Multiplayer, & Much More"
  • Stephen Totilo

comments powered by Disqus