A Modern Day Multiplayer Concept
Sorrosyss, April 14th, 2018

Warning: Spoilers from across the franchise.

Assassin's Creed is no stranger to the concept of a spinoff. With the introduction of several mobile games, as well as the Chronicles Trilogy, the franchise has not shied away from looking at opportunities outside of the main single player releases. However, to date there has not been a “Triple A” attempt to do so. After all, when you look at how Ubisoft has handled the Tom Clancy IP, it has branched out from Rainbow Six, to Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, and The Division amongst others. With the massive success of Origins, one therefore has to wonder what potential new ideas could now emerge as fans yearn for more.

In my view, there is a concept where we can combine three unique aspects of the franchise into a new spinoff game, namely;

  • Multiplayer Gameplay

  • The Modern Day setting

  • The Community

Let me preface this and be clear though. This concept in no way looks to replace the existing single player narrative releases. This is purely an exploration of what we could have in addition, a place to refocus the transmedia narratives, and mostly as a way to tide over fans between those main single player releases.


Source: ubergizmo.com)

Multiplayer was originally added to the Assassin's Creed franchise in 2010 with the release of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Offering a unique gameplay experience, the traditional multiplayer continued to be included with each annual release until AC:IV Black Flag in 2013. With Unity though, there came an experiment into co-operative play in 2014. And since then... nothing.

In 2015, Syndicate released as a purely single player experience, with Origins bringing the same in 2017.

So what happened to the franchise's multiplayer? Arguably, interest in the yearly iterations of the multiplayer was perhaps beginning to slide away as the scope had been fairly restrictive. However, the obvious answer is that in the rush to get the annual releases out, the mode became a casualty of tight deadlines and resources. There have been a handful of comments and announcements from Ubisoft on the topic though, as we shall see now.

June 2014

“We are proud of our multiplayer community for sticking with us and helping us improve on both our presentation and gameplay. Please know how much we appreciate your dedication and commitment. Finally, please note that we cannot comment on any future plans we have for the AC series. As a brand that prides itself on mystery, conspiracy and rich narrative, we have to maintain a certain level of secrecy over what the future may or may not hold.”

Source: Link

May 2015

Yves Guillemot hinted that Ubisoft does have plans for multiplayer Assassin's Creed in the future, but said the company isn't ready to reveal them.
"We don't know and we can't say yet — er, we know, but we can't say yet about what will happen next," said Guillemot.

Source: Link

July 2016

Assassin's Creed Online: Alliance, an online mobile game set in Italy's Renaissance, is announced at the ChinaJoy 2016 expo. To be released in the Chinese market, the game was to feature the option of playing as an Assassin or Templar, and feature PVP content. Nothing has been seen of it since, with many presuming it has since been cancelled.

Source: Assassin's Creed Wiki

August 2016

"We were not the first to make an open world game, but we quickly realized that open worlds gave players much more freedom and choice, and were much more fun," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said. "We also saw that we were only at the beginning of unlocking the potential of what open world games could offer. [Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoet] had a vision of creating worlds as playgrounds, full of systems and toys that let the players have more personal experiences they would be eager to share with friends and the community."

Ubisoft also saw the potential to empower open worlds and sandbox play by adding to those experiences a persistent online connection between worlds and players.

"When players are connected, they can meet up with friends or meet new people who share the same interests," Guillemot said. "They can play together, challenge themselves and also help each other. People are spending more and more time in these bigger and bigger games, and often they want to share their experiences, play an active role or feel recognized. These are important motivations for many of our players, and they're some of the reasons people keep coming back and spending more time in these types of games."

"Assassin's Creed has always been ambitious in its production and we have been bold in pushing innovations in many aspects of our games and specifically on the online side with Assassin's Creed Brotherhood and the birth of the PvP mode, with Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag and its asynchronous mechanics or with Assassin's Creed Unity," Game Director Benoit Lambert said. "As developers we need to ask ourselves, 'What do we need to put in place to reach our main objective,' which for us, is to better immerse our players in our universes."

"There will still eventually be new versions or sequels for these big, connected, multiplayer games," Executive Producer Anne Blondel said. "What's changed is that instead of releasing a game, having people play and move on after a few weeks, and then starting to think about a sequel, we now plan for regularly delivering post-launch content and services that keep players engaged and entertained in the game for months or even years after the initial release.

"If it works well, it means players are getting more fun and value for their money and can stay engaged with a community that enjoys sharing these experiences. It also means we can take more time to decide on whether we should do a sequel, what it will add to the game's universe, and if players will see it as innovative and different enough that a large part of the community will embrace it. That's the new approach that Ubisoft is focusing on now."

"Look at the biggest hits of the past few years," Yves Guillemot said. "GTA, Fallout, Destiny, Watch Dogs; outside of Call of Duty and sports titles, the most successful and acclaimed games are open worlds. In 2008, open world games had less than 10 percent of the market. Now it's 33 percent. And almost all of the biggest and most popular titles have multiplayer or co-op options for players to enjoy if they want.

"We are in a good position to capitalize on these trends. We've got great franchises in place with Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Watch Dogs and Rainbow Six. We're launching The Division, and we have Ghost Recon, For Honor and another new IP on the horizon. Now we have to deliver on all of these great franchises and make sure they have the level of quality and innovation that gets players excited and coming back for more."

Source: Link

March 2017

A question was raised about multiplayer in a Reddit AMA with Aymar Azaïzia – Head of Content for Assassin's Creed:

“Was the decision to cut out the multiplayer aspects a temporary one to facilitate the jump to Next-Gen with Unity, or was the intention to refocus Assassin's Creed on its singleplayer roots in a more permanent manner?”

“Well the question is interesting, for now on, in the short term, we don't have specific plan to come back with a similar experience.” – Aymar Azaïzia

Source: Link

So what now? The return of the multiplayer 'mode' for the main narrative releases looks unlikely anytime soon. But what if we could mould what came before into something new?

If we look at the Playstation trophies for Unity, the last game to feature multiplayer, we come across some interesting statistics. For example, we know from the trophy records for “The Baguette Boyband” that nearly 50% of players at least tried the co-op mode. Whilst this is all speculative, if we convert that to raw numbers in terms of sales figures, millions of players would theoretically at least have an interest in the multiplayer going forwards. That's a solid starting point for a new IP proposal, not discounting the number of new players that might come on board from outside of the fanbase. With this in mind, would it be so crazy if Ubisoft did create a standalone spin-off multiplayer title?

Ubisoft themselves have been pushing heavily into this area, in keeping with their vision of creating online connected worlds. The Division, For Honor, Watch Dogs 2, Ghost Recon: Wildlands – all huge Ubisoft games that feature multiplayer. Yet the flagship franchise currently remains without it. The Assassin's Creed universe is so diverse and varied, but what could actually work thematically for us, if the multiplayer were to be greatly expanded to a full “Triple A” game?


Source: FextraLife.com

For the past few years, Ubisoft have been issuing consumer surveys and some interesting questions have sometimes been posed of the consumer base. We hear mention of persistent online worlds, customisable Assassins, male or female heroes. Even one of the Unity producers mentioned how much he wanted to make an Assassin's Creed MMO. In short, it is clear that the multiplayer concept has at least been considered behind the closed doors of the developer.

Let’s get this out of the way though. The Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) model used for games like World of Warcraft would likely not suit Assassin's Creed. Frankly, the sight of a hundred Assassins bouncing along rooftops would make a mockery of the whole secret war between Templars and Assassins. MMOs generally do not work too well on consoles either due to performance restraints, and controls wise some games have hot keys extending up to 20 or 30 abilities. No, what we need is something that retains the core Assassin's Creed gameplay but expands it. Something that makes it more persistent, and more encompassing. In my view, Ubisoft should look to the excellent examples made within the gaming industry by Grand Theft Auto Online and Destiny – and go with a persistent shared world with online instanced multiplayer spaces. In limiting the amount of players per area, it makes the technology far easier to implement on the current generation of consoles, as well as preventing too many Assassins being in the same place at once. Both of those games, as well as Ubisoft's own The Division have enjoyed tremendous success using this kind of multiplayer model. With Unity's co-op mode, I believe that Ubisoft has already potentially been testing out the feature set of future titles. Indeed, we also know that the Snowdrop Engine used by The Division is openly available to the Assassin's Creed teams as well.

A persistent online experience would allow for you to fashion your own story, and for your efforts to no longer be irrelevant when the next DLC or game launches in the series. For example, a game like Destiny allows its players to play the main game both solo or in co-op. The character you create carries on through its expansions, and even carries over into the sequel. This is the template that I feel Ubisoft needs to consider very carefully. Being able to experience an Assassin's Creed story solo, or with drop-in co-op would be amazing. The continuing retail success for GTA V, a game that ranked amongst the best sellers of 2017, is mostly attributed to the continuing support for its online model. It is certainly the direction the rest of the games industry is now starting to take for open world titles, with the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 both expected to have substantial dedicated multiplayer modes.

So how could this theoretically work for Assassin's Creed? Well, let’s start with the setting.


How many times have we seen the fans cry out for a Modern Day set game? How many times have they complained that stories should not be in comics/movies/novels, but in the games themselves? How many times have we lamented its diminished focus versus the historical gameplay? Herein lies a brilliant opportunity to properly utilise the Modern Day setting as the narrative basis of a spinoff title. In the multiplayer space, the story will be far more trimmed down and episodic by its very nature. So why not use the Modern Day? Give us large modern cities as our main free roam areas. The franchise already has free aim gun/bow mechanics, and Syndicate introduced vehicle mechanics with carriages. It is but a small step to cars.

Depending on which cities of the world we might experience the Modern Day setting, the use and carrying of firearms might be illegal. With the two secretive factions not looking to draw attention to themselves in modern camera surveillance, the focus on social stealth would be massive. Concealed weaponry would mean a strong return for the Hidden Blade, and ensure that the game focuses strongly on melee combat. This in turn would help distinct itself from the myriad of shooting games already on the market.

With the prevalence of Virtual Reality headsets now making a comeback in gaming, it would be a fitting narrative for Abstergo to actually release a brand new Animus headset as a "gaming experience". This is where we, the modern player, come into the fray. It is therefore time for each of us to create our own protagonist.

Games like Mass Effect, and Dragon Age, handle this kind of main character customisation very well. By allowing the player to create a male or female, giving them a voice, and their own unique appearance, it adds an extra level of immersion to the gaming experience. For this very reason, a large amount of female gamers can be found on these kinds of titles. Improving diversity is an untapped market that would be welcomed. Ubisoft can look into exploring it with this setup given that, Aveline and Shao aside, the main lead characters have been mostly white males. Hairstyles, clothing, weaponry, as well as the ability to customise our characters in different time periods within the Animus would all be offered as well for a fully tailored experience.

Every player would need to connect through the Helix servers, and through the Bleeding Effect people would develop the abilities of the experience they are having through a tutorial. In doing so, they would attract the attention of some infamous entities...


Players would ultimately be contacted by the Assassins and Templars. You would then be presented with a choice to join one of them.

The factions could have minor differences cosmetically to help them be distinct, for example Assassins only having access to hoods and hidden blades, and Templars having face masks and knives. If you make them too different, for example giving Templars better ranged weapons, then you open up a range of balancing issues that it would be easier to simply avoid.

I find it very interesting that over the last few years, the Templars have been gradually more fleshed out from a lore perspective, even getting their own novel and comic series. We've seen Assassins switch sides to them (Shay), characters with their own agenda (Elise), and at times even working alongside the Assassins (Haytham). It's a solid reminder that on every side of a conflict, there are often a variety of good and evil people. The Templars are no longer black and white, very much grey. Some of their recent efforts even seem noble to some players.

Ubisoft needs two fully functional factions from a narrative and gameplay perspective. Assassin's Creed Rogue barely scratched the surface of the story potential of playing the “other side”. If the franchise allows you to choose a side going forwards, it would open up the possibility to a whole new level of storytelling. Especially if you decided to actually play both sides with two different characters, and experience where they potentially cross over at points in the narrative.

Once you have finally chosen your side, you would then be dropped into the Modern Day lobby. Surrounded by other players within your faction hub (such as an Abstergo office, or Assassin hideout), you can then elect to enter the Animus alone, or choose to co-op with friends or enter matchmaking. There could also be territories for attacking and defending within cities to encourage some global battles between the factions in the Modern Day.

Finally, why not throw in some of the classic mini games?! We could add these to social hubs, and bring Nine Men's Morris to the Modern Day for all to endure! This would suit players who just want to relax away from the heavier activities that are offered and encourage socialising (or perhaps roleplay for those who would enjoy to).


Players would have the choice of visiting various memories of timeframes and locations within their Animus, with Ubisoft to add new maps over time. In the interests of speeding up development time, they could repurpose the cities or maps of previous games such as Jerusalem, Rome, New York, London and Paris for launch.

Within each historical setting players could then create and customise their own Assassin or Templar, and embark on the related storyline for each faction within this time frame. As the franchise already separates out the missions into unique sequences, it should be relatively simple to make every story mission selectable as solo or co-op. Perhaps whilst playing in a party, dialogue options could be added to give each party member a chance to speak during cutscenes.

The main cities would also double as main "Free roam" areas. From here you could engage in many activities, both PVE and PVP content wise (More on that later), or even start to build your influence with purchasing your own piece of the city through renovating areas.


The “Secret War” (as I have monikered it) is a natural progression of the eternal conflict between the Assassins and Templars, as the battle between freedom and control for humanity will never end. With a constant battle to obtain Pieces of Eden, the search across time and the Modern Day for fragments of data about them is enough to keep players needing to revisit an Animus.

At time of writing, Juno is still trapped within “The Grey”. If she were to survive the events of the comics, she would aim to enslave humanity and restore the Isu to their former glory with a New Eden. As the franchise's primary antagonist, she is a common enemy to both of the factions. As players are constantly in contact with The Grey, there is the potential for Juno to attack players perhaps by using Rifts, or outright disrupting simulations to imperil you with environmental hazards or simply destroying the world around you.

This opens up a whole realm of further possibilities for players. What if players were allowed to abandon their current faction and join the Instruments? Could we end up visiting Eden and other Isu simulations? Perhaps some more afterlives like we saw in the Curse of the Pharaohs? It's a prime opportunity for boss fights too, as Juno could create super humanoids, or mythical creatures that would require teamwork and multiple players to defeat.

As well as the endless invisible war between the two factions, the presence of Juno would add a narrative link to the overall franchise as well. It was strongly suggested in Unity that both Desmond and Clay are alive within the Grey. If that is the case, it offers an intriguing possibility for players to interact with characters from the past games. I am sure many players would enjoy being able to play new missions and stories with their old favourites. With the Rifts we could even have the possibility of Assassins/Templars from different timelines teaming up, and an entire group of them being transported to Eden in the fight against Juno. (Anyone for an Ezio and Edward team up?)

With the Watch Dogs franchise also set in the Modern Day, there is the potential for crossover elements there too. Perhaps DedSec and Blume could also make an appearance in our modern day element.


The more recent games within the franchise have already explored several progression methods that I feel would work well within a persistent online setting. Origins has even taken this a step further with an all out RPG loot system, which translates very well to a multiplayer progression model.

  • XP Progression: For this I can see something similar to Grand Theft Auto Online, which we would visualise as synchronisation levels. Just general playing would reward XP, such as tackling a thief, performing a leap of faith, playing mini games, or freerunning for extended periods. Doing so would level up your character, as well as being rewarded for proper group activities in both PVE and PVP. Over time, you would grow in power and skill, thereby for example the height of your jump and running speed could all improve gradually over time. You could further customise your character with a talent skill tree.

  • Gear Progression: Unity had many items that were locked behind objectives, and doing something similar would work here too as well. Having items that offer significant upgrades to your character, being they running speed, jumping height, health, or combat damage, has often proved to be an attractive system used by many loot based games to keep players invested. There is also the potential for a decent crafting system here, as used in the hunting mechanics of AC3 and Origins.

  • Faction Progression: Doing Daily Missions for your chosen faction should feel rewarding, and we could gain perks for our main characters within the modern world. Perhaps player titles (Grand Master), special apartments, or clothing, such as a unique hood for Assassins, or say, a face mask for Templars (à la Shay.) This is a prime opportunity to bring in Base Building, to upgrade your hub over time, or being able to recruit NPC assistants akin to the Brotherhood mechanics of the older AC games.

As with GTA Online, levelling here would open up varied customisation options in clothing, hairstyles, uniforms, and historical items for your virtual Helix avatars. To encourage crossover sales, perhaps we could unlock some exclusive items from the single player games to reward players who have been loyal to the franchise too.


The main storyline missions and co-op experience would be PVE (Player Versus Environment) driven. Continuing on from Unity's co-op example, we could introduce short narrative driven experiences that allow players to solo or team up with friends. This would be prime territory for fun team ups with cameo appearances from Assassins and Templars of older titles.

The party size of four used by Unity seems ideal. It also added specialisations such as melee, ranged, stealth etc, which are very much equivalent to class archetypes seen in many MMORPGs. I feel this system would work well in a persistent world, where everyone could have a set role within teams.

Full on Assassination missions could be generated, where you need to work together to eliminate a target. Or even Heists, where you undermine the operations of the opposing faction. This could be made into the equivalent of “MMO Raids”, with teams having to use precision teamwork to overcome difficult enemies and situations. You could also replay story missions on harder difficulty settings, perhaps with randomised elements or difficulty modifiers to keep you on your toes and keep the content feeling fresh. Unique gear and rewards could come from such activities.


Here is where the traditional multiplayer would return. You could reintroduce all the varied game modes of the previous four incarnations. But what about re-using some of the older mechanics for new modes? How about naval battles involving fleets of players? Horse carriage races? Parkour races? The possibilities are endless.
Fortunately, the franchise already has a large variety of mission types that could also work equally well in competitive faction based PVP within the free roam mode:

  • Escort missions - one faction attacks, one defends.
  • Area Control - Classic tower defence, with factions taking turns.
  • Stealing an artifact first - the fastest freerunners and most accurate jumpers would excel at these races.
  • Kill a Target - Both teams have to breach a fort. The first to defeat the guards, and eliminate its leader wins. (PVPVE)
  • Classic stealth multiplayer from previous games, with modes such as Wolfpack.
  • Something akin to Watch Dogs, where an opposing faction team can "invade" your free roam mode.
  • Or even a free for all arena deathmatch like the Dark Zone of The Division. Where anyone is free game.


The franchise previously tried to enrol the fanbase to “live” in the game world with the Initiates project, that ran until 2015. It was highly popular amongst the hardcore fans, as the level of lore immersion it allowed fans was truly memorable. We now we need to take this principle a step further and take a leap of faith into a living game world.

Ubisoft already has the platform and technology it needs to make an online persistent world a reality. It has already done so with The Division after all. It also has Ubisoft Club, which covers all gaming platforms and tracks stats and progress from the franchise's past - which could in turn benefit players going forwards as well as allowing for the social integration aspects to the game.

Setting everything in the Modern Day would ultimately allow us to use mobile phones and tablets to experience this universe outside of the game. Companion apps could actually expand the game universe properly, by allowing players to create groups with friends for content, guilds, or even contracts to hunt down other players for bounties. We would be able to communicate in the real world with other faction members via the app. We could also perhaps complete mini puzzles on our phone that reward aid for our faction, or even give XP to our account - for those times when you are stuck at work or college.

Using social media could also cheaply advertise the 'Secret War' and incentivize more players to join the online ranks. You could even expand the storyline by letting us track down and interact with characters from within the game world over these websites. (Imagine an Otso Berg Twitter account!) It would allow players to share their passion with their friends, as well as give Ubisoft their own advertising and promotion for the online component. Ubiworkshop could perhaps even stock exclusive items for the highest achieving players.


So how could Ubisoft arrange development? Well we already know they have the Montreal studio as the main development centre, so they could be responsible for the Modern Day setting and the overall story arcs. The secondary studios (such as Annecy, Toronto and Sofia) could be responsible for a map/timeline each, adding new ones over time - be they DLCs or expansions. Given the unpopularity of microtransactions, it would make sense for the expansions to be chargeable. Thus Ubisoft reaps the financial benefit, and players have the option of purchasing what maps and storylines they wish to play in. As Ubisoft could likely turn these around faster than the main narrative sequels, players would get engaging content faster periodically, and feel more invested and immersed as it would be YOUR character, and YOUR story going forwards.

With each main single player release, Ubisoft would have a new city/world that could be passed to the Multiplayer teams to convert to the Online game. With the persistent world this would keep things fresh. But as with GTA Online and Far Cry 5, if we could have our own content creation tools such as a map editor, we could make our own parkour challenges, shooting galleries, mini adventures, assassination black boxes, and all the while giving XP to players for their enjoyment and long term investment. It would certainly help foster creativity within the community, as well as confirming potential talent to Ubisoft. We could take it a step further and allow for certain mods as well, such as custom outfits. In the end, it is a way for the playerbase to ultimately extend the lifetime and variety to the game universe by their own hands. The Assassin's Creed team are clearly open to exploring this, as can be seen with the recently announced Animus Control Panel for Origins, that allows players to customise various aspects of the game to promote replayability.

Microtransactions would inevitably need to be added to help cover the running costs and long term development of such a persistent online multiplayer title. Special clothes, vehicles, timed exclusive maps, or in-game currency could be offered under these. At the end of the day, many fans are purchasing comics, books or movies to experience the franchise already. Those small purchases would simply be redirected back into the game world – the arena that most of the fanbase wants to experience the story of the franchise in anyway.


Having spent so many years within the Assassin's Creed universe, it now seems fitting for us all to come together and make our own customised stories within the franchise. With your own character vested into the series, you would no longer have to say goodbye to the main hero each time, and instead look forward to future adventures in your own storyline, as well as being able to play alongside your friends. The beauty of this is that new players could comfortably catch up with the story at their own pace, without having to purchase previous titles or varied transmedia stories. It would all be contained here, with each patch extending the story into the future.

This proposal in no way looks to replace the excellent single player narrative releases, but I firmly believe the franchise is strong enough to support a multiplayer spin-off title - especially one primarily set in the fanbase popular Modern Day setting of the franchise. Ubisoft is clearly leaning towards the living world path for their future titles. It was previously speculated that The Division and For Honor were technical test beds for future Assassin's Creed games, and I suppose there is some evidence pointing towards that - For Honor runs on AnvilNext for example with 4 v 4 PVP. As the flagship franchise for Ubisoft though, Assassin's Creed is now conspicuously absent from the living worlds that Ubisoft's IP catalogue offers, and the true live game service model of the future. I can't help but feel that it needs to get on board the bandwagon.

This concept would ultimately give a new home for both the Modern Day and Multiplayer, and combined with the creativity of the community I feel this is a concept that would be of interest to existing and new fans. It is time for Assassin's Creed to bring back and rebirth some of its most popular features, and for all of us to join in and be a literal part of its narrative future.

(Very special thanks to BrunoHM for helping me to visualise this concept with his excellent UI mockups!)

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