Assassin's Creed

Preview: Ubisoft Details Assassin’s Creed Nexus, Mirage, And Jade

Last week, Ubisoft gave me an early look at several new iterations under the Assassin’s Creed flag.

The event included a first look at a new VR experience for the Meta Quest titled Assassin’s Creed Nexus, an update on Assassin’s Creed Jade, and finally, a deeper gameplay dive into Assassin’s Creed Mirage.

For information about The Crew Motorfest, you can read this article, and everything can be found here for the new mobile game The Division: Resurgence. 

Assassin’s Creed Nexus

As Assassin’s Creed‘s first step into VR, Assassin’s Creed Nexus puts us into the body of three fan-favourite master assassins: Ezio Auditore, Kassandra and Connor Kenway; all three characters flesh out the single-player campaign. 

Your ultimate goal will be to travel through your memories in order to counter Abstergo and prevent the company from recovering parts of a brand-new control device. 

You can, therefore, perform assassinations with the hidden blade, parkour across rooftops and obstacles, engage in hand-to-hand combat and feel like an Assassin.

“Assassin’s Creed Nexus has been developed to ensure that it faithfully reflects the actions and abilities of a Master Assassin to give the player a sense of power,” says David Votypka, creative director on Nexus.

Of course, years of development have also allowed Ubisoft to develop an experience that is both comfortable for people who have difficulty with virtual environments, including teleportation that also includes versions for climbing and parkour, a vignetting system to block peripheral vision as well as tools, such as static reference points, to help players with fear of heights and dizziness. 

“We are proud to offer a real action game that can accommodate players with all kinds of sensibilities in virtual reality,” continues Votypka.

As a new character in the present-day story, you’ll need to become the three iconic characters and help them through new stories from their periods. The ultimate goal is to stop Abstergo from collecting all the pieces of a new control device scattered across time and lost. 

Sadly, there’s no mention of Nexus launching for PlayStation VR2, but I’d like to see it as a timed exclusive.

Assassin’s Creed Jade

Ubisoft is making the jump to mobile gaming even more intensely as The Division Resurgence and now Assassin’s Creed Jade.

Assassin’s Creed’s first outing on mobile devices in harnessing Unreal Engine 4 to bring beautiful and vast near-console-quality environments and character models to the tile. 

Assassin’s Creed Jade brings the franchise’s recent RPG character customization to a whole new level with the ability to customize your male or female assassin in almost every detail. Something mobile titles excel at. 

The story takes place in ancient China in 300 B.C. when the Qin dynasty unified China, secured the Western trade routes, and began constructing the Great Wall. It is, therefore, a story set between Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed Origins. 

As a disciple studying the art of assassination, you will have to uncover the mysteries of the Qin dynasty by learning the Way of the Xia.

According to development team members, the thing that has given them the most pause during production is bringing Assassin’s Creed’s range of controller inputs to a touchscreen layout. It’s something they’ve leaned hard on their studios with more mobile experience to perfect. But they are saying that the experience works. That will be something I’ll judge in the beta. I am interested to see if they will add layouts to accommodate the many phone peripheral controllers available or console controllers, and what sorts of options there will be for adapting touchscreen modes. 

Assassin’s Creed Mirage

Ubisoft previewed gameplay for Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Fifteen years into the franchise’s life, it has undergone many changes. And while things like character customization mentioned above are great, some changes have taken us away from what made the adventures of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad and the game it made up one that has crossed generations of gaming.

For some players, the stories of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, Ezio Auditore and Connor Kenway were great moments, and on the side of the team behind Mirage, this return to the roots challenges them the most.

Under the development of Ubisoft Bordeaux, founded in 2017, Assassin’s Creed Mirage team is also supported by 11 other studios, including those in Montreal and Quebec, totalling more than 500 developers worldwide working on this project.

“Our goal was to pay homage to the first Assassin’s Creed game, returning to what it means to be an Assassin. So we worked on the most important basics, being Parkour, Camouflage and Assassinations that we, as fans of the franchise for many years, would like to play,” says Benjamin Potts, Animation Director.

The team studied past games to pick the elements that would make the kind of game they want to play, but they’ve also paired that with new elements following three key tenants that make that game: parkour, stealth, and assassinations.

Parkour is balanced in terms of making parkour easier to master. 9th Century Baghdad is smaller and packed with more objects to help you keep parkour lines flowing. The experience is defined as being closer to the Ezio games with a focus on verticality, helping you get from the streets to the roofs faster. Vaulting and corner swings are back to help you keep the flow going. Elevators are back to help you reach roofs faster. However, there are also new elements, such as the pole vault, which lets Basim travel from one high ground point to another at a great distance.

While the Assassins of the post-revival era have practiced stealth, combat has been an option extended to players through the various RPG skill trees in each game. Assassin’s Creed Mirage attempts to flip this back to the more stealth-based dispositions of the pre-revival cast. But the devs are giving you back some of your favourite tools for stealth, such as benches, rooftop gardens and my personal favourite: social groups of citizens that can be bribed to keep you hidden while moving.

Enemy AI is also now more responsive and can do things like to shoot your eagle down if they see it, which I saw demonstrated. It caused Basim to have to take out an archer before he could call his eagle back in to spot the target for killing. 

Finally, assassinations have been beefed up, and today’s gameplay demo shows that the team has improved fluidity to overall takedowns as well This could be considers controversial, but I loved the way Assassin’s Creed Syndicate offered so many different ways to string together tips you got and tricks you had at your disposal to put together the perfect assassination on your terms. Today’s demo shows that as Basim first calls upon his eagle and is forced to use horizontal and vertical traversal before killing the marksmen so he can call in his eagle. Seeing the new-ish teleportation multi-assassination is a great example of the idea that Basim is mean to choose stealth over combat. And finally, that drop into your kill and using tools to make your way into the crowd and to safety is the kind of meat we used to dine on in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It looks like Ubisoft is serving death up hot again!