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Why Is Ubisoft Throwing Assassin’s Creed The Worst Birthday Party Ever?

Have you ever been to a party where you were expecting to have a great time, but for one reason or another, the evening got away from you and all you wanted to do was go home and sleep? Maybe it was a different scene to the one you expected: too young, too old, too high brow, too low brow. Maybe the music was bad, or it wasn’t an open bar as promised, or the buffet was all salad and pastries you didn’t really understand. Maybe someone brought their partner and they ruined everything. Maybe your social battery just died in the middle of it and you wanted to leave. Anyway, that’s how I feel about the Assassin’s Creed 15th anniversary celebrations.

I’ve fallen out of love with the bigger Assassin’s Creeds of late, but I can still recognise that in a crowded field of bloated, focus-group tested, just three more hours daddy triple-A adventures, Assassin’s Creed is one of the better ones. I find it easier to love than Far Cry, Ubisoft’s other major title in this field designed with similar principles. The older Assassin’s Creed games though, the ones I’d expect to be celebrated in a look back on the series’ history, are some of my favourites. AC2, Black Flag, and even Syndicate all have a special place in my heart. I’ve written about my love for its underrated multiplayer mode, and it’s one of the defining series of the era when I first fell in love with gaming. Assassin’s Creed is great, but it throws a pretty shit birthday party.

First off, I want to know who asked for this? Your 15th anniversary is not necessarily a major milestone. It’s a round number, and celebrating it makes more sense than your 12th or 17th, but it doesn’t have the magnitude of the tenth. After that, it’s really the 25th anniversary that feels major, although Nintendo has let a few of its iconic series’ 25th birthdays slip by without a peep, so maybe not. The point is, no one would begrudge Ubisoft celebrating the 15th anniversary of one of its best loved series, but at the same time, nobody would have demanded one if Ubisoft hadn’t bothered. It’s not like the publisher could be accused of forgetting Assassin’s Creed; Valhalla had a major launch in 2020 and has continued to be supported since then, while word on the next game is expected in September, if it doesn’t make an appearance at Gamescom in the meantime.

Assassin’s Creed is in a good place right now, so much so that even with nothing to say, Ubisoft crashed Summer Game Fest to fill some empty air by playing an Assassin’s Creed Origins patch that was by then already out in the wild. Just a shame about the terrible birthday party.

This has been an awful month for Assassin’s Creed. Assassin’s Creed Liberation, the spin-off title and the first game with a playable female assassin, will be delisted from Steam in September. Even if you own the game (say, for example, you recently bought it in the Steam Summer sale in which it was listed), you won’t be able to play it anymore. There are four other games which have been impacted by Ubisoft’s attempt to kill the guest of honour at its own birthday party: DLC, multiplayer, and Ubisoft account links have been disabled for Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood, Revelations, and 3. That’s not just the inability to buy DLC, it will become inaccessible. The Assassin’s Creed Mentor’s Guild has also been shut down, which is smaller but still a very strange thing to do in a month of celebrations.

This could all be in preparation for Assassin’s Creed Infinity, a live-service game that Ubisoft either can’t or won’t describe yet, only confirming its existence in the most muted terms after it was leaked. If Infinity was announced first though, it might at least soften the blow, as well as making for a pretty great way to celebrate the series. Now we’re left hoping the two are connected, despite having no real proof that they are related at all.

There is a roadmap for the celebrations, but it doesn’t make much sense. Valhalla and Odyssey were ‘celebrated’ in June, wherein Odyssey received a graphics patch and Valhalla had a tiny roguelike add-on. Odyssey is apparently in for more celebration in July, as are Origins, Syndicate, Unity, and Rogue. Black Flag is due a celebration in August, but then things get really interesting. 3, Revelations, Brotherhood, and 2, which just had several features needlessly ripped away from them, are due a slice of birthday cake in August as well. In fact, Assassin’s Creed 2 is getting such a big slice the celebrations will go into September, where it will be joined by the very first game in the series. Quite how these games can be celebrated in any meaningful way after having several features ripped away from them is anyone’s guess. They could get the DLC back, I guess.

Much like the Ubisoft Forward being announced months in advance of it happening, the idea that it would try to kill off its old classics in the middle of a four-month long celebration of them feels like typical Ubisoft. The Rabbids have taken over the asylum. Happy 15th birthday, Assassin’s Creed.

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