Assassin’s Creed: Unity has become synonymous with wasted potential. While there’s so much to love about the eighth major installment in the acclaimed Ubisoft series, it was sadly hampered by game-breaking bugs and glitches that made things nearly unplayable when it debuted in 2014. was a reputation the game could never quite recover from, a crying shame considering that, when running properly, Unity is an extremely pleasant experience.
Some highlights of the series are found in the mythology of the French Revolution. Many consider Unity to be the unsurpassed peak of Assassin’s Creedthe mechanics of parkour, while the atmosphere and ambience of 18th century Paris create a setting as brutal as it is beautiful. Unity also hinted at expert storytelling, which finds its greatest effect in the game’s outstanding prologue: The Tragedy of Jacques de Molay.
Before becoming involved in the adventures of Arno the Assassin and his quest to clear his name and end the influence of the Templars in France, they are entitled to perhaps the best opening of all Assassin’s Creed game ever. Players are thrust into action as an advisor to Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay, who is tasked with protecting the temple’s Sword of Eden and the Order’s central codex. Set in early 14th century Paris as the Order of the Knights Templar seems to be coming to an end, it’s a welcome return to such an evocative period in history not seen in the series since the flashbacks of ‘Altair in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
The counselor ultimately fails after being killed by an assassin, while Jacques is later burned at the stake for heresy by order of King Philip IV of France. The historical reasons for this are fascinating: Philip was concerned with the growth of power and wealth of the Order of the Templars and sought to refocus power by essentially disbanding the Templars and returning control to the Crown. Mixing real-life events with historical fantasy is something Ubisoft’s massive franchise has excelled at, and a chance to see the role the Assassins play in the downfall of Jacques and the Templars leading to his arrest would be a story. captivating.
This era is one that longtime fans want the series to revisit. A game that incorporated the history of the Knights Templar from their perspective – perhaps from the end of the Crusades leading to the ultimate dissolution of the Order – would offer a new perspective on the story of the first game. The medieval period was vastly underutilized by Ubisoft, with only the original and the 202 Valhalla focused exclusively on the Middle Ages. A new game stretching from the Holy Land to Europe wouldn’t be impossible and could be a good fit for the next one Assassin’s Creed: Infiniteits structure.
It also functions as an extremely important moment in the Assassin’s Creed chronology. With the Order of the Templars seemingly destroyed on the orders of King Philip IV, this signifies the time when it is driven underground to become, much like the Assassins themselves, an underground brotherhood working in the shadows. On the contrary, it would be the first chance to play properly as a Templar since Assassin’s Creed: Thief put players in the shoes of Shay Cormac. Another chance to see things from the other side of the fence would surely be a welcome change.
In the end, it would be another chance for Assassin’s Creed to show some of the maturity he often alluded to but shunned. Recognizing that the Templar Order may be more than just a villainous cult always at odds with the ever-virtuous Assassins, Ubisoft is fortunate to deliver a game with real narrative texture and weight. Desmond and the other 21st Century Assassins hint that their own order is not without fault, while Thug gave Shay a justifiable reason to be pushed back by the actions of his own community. Telling the other side of the story is, after all, vital to our understanding of the story and the series’ central Templar/Assassin conflict.
The first one Assassin’s Creed isn’t the pinnacle of the series, surpassed by more enjoyable titles like black flag and well-rounded adventures like Assassin’s Creed II. What the first game gave players, however, was one of the game’s most immersive and compelling settings, which established the central tension of the series’ entire grand narrative. While subsequent installments either lost focus on this central Assassins vs. Templars dichotomy, or set it up unconvincingly elsewhere, an expansion of UnityThe prologue would be an opportunity to dive back into a fascinating period of history with a whole new point of view.