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Is Assassin’s Creed the new Call of Duty?

Which in turn is the new Madden.

“Well…we know one thing, these Assassin’s Creed games ain’t just gonna SNEAK up on ya – what? They ain’t Altaïr or Ezio that’s for sure lmbooo” (SchollA, CEO of Console ControllUs on Assassin’s Creed Series)

Oh Thee irony: The AC titles don’t have the same element of surprise like the characters that are portrayed in said games. With that said a lot of gamers seem genuinely excited about the new Assassins’s Creed,  Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag to be exact but is Assassin’s Creed the New Call of Duty?

I honestly thought AC wouldn’t last past two, maybe three games; partly because I didn’t know Ubisoft’s full intention with the game, meaning I thought it might just be a one off at the least, a triology at the most; partly because I didn’t think it would keep gamers interests. It just didn’t do it for me personally but 55 games later (joke) they’re trying, seemingly from what I can see to stay fresh. Ubisoft would actually be making history (if they’re pulling off quality) something Call of Duty couldn’t even do and that’s make a consistent product in the eyes of the public in that same time frame — a year, year after year.

I don’t have all 65 of the Assassin’s Creeds’ (wasn’t it 55 just a paragraph ago?) heck I only played the first — well I played a little of two too; don’t get me wrong the story did intrigue me somewhat  in the first one and I viewed it as a cool game but I had this feeling throughout that when I finish this it would be enough for me and I wouldn’t need another — and another for that matter. It’s just one of those games I felt if you played it once you’ll get everything you need out of it.

Why do I compare and ask this question, Assassin’s Creed is a 3rd person action game and Call of Duty is a FPS right? Well the obvious and simpler answer is that the comparison comes in the frequency in which Assassin’s Creed is outputted, which is now equal to that of Call of Duty’s output. When a typical games’ franchise turn around these days, which is actually considered fast averages 2 years, Assassin’s Creed moves with lightening speed. But an even deeper and more complicated answer is what can be described as the “milking effect” which can to shorten franchise game life spans faster than you can say ‘The Flash’, the other is the consistent quality or lack there of; is it possible to create consistently and significantly better product in just a year? Can you bring enough of a change to your franchise to warrant a release every year? (We’re talking games now).

Why these answers are more complicated is because first I can not personally vouch as far as quality is concerned for either game. I’m not a FPS guy and as I mentioned earlier I only really played the first AC. But even if I had played every game it still comes down to an opinion and perception. As far as “milking” that may be hard to prove as well but when you go to the cow so often especially if your product is not improving you will be subject to such things. So in short, one comparison is easy because it’s fact (frequency) and one comparison is complicated because it’s opinion (quality/milking).

Milk that Cow-l

After the initial 2 year gap AC started to go on a tear that would see releases every year:

  • Assassins Creed – 2007
  • Assassins Creed II – 2009
  • Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood – 2010
  • Assassin’s Creed Revelations – 2011
  • Assassin’s Creed III – 2012
  • Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag – 2013

6 franchise games in one generation!!! Normally with a franchise you’d be lucky if you get three and that’s not counting the several other spin-offs of AC games made on handhelds like the PS Vita and Nintendo DS.

And almost in scary irony Call of Duty’s road is the same starting with a two year gap also and then yearly every time after:

  • Call of Duty – 2003
  • Call of Duty 2 – 2005
  • Call of Duty 3 – 2006
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – 2007
  • Call of Duty: World at War – 2008
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – 2009
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops – 2010
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – 2011
  • Call of Duty Black Ops 2 – 2012

Call of Duty, “King milk-a-product” seems to  have served Assassin’s Creed the blueprint. I thought ‘Left 4 Dead’ was on that road until it made a left into oblivion. I ultimately hope that developers don’t take a ‘me too’ attitude toward their own games; next thing you know every developer is putting out annual games and giving a less than maximum effort. Now don’t misconstrue, if technology somehow advances in the speed it takes to get from point A to point B, a developer has wrote 10 games front to back and can match quality for quality with games that take their time I’m all for it, but then again you still run the risk of tiring out your franchise to quickly.

Like stated previously I don’t have extreme hands-on knowledge on either franchise, maybe you Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty Fans could shed more light about this “quality” question in the comments, but from what I followed on the AC situation overall, some games were praised by the majority, some games had mixed feelings, some games gamers didn’t like at all. From the outside looking in I thought the franchise hit it’s ceiling an interest was slowly being lost.

I do know AC  seems to be almost always nominated or “Winniiing” (in Charlie Sheen voice) Action/Adventure ‘Game of The Year’ via Spike and even on occasion nominated for “Game of The Year’ itself but whether it’s up or down gamers always seem to get re-excited about every new release. Call it genius marketing, call it top quality but what ever they’re doing seems to be working — hmm sounds familiar. Ah yes, Call of Duty but in COD’s case it seems to get hated every year there’s no ups with this franchise, well…their money is up.

It’s the same game rants very similar to what Madden gets crucified for but every year without fail gamers are in the stores. And even though I hear some gamers refer to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 as arguably the best in the series I still feel everyone’s waiting for everyone else to get off the train but no one will do it.

I found the below quotes interesting in Rockstar’s non-related response about their own game, Grand Theft Auto:

This was said by COO of Take-Two Interactive Karl Slatoff at the Wedbush Transformational Technologies Conference:

 “Often times people ask us ‘Why don’t you come out with Grand Theft Auto every two years?’ To us, that doesn’t make sense, because Grand Theft Auto, every single time it comes out, is a brand new experience. You can’t possibly do that in two years. And if we did that, our product would fatigue and the franchise would degrade from a value perspective.”

This goes along with Rockstar North’s comments made in Nov., by Leslie Benzies:

“We could easily have churned out a new version year after year without really progressing as a franchise, but if we did that, eventually the fans would lose interest.”

And look AC: Blackflag isn’t even released yet and now we may possibly have yet another? Assassin’s Creed: Rising Phoenix?

Is Assassin’s Creed the New Call of Duty? CCU wants to hear from you.


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One Comment

  1. This is a really good article, and you bring up some really good points. I’ve never really taken the time to get into Assassin’s Creed – despite wanting to, but I have been a Call of Duty fan since Modern Warfare 4. I admit that while I do enjoy the Call of Duty games, I just always feel like its the same thing every year with just new weapons and better graphics. The Pick 10 system is pretty cool, but when I think about other games like Battlefield – where you can drive vehicles and fly aircraft – it just seems disappointing. But I doubt their formula will change anytime soon, especially since so many people buy their game. I’m looking to switch shooters to something different like Battlefield 4 when that comes out or something different. I couldn’t really get into Battlefield 3.

    Regardless, I would say that a year is probably not enough time to develop a game. It does depend, though. I just feel like one year isn’t enough time to think of new ideas or great new innovations to make the game feel fresh, if it’s some type of sequel. I believe Dragon Age 2 was released about a year and a half after Origins, and that game took a lot of hits. I mostly enjoyed it, but it did feel like it was rushed and very repetitive. But RPGs should take a while to make, since they are usually deep by nature. At least two years, maybe. I think companies sometimes dig themselves holes by setting release dates, and they may end up rushing their product out unfinished and to be patched later. I believe we could enjoy more fulfilling games if companies were allowed to just take their time and finish the game whenever THEY feel it is adequate.

    I hope I didn’t write too much 😀

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