Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Infinity project will introduce a live service style to the franchise, which is better than the current microtransactions.
Ubisoft officially announced the newest installment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, known by the codename Assassin’s Creed Infinity. This game will be veering away from the DLC style that the series has previously utilized, and instead adapt a live-service style of development. While certain forms of live-service development have made their way into the franchise in the form of daily challenges or timed events, this is the first full commitment of an Assassin’s Creed game. Understandably, some fans are worried about the effect this might have on their wallets, but a live-service game may be better than the current microtransaction practice in place now.
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In recent releases of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the fanbase has been quite vocal about the microtransactions present in Assassin’s Creed games. Sometimes, these microtransactions couldn’t even be described as ‘micro’, with prices stretching into the twenty-dollar (U.S.) range or more – a third of the total price of the base price for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Purchases of microtransaction items could be as simple as optional cosmetics, but other purchases offered game-altering upgrades and competitive advantages online. With luck, Ubisoft’s implementation of a live service development style will prove a better option than locking so much behind a paywall.
Seeing as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla both contained microtransactions with varying prices and usability in-game, it’s unlikely that Ubisoft will ever fully remove microtransactions from the Assassin’s Creed IP. Microtransactions are an expected part of live-service games, but the content offered by those live-service microtransactions are structured in a way that treats the player base fairly (whether or not they ultimately engage in such transactions). Many MMOs have incorporated a subscription-based service that gives players access to increased experience gains, unlocked abilities, and (in some cases) premium currency. By utilizing the live service structure properly, Ubisoft could better reward their player base with content and in-game loot worth its price tag.
Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Infinity Has Important Choices To Make
It remains to be seen exactly which of the general financial models Ubisoft will pursue for Assassin’s Creed Infinity. Games such as Apex Legends are completely free, with players able to access all features of the game with enough game time, but with microtransactions able to accelerate the process and purchase the Battle Pass. However, other games such as Destiny 2 have adapted a much more aggressive form of live service game. Destiny 2 launched with a required initial purchase of sixty dollars, the usual price for AAA games in the market, but upon moving to a live service format, the purchase of Destiny 2’s Season Pass is required to access most new content. Each of these systems have their appeals and drawbacks, but with luck Ubisoft will learn from the mistakes of other games and depend less on microtransactions with Infinity.
Microtransactions have become an inevitability in many AAA franchises, even going so far as to ruin a game’s reputation at launch (Battlefront 2, FIFA, NHL, etc.). The prices have only continued to climb, especially with the latest Assassin’s Creed microtransactions for Valhalla’s armor sets. Implementing a live-service structure into Assassin’s Creed opens several doors for Ubisoft and its players. Similar to Elder Scroll Online’s recent Blackwood release and current gameplay structure, allowing players to pick and choose what content to invest in would give more freedom and direction for the game without locking free-to-play players out of the equation completely.
While many details still remain unknown about Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Infinity project, its live-service development system has already introduced some serious changes to a franchise that often felt set in its ways. The shift will almost certainly upend some traditions in the series, though whether this will result in a return to the franchise’s roots or a further departure from stealth parkour has yet to be seen. Assassin’s Creed Infinity is still very early in development, and is not expected to see release for several more years.
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