Today, Ubisoft showed off the first gameplay footage of its newest Assassin’s Creed game. Originally codenamed “Victory,” its final title is Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. The series is moving on from the bloody riots and political revolution of 18th century France to the seedy criminal underbelly of Victorian London.
Set in 1868, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate sees the Assassin Brotherhood on the verge of destruction by the Templars in London as the Industrial Revolution has made way for a new kind of tyrant: capitalism. Standing in the way of a total Templar takeover are two twins assassins, Jacob and Evie Frye. Unlike Assassin’s Creed Unity, which put a large emphasis on the story of Arno and Elise while only Arno was playable, Syndicate allows you to play as both of the twins. Ubisoft says that the characters’ personalities will contrast greatly, and “they both have very different ideas as to how to go about” their goal of freeing London.
The past few Assassin’s Creed games have put less of an emphasis on recruiting fellow members to help take control from the Templars, but Syndicate looks to bring this feature back in a big way. The debut gameplay video shows off a more dynamic system for recruiting help; instead of simply fending off attackers and then recruiting a candidate to join the Brotherhood, you can now partner with these allies immediately to take out the stronghold leader for a given area.
Although believability has never been at the center of the franchise, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is changing the formula to better match its Victorian London setting. Gone are the longswords and exposed knives at every Assassin’s side, instead replaced by small, concealed weapons, including the machete-like kukri knife and a classic six-shooter. This leads to a brutal, up-close-and-personal combat style reminiscent of the film Gangs of New York. In fact, several of the characters could pass for Bill the Butcher (check out those hats).
Where Assassin’s Creed III and later Black Flag brought naval combat as a major new gameplay component, Syndicate introduces several types of vehicles, including horse-drawn carriages and those newfangled trains. These will allow for high-speed chases and even mobile assassinations. Ubisoft hints that “you may find yourself racing down the length of London’s many trains as you take on your enemies.”
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the day is just how real Assassin’s Creed Syndicate looks. The game doesn’t look as amazing as the initial (somewhat misleading) reveal for Unity, but it does look like a game capable of performing as advertised. In addition, Ubisoft developers expressed their own disappointment with how last year’s game turned out, saying that they may have taken “too many risks” and expressing their frustrations with the bugs that plagued Unity. Whether or not that disappointment translates to a better sequel remains to be seen, so we’ll have to wait for Assassin Creed Syndicate’s October 23 launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the PC version following at a later date.