Why Assassin's Creed is like Star Trek, according to the man who makes the games.
At a Ubisoft press event yesterday, Assassin's Creed 3 creative lead Alex Hutchinson described the story of the franchise's modern-day protagonist, Desmond Miles, as a wrapper. A wrapper, he said, that ultimately needs to end.
"It's more like The Twilight Zone. There's always a guy introducing it and he's there every episode, but each game completes its own story. Assassin's Creed 1 was Altair's story. Ezio has been and gone. You can engage with these historical stories individually without having to necessarily understand Desmond's story. But yes, we eventually do have to wrap it up."
So what happens to Desmond's wrapper-like narrative?
"I think what you do is you finish it," said Hutchinson. "It's not the only conceit you can use. There's other ways you can frame the experience. I always pitched it to the guys on this game to think of it almost like Star Trek. Each game is a season [...] each big number is a sub-title. We're not changing the universe, but we're being given the reins to the equivalent of [Star Trek:] The Next Generation. Yes, it's the Star Trek universe, and that has certain immutable laws and there's a base kind of tone to it, but within that you can do whatever you want."
Hutchinson said Assassin's Creed 3 is as close to a new IP as you can get, noting the new character, period, story, setting, and mechanics. The only thing that remains, he said, is Desmond.
"Without the Desmond," said Hutchinson, "we could have called it anything else, and people would have said okay. It's just we like the wrapper of being an assassin and being in this continuing war against Templars. There's huge value in that. But [Assassin's Creed 3] is 90% a new game."
Does Hutchinson think Desmond needs to die?
"I think Desmond needs to end," he said. "At some point. You know what I mean? Things that go on too long lack resonance. We're asking people to remember seven years' worth of story. Which is like saying you were in junior high and now you're finishing college. And you need to remember what you were doing in junior high."
Ubisoft has already begun work on a Desmond-free Assassin's Creed. Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation for the PlayStation Vita stars a female assassin not related to Desmond Miles, and will release on the same day as its console sibling.