Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Ubisoft Delivers an Apology and a Promise to do Better


If you were one of the near 20,000 people who tuned into the worldwide reveal of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate this morning you likely approached it with a healthy dose of skepticism. It’s no secret that Assassin’s Creed Unity received a strong backlash from fans due to its many bugs, horrible framerate issues and seemingly rushed final package. Updates and patches fixed many of the initial problems but to many it was too little, too late and the damage to the Assassin’s Creed franchise was done. That’s why, when Ubisoft opened up the AC Sydicate reveal with what was essentially an apology (they didn’t directly say sorry but they fully acknowledged they don’t want to make the same mistakes again) I thought to myself “Wow, perhaps they really did learn a lesson here. Perhaps there’s some hope after all!”

Ubisoft knows it can’t afford another Unity in this franchise and from what we saw in the reveal today not only did they acknowledge their screw up, they showed us how they’re evolving the series to freshen it up as well. A little humility can go a long way so telling fans that you know you messed up was the right angle to take. Now, just acknowledging the mistake won’t be enough. Ubisoft Quebec, and the nine other Ubisoft studios working on the project, will have to deliver lest this be the final nail in the coffin for what was once a great series.


“Ubisoft knows it can’t afford another Unity in this franchise and from what we saw in the reveal today not only did they acknowledge their screw up, they showed us how they’re evolving the series to freshen it up as well.”

This instalment takes place in the hustle and bustle of London during the Industrial Revolution in the year 1868 and you are Jacob Frye. Jacob is hot-headed and quick to throw a punch and just happens to be a leader of one of London’s most brutal underground street gangs. Along with his sister Evie, the more level headed and stealthy one of the pair, you will guide him on a journey to take back the streets of London from rival gangs and Templars (obviously) to free the city of its corruption and its citizens from poverty.

Your new assassin, Jacob Frye

First thing that was noticeable in the reveal was the new weapons at your disposal. Gone are the long swords of old in favour of more hidden weapons. As was stated by creative director Marc-Alexis Côté during the presentation “Carrying around a sword at your hip in this era would get you arrested” so Jacob was wielding a kukri, a rather large, curved dagger looking something like a mini scimitar. As well he sported a revolver and a mean pair of brass knuckles. It’s easy enough to tell that while stealth will always remain a huge part of Assassin’s Creed they are also opening the game up to fast-paced and bloody brawling. The last piece of equipment featured was the Assassin’s Gauntlet which deployed a rope for quick escape to the rooftops. In one sequence it was even used to set up a zip line for Jacob to fly across just before dropping off midway to take out an opponent. The addition of environmental attacks, such as dropping barrels from above on to unsuspecting victims, is also something to look forward to.

Through some pre-rendered in-engine footage as well as some pre-alpha gameplay we were shown the city of London. It’s gritty, it’s dirty and it’s busy. Vehicles of the era and horse drawn carriages litter the streets. The visions of progress are everywhere as you saw buildings under construction, steam locomotives and more. The setting is decidedly different and more modern than anything we’ve seen so far in the franchise. With this progress comes new ways to play the game too as one scene saw Jacob commandeering a carriage to chase a rival Templar gang leader through the streets. While all of this looks great in early footage though, as we mentioned before, if the final product doesn’t deliver then who knows whether or not this franchise will have what it takes to continue on much further.

An interesting item to note is that the press email sent to media after the live reveal stated clearly that “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is an epic single player experience” so perhaps part of streamlining the game and making it everything that Ubisoft wants it to be involves dropping unneeded bells and whistles for what made the series great in the first place. This is of course just speculation on our part but clearly stating that it is single player would point to the fact that multiplayer might fall by the wayside here. On a personal note I can’t say that disappoints me as the largest chunk of my playtime in any AC game has been on a solo run.

As a long time fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, like many of you reading this are I’m sure, I want to have hope that the series can return to greatness. I want to see these innovations and fresh gameplay add up to an experience I’ll remember… and I want people to have their faces when I play it. October 23, 2015 will see the release of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate to the masses and the judgement will come. In the meantime I’m going to bask in the light of hopeful optimism that even a huge publisher can learn from their mistakes and resurrect this once great series from the ashes of its last failed game.