A Non-White Protagonist
Though Assassin’s Creed is far more culturally diverse than most game series could ever hope to be, it is becoming more and more focused on Western culture, and America in particular. In a game franchise with so many possibilities and almost no limits to the kind of historical narratives it can explore, this is really a shame. As a very successful franchise, it’s a shame that they’re moving away from showing heroes who are unconventional in the video game industry, considering how helpful this could be in getting the industry to open its doors to more culturally diverse stories. Even with such great characters as Connor and Aveline, whose stories are excellent, we are still only experiencing western identities and histories. Ubisoft could branch out still farther and explore the lives of non-western characters whose stories would be just as interesting.
Set Somewhere in Asia
However, my personal hope is for Japan, China, or India. Each country had a stunning civilization well before the modern European powers even existed, each of which would easily provide enough intrigue for at least one game. Imagine a game set in India right in the middle of the rule of Alexander the Great, or at the height of medieval Japan. Not to mention that if they want to make full use of all the work they put into pirate ship mechanics for Black Flag, China’s and India’s heavy involvement in piracy would make them excellent choices for a future game. In fact, the purported best pirate in history was a Chinese woman.
Which brings me to my next point...
A Female Protagonist
For one thing, a female assassin in a historical setting would naturally be at a disadvantage to a male assassin. She would have less status in most situations. She would have to use different tactics to get close to enemies and to solve her problems, which would make for interesting changes to gameplay. Although, if there is more than one mission that requires seducing a target, I might get a bit cranky. That’s only one trick, and we’ve seen that each protagonist thus far has several up his respective sleeve. Any female assassin should naturally have her fair share of talents that are not focused on her sexual appeal.
More Focused Mechanics
And then you have mechanics like piloting a pirate ship, which they clearly put a lot of effort into perfecting. The ship mechanics in Black Flag are challenging and fun, and they are clearly important to the feel of the game. The development team has definitely been getting better at this, but I would like to see them do even more to narrow their focus to the few cool ideas they think they can do really well rather than just trying to fit in every good idea they come up with. Perhaps the games would be a bit shorter, but they would also be far richer experiences overall.
There are some collectible missions that I do like, such as the Subject 16 glyphs. The ones I like add more to the game than an item reward. For instance, the Subject 16 glyphs unlocked a video which told a story related to the revelation at the end of the game. They were actually pretty important to decipher, but their importance is lost among the feathers and treasure chests you have to collect just so you can get some extra florins.
The Return of Assassin Trainees
Whether you would get to choose which assassin you play for any given mission, or that was chosen for you, you would be exposed to a dynamic the franchise hasn’t yet explored. Though each assassin does have allies, they tend to be lone wolves when it comes to actually getting the job done. This would be a different take on the way the Assassin Order can work – after all, some jobs take more than one man.
The Inception of the Order
We would also be playing in an era without many of the technologies the previous games have featured. Would there even be a hidden blade? Maybe not. Maybe we would witness the invention of the Assassin Order’s most infamous weapon. The possibilities are staggering, and I’m sure Ubisoft could rise to the challenge.