Whenever I think of an Ubisoft RPG, the first thing that comes into my head is "Those games are too goddamn big." It seems I'm not the only one who shares that sentiment, and the developer is all too aware that people are starting to get a little burned out on gigantic open worlds.
It's a relief, then, that Assassin's Creed Mirage is going to be doing a bit of downscaling. Speaking to GamesRadar, creative director Stéphane Boudon says the community has been at the forefront of shaping the latest entry in the series. "Origins, Odyssey, Valhalla, they are all great games with the promise to live an epic journey in a strong fantasy," he said. "Their scopes have been calibrated to fulfil those ambitions as they all embrace the RPG mechanics.
"But amongst our fans, we started hearing the desire for a character-driven story, focused on the core pillars of the first ACs on a more intimate scale. It resonates with us as well as developers and this was the starting point of the project."
Taking what made the older, smaller Assassin's Creed games work so wonderfully and applying it to modern development sounds like an exciting prospect. Game length is an ever-evolving conversation, and time to dedicate to a single game in the face of live-service offerings and adult life seems to lessen every year. It can also be difficult to remember just how much shorter the older Assassin's Creed games were compared to their modern siblings. Take Assassin's Creed 2 for example, which clocks in at around 35 hours for a completionist run according to HowLongToBeat. Valhalla on the other hand takes 104 hours more than that, around 139 hours for a complete run. That's before the DLC too, mind you.
It sounds like Ubisoft may not be totally ready to cast away all the gubbins that have become so synonymous with its RPGs yet, however, with Boudon caveating that Mirage will "have a richer and denser map compared to the first ACs," along with "more gameplay opportunities, more interactions between systems, and more depth." But hopefully the more intimate scale will make Mirage feel less overwhelming.
"With its more condensed scope and clear focus on Basim and his coming-of-age story, our main goal with Mirage is to provide a total immersion in 9th Century Baghdad," Boudon concluded. "And the key events of the time for the Hidden Ones. We wanted this game to be a standalone that everyone could enjoy."
With Ubisoft recently canning a slate of games, once again delaying Skull & Bones and seeing its share price plummet, Assassin's Creed Mirage has gotta be good. It likely won't be the developer's last opportunity to push out a hit game, but I can't help but get the feeling that the clock is ticking.