We have only gotten a two-second kick and a title, as well as a bunch of leaks, and lastly, the recent PS4 screw up which leaked a cover art as well as a description. I agree that it’s still yet not much to go on or to judge. Would definitely need to wait for E3 for some legitimate clarity. Now...
Let me explain why there’s a lot of heat. This is mostly coming from longtime fans of the franchise who have grown with legends like Altair, Ezio, and dare I say it, even Desmond. Just bear with me. The first five games really focused on philosophy of the brotherhood’s creed, as well as the one for the Templar order. These 5 games featured an overarching narrative that had real incentive and story progression throughout, as well as references to one another. (Think MCU)
The key here is that the REAL story of the series, IS the Modern Day. There wouldn’t be a series without it. Modern-day characters, being plugged into machines that can relive the memories of an ancestor's past, for the sake of benefiting the present, quite literally is what the AC series is about. (Or was*, initially) Whether it be to witness an event, to locate a piece of Eden, or correct false present inaccurate history. The Modern Day story is the only story that is being progressed. The one that can yet change and deliver surprises, outcomes, and hopefully an end, an epic finale. The past however, is already long gone and cannot be changed. This isn’t time travel, nor can you change anything. The Modern Day aspect also brought a purpose and incentive to reliving such ancient times and their ancestors from the Animus machines. Clear? Moving on...
Now about where the heat begins. After AC3, the series’ story ark halted in regards to progression. AC4 to ACS all felt like random simulators. There was no incentive or purpose whatsoever. Sure exploring an ancient setting is fun, but over time you realize there’s no reason for you to be there. The nice fresh feel of the setting eventually wears off and now you’re back to wanting the story, the characters, the progression. More importantly, this series’ foundation was built on 3 things. Past, Present, and ISU (The first civilization). Fans have been eagerly waiting to find out what will happen in regards to the story. What’s going to happen with the ISU (ie Juno). Recent games however, have lacked in Present Day and ISU. In fact, from what we’ve heard, they’ve completely moved the overarching narrative that began in AC1 and last seen in ACS, to comics. (Think back to MCU: Imagine watching all those 17 movies leading to Avengers infinity war, only to find out its set in a damn comic). That’s where the major part of the problem lies. Old school fans feel cheated and left for dead. What was the point of hyping up the story in the last 10 years only to scrap it and throw it into a comic?
Now the current issue is fatigue. As I’ve said, since AC3, there hasn’t been any proper form of thorough and elaborate story progression. In fact, all the games after that felt like simulations, for the sake of simulations. The focus wasn’t on the story anymore, but random timepieces. As much as fun that may be to some, ultimately they all left an empty feeling and a bad aftertaste because despite throwing hundreds of hours in, they felt they didn’t progress whatsoever. In fact, it’s not just the Modern Day story progression, but many of the elements of the first 5 games are drastically missed, such as the philosophical views of the opposing sides, the interaction with ISU, the stealth assassin element, tombs and puzzles, cool unlockables, money management, etc. Even the atmosphere and music scores started to become more and more generic.
So naturally; when Origins was announced, many old fans were hyped to witness the origin of everything. Perhaps it would include the origin between the opposing sides? Perhaps the first interaction with the ISU? Maybe that’s what the Egyptians considered Gods? Maybe they built the pyramids for advanced technology? I can go on and on from what the theories were. But when Origins arrived, it wasn’t anything that the old fans expected. Despite being an incredible game, fresh, beautiful, and well, very different, the game itself was lacklustre once again in terms of progression. And most of the theories were thrown to the trash. They expected bigger turnouts. Bigger explanations. Yet, it turned out to be a personal story of a man who lost something dear to him and then naturally through revenge, built a group of fighters, formally known as The Hidden Ones, which assumably became the Assassins’ Creed over time as they became smarter and more advanced. That said, a lot of Origin opportunities were missed, such as the 3 tenants of the creed, origin of hidden blade reference, parkour, etc. Also, there was no mention of ISU. Massive let down. There was however, an attempt of recorded messages directed to Layla, from the ISU (or future).
That said, the Modern Day, despite being back, was random and once again, didn’t contribute to the story as before. Layla, the new protagonist didn’t have much character development, nor was there really anything going on. All the old elements that were missed still didn’t return, and to make things worse, instead actually removed some, such as parkour, social stealth, etc... but considering this was supposedly the ORIGIN, many dismissed it as that. Assuming the Assassins became more advanced in their training for the years and ages to come.
So most of the fans have been waiting for a game to follow up to Origins, now possibly getting back into the Creed of things. With the focus perhaps back on stealth, instead of combat. Tombs, puzzles, references, ISU, and above all, the story progression will return; right? Well...
That’s where Odyssey comes in. From what we DO know of the few sources I’ve listed above, it’s set before Origins. So naturally, a lot are upset that this would most likely mean, now there’s, even more, LESS Creed aspect than before. Is that a problem? See, games like Black Flag and Origins, were excellent games, but they each could’ve been as a stand-alone project. Black flag felt more like a pirate game, while Origins felt like a warrior game. The fans miss the Assassins and Templars. They miss the Creed element, the philosophy of it. They also miss the story progression. So now we’re told that it will be yet another random spartan odyssey within the AC universe... you can see where the frustration kicks in?
Of course, that said, there are now speculations. Some assume this will be the origin story of the Templar order, whether they be called Order of the ancients or cultists. Some assume the first ISU interaction? Who knows. Now we can only pray that there’s a reason for this randomness– offers incentive and purpose–to follow such a Spartan’s tale. That said, the game once again doesn’t sound like an AC game. And that my friends, is where the heat is coming from. From the old school fans who have been here for 10 years, waiting for 6 now for the feel they fell in love with before.
PS: Where the heck will choices come in? Considering this is the past, it would literally break the canon of the series. We cannot change the past, only observe it. No amount of hacks to a machine that was designed for memory simulation can change that. If anyone of anything can change or alter time, would have to be the ISU. So who knows?
Thanks for the read,
I hope this will join the newcomers to the understanding of the old. For now, all we can do is wait for the E3 reveal.