View Full Version : Augmented Reality - What could it bring to the Assassin's Creed franchise?

07-20-2016, 10:45 PM

Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.

- Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality)

In the recent weeks you may have heard of a little game called Pokémon Go. The title has taken the world by storm, by applying a tried and tested game formula to modern consumer technology - namely the cameras of mobile devices. This augmented reality title lets you see and capture creatures, by looking at the world through your camera. Of course, the creatures are not present in the real world, but the level of immersion this can add for gamers has proven to be profoundly popular.

It is little wonder then that the gaming industry looks upon the title with great envy, given its huge success thus far. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot was even questioned about the title at this week's company sales call;

"We are very impressed by what Nintendo has been able to achieve," Ubisoft's co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot said during the company's first quarter sales call today when asked about the success of Niantic Labs' Pokémon Go.

In regard to Pokémon Go, Guillemot was also asked whether Ubisoft had anything in the works akin to the app or specifically using augmented reality. While Guillemot did say Ubisoft is working on "a product using AR" on the way, it's something he made clear is "not exactly that kind" of game Pokémon Go is.

- IGN (http://uk.ign.com/articles/2016/07/20/ubisoft-very-impressed-by-pokemon-go)

At this stage we know nothing about that title, or any others that may have been kickstarted into development by Ubisoft following the arrival of this emerging AR market. What we do know is there is already an Assassin's Creed MMORPG mobile title in development (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/273120/Ubisoft_aims_to_launch_a_mobile_Assassins_Creed_MM ORPG_in_China.php), but whether this will be AR is at this point unconfirmed. Regardless though, as a franchise Assassin's Creed has a very strong association in terms of theme with AR. After all, the Animus itself very much enhances a user's viewpoint with a plethora of GUI elements that they can see whilst experiencing the virtual worlds of their ancestors.

[credit to Ubisoft DE]

If you were to take many of the concepts of the game series and apply them to the real world you could see many elements that would actually carry over well to an AR game. The Invisible War between the Assassins and Templars could literally spill over into your reality. For example;

Eagle Vision could be used to enchance your view, adding a filter to what you see and hear.
Local landmarks could be used as waypoints, similar to the PokeStops you find in Pokémon GO.
Collectibles could be all around you, such as hidden messages or Glyph puzzles for you to decipher offering vast lore opportunities.
Creating your own avatar that other players could see, and challenge.
Seek out suitable recruits in the wild, train and level them to slowly establish your own Brotherhood bureau or Templar Stronghold.
Battle other players using your recruits, perhaps in a similar fashion to the Den Defence game from ACR.
Hidden Tombs, offering clues to Pieces of Eden or orienteering challenges leading players to improve their fitness through distance walking.
With both factions playable, you could make territorial battles and make areas of your city safe or dangerous to your avatar. Similar in principle to Pokémon's gyms and team selection.
As part of the war, you could recruit friends to your faction to try and bolster numbers - this in itself would self propogate the game for Ubisoft.

[credit to Kotaku]

The opportunities such a title could offer to the franchise is vast in my mind. AC Identity has already proven that there is a strong market for mobile games, and in Pokémon its proven that AR as a concept could be highly lucrative. Whilst the main game series should always be the main focus, and although many may see it as jumping on the AR bandwagon, Assassin's Creed actually has a lot in common that would suitably fit this genre for a standalone spinoff title.

The Modern Day of the saga has always been a passionate favourite aspect of mine, and the chance to be a part of the Augmented Invisible War is something I would really like to see become an actual reality. It would also be a brand new way to reignite the multiplayer community, and as Ubisoft's flagship IP, I feel Assassin's Creed should be the first to lead the company's endeavours into Augmented Reality.

07-21-2016, 12:10 AM
Now that's a thought - having your mobile go off in the middle of a crowded street, telling you there's an Assassin on your tail...

...although, on second thoughts, a game that encourages you to stalk people in RL...maybe not such a good idea...

07-21-2016, 12:45 AM
It can bring death by getting run over and make getting home from work a pain when Altair decides to hop across the highway.

07-21-2016, 07:22 AM
Over the past few years one of the things I have been discussing with my friends is how today's society is turning grown-ups into children. But I'll be honest, I never expected to open the news and read articles such as:

"Pokemon Go users venturing into risky areas"

"A Pokemon Go player carried on after being stabbed"

"Pokemon Go player crashes into cop car, gets caught on body camera"

"Pokémon GO 'sees its first death after 18-year-old breaks into house to catch virtual animal but is shot'"

If Ubisoft believes I'll put my life and sanity at risk to catch a flag, well, they are wrong :)

07-21-2016, 01:11 PM
the only advantage AC could take from AR is once we point our camera to a place, it would show us how the place was in the past, as we were in an animus emulation in 1st person through our phone (they could call it Animus Vision or something like that), the amount of work needed for this to happen in a worldwide level certainly isn't worth the effort though (let alone the fact that it would probably become pretty boring fast).

I don't think the tasks you've suggested would keep my interest for long because none of it capture the essence of what AC is, that's why Pokemon GO is a success, it puts you in the role of a Pokemon Trainer, and that's all Pokemon is about.

the app you're suggesting (IMO) lacks the immersion I would like to see in an AC app, yes, it would have Eagle Vision, Glyphs and all that, but we know that this isn't how things work in the game, what IMO would make hard for some to swallow the idea.

Maybe they could create a app where we have to choose a side (Assassins, Templars, Instruments of The First Will/etc) and depending of the faction we choose, specific lore and tasks would be delivered by it, maybe they could make the app work as some sort of cloned device from a person of one of these factions, where we would intercept emails, voice mails, crypted messages (we would have to decrypt), we would be working for Erudito and sending them the info we got, I would feel more immersed into the game's universe this way, they could release this app one or two months before each game release and make the lore involved in it set up the events for the game about to be released.

07-21-2016, 02:40 PM
I like this idea. Making a virtual game of "Assassin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassin_(game))" would be pretty cool, but like Loco said, it's probably not a great idea to encourage real life stalking via an anonymous app.

Instead, consider the assets of Pokemon Go. Pokemon spawn somewhat randomly on the map. You can catch them. You need to go to Pokestops to get the items needed to catch them. Once they're strong, they can be used to take and occupy gyms.

Now, consider the gameplay of Assassins Creed- you go around killing people, sure. Also, there's an element of basebuilding and liberation in the game.

What I'm seeing is a sort of adaptation of this.

- NPC targets will randomly pop up on the map, like Pokemon. Unlike Pokemon, the objective is to Assassinate them via some minigame, presumably including a strategy that involves not being detected.

- Killing a target grants a small coin reward, and sometimes a special item that can be used for unique upgrades.

- Players can go to shops (somewhat like Pokestops) where they can spend their hard earned coins. Of course, this being a mobile game, I suppose players can pay for coins as well. At shops, players can purchase consumables (ammunition, smoke bombs, medicine, etc).

- To upgrade weapons, players will need to collect unique items from kills.

- Once a certain player level is reached, players must choose to join either the Assassins, the Templars, or the Instruments of the First Will.

- Once a player has joined a faction, they can help take over enemy dens (like Pokemon Gyms).

Additional ideas:

-Sometimes, killing a target can result in a citizen rescue. That citizen joins whatever faction the player is a part of as a recruit, following a progression system. As players collect recruits and level them up, they contribute to a player's combat power.

- Random "Special Events" will take place, with players informed via an ingame inbox. These will involve one faction going after a high profile target, while another (or, in some cases, both others) try to somehow defend the target. The objectives of these missions can vary, but could include trying to hold a certain amount of dens in an area, trying to assassinate more minor targets than opponents, or other things- all to try to prevent/cause the major target to spawn.

- Many people assume Pokemon Go will eventually include Gen 2 Pokemon, then Gen 3, then on and on. So, why not start the game in Altair's era, then move to the Renaissance after a few months, then colonial days, etc. There is a ton of historical material to go from, so I'd like to see them jump around a little. That, or they could just set it in the modern era, I guess.

07-21-2016, 03:20 PM
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I would be SO excited for an app that made us go out and look for coded messages and glyphs from Subject 16. The games have been ignoring all the amazing potential of secrets and conspiracies in recent years. Unity's attempt at reviving glyphs was an admirable one but pathetic due to the horrible implementation.

Imagine walking past an old church, your phone vibrates, you look at the church through the screen and you see a glowing, blood-red text on the wall saying "They drained my soul and made it theirs. I drain my body to show you where I saw it".


Then you would have to work together with the rest of the fan community to translate messages written in different languages, Morse code, cyrillic letters, hieroglyphs, symbols, riddles, puzzles, etc. etc. When you managed to decipher one coded message, you could enter it into the main game to receive a special reward, like a new weapon, money, extra skill, new outfit or something like that.

So much freaking potential. I don't even dare to think about how cool it would be so as not to be disappointed that they won't do it. :(

07-25-2016, 09:57 PM
Then you would have to work together with the rest of the fan community to translate messages written in different languages, Morse code, cyrillic letters, hieroglyphs, symbols, riddles, puzzles, etc. etc. When you managed to decipher one coded message, you could enter it into the main game to receive a special reward, like a new weapon, money, extra skill, new outfit or something like that.

We've both expressed our desire for the 'mystery' to return, but your suggestions here are exactly the sort of thing I was referring to. When you see other franchises trying such schemes, they are amusingly enough referred to as ARGs (Augmented Reality Game). I'd guess not many people here have played The Secret World MMO, but that was a prime example of a game trying to merge a game world with the real one. Simple things like seeing a phone number, or QR code, could be interacted with on your phone to find further clues and story outside of the game environment. This is really the concept here. We make a point of seeking new lore in the AC universe, but having some whilst on the move, or some grand community wide puzzle for players to all get involved in - I agree, thats pretty exciting. The franchise has briefly dabbled in this area on occasion, with Initiates and The Watch coming to mind. I don't think its too much of a stretch to take things further. That plus we could have beloved Darby and the writers engaged on new material for us between games. Mmmm.

Also, remember this? Hehe.


As for the stalker comments, thats easily solvable I'm sure. Perhaps only have the tracking available in large public spaces, such as a train station. Or if need be keep the human players locations hidden - only showing NPCs in real time.

07-26-2016, 12:23 AM
Also, remember this? Hehe.


What is this? Never seen it before.

07-26-2016, 12:57 AM
It was a teaser page on the official site prior to AC2 coming out. From memory it asked you to print off various symbols, and if viewed through a webcam whilst on the page it would make the 3D models appear. Seven years ago... how time flies.


07-26-2016, 07:27 PM
It was a teaser page on the official site prior to AC2 coming out. From memory it asked you to print off various symbols, and if viewed through a webcam whilst on the page it would make the 3D models appear. Seven years ago... how time flies.


Wow, that's pretty impressive for back then. Wouldn't have guessed it was from the ACII era, if not for the menu screens.

07-27-2016, 08:45 PM
Oh yeah, I remember that... I think that was a little bit before the Live By the Creed community. Didn't have a webcam so I was grateful that other fans showed what they digged up back then.

08-01-2016, 01:44 PM
Another wonderful, well-thought and beautifully executed thread from you.
I'm actually really curious and intrigued to see what Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality could bring to the franchise. I'm pretty sure Assassin's Creed isn't gonna miss the opportunity to present something in VR, sooner or later, but Augmented Reality could be really amazing, because it could be another type of Animus/Helix, showing you another part of history in the form of AR.

I think an Assassin's Creed explorer game would be epic. Like you walk in the streets of Paris and see what they look like in the French Revolution times, and it works like the Google Maps street view and Pokemon GO, using both map, location and tracking to find where you are and explore seamlessly as you walk, as well as augmented reality to add small elements and/or a whole video of the city in that time, rendered in 3D to replace our live street view.

Now that would be something I'd pay a full game price for, because it would be totally worth it. It's like a history book and a game all packed in one app.

08-01-2016, 03:20 PM
Well, Harry Potter is getting the Niantic treatment now. I'm sure it has significantly more mass appeal than Assassins Creed, but honestly, I think AC still has more potential with gameplay in something like this.

08-01-2016, 11:26 PM
I thought that was a joke?!

08-02-2016, 01:04 PM
Harry Potter? Hah, wow. Mind you, given the success of Pokemon I can see a lot of franchises suddenly jumping on the success bandwagon. I saw there is a Deus Ex Go already...

Let the milking begin!

08-02-2016, 02:11 PM
Ahh, wait- perhaps I spoke too soon. Don't be like me and believe everything you read on the internet, kids.