Assassin's Creed could become an online service game

Misconduct claims at Ubisoft may hurt 'Infinity,' however.


Assassin's Creed games have typically been self-contained (and often solitary) affairs, but Ubisoft is poised to change all that. Bloomberg sources claim Ubisoft is developing Assassin's Creed Infinity, a project that turns the alternate history series into a live online service like Grand Theft Auto Online. Instead of playing mostly by yourself in one historical period, you'd routinely join other players across "multiple settings" that would grow and evolve over time. You'd have a reason to keep playing (and keep paying) for a long time where AC currently relies heavily on DLC and frequent sequels to stay fresh.

While there would be individual games tied to Infinity with their own look and feel, they'd all be linked together, the sources said.

Ubisoft confirmed that Infinity exists, but wouldn't explain the game in detail. It's meant to please fans who want a "more cohesive approach" to the game universe, the company said.

Upheaval at the company might threaten the project, however. Ubisoft recently unified its Montreal and Quebec City teams to help Assassin's Creed flourish through shared talent. While that could strengthen the quality of each release, Quebec will lead the franchise — a problem when that studio and Montreal have had bitter rivalries at times.

More importantly, there are concerns Ubisoft hasn't fully addressed the misconduct claims that led to the company firing its chief creative officer and certain studio leaders. A spokeswoman said Ubisoft had investigated all claims and taken appropriate actions, but Bloomberg's contacts said that managers accused of abuse remained in senior roles and that employees were reporting racism and sexism that wasn't being addressed.

That, in turn, could limit Ubisoft's resources for Infinity. While poaching from studios near Ubisoft Montreal is a problem, misconduct claims have also lead to more staffers jumping ship from that location. Simply speaking, Ubisoft might need to redouble its efforts to stamp out toxic behavior if it's going to retain the talent it needs to produce its best work.

Update: Ubisoft, in response to claims of misconduct, said that it " takes each and every allegation seriously and conducted a series of investigations over the last year led by independent third parties taking swift and appropriate actions based on their outcome, including warnings, removal of managerial responsibility or dismissal." While it declined to go into specifics, it said that "any employee that had allegations and remain at Ubisoft has had their case rigorously reviewed by a third party and were either exonerated or underwent appropriate disciplinary actions."

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