Tag Archives: Assassins Creed

Interchanging hope and despair

You think it is odd, but it is not, stay with me. As the body goes through a point where it can no longer tell the difference between pain and pleasure, the soul has a similar event and in that event it can no longer make the difference between hope and despair. You might think that this is some new revelation, but it is not. It is old, very old. I reckon before the first crusade. To understand this we need to take the first sidestep. 

Sheherezade
We all have heard the story of Sheherezade and the 1001 Arabian night. But which version did you read? Most of us have had some translation of Sir Richard Burton, but none of them are complete. You see, if you had the whole complete tale and you would do the math, you will find that 5 stories are missing. 5 nights are not accounted for. This is because some clerics found them too dangerous in western hands. As such the clerics decided that these 5 stories were to be removed. Do not ask me for them, I never saw them either. Only certain members of the Royal family of Saudi Arabia have seen them (if they read the book), they are in a basement, it is one of the most controlled environments in the world. In that room is an altar, some kind of book altar (I think) and on it is an exquisite piece of work, the complete stories by Sheherezade. The only place in the world where the 5 missing stories can be found.

Vladimir Bartol
This is the second sidestep. A novel from 1938, it would become the foundation of the first Assassins Creed game by Ubisoft. It is the story of Hassan as-Sabbah. This is where the slogan “Nothing is true, everything is permitted”, but that saying is actually older, older then Hassan as-Sabbah, It comes from the Arabic clerics who travelled Europe in the 9th century (Spain, Italy, Greece and Slovak areas) They founded the premise “Nothing is true, in this world perception is all. Only a blind man can see what is real. The blind man can smell what is true, can hear what is stated. Perception can not be maintained. In this world, where one is perceived to be noble, nobility tends to not ever be found there. In this world of greed and wringing, like a cloth made devoid of water, of blood. Those wielding perception are in charge of what is real. This is more often seen in clergy and nobility than anywhere else” harsh words, but that was merely the beginning. You see, we now get to the first story.

Speculated story one
The first story was based on the life of Antarah ibn Shaddad al-Absi, and Sheherezade who knew so much also knew of him, and created the story of two student knights and alternative path away from the ways of ethics. The names of these two knights I do not know, there is no hidden thing here, I never saw that book. But the story goes that these two knights plotted in the night, not against their teacher, not against his values. But the simple fact was that the Arabic people could not be protected if they adhered to all ethics, at times ethics must give way to the protection of the people. The infidels deserved no consideration. But the story was one of insight on how ethics  are the cornerstone of what was right, still the story struck to close to the real world and the story was removed from consideration. We do not know what happened to these knights, some tell us that one went north, the other south. The one who went North did not go to Lucera, but his disciples (mostly women) created a convent somewhere in southern Germany (unknown where, some assume the black forest) and in that convent the women kept up appearances and kept to themselves. Seen as a convent and a hospital of mad people, a curtain was created. One wing and its basement were the sick, the mad. The less sick were properly treated for on a higher level of that wing (I presume the second floor) and below the destitute there was a trapdoor and another layer, one where the knights trained, day and night. Where they recorded the deeds of the corrupt, the wealthy the true noble and the christian demonic types. For decades they were there recording it all, reporting it all. If I am correct, it still happens today, but the stage is not the one they had there. They have moved into a very different area and seen as some version of clergy, no one seems to check and there is the rub. In a place without ethics, ethics removed makes one more fluidic, but at a price. The question becomes what is that price?

It is there in that place where hope and despair become faded, one cannot tell the difference, because the ethical walls were removed and who can tell whether they are still a force of reckoning. There is no record of them, there is no telling, no tale. 

So whilst we try to be noble, whilst we try to be true, we act on the values that the perception makers hand us and we seemingly copy these value blindly. Consider that greed comes naturally in banks and consider the life of Bob Diamond (Barclays, 2012) and see where this so called ‘highly respectable’ man had access to, and seemingly still had. You see he was behind an IPO which raised US$325 million (and crashed in 2021). So in a place with ethics, where do you stand where a person like that is trusted with $325,000,000? In many places where the light of perception does not shine, such a person is not allowed to be an uber driver (or a barber for that matter). As such it seems that we have larger problems, because the values we seemingly embrace are the beginning of the end of our souls. When did we sign up for that? It seems that despair is all that some bankers will leave us.

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The missing ingredient

We all have that. It does not matter whether it is food, drinks, series, movies, games. When an ingredient is missed, it counts, especially when it is an ingredient we thought highly of. In Assassins Creed it became Ezio Auditore. In Tekken it was your favourite character, in NCIS for some it was Tony DiNozo, for Charmed it was Shannen Doherty. And movies have their own crosses to bare (or was that bear?). Anyway, these thoughts came up as we lost Fred Ward to Eternity. I saw him first in Escape from Alcatraz. I always considered hm a good actor and I enjoyed watching his works, especially tremors. But my mind suddenly set on Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, which was shown in the Netherlands as Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous. There are a few issues with this movie. It would be the first time I saw Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway of the USS Voyager). It was not the greatest film made, but it had humour, which made the movie fun to watch. Joel Grey as Master of Sinanju Chiun was slightly too much over the top, but still fun. What was interesting was the plot. There we see an investigation of a corrupt weapons procurement program within the US Army. You see, that plot was new, or at least I had not seen it before and then the cogs started turning. Why does Netflix buy these rights and overhaul it into a mini series? You see a movie is nice, but 4-8 one hour episodes leading to a much larger, deeper and darker story might be a lot more rewarding in the long haul. And lets face it with the non functional weapons out there (USS Zumwalt, most of the Russian tanks) the setting for a large increased plot theme (especially when we pull the EU (Strasbourg) front and centre, the story could be appealing to a much larger audience, of course we will miss Fred Ward as a key ingredient, but nature tends to be unrelenting in these matters.

It is after-all about the weapons procurement program, and the stage where someone walks away with billions on a model that never went anywhere is a nice touch. It is even better if some elements are kept as close to the truth as possible. You see, Forbes gave us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/10/30/an-82-year-old-is-suspected-of-decades-long-scam-selling-dangerous-weapons-parts-to-us-military/) ‘An 82-Year-Old Is Suspected Of Decades-Long Scam Selling Dangerous Weapons Parts To U.S. Military’, then there is ‘Metallurgist admits faking steel test results for US Navy subs’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-59186655) and there is more where that came from, but consider the second part, consider the idea that the North Koreans (and Russians get a hold of that and a list of Los Angeles attack class submarines that have that steel? Now consider the play that could be made to get a submarine to a specific location and scuttle it ‘accidentally’ because the flaw was unknown. The story that some could write might keep the TV audience on the tip of their seat for the entire mini series, and the bulk of that work was already done. So as Netflix is trying to cut cost, here is an idea that they could use. But I think that they owe it to Fred Ward to have his picture somewhere (as an admiral) or as a father pic of the hero of that story, there are all kinds of ways where we can have a silent tip of the hat to a person who should not be forgotten like yesterdays news, but that applies to so many actors, I will be happy to admit that. When you know your games and consider Sir Alec Guinness as the CEO of Tri-Optimum, you know exactly what I mean. A simple setting of a series done in a few hours, Netflix get to work!

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Trust, who you gonna trust?

Trust is something that is always out there. Some give it, some give it a little too freely. This is not to be confused with loose women, they merely do not care who to trust, they want a good time and 99.9963% of the hetero sexual men out there agree with me (and loose women too). 

Yet, in gaming trust is a dangerous thing. To see this we need to take a gander. In the first to the setting of Microtransactions. I am not against Microtransactions, it is merely an addition to the game and it is not free. Some are $5, some are $50 (and some a hell of a lot more). I believe that a fool (or a dedicated fan) will spend what they can afford and sometimes a little more. It is hard to keep the dedicated fans and the fools apart, but that is a very subjective view. 

Some wanted to go out and get the $5 for swords in Assassins Creed on day one, because these people start the game with a 5/5/5 sword (if you played the game, it will make sense). To the credit of Ubisoft, they CLEARLY stated that this is an item that could be earned in the game, and it was. Just not in act1, scene 1 of the game. There are a few other settings too, but Ubisoft clearly stated that with any item bought, that if it was obtainable in the game, they would let us know. Well done Ubisoft (I kicked them often enough, the good sides should be shown too).

I never accepted the loot-box stage. You see, for it to be gambling you need to lose it all, without anything to show for it. And tell me have you ever opened a loot-box and got the following ultra rare card?

No, you did not. So loot-boxes are not gambling. Neither are microtransactions, and it needs saying. Stop complaining. Buy it, do not buy it, just stop bitching about it. Now, some games are clearly upfront about it. The Hogwarts Legacy makers have stated that the game will not have any microtransactions. A good choice! There are others who are not that ‘elevated’ I have heard and seen some news on Gran Turismo 7 and there is some mess out there on microtransactions. I am not judging at present as I know too little, today is not about it, but it is linked. 

You see, to consider that we need to take a look at Reuters. I wrote about this setting in a different way, but they cover what I wrote. So (at https://www.reuters.com/technology/crypto-gaming-collide-high-risk-play-to-earn-economies-2022-04-08/) we see ‘Crypto and gaming collide in high-risk ‘play-to-earn’ economies’ and there we see “The 28-year-old from Bangkok was playing Axie Infinity, one of a new breed of blockchain-based online games, dubbed “play-to-earn”, which blend entertainment with financial speculation. These games can make for lucrative businesses amid the hype around NFTs and virtual worlds, attracting millions of players plus billions of dollars from investors who see the games as a way to introduce more people to cryptocurrency.” This is nice, such a sweet way to set the stage to playing youngsters (age 28) and the lucrative stage of investors. But when you take a gander to what I wrote on March 15th in ‘When is a slot machine not one?’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2022/03/15/when-is-a-slot-machine-not-one/) where I set the premise “The bottom of the slot machine fitted a credit card, some kind of crypto card. The slot machine also fitted USB-C sticks. The slot machine was a laundromat for crypto currency. And let’s face it, in todays world, who raises an eye on seeing a slot machine? I think my ‘associates’ had stolen a decent amount of crypto currency, which they laundered through the slot machines.” A stage where the slot machine becomes a cryptocurrency laundromat and the nice part is that it is also a slot machine and when the padlock is removed, it is merely a slot machine. The padlock was the second key of the chain to launder. You did figure that out, do you not? And even as I created some optional billion dollar IP (for Amazon) there is a much larger stage, because the current stage requires the oligarchs to launder whatever they can and there are solutions, some are not out in the open, but give it time. That need will surely come and my option is one that comes with the gamble option, launder the money or take a chance in gaining up to 75% in cryptocurrency by gambling. It will get the eyes of too many soon enough. 

My idea is clean, but some will subvert it, like some subverted the clean Mass Effect loot-boxes whilst they tried to fill their pockets. How long until someone figures out the 5G part that is NOT out in the open, until someone figures out its secondary stage? And all this is before the Hybrid era, the era that Meta will open up for EVERYONE. I wonder who will try to fill their pockets and how many will try to figure out something I put here months ago. I have time, I can wait, two of the events are now on 4Chan, so whomever breaks the codes has a clear path to a lot of revenue. I’d rather leave it out in the open for free than give it to some idiot at Microsoft. And if Google and Amazon do not want it? Then freeware it becomes. The person who is willing to destroy a thing, controls that thing. Ron Hubbard wrote that in the 70’s, the greed driven never understood it, for them it was always a  stage for compromise and negotiation. Lets all have some of it. Not me, I would rather see them squirm as a vagrant in agony than give in to the weak minded iterative spreadsheet users of this century. Let them return to the dust they came from.

So who you gonna trust? Trust and believe in yourself and only that. It is the stage that leaves wannabe friends outside. True friends will accept that and that is the difference.

P.S. I just finished my 2301st article, cool!

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Expanding story time

Yes, this happens. Sometimes we get more to a story, but when was that when it was expanded on the main system and not a DLC or expansion? When was the last time that you were confronted with an additional story in the main game? I reckon that most of us cannot clearly give an example. And when someone pushed a demo of the Unreal Engine v5 to YouTube showing us a broken down version of Riverwood, my mind went 145% on the body and thoughts came to mind. Now in this case it will not apply, because Riverwood is decently fresh in the mind of all gamers, but when they see the new (older looking) Riverwood they should catch on.

What happens when we add a few villages, not unlike Riverwood, off the beaten track, off the caught setting and all storylines by themselves. A setting that some might recognise in Spinalonga Island on Crete. It had its own story, but remains a ghost town even now. So what happens when we find the story, evolve the story in the now, solve the story, the riddles and the curse (or other reason for abandonment) and when we find refugees, traders and other people we could direct them to the empty village. Riverwood had a trader, a smith and an inn. There is no stopping us from adding shops, and it would fit the equation towards building the local economy as well. As I wrote earlier. Too many RPG’s are depending on US to build the economy. Yet what happens when the NPC’s are in a secondary stage that they too become drivers of an economy? What happens when traders build economies, adventurers do, mercenaries do and as such, some places will grow even larger, grow more and grow distinctive. In this we can set markers like you need to have certain ranks in the main quest, and side quests as well as levels of fame before your word is accepted, but at that stage your influence grows too. We need to realise that in RPG games we are NOT the machine, we are a mere cog that fuels the machine, but we are one in many cogs and that has never taken a larger stand in RPG games and that has been overlooked for too long. I do understand that some might state that this was not possible until the PS4pro. I believe that this is not merely that case. Game makers are too often in an iterative mode, we get more of the same (Far Cry, Assassins Creed), there are leaps forward (Fallout and Elder Scrolls), yet I believe that more could be done and I also believe that the PS5 now shows that more is possible. And it will not take long for the streamers to show that they are capable of more. And until these players consider that the main quest is nothing more than an outspoken side quest we will not see the leaps forward that RPG’s are capable of. The fact that I came up with TESVII: Restoration and the fact that I am still finding new ways to grease the system into other directions, directions that TESVI:unknown place might not even touch on is speculative, but not entirely impossible. A stage where we see that RPG makers are for a lot about more of the same (not their fault) is a little troublesome and When I wrote about a new RPG, a generation one that I summarised in ‘Recap to the intro’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/09/25/recap-to-the-intro/) which I wrote last September and even now I am still gaining more ideas that could grow that IP to larger stations is interesting to say the least. The side quests are merely one setting. Growing a virtual economy is another one, but it all sets the station where we have an RPG game where there are two stations. The station of you the player and you the influencer, both important, yet influencer we can become through skills, through power and through achievement and they all interact to some degree, and it is those influencer sides that give a much larger unknown to the game and how it shapes. We need to do it in that way, so that the system is free to evolve, if we merely have two settings with a clean and a deprived location (A Fable II event) we lose the plot, we will not see the impact of flourishing villages.

I believe that this is the expansive side of gaming, it fuels replayability and optionally dampens grinding. The last part is not a given or a real event, but could be the impact of influencers, it is merely a thought. So when did you see your last creativity on the sliding scale of something you haven’t figured out yet? A station that keeps me busy, why? I can tell you that I can, but for some reason I feel more comfortable with the thought “Because I have to”, and I am not sure why at present.

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Belated brilliance

Some of us know what I am talking about, when we first see it, we think ‘nice’, nothing negative, just a plain nice. We liked the story, the girls loved Jude Law, the men were all over Jennifer Jason Leigh (virtually). The story was good, there was nothing bad about the whole thing, but now 20 years later some are realising just how brilliant David Cronenberg really was at that moment, our computers are catching on, our approach to virtual reality is catching on and suddenly what was once nice, is now regarded as the Koh-i-nor diamond. I am off course referring to eXistenZ the movie. We can take it apart from any angle, but consider the side we can now use on the PS5? What if we create an RPG that is a dream within a dream?

Not unlike the book the Talisman, consider a map, the normal game map set to a normal grid (whatever you call normal). Now we see a second map, that map has relative places in the same place (not the same place), but you are placed in wherever the temple, or resting place was. So in map one we have something resembling Japan, whilst Map 2 is more like New Zealand, as such map one is 50% larger, yet in relative places we see similar places and the resting places is an option to travel between the worlds, both worlds having duties, quests and achievements, but if you are a Shaman in one, you are an artisan in the other, a ying to every yang. Now that we have the power systems (like a PS5), we should use that to fuel gaming imagination, not merely a more buggy and textured killing game, but a sandbox game with several sandboxes, optionally they have very different kinds of sand in that box. Optionally there aren’t 2 worlds, but three or four, the opportunity offered will be staggering. 

Now consider that no game designer has ever considered creating such a leap, well, apart from serious Intel computers, the power was not there before, so why do we see more Assassin’s Creed 2022 LEAKS, with references to Africa, why more of the same whilst the last two games are still buggy? Why more existing IP, and what makes for the massive absence of new gaming IP? The creativity is out there, some of it is 20 years old and never considered for gaming, all whilst that movie was all about virtual gaming. What allows for an iterative mind to exist in a world that relies on true innovation? I mentioned that before, when you try to make a game that appeals to all, you end up with a product that pleases none, I would think that some game makers would have learned that small truth by now. I created (in my mind) in the last three months close to half a dozen games and if I can do it, why not these self proclaimed experts? 

I will let you decide, but if you get jumpy and overly exited when you see the next Assassins Creed, like a teenage boy seeing his first photo model topless shall we say. In a stage when we can be exploring life as a tailor, designing cloths for her naked body, I reckon you got exited for the wrong deal. By the way, according to some ladies that same formula works with Daniel Craig too, so he should be happy for now. 

For me, these ideas came to me as my mind was arranging books and movies, rearranging ideas in all novel ways to make connections that were not there before, so why aren’t others able to do just that?

And if you think gaming is a mess, consider that I completed the concept of a stealth systems to deploy a solution giving the Iranian navy a unique view of the Sea of Dammam (the view from the bottom), so what gives? Northrop Grumman lost idea’s and is relying on the Next Generation Interceptor program to stay alive a little longer? Well, if software iteration x.53 is anything to go by, it will not last long. Iteration was the game of financial stability, it is now the deterrent of innovative leaps ahead, it was the one part that the weapons industry had in common with the gaming world. Innovation was everything, and that is falling away more and more. 

So even as the Wall Street Journal gave us in 2018 “a payload adapter—that failed to operate properly in space”, it is interesting wording, apart from the silly notion that more than one thing went wrong, so as I gave two maps with different scaling, what else causes a person to be in a different place when he falls asleep? The person who never really knew where he (or she) was and that is important in gaming, because there we do not sleep, we merely pass time, so what happens when location and time are triggers? What if one life is set to time, but the other one is depending on a sun and a moon? In a real stage where we have two worlds where both work in a different premise, understanding that premise is essential if you want to efficiently win the game, that has been a cornerstone setting in RPG games for a long time, so why not change that stage, the technology is now powerful enough.

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First the sting

Yes, it happens, we get stung every so now and then. It is one thing when it actually happens, it is another when it is done for secondary reasons, which were the main reasons. Forbes gets us there with “Yesterday, there was a roundtable with Xbox and Bethesda folks talking about the recently finalised purchase of Zenimax, with the biggest news being the reveal that more or less every recent Bethesda game you’ve ever heard of was now being added to Xbox Game Pass as soon as today”, we get it it is a reason but a secondary one. There is also the exclusivity reason which is equally secondary and it is given as well with “a bunch of future Bethesda games, likely including the big ones like Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield, are going to be Xbox exclusive”, but it also gave us “on any device that can access Game Pass”, which will be their secondary Xcloud push. The article ‘Microsoft Stuns With Reveal It Bought Bethesda For Xbox Game Pass’ (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2021/03/12/microsoft-stuns-with-reveal-it-bought-bethesda-for-xbox-game-pass/?sh=27455bf8fa48) is more than that. The PS5 has broken all records and at present we get that over 4 million were sold in 2020 and it will rise to an expected 17 million in 2021. There is some conjecture because Microsoft is scared of the numbers, but it seemingly amounts to 2:1 on average sales two PS5’s for every Xbox series X sold, and it will likely rise to 3:1 when Sony stocks are globally replenished, these numbers scare Microsoft, which is why Twitter is drowning in XCloud advertisements. I also believe that it scared Microsoft enough to pay $8,500,000,000 for Bethesda. Bethesda has a loyal following and they hope that enough Playstation fans will drop the playstation to go wherever Bethesda is, the bandaid with the timed exclusive of Deathloop on the PS5 is merely a bandaid to deceive the minds, any gamer knows that the power of gaming is Elder Scrolls and Fallout. That is what Microsoft needs and that is why I had placed the setting of a new RPG as freebee for any Sony exclusive designer. I am about to add to that. And it might upset enough board members at Microsoft when others get for free for what they had to pay 8 billion plus, I am all about the sarcasm, unless it backfires, then it becomes irony.

You see, the largest challenge was that I am trying to avoid some Elder Scrolls replica, which is why I took the path I did and I added the generation stage, there is only so much exploring a person can do in one lifetime and I had the improvements for Assassins Creed to consider. So I created an altered stage for the player. 

The stage is set in phases, but I had to consider how to set the stage

Path APath BPath C
Path AXX
Path B1X
Path C2XX
Path D1

The story has a number of paths, we map the ones we take, but in this I am also allowing and setting the stage for the paths not taken, as long as the path has been discovered. To illustrate this, perhaps we can think back to Fallout 4, the first place you emerge from had a cold weapon at the end, but you have no skills to get there. So how many have forgotten that weapon? I certainly did the first two times I played that game. Yet it is about more than just a chest or a location, I wanted books, scrolls and tomes to be much more profound, I also wanted to make sure that you cannot carry like a mule and that the chest in your house does not hold a container full of stuff. Most RPG players are hoarders, as such I will need to change that premise too. As You see in the table, the first person (path A) will take paths B and C,  this is where the shoe gets a new style, there are two outcomes, the person dies before betting back home, in which the next generation has no idea where to seek, other then follow the same map to find his parents remains, this is a limited chart as there are only three options, but the stage is seen when the parent goes home after path A,2. Now as he is home the next generation gets their diary and tomes filled, more important, some of the skills are automatically gained. As such the next generation will not start from ground zero, and whilst that person has every option to take skills into new directions, it will be up to the player to do so. The second part is the map, I made mention of it in an earlier story, but what if we take what Assassins Creed does to a whole new level? There are dozens of RPG’s and they all map similarly, what if we change that? Each generation is at least a decade apart, we get to evolve mapmaking and transcribing maps during the game, so consider the AC2 map of Venice, going to the top of a tower fills it in, yet there was no learning curve. 

I want that time is an equaliser and evolving stage here, as such generation one will give entrances to a place with roads but not much more, all whilst generation 3 will map out roads, hazards, and also give rise to dangers AFTER you visit it, not before, unless the diary had given out the dangers in a place. These are just a few additions, or alterations to current RPG games. Like the blowpipe, I needed to get away with the bow and arrow, optionally crossbow. I wanted the blowpipe and later allow for something like a catapult (slingshot) to be introduced to keep range weapons alive and to give something new to the game. As one goes away a new portal opens and that was the intent all along. As evolution becomes a much larger stage in this game, we are confronted that death is pretty permanent and it allows for a new dimension if you play it in permadeath. In the end the stage is around these parts, but the story is still the most important aspect. So take the previous stories as a template and see what happens when generation one goes into one area, but as generation two you can travel in opposite directions, to set the land to that contrast requires a larger map, more options and different kind of hurdles. And there we see the initial part, with well over half a dozen stages that Bethesda never considered (or optionally rejected), and now it is in the public domain and we can show Microsoft what it feels like to spend eight point five billion on something that looks and tastes like a lemon, but that is merely because they thought it would solve all their problems and I am happy to add to their misery (I have to do something). So let’s make games and set the bar of Sony versus Microsoft to 5:1 or better, gives those Micro$oft people something to cry about, most of us will like that part anyway.

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Destined to entertain

We all want to be an entertainer, most of us (not all) have that feeling inside of us, the need to be entertaining, our social structures have also pushed it, but in the stage where it is a sort of PC (politically correct) version of that what entertains us, it is in that setting where some of us become actors, some become writers, some become directors and some become game creators. There are a few more options, but the foundation of books, sound and vision have been upon us for centuries, last century vision (movies, TV) was added and about 35 years ago games were added. Yet the setting of games remains new and they too are going through the motions. A stage where they are relying on re-using any wheel instead of inventing a new one. We can agree that there is a stage of sequels that some accept (some do not) but that stage comes with labels and warnings. The God of War has pulled it off 4 times and they did it well, Ubisoft with its Assassins Creed did not, yet from my point of view, they did do a decent job and pulled it off with WatchDogs. Yet these makers have an issue with the story, they forget that the story is the driving factor. It is easiest seen When you compare God of War IV or Mass Effect to the Assassins Creed stories (Unity, Syndicate, Odyssey) you get a first glimmer why the AC range was failing, they had a great thing, they bungled it, then they seemingly fixed it with AC Origins (which was amazing) and then they bungled it. Even now, AC Valhalla is according to some too shallow, to much chasing after something whilst forgetting the Assassins path. I cannot vouch for AC Valhalla as I stayed away from it, but the critique makes sense, and that is before we consider the fixes to bug and glitches. This is why new games like Horizon Zero Dawn are cherished (and it is a really nice game too), or the mere fact that Skyrim is still being played on new consoles 9 years after its release. The story is everything, Ubisoft forgot about that, Bethesda seemingly did not. But this is not about Ubisoft bashing (even though it is entertaining), Bioware is in a similar stage, They messed up ME4, and they now rely on ME1,2,3 to fatten their coffers so that they get a chance at ME5. A setting that is dubious, but if they really fattened the pot and make ME5 a game that breaks the mould, they might pull it off. It is funny, it took me less than 2 hours to think through a sequel all whilst ME4 collapsed. Yet I digress, you see, to become the entertainer you need to be a creator, all whilst silly people at some game companies relied on Business Intelligence, but entertainment cannot be set in that way, you merely get a setting where you try to include everything and in that setting you never satisfy anyone. And as such creation falters (AC Odyssey is a prime example). And a we now see that there are more games coming, that some indie developers are changing the game (Hades), we see that gaming is not dead, but the story mattered and so does game play. 

So as gaming becomes a rather large stage (due to Covid issues) we get to see a new stage where some game developers are losing options and optionally their firm and some shine. And in all this it is not about the highest graphics, That is seen with Animal Crossings: New Horizons. A game that surpasses 20 million copies, which implies that 1 in 2 Switch owners has that game, it is almost unheard of. It shows that gameplay is just a important as the storyline and the fact that this game is a long term game, not something you finish in 100 hours has close to never been done before, and Microsoft (Sony too) are a little bit in the dark, that is why Nintendo is such a competitor. I said it 2-3 years ago and it is coming true, gaming is more than relying on a Business Intelligence analyst, it is a setting where a painter and a storyteller unite to give the traveller a story that this person has never experienced before, and that is what Skyrim and Mass Effect (1-3) delivered on, others did too, so why are some game makers blind to that part?
It took me a day at the most to give the Elder Scrolls, WatchDogs, Mass Effect a sequel on a new storyline, a new creation, so why can’t they do this? OK, there is still an Elder Scrolls coming, but I  made the first design 6 years ago, Mass Effect 4-5, 3 years ago and Watchdogs 4 last year. Now consider that I am a nobody and these high and mighty game designers can’t come up with the goods on several fronts, so what are they missing. How come Nintendo is on the ball, Microsoft forgot what a ball looks like and and Sony is seemingly slipping a fraction, and all this has close to nothing to do with new hardware, games are paintings, the console is a palette and the palette becomes bigger or change shape but the creator adjusts view, adjusts grip and continues.

So in this, and as we see what is coming, what makes them destined to entertain? 

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You be soft

Well, there is good news and there is bad news, the good news is that my dreaming was not as dark as before, the bad news, I redesigned a new version of Assassins Creed, nothing with that pansy ass Viking stuff, or more precisely the glitches and bugs (as I saw them on YouTube). A fresh version that grasps back to the actual strength of the AC series, the Ezio Auditore era. Don’t worry, be calm, I will not touch something that was near perfect, but it surprises me that no one in the Ubisoft offices had that foresight, that insight and if they did, who was the yahoo milk dud that stopped it? 

When we consider the old games, and I just replayed both AC2 and Brotherhood in the PS5, I was amazed how I loved redoing what I know what was going on, this is not an attack on the AC games, I truly loved these two and I had them both on PS3 and Xbox360, I never regretted that. And after that it went quiet until Origins, OK, AC Black Flag was a great game, it was just not an AC game. Giving a pirate a hidden blade is not making him an assassin and I never got that, Ubisoft had the premise of a new franchise, all new close to a day one game on the PS4 and they botched it, like it was left to someone without backbone to decide, anyway, Origins was amazing and after that it was more of the same, and the same stupidity came to Odyssey, as such I refused to touch Valhalla, and when I saw the glitches in YouTube films I was doubly sure that until the game was 80%-90% priced down (because of all the patches required), I left it alone. So as I was playing this evening a little of AC Brotherhood a new setting came to mind.

It was an interesting time to consider it, because it would set a new stage right between AC Brotherhood and AC3, I set the stage in the Netherlands, and the idea was to make it full on stealth, like an assassin needs to be. The idea was to have a much larger antagonist and it does not get any larger than the VoC, the ‘Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie’ was the first setting of a true cartel, so it stands to reason that the Templars (or whatever they would be called then) wanted a piece of that. The idea is to set a story that intertwines there. Consider that art was at an all time high, the Dutch Masters ruled, so the art is there, the old cities of Delft and Amsterdam would be there and that nations has had it foreign military visitors (France an Spain) which also resulted in the 80 year war, as such, a nation in war is a nation with options and opportunities. Even as the VoC is the main antagonist, there is a much larger story, the Netherland were basically  centred around North Holland and South Holland, Even as South Holland was mainly Rotterdam and Schiedam, it had its own life, its own set of achievements, and lets not forget that the Pilgrims on the Mayflower left from Schiedam. A whole wealth of options, and it was left untouched, as they tried to go for something looking cool.  

The VoC had it claws in the East Indian nations and more important, until around 1675 the VOC navigators and cartographers helped shape geographical knowledge of the world as we know it today. In addition, the Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek started microbiology around 1650, he also invented the microscope (he was probably bored staring at the hookers in Caetendrecht), a nation with so much history and so many options and Ubisoft seemingly ignored it. Now there is a danger, the danger is that we do not want more of the same (AC2), but something more, something different and making it more stealth and evolving stealth is an option, we can also dispense with the leaps of faith, we will not be sailing but boats are  larger setting as the VoC was a large fleet carrying organisation. 

There are of course a few options that seemingly overlap, there is art, but this time around books (revelations) are a side, the need to steal becomes a larger stage, as such you might improve a location (your house) but it does not lead to money, as such you need to make choices. There is also the notion to include Belgium as Brussels was an important city, especially when Napoleon came stomping by, there is a setting of close to a 100 years and in that time so much happened,  we could make a much larger game, with more settings and a larger story line that surrounds the VoC and optionally sets a much needed stepping stone to other sides of the story.

What surprised me is that I got all this in less than 3 hours, and all that whilst Ubisoft came up with AC Valhalla, which has as I personally see it a lot of its homework from watching the 2013 series Vikings by Michael Hirst, but that could just be me. 

And my largest fear is not that Ubisoft goes into this direction, it is the massive amount of bugs that they put into the game as well. Even now we see (5 hours ago), that there are arrow bugs that are not fixed, I wonder if Ubisoft will ever learn, I might just buy all their IP. I still have $20 left, it should be enough.

Oh, before I close the story, instead of merely assassinating people (which is never  waste of time), I thought it might be prudent in line of the VoC to add a diplomacy part, so whilst some need to be killed, some people should never be killed, as such the thieves are more important now, they can be used and when used enough they will teach you skills too. Something that sets a larger premise towards using allies. Just an idea.

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An optional ignored path

It happens, we sometimes overlook it and it is not a bad thing, or an evil thing, it just happens. In the last week I have seen so many stories on Cyberpunk 2077 and the bugs that I wonder (after laughing on some of the Tik Tok issues), did we forget something? Some other articles made mention of this, as such, I am not alone, but for me this morning started when I looked into the Cyberpunk 2077 art book and saw what most forget, or optionally ignore.

Cyberpunk is a massive achievement. Yes, CDPR (CD Project Red) needs to be scolded for the bugs, but they did something incredible. They created a world, a world that only existed in the mind of William Gibson, who created cyberpunk with Neuromancer. The book is filled with game advertisements that set the tone “Real Water, only 99E$ /Gallon” with really small print disclaimers, yet the foundation is there, Cyberpunk is more than merely a game, it is close to a real sandbox where we see a new level of quality gaming (without the bugs), the art shows the people, the weapons, the ammo, the transports, it is more than nextgen, it is actual newgen, it is an attempt (so far not completed, or achieved) that sets Cyberpunk 2077 apart from all others and with the choices you make, you will be able to play, play again and play again, never being bored, because there are so many outcomes, options and choices to make. A game any developer could be proud of. The car brands, all new, but founded on brands and brand approaches to cars we see now, Herrera (Jaguar), Thorton (Tesla), a dozen brands all linking to what was, giving us what might be and the art never stops amazing, that is what we see and CDPR almost succeeded, so when the patch comes that changes it all, those who let go of their game will not be happy, I get it, they feel unhappy and they have every right to be, but I saw more, I will never let go of this game, it shows a world that William Gibson dreamed of and now the PS4/PS5 and its Microsoft equivalent get to show what could never be shown before. When the game is finally done, it ill be the greatest race towards VR that any game had ever achieved and then some. I just went through 192 pages of art, cyber advertisements and I see that CDPR did something wholly amazing and unequalled, when they get it right, they will surpass Witcher 3 by a fair amount and I never expected that to be possible. A (sort of) sandbox game that sets a new stage, because you can select stages to focus on, making the missions and optionally the outcome a different one, Net Running, Edge Running, Thuggery, corporate tools, the options are there and we limit or open to selections, something Bethesda never achieved (not their fault), so even as I understand ‘CD Projekt May Face Class Action Lawsuit From Investors’, where we learn that the attorney looking into the lawsuit is also an investor, we see a different stage, here we accept that CDPR is not proven innocent and that they might face issues, yet what all the shouters around the non-success at present fail to see is that this game is so much bigger than anyone saw coming, I wonder what would take the setting to be a successful one. In the first, just like I slapped Ubisoft, CDPR should not have released the game in this form, I will hold onto it, but I understand that others might not and that is a choice we all need to make, but the art book (I have the hint guide as well) shows that this game is more than some path walker, the makers tried to make something never seen before and if they fix the issues, they will do that and Cyberpunk 2077 will get a new narrative that ill hold for years and others will try to get close to this achievement, optionally forever failing. The difference with Ubisoft is that Ubisoft makes a new iteration (Breakpoint, AC Unity, AC Odyssey, AC Valhalla) and blows it, CDPR did something we had never seen before and blows it too, but the premise is already different. Ubisoft merely made version X, CDPR made version 0.8 and it is so much more than anything we had ever seen.

Yes, not ignoring the bugs, but beyond that is something new, something beautiful, beyond Ubisoft was merely more of the same and I expect that they will make the same mistake in FarCry 6. Yet when we see the Malorian Arms in Cyberpunk, we see something Heckler & Koch wishes that they had designed it. And all this and more is all over Night City, which is massively big. No matter how we slice it, and some will focus on the bugs, and I get it, they are there, what is also there is a diamond in the rough, a diamond unlike we have ever seen before, I just hope that enough will see that soon enough (after the new patches) to turn the tide around for CDPR, as fr as I can tell, even as I am happy to present, they might have been better off announcing a delay until February 2021. It might have been the best course of action for them at present.

One thing, and they might do it to make up to the gamers (if William Gibson agrees), get one of his stories, for example Neuromancer, or Johnny Mnemonic into the game and each chapter the gamer finds will opt for some skill enhancement, just an idea.

So at present, I merely did the intro, because I want to avoid the bugs and I am happy to wait, what I have seen clearly shows pure greatness (well the bug free edition anyway), it is a path some are ignoring and that is not their fault, or their shortcoming, it is their choice, and the bugs as they are makes whatever choice they make a valid one, I recognise that, yet after so much gaming mediocrity, I prefer to wait until there is a final version. As I see it definitely beats another iteration of Assassins Creed or Far Cry, yet not Watch Dogs, that one, apart from some glitches, they really got right.

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I gave them a chance

Yup, at times we have to give others a chance, not because they are nice, not because they are working on it, or even if they are considering moves, sometimes you do it so that you are not the caged junkyard dog released from the chain. It is a civil act, but one that you do merely to please yourself. I am kind of that person. Ubisoft had been in a stage of near death for a time and that was not because of the issues in their firm, it was merely set towards their product. As I see it, before the end of the year Yves Guillemot is lucky to get out, find a nice house in France, bring half a dozen women to please him and I reckon if he does it for $369,000,000 he is lucky. You see at this point the company is worth 10 cents to the dollar. I watched close to a dozen of videos on gameplay on Assassins Creed Valhalla. Some have a sense of humour ‘Odin would be bored here’, ‘continuing mediocrity’ and a few more of those jabs, they are funny. I saw issues with guards running in circles, I saw a guard hit by a row, flying off like Yoshi getting kicked by Mario. And these videos all had different issues and glitches. One had a boat getting stuck on a small branch and the boat went 30 degrees like it was stuck under a stone bridge, the issues go on. Even as Watchdogs: Legion had a few issues, they were nonsensical, small little glitches that do not upset the gameplay (there were a few), but this stuff is what I feared and Ubisoft had their chance, and ever as they went live early this now bites in the other direction. A franchise destroyed by short sightedness, it is too infuriating. I did not like AC3 much, but it was on the mark, even as some bugs showed up that would pester the franchise for at least 3 games, then they released a good game which I still do not regard to be a real AC game, it was Black Flag, after that mediocrity, bugs and shortcomings hit the franchise until AC Origin came and that was on the mark, it was a bulls eye. Yes it had bugs, but none spoiled the game, it had a few issues, yet the larger gameplay was never affected. And that is the end of it, even as some ‘official’ reviewers say that it is the best they ever saw, it seems that I get a clear picture who butters their bread. You only need to search for ‘AC Valhalla rants’, or ‘AC Valhalla issues’ and the videos come streaming. It is hard to stay neutral and focussed, but try it is worth it. Some give us the lack of some parts but in the story it seems to fit and in those days not everyone had a hammer, or a knife. Iron was for the people with money, it led to health. All the people you slaughter and not one had a decent weapon? Chests (in bird planes at times) with resources, books of knowledge (which is actually a good thing). The game has taken leaps in one direction and forfeited looking behind itself, like really properly testing a game. 

The videos show a game with really good moments, an good graphics and some of the glitches tear it down in a rather nasty way, so I reckon that the gamers are promised patches upon patches in a time when the PS5, Xbox series X and PC have 4K capabilities, so these patches will be larger than before (with Breakpoint being the way it was, it will be a speculated nightmare).

Some will also come with positive things and we need to take notice of them too, one gives the right tone rating that this game is not for everyone, if AC Odyssey did not grab you, than this game will not either. I specifically like the mention towards a movie called the 13th warrior, I liked it, it showed a time that seemed pure and it seemed direct, the is a good mention for AC Valhalla, as I stated in the past, I will steer clear of this game, unless it will be for sale on Black Friday at 30% of the price, then I might c consider it. So here we are, Ubisoft, with in my personal opinion one decent hit (Watchdogs: Legion) and one clear fail (the other title). Two fails would mean the end of Ubisoft, now? I reckon they will limp towards what comes next, but if the does not include original IP and a really really good game they are pretty much done for. A carcass for other hungry game studios to poach, because the graphic people are good, the sound people are really good, so they will get poached soon enough. When those seeking a slice of $135 billion revenue cake that is online gaming (2020-2022), they will wise up fast which merely makes the end of Ubisoft sooner, not later. 

Yet at this stage I do not feel righteous, I do not feel superior, and I do not feel happy, I feel sad, because Ubisoft was a giant, it did bring original IP and it did make us happy. Like a junkie I would want to feel like that one more time when a Ubisoft game arrives. I reckon that 2020 was a bad year for a few reasons, I do not think the any gamer will be happy to see the end of Ubisoft, but the is just the way the cake crumbles at times.

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