The year of Assassins

With all the fuss last week about the discontinuation of Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk, you’d have thought publishers would be more cautious with their IPs and not allow them to suffer the same fate. But Ubisoft are riding high on the success of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood which, so far has sold a whopping 6.5 million units. Sales like that mean a PC version is on the way soon and CEO Yves Guillemot revealed yesterday (via IGN) at an earnings call that 2011 will see a fourth game in the franchise, kick starting the series into becoming a yearly production. Guillemot specifically used the words “packaged title,” so it’ll either be a Brotherhood 2 or simply Assassin’s Creed 3, depending on how Ubisoft wish to continue the story, rather than a DLC offering. Guillemot refused to give any other details until May so you’ve got a few months of speculating to fill.

Back in November last year, Guillemot spoke of his interest in giving the game an annual release schedule but his latest comments have made it official. Good news for fans of the series but if anything can be learnt from the demise of Activision’s once lofty titles it’s that nothing lasts forever. It happened to Madden, it happened to FIFA and, as absurd as it may sound now, it’ll happen to Call of Duty too if Activision isn’t careful. All publishers who try and repeat their success over a relatively short timescale will find it harder and harder to do so. Assassin’s Creed is still young and evidently extremely popular but I’d hate to see it become a tired cash cow instead of the great franchise it is today.

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TIME’s top 10 video games of 09

TIME magazine have put together their top 10 lists for the year with video games being no exception. There are a few oddities and some serious questionable placements too that will no doubt cause many an arguments to come. Taking the number 1 spot is unsurprisingly Modern Warfare 2 which I can only agree with. It was a fantastic experience that will linger on for many months thanks to all the multiplayer options available. Next up comes Batman: Arkham Asylum. I am yet to see all the brilliance I keep getting told BAA features but don’t deny that it is a good game. I just don’t believe it’s a great game. I think it is a definite top 10 but maybe not so high. More confusion for me comes with DJ Hero. Just why is it at number 3? Why indeed is it in the chart altogether? TIME believe that it offers something new to the genre of rhythm games but neglected to mention its disturbingly poor sales. Each to their own I guess. Borderlands follows at number 4 which I personally would have placed at number 2 due to it’s continuing offerings of fun. New Super Mario Bros. Wii sits right in the middle at 5 which seems a bit harsh to me as it’s not only selling like crazy but a Mario platfomer in its purest form. I’m glad Halo 3: ODST gets a mention because I feel that game has been given some unnecessary criticism but was surprised to see both Assassin’s Creed 2 and Uncharted 2 only place at numbers 9 and 10 respectfully. I suppose not all games can chart at the top but I would have expected them to do so. Read on to see the full chart and have a little think as to what would your top 10 look like…

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Going home this week, FFXIII among others

Final Fantasy XIII - Snow and his interesting bike...

This Friday 13th looks to stick two fingers firmly up to tradition and be rather lucky for us gaming folk. First Nintendo will be releasing a demo for one of their popular franchises and now Sony are extending the hands of kindness in PlayStation Home. First, the 10-Screen cinema within Sony’s virtual land will be showing the first full episode from series two of anime, Fullmetal Alchemist. Airing actually begins today but only lasts for seven days so stop your dancing and head over to the cinema for that one! Next up Ubisoft are giving away virtual items to celebrate the upcoming release of Assassin’s Creed II and AC Bloodlines on PSP. Expect to see hats, shirts, hoodies and more in Home’s mall this week. But the juiciest treat comes from Square Enix who are playing a brand new never-before-seen trailer for Final Fantasy XIII in the 10 Screen cinema from tomorrow! No details have been given away as to what the trailer will show but so far, all the others have been great and don’t see why this would be any different. So dust off your avatar, there’s finally a decent use for Home- reaping the rewards of marketing!

Kiss my assassin

Assassin's Creed 2 - how charming

The lead up to Christmas has always been a busy time of year for video games. In past years the fight to sell your product became more and more crowded. This year sees many games being delayed into 2010 for numerous reasons and thankfully relieving some the pressure on our increasingly smaller wallets. Without a doubt, Modern Warfare 2 will be the biggest game of this holiday season – Activision have gone on record saying they want exactly that. A week after MW2’s November 10th release date will come Assassin’s Creed 2 eager to get us all spending again. Creative director Patrice Desilets told VG247 how he isn’t bothered about how close his game is MW2: “The first game we released two weeks after Modern Warfare, and we still sold nine million copies…  I think we’re going to outsell [Assassin’s Creed 1],” Ah yes but no one could have foreseen the immense popularity Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has had and still has to this day, even with all the prerelease hype. The idea that things will be the same this year as it was 2 years ago is a blinkered one. Desilets went on to say “People, when they want their first-person shooter fix, they buy Modern Warfare. If you want you a swords, running on rooftops, big open city fix, this is it. And there are people that want to play that, and they don’t want to play the game with guns.” I agree but don’t see why AC2 can’t be pushed back slightly in order to make room for the waves of MW2’s success. Prince of Persia was the last big game to be released in Christmas 08 (December 5th) and sold 2.2 million copies by January. Something AC2 can easily replicate if released at a similar time.  Ubisoft – its not all about November!