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I think the modern story could work as side content

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Calvar The Blade's picture
Calvar The Blade
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So, what if the modern story were basically stripped from the main game (excluding a small bit to intro, of course) and turned into actual side content. Like, there's a specific icon in the world and progressing through the story unlocks all of them, and if you go to it Shawn or whoever tells you to solve a puzzle to find some Data or whatever, and doing so unlocks a video which they comment on. Basically like the Glyphs in AC2 and Brotherhood or the hacking in AC4, but with more of its own narrative arc than any of those examples really had.

It's that kind of thing that people love about AC's modern day. I don't think most folks actually want to be a dude running around a modern city, they just want to uncover intriguing mysteries that get partially answered in a way that raises more interesting questions.

The people who care about the modern story will seek this stuff out, and the people who don't will be spared something unrelated to the main arc of the game interrupting it at inopportune times.

It could also potentially be a way to avoid making every story end up being about a Piece of Eden: the final modern mission could be based in the ancestor's memories, reliving the moment they crossed paths with or discovered the location of a PoE. This wouldn't necessarily have to be a required thing, it could just be an option if the main story wouldn't work as well with the PoE entwined, or to allow focus on just making a cool final assassination with no gimmicks.

Black Flag and Unity took several steps towards this kind of thing, but they've both seemed too afraid to fully decouple from it. I hope they realize that the idea of Sages is enough of a link to the weirder aspects of AC, they don't need to throw in a techno-sword too.

Sages are a great concept because they seem mundane enough on a surface level that you can misunderstand their nature, not know that any more of them have ever existed, but still understand their involvement in the story.

For me, the ideal AC is one where someone who doesn't seek out any of the modern side content never feels like they're missing anything, but someone who does never feels like the main story isn't relevant to what they know. In AC4, I read all of the messages in bottles before meeting Black Bart, and because of that every word he said took on a new meaning to me, while my brother who focuses on the main path just saw him as a charismatic and mysterious pirate.

So yeah, I don't think there should be any real need to make the modern story required content any more. Those of us who like it got into it because of how much of it was on the periphery, just out of sight. Because of how willing it was to casually reveal important details but not require that you seek them out. I think that's a more compelling mode of existence for that aspect of AC.

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I was thinking a fully realized actual modern city, with themes that ran parallel with the Animus story. You would start the game in the outside world. Then after you finished all of your memories, then you get to finish the modern story (which itself has its own missions to complete). ACIII touched a little bit of that with the whole compromise and father and son dynamic, but it didn't delve into much detail.

In my opinion, Sages are nothing more than complete MacGuffins. They drive the plot, but don't offer any fleshed out character development. It would be nice if there was a twist with them - perhaps being related to one, bringing forth a sibling dynamic. After all, it would allude back to how Cain and Able fought.

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The problem with removing Modern Day gameplay is that gaming's greatest storytelling tactic comes from Agency and the Ability to Do. No other medium allows for this. It's precisely the missing Modern Day gameplay that people are hurting for. The Credits Sequence in AC2, which involved Desmond Hidden Blading his way through a dozen Abstergo Security Guards, even if it was minimal and minor, still felt more significant than something like Unity's Modern Day story even though it delivered SO much more through e-mails/logs/Helix Rifts.

A huge reason I disliked Unity is, I don't want to read e-mails to get the Modern Day story. That feels cheap. Literally, it feels cheap.

I would like to run through a city, I would like to investigate terrifying blood-messages on bedroom walls again, I would like to have the creepy-corporate aesthetic that AC1 to Brotherhood had. I'd like that back. I'm not going to get it back, but I'd like it all the same.

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DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
A huge reason I disliked Unity is, I don't want to read e-mails to get the Modern Day story. That feels cheap. Literally, it feels cheap.

I felt like a lot of things in Unity were advertised as appealing to longtime AC fans (trailer similar to AC1, urban environment, core mechanics, siding with Templars) but they were imo mostly marketing things. The things that are actually in the game deliver nothing close to what I expected.

The AC1 vibe is gone. The atmosphere doesn't feel dangerous. The core mechanics aren't revamped but they removed many things and added few. The supposedly gray area story is a joke. Modern day is reduced to an annoying voice saying you have collected the wrong chest.

We were all fooled.

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Calvar The Blade wrote:
So, what if the modern story were basically stripped from the main game (excluding a small bit to intro, of course) and turned into actual side content. Like, there's a specific icon in the world and progressing through the story unlocks all of them, and if you go to it Shawn or whoever tells you to solve a puzzle to find some Data or whatever, and doing so unlocks a video which they comment on. Basically like the Glyphs in AC2 and Brotherhood or the hacking in AC4, but with more of its own narrative arc than any of those examples really had.

I read this and it sounds like what Unity pretty much had. I think you're asking for a more subtle approach, like maybe Abstergo still sells Animus game consoles but ours is glitched and we have the ability to hack into more memories and data files linked with Abstergo's companies. Maybe we don't interact with modern day people at all. I'd be into that. It'd be like AC1's modern day gameplay only strictly hacking into the computer in the room to find the cryptic e-mails. Ahh...those were so cool back in the day...

I feel like they should have either done this in AC4. Although, I actually miss being Desmond. I don't see the problem with a character we see everything through in modern day, but they should make their story as relevant as the past's narrative. Figure out a way to replay a modern character's memories so that it's ALL replayable. Get some of Desmond's DNA so we can replay missions he did in AC3. Hell, modern day targets don't have to be real people, so there's no risk of pissing off anyone today. They just have to actually make it work this time, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

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Calvar The Blade's picture
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I had no problem with the "abstergo file" based story in Unity. I think it could have been even cooler if the resources they put into making a few pointless cutscenes in the main path would have been put into that instead.

I also think the context established in Unity is a smart one, but that it was woefully misused in the main path.

I disagree that Sages are just mcguffins. Unlike PoE, which ARE literally that, Sages can operate autonomously and serve different roles in the story. They're not an object for Templars and Assassins to fight over, but a disrupting faction in-between them. They can be allies, enemies, or neutral, it doesn't matter. And if the modern story is not the focus, the location of their remains doesn't have to be something that's always saved for the end or super important in the plot. They also don't have to be the final target, as AC4 established.

Maybe you guys are more interested in actually being in the modern day than I am, but I don't think there's any way to do that justice in a game not fully focused on it. A more linear Dishonored-like spinoff series that isn't set in the animus, as discussed in the other thread, would be more suitable. (both easier to realize a believable modern world and also not stepping on the toes of Ubi's other modern third person open world stealth game)

But I think that as long as historical gameplay in an open world is the primary focus, the modern day shouldn't be forced into the main path, and where it does exist in the side-content it should be minimalist and subtle.

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I just miss the modern day setting, they've pretty much given up working on a decent setting for it ever since Desmond got killed off, Black Flag was a decent try at keeping it but they seem to have changed their mind with Unity, making it nearly non existent...

I have a feeling it's gonna be even smaller in Victory, hopefully they'll prove me wrong...

Calvar The Blade's picture
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the problem is that people don't buy a game with a dude with a sword on the box expecting to have to go through sections where they're working at a game developer to get back to the sword stuff. But the only way to really justify a full-fledged second game where you exist in a detailed 3D modern day environment is to integrate it into the main path.

The only real options are minimalism, cutting it, or cutting the historical (whether for one game or many). First option pleases the larger portion of the audience, and also a decent amount of the smaller portion.

It's been obvious they've been trending towards minimalism since AC3, which got tons of criticism for the amount of forced modern day story it had. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, if they do it right.

Maybe I'm alone, but I thought AC2's The Truth puzzles and final video were far more interesting than anything that happened in AC2's main modern story, and it was all completely side content. AC4's main modern story is imo the best they've ever done with it, but I wouldn't have liked it less if it were greatly stripped down and completely optional. brevity can often improve stories, especially in games.

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