Last year I experienced a moment of personal generational crisis when I witnessed Tyler “Ninja” Blevins streaming a Fortnite game while wearing his own skin. Today I felt much closer to home, as reported by Bloomberg, and later confirmed by Ubisoft, that the Assassin’s creed The action-adventure-RPG series is set to become something of an online service – an evolving platform codenamed Assassin’s Creed Infinity. I understand this decision, but I don’t like it. Because, similarly to Ninja’s recursive blue hair, it has made me feel old.
I don’t mean old “You’ll never guess how long ago Finding Nemo came out” (but don’t look for that, because it’ll get you down). I mean old in a cold way of business calculation. I can feel the PR teams stop caring about me, and a huge pit in front of me represents the point at which Westminster advisers will start telling Tory MPs to woo my vote.
This is for two reasons. First of all, I really like Assassin’s Creed and secondly, I don’t like games as a service. Point one is something that comes up a lot. I am the AC fan. I like the gold on those hills, especially when that gold is a bunch of icons that I can erase from the hills, which gives me a nice finishing glow. I like towers, stabbings, crouching in the grass up to my knees.
The AC series has been a polar star in my pop culture consumption since I was a teenager. I have merchandising! They bought me one of the novelizations once as a gift! I buy the special editions because I like the DLC! These games are very important to me. I treasure the hundreds of hours of single-player adventures I’ve had.
My relationship with online games has been more complex. I used to play a lot of World Of Warcraft, and I spent more time on Left 4 Dead 2 in college than my current title. Now I have to do my other hobbies in brief moments during the lunch break because the nights are reserved for watching Love Island or the football that is currently happening. I’m trying to save for a mortgage (and if you want an update on that: lol), for crying out loud. I don’t have time to dedicate myself to something like GTA Online or Fallout 76, with their morph suits and their … people.
Because I also no longer have the inclination. Many things in the world make me sad, and one of them is “unexpectedly interacting with strangers online.” It makes me more anxious than unexpectedly interacting with strangers in real life, because strangers online are more inclined towards idiots than the normal average.
Which is all to say that I like single player games that I can start on my own time and play on my own time. I don’t like games that can change before you are ready for them to do so. And I know this makes me an old lady yelling at the cloud, because service games like Fortnite or even Rainbow 6 Siege offer a better return on investment for developers, and people like them. But I am not one of those people.
“My game mom doesn’t love me anymore. She wants me to fuck off the nest.”
We hardly know anything about Assassin’s Creed Infinity, other than that it has resulted in the merger of the Ubisoft Quebec and Ubisoft Montreal teams, and that it exists. But that it exists as an online platform means that I must face a terrible truth: I am no longer the target audience. I’m off 18-25 and on my way to 36-40. It doesn’t matter if I complain about all these things online these days, because my consumer voice is no longer important. The landscape has changed, and instead of gold, the hills are full of monthly content updates, and that’s what a lot of people want, so it makes sense to turn to that.
Oh, there will probably be another AC single player game, maybe two, before its release. But Infinity means one thing to me: my gaming mom doesn’t love me anymore. She wants me to fuck off, at least until I have my own kids, who, once they turn 13, will demand that I pay a subscription to the Assassin’s Creed Battle Royale Bonus Club, a concept I’ll do. I barely understand
“When we were young,” I’ll say, as I pull out my credit card, “Assassin’s Creed was a game you played alone. You did the same three missions three times, but the horse was really well done. Really realistic. Then the second, they hung your family in front of you. Good times. Great … great times. “