- This article is about the video game. You may be looking for the short film.
- "A different revolution is rising. More subtle. A blaze from the ashes of an old brotherhood. We shall rise. Street gangs will be our armies. The slums, our fortress. They say this is the modern era. I say, it's time for a rebirth. And we shall lead the way."
- ―Jacob Frye.[src]
Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is the ninth main installment in the Assassin's Creed series. The conceptual title and screenshots of the game were first leaked on 2 December 2014, following which Ubisoft acknowledged the leaked assets about Victory as genuine.
The game was released on 23 October 2015 worldwide on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while the PC version released on 19 November 2015.
The game has the player take on the role of an Initiate as they explore the story of the twin protagonists, Jacob and Evie Frye, both of whom are playable. The two arrive in London in 1868, as the Industrial Revolution reaches its climax, bringing its lot of inequality and poverty in a city controlled by the Templars. To stop their rule, the Fryes will take over the organized crime in an effort to gather an army and free London.
Ubisoft Quebec is handling Syndicate's lead development, in conjunction with eight other studios from Montreal, Singapore, Annecy, Montpellier, Chengdu, Shanghai, Kiev and Reflections. Teams from Ubisoft Sofia, Barcelona and Toronto are also involved in the game's completion.
Having gained solid brand experience from their contributions to previous entries in the Assassin's Creed franchise, Ubisoft Quebec has reportedly been working on Syndicate for more than two years. They are collaborating closely with Ubisoft Montreal, whose significant contributions to the game include producing London's landmarks, creating "living and breathing" crowds and improving the parkour gameplay's smoothness.
Ubisoft Singapore, who pioneered the naval gameplay seen in Assassin's Creed III and subsequent entries, as well Assassin's Creed: Unity's time anomalies, has focused on new gameplay along the River Thames. Ubisoft Annecy is responsible for the development of the dynamic Train Hideout, a mobile headquarters for the Assassins around which several side missions will center. These missions will feature a strong narrative that enriches Syndicate's "gang fantasy".
One of the game's boroughs, Whitechapel, is being developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, who are also working on side missions related to historical figures and specific sections within main missions. Ubisoft Reflections is a developer known for working on racing games, and has been brought in to create the free roaming vehicle gameplay. Along with vehicle degradation and in-vehicle combat mechanics, Reflections has produced several side activities that involve racing with horse-drawn carriages.
Ubisoft Chengdu is responsible for a large variety of boats, environment assets and crowd animations, while Ubisoft Shanghai handles architecture and character assets. As with previous entries, Ubisoft Kiev is working on Syndicate's PC version.
Syndicate's London is 30% bigger than Paris from Assassin's Creed: Unity and is composed of seven boroughs: Westminster, the Strand, the City of London, The Thames, Whitechapel, Southwark, and Lambeth. To create as much contrast between these areas as possible, certain architectural styles were isolated to certain boroughs.
Because photography had already been invented by the time of the Industrial Revolution, the developers had a rich bank of real footage and photos to aid them in their recreation of London. Still, the city was streamlined to accommodate gameplay; the landmarks' locations are geographically accurate, but the distance in between them was adjusted. While London is the main setting of the game, locations outside of London will be visited during the storyline.
There are drastic architectural changes between Unity and Syndicate, including larger avenues and more floors in higher buildings. These changes conducted to the addition of the rope launcher to the Assassin's arsenal, to facilitate the navigation through the city.
Transportation and activitiesEdit
Carriages serve as the fastest vehicular mode of transportation through the city, with the crowds now being restricted to the pavements on the sides of the road. Trains and steamboats also appear, and are primarily used to travel the city, though boats are restricted as freerunning platforms across the Thames, while the Assassins possess a Train Hideout that crosses the city.
To liberate the boroughs of London, various activities are available, including bounty hunting, Templar assassinations, attacking strongholds and liberating children from factories. Once the Templars' control over the area was sufficiently weakened, a gang war would be initiated, culminating in the borough being taken over entirely by the Rooks.
Money is counted in pounds, and can be procured by completing missions, pickpocketing, opening chests, participating in street races, winning in fight clubs and accomplishing train robberies, and cargo escorts. Many of these activities additionally award materials, which are required for crafting certain items and upgrades.
Kidnapping is introduced as both a stealth mechanic and mission objective. The former allows for any enemy not aware of Jacob/Evie, to be kidnapped and used as a form of blending, allowing access to restricted areas. During kidnapping, a ring appears around the characters, signifying how close other enemies can get before realizing the ruse. It shortens the slower they walk, and increased greatly if running. Occasionally, the victim will try to escape, needing to be restrained. When their purpose is over, they can be assassinated or knocked out. For missions, primarily Bounty Hunts, targets can be kidnapped, and loaded in carriages.
Characters, customization and weaponsEdit
Both playable characters will have different skill trees and the Frye twins' play-styles will reflect their different personalities. There will be the possibility to switch at will between characters between the missions.
The Assassins amass a variety of equipment at their disposal, but begin the game with a hidden blade on their Assassin gauntlet, smoke bombs and throwing knives. Throwing knives have the new feature of activating traps in the environment such as hanging barrels. As the story progresses a rope launcher and dart launcher are added to the Assassin gauntlets. Hallucinogenic darts can be fired from the gauntlet into individuals, or they can be fired into fires to affect a wider area. The rope launcher can be used to quickly climb buildings, and on the rooftops can be used to create temporary zip lines. Handguns are available, including derringers, revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Brass knuckles, cane-swords and kukri' are available melee weapons, but each twin may equip only one weapon at a time. Owing to the era's stricter regulations on carrying weapons, the playable characters conceal their weapons when not in use.
As the reckless and brawler twin, Jacob begins the game with a pair of brass knuckles. Evie, being level-headed and less exuberant than her brother, is more focused on stealth. She begins the game with a cane sword. Both twins may use any unlocked weapons and gauntlets, but they have their own items of clothing; Evie's cloaks and Jacob's belts both provide bonuses to defense and stealth, but cloaks give a greater bonus to stealth while belts provide a stronger defense. These items are worn in addition to their outfits.
Experience points and levellingEdit
By performing Assassin-like actions, such as air assassinations, and completing missions, players gain experience points. For every 1000 experience points, a skill point is unlocked which can then be spent to unlock a particular skill, though higher skills require multiple points. Spending certain amounts of points with Jacob and Evie determines their level.
The Rooks under their control can also be upgraded. This manifests as stronger combat prowess (increased level); varied archetypes; reduced effectiveness of enemy blades, firearms, and vehicles; faster and stronger vehicles becoming more abundant in the streets; economic opportunities to increase revenue; and discounts on certain items from vendors.
Due to the era's restriction on open weaponry, much of the combat is carried out through fistfights, though weapons such as kukris, cane-swords, and brass knuckles are often employed as well. The combat mechanics will be similar to Unity, but at a quicker pace. Contextual kills will also make a return from Assassin's Creed: Rogue, and allow the stunning of multiple opponents, before chaining together a series of quick multi-kills.
There will be no competitive or co-op multiplayer game mode in Syndicate, the developers instead choosing to concentrate their efforts on the single-player content.
Syndicate has also been revealed to offer microtransactions. However, Ubisoft has stated that all in-game content can be unlocked through conventional means; with the microtransactions being there as an option for people who wish to save time on gameplay and accelerate their progress.
Contrary to most previous installments, which spanned for about a decade, Syndicate's main storyline will be set only during the year 1868.
Two additional singleplayer missions, The Darwin and Dickens Conspiracy and Runaway Train, are available by pre-ordering certain editions. Ubisoft also offers a Season Pass, which includes the aforementioned singleplayer missions, as well as the following content:
- Jack the Ripper singleplayer campaign - Set in 1888, the rise of Jack the Ripper poses a threat to London and the Assassin Brotherhood; players join forces with Inspector Frederick Abberline of Scotland Yard to hunt down the infamous serial killer and save his hostage, Jacob Frye.
- The Last Maharaja mission pack - Jacob and Evie aid Duleep Singh in his quest to reclaim his birthright as the Maharaja.
- A Long Night mission - Jacob tracks down an endangered gang member and brings him back to the hideout in a "fast-paced, wild and dangerous ride".
- Steampunk and Victorian Legends outfit packs
- Permanent experience boost
As with previous entries, Syndicate will have content exclusive to the PlayStation 4. Similar to the Murder Mysteries of Assassin's Creed: Unity, "The Dreadful Crimes" will include ten side missions in which the player will investigate kidnappings, murders and other crimes within London. Solving the crimes correctly will reward the player with special gear and exclusive artwork. Promotional material highlights that this material is exclusive to Playstation 4 until 31 March 2016 - at which time, presumably, it will be made available to other formats.
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is the first game in the series to feature an updated version of the franchise's trademark opening statement. The text now reads as follows: "Inspired by historical events and characters, this work of fiction was designed, developed, and produced by a multicultural team of various beliefs, sexual orientations and gender identities."
- In pictures and in videos of the skill upgrade menu, both Jacob and Evie are shown to be able to hold their canes outside of battle, but this feature did not make it into the final version of the game.
- Syndicate is the Assassin's Creed game to have been leaked the quickest. In December 2014, a mere month after the release of Assassin's Creed: Unity, a couple of images from Syndicate, which was referred to as Assassin's Creed: Victory at the time, were leaked by Kotaku.
- Syndicate is the first main game in the series to have both a playable female Assassin and four playable characters in total. Both Jacob and Evie serve as the main protagonists, while Lydia Frye, Jacob's granddaughter, is playable in a short section of the game set during World War I. The fourth character is Jack the Ripper, only playable briefly in the Jack The Ripper DLC.