Ubisoft is developing an Assassin’s Creed game that’s “smaller in scope” than the series’ recent entries, according to Bloomberg‘s Jason Schreier.
The game, codenamed “Rift,” is said to be a repurposed expansion to Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which was originally released in 2020. The game will star standout Valhalla character Basim and won’t feature a massive open-world like Valhalla or 2018’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, according to Bloomberg. Instead, the game will reportedly focus on stealth gameplay and is set for release in late 2022 or early 2023. Specific platforms weren’t mentioned, but given that Valhalla is a cross-gen title, it seems likely that Rift will release on PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S alongside PC.
Rift is a separate project from codenamed “Assassin’s Creed Infinity,” a live service title that Ubisoft confirmed last year with scant details.
Eurogamer, which corroborated Bloomberg‘s report, provided a few additional details, noting that the game is set in Baghdad and will feature a setting similar in size to one of Valhalla‘s “smaller individual map regions.” Eurogamer adds that Rift is expected to explore Basim’s story prior to the events of Valhalla.
All told, these are notable changes for the series, which originally started as more stealth-driven before becoming more of an action-RPG in the vein of The Witcher 3. While reception to Valhalla was generally quite positive, a recurring criticism was that the game — which can take 60 hours for the main story alone — was quite bloated. Otherwise, the smaller Assassin’s Creed games came in the form of ‘2.5D’ titles in the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles subseries, which were released between 2015 and 2016.
The reason for this pivot, per Bloomberg, is for Ubisoft to fill out a “thin” release schedule. The publisher games lineup has taken a hit due to employee departures and major game delays. With respect to the former, various Ubisoft developers have been exiting the company over the company’s alleged toxic work culture at several studios, including Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Toronto. While Ubisoft let go a number of accused individuals while promising to make cultural changes, employees have reported that little has actually improved since.
Image credit: Ubisoft