The celebration of the 15th anniversary of Assassin’s Creed went awry


Fans of the Assassin’s Creed franchise were excited to learn of Ubisoft’s plans for a “15th Anniversary Celebrations” event for the series, in which a multitude of titles would get their own time in the spotlight in the way of sales, quizzes, and prizes to be won. While the event was seemingly a commendable effort by Ubisoft to honor the games and the community that the series has fostered over the years, the Anniversary Celebrations have sadly taken a turn for the worse.

While not a direct result of the anniversary event, a series of recent negative Assassin’s Creed announcements have soured what should have been a positive and optimistic time for the franchise. With services being taken offline and entire games becoming inaccessible on some platforms, the Anniversary Celebration is becoming more and more overshadowed as it goes on.

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Overview of the Assassin’s Creed 15th Anniversary Celebrations

The Assassin’s Creed 15th Anniversary Celebrations event is intended to honor the release of the first Assassin’s Creed title all the way back in 2007. To mark this franchise milestone, the event began in June and is intended to run all the way to September.

Starting from the latest franchise release of Valhalla and working all the way back to the first Assassin’s Creed, each title is set to have a full week in which it is the core focus of the event. During a game’s allotted week, a new quiz relating to the featured title of said week is released, in which fans can compete to earn unique prizes. As well as providing significant sales for the featured titles, the event also highlights community creations in the way of fan-art, cosplays, and more. While the reception surrounding the Anniversary Celebrations event was initially positive, the sentiment among the community has become much more negative in recent weeks.

The Shutting Down of Assassin’s Creed Online Services

The first point of contention that occurred during the Celebrations event came with Ubisoft’s announcement that many of the online services for some of its titles would be permanently shutting down. Sadly as a part of this, five Assassin’s Creed titles will no longer have online capabilities starting from September 1.

In all, the impacted titles include the original versions of Assassin’s Creed 2, Assassin’s Creed 3, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD, and Assassin’s Creed Revelations. While many of these original game versions are limited to outdated hardware, the timing of the termination of their online services during a period in which the franchise is supposedly celebrating its history has been labeled as bizarre by many fans.

Despite these games being older, the shutting down of their online capabilities has a fair range of implications. Not only are any online features now impossible to access for these games, but their coveted multiplayer modes are now obsolete, and paid DLCs that the games may possess are now completely inaccessible, much to the dismay of fans.

In what is another juxtaposition to the event’s supposed focus on community, Ubisoft additionally announced the end of the fan-driven Assassin’s Creed Mentors Guild program. The program highlighted the most involved and dedicated members of the Assassin’s Creed community and bestowed them with ambassadorial roles, allowing them to represent voices within the community and be selected for in-person events, early access programs, and more. While it appears the same core principles of the program will be continued on a smaller scale via the Star Players Program, the timing is once again peculiar considering the community involvement in the Anniversary Celebrations event.

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Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD No Longer Being Accessible

Arguably the most controversial element of the online service announcements recently made by Ubisoft concerns the title Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD. Liberation was initially a title for the PS Vita, before receiving its own remake as Liberation HD. A concise but nevertheless interesting installment to the Assassin’s Creed franchise, many fans are concerned and upset with just how large of an impact the recent announcements are set to have on the title.

As of September, Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD will no longer be accessible on Steam, leaving a massive amount of players no longer able to play the title despite having paid for it. Considering that many smaller-scale AC games such as Liberation are not set to feature within the Anniversary Celebrations event whatsoever, its removal from arguably its most popular platform is a tough pill to swallow for many fans of the title.

The soon-to-be reduced accessibility for Liberation HD has predictably ignited discourse surrounding the growing need for video game preservation, as more and more older titles are left behind with the growing online-focused nature of the industry. While the game can still be accessed on other platforms via the remastered version of Assassin’s Creed 3, many think that the recent Ubisoft announcements are a grim indication of how other older titles may be treated next.

Despite the backlash within the Assassin’s Creed community that have stemmed from these recent changes, it must be said that the future of the franchise remains bright. Titles in the form of Assasisn’s Creed Rift, Nexus, and Infinity are reportedly set to release in the near future, somewhat softening the blow of the perceived harsh treatment of older franchise games. The point does remain, however, that the timing of such overtly controversial decisions that concern many Assassin’s Creed titles is very unfortunate, especially when considering how many of the games in question are being actively celebrated as a part of the 15th Anniversary Celebrations of the IP.