Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR Could Reinvigorate the Franchise

Ubisoft is no stranger to virtual reality (VR). Through subsidiary studios like Red Storm Entertainment, the company has released VR escape room experiences for arcades worldwide. Then you have titles like Transference, Wolves Within and Star Trek: Bridge Crew for home VR headsets. But its next project, Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR, is likely to be the biggest – and most important – to date. Because it could very well rejuvenate the franchise.

A VR Brotherhood

After teasing its existence in 2020, Ubisoft has stayed quiet about Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR release until Ubisoft Forward this June. If you didn’t see it, the showcase did, in fact, serve up three different Assassin’s Creed games. Alongside Nexus VR there was Assassin’s Creed Mirage which launches on 12th October across most major consoles and PC. Followed by Assassin’s Creed Codename Jade a game designed for mobile devices.

The first Assassin’s Creed was released in 2007 and Assassin’s Creed Mirage should bring the total number of mainline games to 13. But many would agree that recent releases have struggled to innovate, even with 2020s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla putting in a strong showing.

A finely crafted VR game could very well help with this slump. Because who would want to step into Ezio’s shoes, running around ancient cities and executing stealth assassinations as if you were really there?

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Made for VR Gameplay

From the details Ubisoft has released so far, it seems to be on track. You only need to have played one of the many games in the franchise to know that Assassin’s Creed is all about speed, agility and precision. You need to be able to scamper up walls without a second thought. Leap between rooftops as naturally as walking down the street, yet have the tactlessness to drop down on an enemy silently without alerting anyone else.

Doing all of that in VR is no easy task. Games like Sairento VR and Stride have tackled parkour-like movement successfully. But Assassin’s Creed fans will be expecting another level of finesse from Ubisoft.

Ubisoft Creative Director David Votypka has taken that onboard, commenting in a blog post: “We really made a true Assassin’s Creed game, with climbing, parkour, free running, all of that. Players can sprint, climb, parkour, run around on the rooftops, and do a Leap of Faith. All of those things exist in the game and are really fun to do.”

VR is also known for its physicality, being able to get into fistfights and sword fights, and parrying attacks to really get players involved in the gameplay. Ubisoft has confirmed that hidden blades, swords, tomahawks, bows, crossbows, throwing knives, and smoke bombs will all play a part when duelling with enemies. Everyone’s favourite weapon, the hidden blade, has also been tuned for VR controls. “In real life, you’d flick open your wrist as the blade comes out to get your hand out of the way – which is exactly what you do in the game,” says Votypka. “You hold the top trigger, and you flick your wrist open with the gesture, and the Hidden Blade deploys.”

More than an experience

It could very well be these small details that give Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR the edge over its flatscreen cousins. What we don’t know is how big the game will be. Quite often VR titles with great potential fall into the “VR Experience” bracket, of sub-5 hours rather than a huge adventure you’ll be spending weeks and weeks on.

Hopefully, because you’ll play as Ezio, Kassandra, and Connor across a three-pronged narrative this shouldn’t be the case.

Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR is set to arrive this holiday season for Meta Quest 2, Quest Pro and Quest 3. Let us know int he comments below if you’re looking forward to the game.