The Assassins Creed franchise has had a very divisive audience recently, thanks to the sudden shift into a more RPG-focused game style. Some fans have openly expressed their love of the new style, while others have lamented at the abrupt transition that has steered further away from what made the original games so good and iconic. One such divisive decision was the return of the hidden blade, and it’s poor damage output in Assassins Creed: Origins.
Then came Assassins Creed: Odyssey, who didn’t even allow you to equip the blade at all, probably as a way to justify the shift from stealth instakill to stealth damage instead. But many fans haven’t taken the change lightly, as a blade through the neck should kill someone regardless of what level they are.
If you saw that cinematic world premiere trailer a while ago and got ecstatic when the hidden blade was revealed, then we've got some more good news for you. Speaking to the press, The Creative Director of Assassins Creed: Valhalla, Ashraf Ismail, recently spoke about the hidden blade’s return in the new AC installment coming out later this year, and how it will be bringing back the stealth instakill.
“Eivor receives the hidden blade quite early on,” he says. “We continue with the idea that Eivor is not a trained assassin. Eivor is a Viking who receives this badass weapon and has to learn very quickly. Early in the experience, Eivor will learn a technique that, with the right timing ... can one-shot-kill virtually anybody.”
Whilst many fans might be overjoyed with the news that the hidden blade is going to be able to do what it always should have done, it seems like this might just be a certain unlockable ability, possibly even with a cooldown feature. In fact, it sounds an awful lot like the critical assassination ability you could unlock in AC: Odyssey.
But it sounds like at least they will be bringing back some old systems that were featured in previous titles before the big genre shift began with AC Origins. Another one of these old mechanics to make a return in Valhalla will be social stealth:
“We have a cool new spin on it,” Ismail said “but, yes, social stealth is back,” highlighting that it was a “major piece” to bring back to the franchise. “The idea that a Norse person or a Viking is in a place that they’re not wanted, for them to sort of go incognito and kind of hide in the crowd, if you will, made a lot of sense.”
Hopefully we'll get to see some hidden blade action or even some social stealth when Ubisoft debuts some more gameplay footage (supposedly) during their Ubisoft Forward online event. At the very least we deserve some actual gameplay soon unlike that "gameplay" trailer that was premiered on the Xbox Series X reveal event livestream.
It's possible that this is all because of the negative criticism the series has recently faced regarding the 'bloated' gameplay, especially in Assassins Creed: Odyssey, as Ubisoft wants to address the fans and bring the series back a little bit to what made them great in the first place, whilst also retaining what has made the recent entries good as well.
What do you think of the news? Are you excited for the return of the instakill hidden blade? Do you think it will be an unlockable cooldown ability? What about social stealth? What other mechanics/features would you like to see making a return in AC: Valhalla? Let us know!