Retirement plans

Gone Fisherin'

Friday, September 25, 2009 | 06:31 AM | by
    


Ubisoft has finally announced a solid release date for Sam's next adventure, and while it's still a little ways off, it's nice to have an actual time frame to look forward to.

Splinter Cell has long been one of my favorite game franchises, so I'm always happy to see another one on the horizon. And while I wouldn't exactly say Sam is old in this latest iteration, he's still no spring chicken. It's left me to wonder how many more Splinter Cell adventures we can look forward to with Sam at the helm.

Clearly they can always swap out for a new lead, do flashback-games, or even just reboot the series entirely like Lara Croft. Still, we don't like to give up our action heroes to age. As evidence, I submit Metal Gear solid, and the latest Die Hard and Rocky/Rambo movies. Time is a harsh mistress in franchises that pursue an ongoing linear story. There's only one way to go, and that's towards an AARP membership.

I wonder (and hope that we are lucky enough) if we'll see Nathan Drake progress through a series of adventures that eventually lands him with gray hairs and wrinkles of distinction.

Speaking of time in video games, another question that's been on my mind recently regards the Assassin's Creed brand, which is clearly going to pursue a franchise series, and we'll be getting part two shortly. However a large part of the appeal in the first two games lies in the setting. The time period and the sort of tactics that follow it.

In Assassin's Creed, you used blades because that was the height of technology at the time. In AC2, you still use blades because they are time-appropriate, but it also introduces gun-powder into the mix for a ranged attack.

If we are to continue following Desmond's ancestors through time, eventually (and possible in the very next game) we're going to reach a time where you can't walk around the street with a sword strapped to your hip. A time where your opponents are likely to be armed with guns, and perhaps you will be too. I wonder if by then Assassin's Creed will be such a recognizable brand that it will be able to differentiate itself, or if it will just start to blend in with all of the other "stealth assassination, run and gun" type games on the shelf.