When looking at this fall's leading titles, Assassin's Creed: Revelations was one of the titles that stood out from the pack. Unlike many of the other games, which we knew would have fantastic gameplay and contain great stories, Revelations had the potential to set itself apart due to its continuation of the canon that has gripped so many over the past few years.
We knew that this game would focus on the stories of Ezio and Altair once again, but Ubisoft had also promised that there would be more of a focus put on Desmond too - something fans had been craving for quite some time. Most importantly, everyone knew that there would be a resolution to the shocking events that transpired at the end of Brotherhood, or so they thought.
Unfortunately, those expectations never saw the light of day. The tragedy at the end of Brotherhood was tossed aside like a used cloth and while there was more focus put on Desmond, it had drifted back to how it was in the original game - we were learning about Desmond's past. The period story also felt rather lacklustre in comparison to previous offerings.
Oddly enough, this aspect of the franchise had always been a secondary concern for me. The modern day struggles of Desmond have always been what's kept my interest in the franchise going. But even I couldn't help but feel sorry Ezio. Not because of his story in the game, but because of how poorly it was rounded out by the developers. Altair's exit from the stage was grand and heartfelt - Ezio's was cold and callous, there was no resolution to anything.
As I played through Revelations, all I kept thinking about was how it didn't really improve on Brotherhood in any way. This for me, presented a major step backwards. Assassin's Creed II improved on almost every negative aspect of the original title and Brotherhood pushed things on much further - even though nobody expected it to. But due to Brotherhood's success, the same was expected of Revelations. It failed to deliver and it now looks like everything people thought Brotherhood would - a poor attempt to cash in on the franchise's success.
This experience has dampened my excitement for the next major Assassin's Creed title, which should be Assassin's Creed 3, but also for the franchise in general. Everyone knows that the handheld titles aren't anywhere near of the same quality and that they were just cash-ins to make a few bob, but Ubisoft always garnered some admiration for how it was handling the core games. Even when alarm bells went off due to the quick release of Brotherhood, they were satisfied by a game which was better than most other titles released that year.
Revelations has put Ubisoft in a delicate position. Most people expected this year's title to be Assassin's Creed 3, but when that turned out it to be Revelations, those expectations were offset by the collective agreement that this meant Assassin's Creed 3 would be given more development time behind the scenes. We're hoping this is the case, because Revelations lacked any real inspiration and showed hardly any creativity. It will have done even less to convince gamers that Ubisoft are able to cope with the loss of Patrice DÃ©silets from the franchise.
If Assassin's Creed 3 does turn out to be next year's Assassin's Creed title, it will have to re-convince me that the franchise deserves my attention, because Revelations showed that the core franchise isn't infallible - they have some clear work to do.