In the decade since its original release, Assassin’s Creed 2 has gained quite the reputation. It’s received unbelievable praise and risen to the position of best in the series in the eyes of many fans. And now, one word has been mentioned more than any other alongside its name – remaster!
Of course, on a technicality, we’ve already seen this game re-released in remastered form, but that’s not what I’m talking about in this article. Rather than a mere gloss-over, I mean a fully-fledged remaster, rebuilt from the ground up as a brand new experience. I’m talking about taking all of the old mechanics, locations and missions and recreating them, giving them as much life and detail as modern technology has to offer. A REAL remaster.
But why now? Why Assassin’s Creed 2 specifically? Don’t we already have a remaster? If you are wondering any of these things, or want more reasons to fuel your gaming dreams, then I’ve got you covered. I’m going to put forward my best argument for why now is the best time for this remaster to happen, and you never know, someone important could get some ideas…
2009 was a long time ago. Equally, the age of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 has long since passed. It’s been a while since Assassin’s Creed 2 came out, so why does it deserve a quality remaster now? Well, there are a few reasons.
Firstly, the introduction of next-generation consoles has amplified the potential for amazing remasters. As demonstrated in Ubisoft’s latest game, the Xbox Series X/S and the PlayStation 5 are more than capable of supporting vast game-worlds, beautiful textures, and large file downloads. Both consoles can also load games faster than ever before, so it’s safe to say that the opportunity to redesign and bring old games back to life is well and truly here.
Also, the gaming world has recently seen the growth of a significant market for remasters. In recent years, a surge in demand has bloomed for aged games to be brought back into playable contention as fans long to experience their old favourites in the modern age of gaming. A recent example of this being capitalised on is the release of Mafia: Definitive Edition, a complete remaster of the original 2002 game for 2020 consoles. Developers Hangar 13 captured and improved upon the original game with rejuvenated graphics and new side quests, and the same could be done by Ubisoft with their second Assassin’s Creed title.
But why should they feel inclined to build a remaster? Well, with the success of Valhalla, Ubisoft has widely reinstated Assassin’s Creed’s reputation as a quality game series. After Odyssey, many fans thought the games had lost their identity, but this year’s instalment has largely succeeded in reversing that effect. A great story, dense game-world, and returned focus on the Assassins has won fans over, and so the demand for Assassin’s Creed is back. Therefore, with the series living and breathing again, what better way to further strengthen fan satisfaction than to remaster one of the series’ greats?
Why Assassin’s Creed 2?
So, if now is the best time, why does it have to be Assassin’s Creed 2 that gets the remaster? Brotherhood and Black Flag are just as treasured, so why must the second game get the special treatment? Well, there are two main reasons: the desire for retro Assassin’s Creed and the nature of AC2’s design. Let me explain.
For several years, it has been clear that fans want to return to the old style of Assassin’s Creed. The original four games, featuring Altair and Ezio, had very specific mechanics and gameplay features, but that changed with the release of Assassin’s Creed 3. From then on, combat, parkour and other abilities slowly began to shift. This continued up to Origins, Odyssey and Valhalla, and now the game is almost unrecognisable. Because of this, a remaster of Black Flag, while aesthetically gorgeous, would not satisfy the demand for a return to the classic era.
But why not Brotherhood? It is a vital part of the Ezio trilogy, and many fans consider it to be one of the best. Why its predecessor takes the edge, however, is because of its scale and setting. Assassin’s Creed 2 takes place in renaissance Italy, featuring several magnificent cities and iconic buildings. Its size is much more compatible for next-gen than Brotherhood’s, which solely takes place in Rome.
In a similar way to Valhalla’s England, the different cities of Italy could offer a large, vibrant world to explore. It would be great to see the original cities unified in a more connected world, rendered and loaded to perfection. Imagine the glorious rooftops of Florence or the rivers and docks of Venice. Each iconic building could be recreated to a magnificent standard, and all of Italy could be given new life.
Haven’t We Already Had A Remaster?
If you have played The Ezio Collection, you might be questioning the purpose of this article. At first glance, it seems that we have already received this remaster, so why do we need another one? Well, it’s safe to say that that “remaster” was underwhelming. It did not improve much on the original game’s performance, and its surface-level graphical advancements were, to put it nicely, a bit patchy. It fell short of what fans deserve.
A new remaster, built from the ground up and redesigned for new consoles, would wipe this mistake from fan’s memories. It would offer a chance to return to Ezio’s story with stunning graphical advancements for characters, terrain and architecture. It could also even incorporate some of the newer features of the series that enhance the player’s experience. Weapon and outfit customisation could be updated, and new side quests and map locations could be introduced. Improved rendering and map size could also allow players to make journeys from city to city via horseback, rather than a fast travel loading screen. All very hopeful, I know, but Valhalla has shown that it’s possible.
Giving Assassin’s Creed 2 a remaster would also do wonders for Ubisoft. Not only would they redeem themselves for The Ezio Collection, but they would satisfy the fanbase to the extent that they would then have a lot of freedom in how they took the series forward. The pressure, so to speak, would be off, and they could take as many creative risks as they like. Valhalla and an awesome remaster of the series’ best title would lower the monumental fan expectations of recent years. Fans would feel heard, their desire for old-school Assassin’s Creed would be met, and Ubisoft would have unprecedented creative freedom. The hard work of building an amazing remaster would set them up for an exciting future.