If you haven't heard of Pokemon Go, then you must be living under a rock because it has become such a phenomenon that it's almost hard to believe how popular it is. If you need a rundown, we've got you covered. Between the server crashes and the varied accidents, Pokemon Go has set a precedent as to how an Augmented Reality (AR) game can be achieved.
Niantic Labs has absolutely killed it when it comes to developing AR games, as they introduced us several years ago to their first project, Ingress, which was a phenomenal cult success. And it seems as though Pokemon Go is set to follow that pattern and shine brightly as one of the most popular and addictive games of a generation. And it's getting people to really explore places they otherwise never would.
Yet, why stop there? Why not look towards the next Pokemon Go game and think about what other gaming franchises could step into the augmented reality arena and bring us another game just as addictive? When I think of augmented reality Assassin's Creed is the first franchise that pops into my head. There are already secret factions built in.
Considering that through the various Assassin's Creed games, you're literally a person who steps into a machine to collect memories from your ancestors, I'd call that a pretty impressive augmented reality. Now that alone isn’t enough to build a new AR game around and as I see it - and it would have to happen in modern times, but it could easily be another major hit if it took into account these 5 core game principals.
Exploration = Map Navigation
We all know how the mechanics of Pokemon Go work: based on your GPS location along with Google Maps integration your trainer appears to be walking around your neighborhood as you do.
It’s very surreal to a point, and that aspect of it would be well used in Assassin’s Creed. The map exploration would be simple enough as it would follow the Pokemon Go model, but then Assassin's Creed would need to take it up a level and utilize Google's Street View.
Imagine that with a click of the screen you could turn on your own Eagle Vision and be transported into a digital likeness of your surroundings full of hidden treasures. As you rotate your phone it tracks your position and the Street View follows.
This would take the exploration to new heights as you could “interact” with the world around you. It would be a complete data hog to remain in that mode, so I think it would have to have some sort of cool down time to compensate for that.
Picking Your Secret Faction = Team Selection
If you’ve played an Assassin’s Creed game, you know that one of the major concepts is the eternal struggle between the Brotherhood of Assassins and Templar Order that dates back to pre Cain & Abel. This war between the factions has been waged in the shadows and many of the most powerful figures in history have played a role in the struggle. An augmented reality game that allows you to join the war between these two factions is a perfect match for the Pokemon Go model of team selection.
After choosing a side: either Assassin or Templar, you would fight for control of the known world. It would be a solo game but at the same time a team based game, more along the lines of Niantic Labs' game Ingress. Each team would offer specific benefits such as an Assassin being faster and more cunning whereas Templar would have a stronger defense/attack.
Growing your Faction = Capturing Pokemon
Without the capture and evolve play-style of Pokemon, a new AR would be an absolute bust. Integrating these loveable creatures throughout your neighborhoods and the surrounding areas has made Pokemon Go a massive success.
Although Assassin’s Creed doesn’t have things to capture, it does have the brotherhood for you can train and mentor.
In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood you could collect new recruits for your cause that would come to your aid at the simplest of gestures. By collecting recruits you would have a team of Assassins or Templars to go into battle with. As you explore the world you would be notified that a new recruit is nearby, then to recruit them you would shift into Eagle Vision and it would lead you on a path to follow to find the recruit and sway them to your side (or even protect them from a computer generated adversary).
Enhancing your Faction = Training & Evolving Pokemon
Now the leveling up and evolution that Pokemon Go uses would have to be altered to work with Assassin’s Creed, since I don’t think eating candy would benefit an Assassin or a Templar.
Once you gain recruits you can train them in two different ways, the first is through EXP at waypoints (essentially PokeStops) the EXP you gain can be given to specific recruits in your team. The second way to train your recruits is by approaching Towers owned by another user in your same faction.
Towers = Pokemon Gyms
One of the core aspects of Pokemon in general is the ability to approach a gym and face the leader. In Pokemon Go, by defeating the Gym leader you earn the right to take control of the Gym and become the new leader, swaying that gym towards your team. In essence we had this within the Assassin’s Creed games with the Forts and Strongholds. As you progress and level up your Assassin or Templar you can interact with the Towers to gain control.
I can imagine using your brothers in arms to infiltrate the tower you’re trying to seize control of. Based on how well you’ve trained your team of brothers would determine if you can overtake the Tower, much like how Gym battles are won or lost. Then once you own a Tower other players in your same faction can find a save haven to recover their strength and train their own collection of brothers in an Animus style training system. Plus, we're already hunting down rare Pokemon in Pokemon GO, imagine what kind of rare towers or artifacts you might find in Assassin's Creed Go!