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This article is about the video game. You may be looking for the short film.
"It's a bloody marvelous time to be alive, so many clever blokes dreaming up impossible machines. Hoarding away more gold than Queen Elizabeth herself. But none of those shillings ever make it into the hands of the poor devils whose blood is spilled building this marvelous empire, the working class sleep-walks through life, unaware of the machine that drives them. Let's wake them up then, shall we?"
―Jacob Frye.[src]

Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is the ninth main installment in the Assassin's Creed series. The conceptual title and screenshots of the game were first leaked on 2 December 2014, following which Ubisoft acknowledged the leaked assets about Victory as genuine.

The game was released on 23 October 2015 worldwide on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while the PC version released on 19 November 2015.[1]

The game has the player take on the role of an Initiate as they explore the story of the twin protagonists, Jacob and Evie Frye, both of whom are playable. The two arrive in London in 1868, as the Industrial Revolution reaches its climax, bringing its lot of inequality and poverty in a city controlled by the Templars. To stop their rule, the Fryes will take over the organized crime in an effort to gather an army and free London.

Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is set primarily in 19th century London, during the Victorian era.

Gameplay

Location

Syndicate's London is 30% bigger than Paris from Assassin's Creed: Unity and is composed of seven boroughs: Westminster, the Strand, the City of London, The Thames, Whitechapel, Southwark, and Lambeth.[2] To create as much contrast between these areas as possible, certain architectural styles were isolated to certain boroughs.[3]

Because photography had already been invented by the time of the Industrial Revolution, the developers had a rich bank of real footage and photos to aid them in their recreation of London. Still, the city was streamlined to accommodate gameplay; the landmarks' locations are geographically accurate, but the distance in between them was adjusted.[3] While London is the main setting of the game, locations outside of London will be visited during the storyline.[4]

There are drastic architectural changes between Unity and Syndicate, including larger avenues and more floors in higher buildings. These changes conducted to the addition of the rope launcher to the Assassin's arsenal, to facilitate the navigation through the city.[5]

Transportation and activities

Carriages serve as the fastest vehicular mode of transportation through the city, with the crowds now being restricted to the pavements on the sides of the road. Trains and steamboats also appear, and are primarily used to travel the city, though boats are restricted as freerunning platforms across the Thames, while the Assassins possess a Train Hideout that crosses the city.[6]

To liberate the boroughs of London, various activities are available, including bounty hunting, Templar assassinations, attacking strongholds and liberating children from factories. Once the Templars' control over the area was sufficiently weakened, a gang war would be initiated, culminating in the borough being taken over entirely by the Assassins' gang, the Rooks.

Money is counted in pounds, and can be procured by completing missions, pickpocketing, opening chests, participating in street races, winning in fight clubs and accomplishing train robberies[7], and cargo escorts. Many of these activities additionally award materials, which are required for crafting certain items and upgrades.

Kidnapping is introduced as both a stealth mechanic and mission objective. The former allows for any enemy not aware of Jacob/Evie, to be kidnapped and used as a form of blending, allowing access to restricted areas. During kidnapping, a ring appears around the characters, signifying how close other enemies can get before realizing the ruse. It shortens the slower they walk, and increased greatly if running. Occasionally, the victim will try to escape, needing to be restrained. When their purpose is over, they can be assassinated or knocked out. For missions, primarily Bounty Hunts, targets can be kidnapped, and loaded in carriages.

Characters, customization and weapons

Both playable characters have different skill trees and the Frye twins' play-styles reflects their different personalities. With a few exceptions you can switch at will between characters between the missions.[8]

The Assassins amass a variety of equipment at their disposal, but begin the game with a hidden blade on their Assassin gauntlet, smoke bombs and throwing knives. Throwing knives have the new feature of activating traps in the environment such as hanging barrels. As the story progresses a rope launcher and dart launcher are added to the Assassin gauntlets. Hallucinogenic darts can be fired from the gauntlet into individuals, or they can be fired into fires to affect a wider area. The rope launcher can be used to quickly climb buildings, and on the rooftops can be used to create temporary zip lines. Handguns are available, including derringers, revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Brass knuckles, cane-swords and kukri' are available melee weapons, but each twin may equip only one weapon at a time. Owing to the era's stricter regulations on carrying weapons, the playable characters conceal their weapons when not in use.[6]

As the reckless and brawler twin, Jacob begins the game with a pair of brass knuckles. Evie, being level-headed and less exuberant than her brother, is more focused on stealth.[9] She begins the game with a cane sword.[10] Both twins may use any unlocked weapons and gauntlets, but they have their own items of clothing; Evie's cloaks and Jacob's belts both provide bonuses to defense and stealth, but cloaks give a greater bonus to stealth while belts provide a stronger defense. These items are worn in addition to their outfits.

Experience points and levelling

By performing Assassin-like actions, such as air assassinations, and completing missions, players gain experience points. For every 1000 experience points, a skill point is unlocked which can then be spent to unlock a particular skill, though higher skills require multiple points. Spending certain amounts of points with Jacob and Evie determines their level.

The Rooks under their control can also be upgraded.[4] This manifests as stronger combat prowess (increased level); varied archetypes; reduced effectiveness of enemy blades, firearms, and vehicles; faster and stronger vehicles becoming more abundant in the streets; economic opportunities to increase revenue; and discounts on certain items from vendors.

Combat

Due to the era's restriction on open weaponry, much of the combat is carried out through fistfights, though weapons such as kukris, cane-swords, and brass knuckles are often employed as well. The combat mechanics will be similar to Unity, but at a quicker pace. Contextual kills will also make a return from Assassin's Creed: Rogue, and allow the stunning of multiple opponents, before chaining together a series of quick multi-kills.[11]

Other

There is no competitive or co-op multiplayer game mode in Syndicate, the developers instead choosing to concentrate their efforts on the single-player content.[12]

Syndicate also offers microtransactions. However, Ubisoft has stated that all in-game content can be unlocked through conventional means; with the microtransactions being there as an option for people who wish to save time on gameplay and accelerate their progress.[13]

Contrary to most previous installments, which spanned about a decade, Syndicate's main storyline takes place entirely during the year 1868.[12]

Synopsis

Plot

Present

In 2015, Bishop contacts the Helix Initiate to help herself and fellow Assassins Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane locate a Piece of Eden in London. Through camera drones, the Initiate watches the pair of Assassins conduct their field work and download the memories of the twins Jacob and Evie Frye.

Past

By 1868, London had fallen under the control of the Templar Grand Master Crawford Starrick, who controlled the city's vast industrial base and politicians through a network of lieutenants, keeping the Templars in power and oppressing the working classes. In 1868, controlling London meant controlling the British Empire. Henry Green, leader of the remaining Assassins in the city, wrote to his friend George Westhouse to petition the Assassin Council of Crawley for aid.

In Croydon, the Frye twins coordinated with Westhouse to remove the Templar threat of Rupert Ferris and David Brewster. While Jacob assassinated Ferris inside his steel foundry, Evie assassinated Brewster in his laboratory, but the Piece of Eden she hoped to recover was destroyed. However, she learned that the Templars had already found a new one. The twins returned to Westhouse to report their accomplishments. Impatient to journey to London, the twins were scolded by the older Assassin, claiming that the Templars were too strong to take on so soon. Fed up with waiting to strike at their enemies, Evie and Jacob defied the Council's orders and traveled to London.

When the twins arrived, they met with Henry. The Frye twins then began to disagree on the right course of action; Jacob wanted to form a gang called the Rooks to challenge the Templar-controlled gang Blighters and cripple Starrick's control, while Evie wanted to find the Piece of Eden in his possession. The twins made alliances with Sergeant Frederick Abberline and Clara O'Dea. Jacob and Evie set out to kill Blighter leader Rexford Kaylock and take over Whitechapel once and for all. With Kaylock dead, Whitechapel fell under the control of the Rooks. Jacob and Evie also acquired a broken rope launcher and a train that served as their new headquarters.

Henry took Evie and Jacob to meet Alexander Graham Bell, a scientist and inventor who would be able to repair the rope launcher. The twins also helped Bell set up an independent telegraph line to break Starrick's monopoly over the media. Back at the train, they made the acquaintance of Ned Wynert and began planning their next move.

Jacob investigated the source of Starrick's Soothing Syrup, a cheap narcotic keeping London's poor districts passive and under control. Aided by Charles Darwin, Jacob destroyed the distillery where the syrup was being produced and learned that its creator was John Elliotson. Jacob assassinated Elliotson, causing the Templars to take further note of his and Evie's actions in London.

Meanwhile, Evie followed a lead on the Piece of Eden and recovered a book containing information on it. Following hidden information in the book, she and Henry later infiltrated the Kenway Mansion to continue the search for the Piece of Eden. They learned that Edward Kenway had found a Shroud of Eden, which possessed powers of regeneration and healing, and had left clues as to its location.

Jacob then worked on ending Starrick's control of London's transport. He introduces himself to Pearl Attaway, chief competitor to Starrick's omnibus company owned by Malcolm Millner, and reluctantly established a business partnership with her to destroy the Millner Company. Jacob performed jobs for Attaway, such as stealing a set of internal combustion engines from the Millner Company, and then assassinating Millner. Jacob then learned that Attaway was Starrick's cousin and fellow Templar, and that she had manipulated him all along. Dismayed, Jacob assassinated Attaway and learned of another Templar plot. Starrick was devastated by the death of his cousin, and ordered an increase in the Templar presence in the city.

Meanwhile, Evie visited Lambeth, which was overrun with counterfeit tonics and medicine after Elliotson's death. Evie recovered medical supplies for the Lambeth Asylum, allowing Florence Nightingale to save an ill Clara and establish better medical care for the borough. Evie later searched for the Shroud of Eden at the Monument to the Great Fire of London. Although she found the key to the vault holding the Shroud, she lost it to Lucy Thorne after a struggle with her.

While Evie went after Thorne, Jacob targeted Starrick's financial interests. He met with Abberline, who was also investigating and informed Jacob of a planned robbery of the Bank of England. Jacob uncovered the orchestrator of the robbery as Philip Twopenny and assassinated him before the robbery could take place.

Evie visited Southwark, rescuing Edward Bayley from threats by the Blighters. Bayley, as the only omnibus manufacturer in London, informed her that after the downfall of their omnibus businesses Attaway Transport and Millner Company, the Blighters were demanding that he work for them. Evie helped Bayley and his associates found the London General Omnibus Company, ending the Blighters' monopoly over the transport sector. Evie then infiltrated the Tower of London to find the Shroud of Eden. She crossed paths with Thorne and assassinated her, reclaiming the key in her possession.

Jacob discovered a Templar plot to assassinate Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. He rescued Disraeli and his wife Mary Anne from a group of thugs hired to attack the Disraelis. While Jacob was acting as a bodyguard for Mary Anne, she identified the man behind the attack as the Earl of Cardigan. Jacob assassinated Cardigan at the Palace of Westminster, severely diminishing Starrick's political influence.

After the death of Twopenny, Britain's economy was left in danger and counterfeiters had stolen printing plates from the Bank of England. Abberline had Evie recover the plates and return them to the Bank, restoring faith in the economy and preventing a financial breakdown. Later, Evie and Henry set out to steal the plans for the vault holding the Shroud, but were unsuccessful.

Jacob received an invitation to meet with Maxwell Roth, the leader of the Blighters, who proposed an alliance against Starrick. He agreed, despite Evie's warnings, and together, they began to undermine Starrick's criminal and economic power throughout the city. Jacob helped Roth kidnap three of Starrick's important associates, but as they continued, Jacob grew perturbed by Roth's tactics. After Roth's attempt to destroy one of Starrick's workhouses with children inside, Jacob cut his ties with the crimeboss. Roth then invited him to a performance at the Alhambra Music Hall. Aware of Roth's malevolent intentions, Jacob resolved to assassinate him. Once Jacob was inside the theatre, Roth set the place ablaze with the guests still inside. Jacob was able to assassinate Roth and escape the burning theatre, provoking Starrick to personally take action against the Assassins and attempt to reinstate his control over London.

After an argument over each other's methods, Jacob and Evie decided to kill Starrick and recover the Shroud in one final mission together, after which they would part ways. To do so, Jacob acquired invitations and a carriage for himself and Evie to the Queen's Ball at Buckingham Palace, and a Royal Guard uniform for Abberline, who could smuggle in weapons for them. Meanwhile, Evie drove for Duleep Singh and several politicians in exchange for learning that the plans to the Buckingham Palace crypt could be found in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace.

Jacob and Evie infiltrated the Queen's Ball to confront Starrick and secure the Shroud of Eden. However, Evie lost her Precursor necklace to Starrick and ordered her brother to locate the crypt. Jacob made his way to the vault, finding Starrick wearing the Shroud, but failed to attack him. Evie reached the vault and fought the Templar one on one but the Shroud prevented her from dealing much damage. Henry arrived and joined the fight, but he too was knocked off his feet by the Templar. Jacob and Evie continued the fight and managed to remove the Shroud and end Starrick's life. With the Templar threat gone, the rift between the siblings was mended. Jacob returned the Shroud to the vault as Evie attended to Henry. Shortly thereafter, the Assassins met with Queen Victoria, who knighted them into the Order of the Sacred Garter for their efforts in saving her life.

Present

Thanks to the Initiate's work, Shaun, Rebecca and Master Assassin Galina Voronina find the vault where the Shroud had been stored. The Initiate then watches as the group of Assassins engage Isabelle Ardant and her escorts, Juhani Otso Berg and Violet da Costa. During the struggle, Ardant is killed by Shaun, but ultimately Violet manages to escape with the artifact. Despite the loss of the Shroud, Bishop is confident they will recover it in time and thanks the Initiate for their efforts.

Bishop then sends them a final piece of footage from Abstergo's computers: Violet and Dr. Álvaro Gramática discussing their plans for the Shroud: instead of cloning a member of the First Civilization, they intend to recreate one from scratch using the Shroud's cellular level healing ability. The footage then shows Violet talking to a woman, telling her that she's scared of what will happen to her if anyone found out what she was doing. The woman, revealed to be Juno, tells Violet not to worry, for Violet has played her part well, and that she will save the world.

Cast

Development

Ubisoft Quebec handled Syndicate's lead development, in conjunction with eight other studios from Montreal, Singapore, Annecy, Montpellier, Chengdu, Shanghai, Kiev and Reflections. Teams from Ubisoft Sofia, Barcelona and Toronto were also involved in the game's completion.[14]

Having gained solid brand experience from their contributions to previous entries in the Assassin's Creed franchise, Ubisoft Quebec reportedly worked on Syndicate for more than two years. They collaborated closely with Ubisoft Montreal, whose significant contributions to the game include producing London's landmarks, creating "living and breathing" crowds and improving the parkour gameplay's smoothness.[14]

Ubisoft Singapore, who pioneered the naval gameplay seen in Assassin's Creed III and subsequent entries, as well Assassin's Creed: Unity's time anomalies, focused on new gameplay along the River Thames. Ubisoft Annecy was responsible for the development of the dynamic Train Hideout, a mobile headquarters for the Assassins around which several side missions centered on. These missions featured a strong narrative that enriched Syndicate's "gang fantasy".[14]

One of the game's boroughs, Whitechapel, was developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, who also worked on side missions related to historical figures and specific sections within main missions. Ubisoft Reflections is a developer known for working on racing games, and was brought in to create the free roaming vehicle gameplay. Along with vehicle degradation and in-vehicle combat mechanics, Reflections also produced several side activities that involved racing with horse-drawn carriages.[14]

Ubisoft Chengdu was responsible for a large variety of boats, environment assets and crowd animations, while Ubisoft Shanghai handled architecture and character assets. As with previous entries, Ubisoft Kiev worked on Syndicate's PC version.[14]

The game's 3 hour long score was composed by Austin Wintory, intended to "evoke the prowess and sarcasm" of the game's two heroes.[15]

Downloadable content

Two additional singleplayer missions, The Darwin and Dickens Conspiracy and Runaway Train, are included in certain editions.[16] Ubisoft also offered a Season Pass or Gold edition, which included the aforementioned singleplayer missions, as well as the following content:

  • Jack the Ripper singleplayer campaign - Set in 1888, the rise of Jack the Ripper poses a threat to London and the Assassin Brotherhood;[17] players join forces with Inspector Frederick Abberline of Scotland Yard to hunt down the infamous serial killer and save his hostage, Jacob Frye.[18]
  • The Last Maharaja mission pack - Jacob and Evie aid Duleep Singh in his quest to reclaim his birthright as the Maharaja.
  • A Long Night mission - Jacob tracks down an endangered gang member and brings him back to the hideout in a "fast-paced, wild and dangerous ride".
  • Steampunk and Victorian Legends outfit packs
  • Permanent experience boost[17]

Marketing

As with previous entries, Syndicate had content exclusive to the PlayStation 4. Similar to the Murder Mysteries of Assassin's Creed: Unity, "The Dreadful Crimes" includes ten side missions in which the player investigates kidnappings, murders and other crimes within London. Solving the crimes correctly rewards the player with special gear and exclusive artwork.[19] Promotional material highlighted this material as exclusive to Playstation 4 until 31 March 2016 - after which it was made available to other formats.

Like Unity, the game was promoted at the San Diego Comic-Con with the Assassin's Creed Experience obstacle course, and The Syndicate, an animated short directed by F. Gary Gray.[20]

ACS Gold Edition.jpg

Syndicate-Rooks edition.jpg
  • A retail copy of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
  • A collector's box.
  • A copy of the official soundtrack.
  • A copy of the official artbook.
  • A double-sided London map.
  • Two exclusive single player missions: The Darwin and Dickens Conspiracy and Runaway Train.

Syndicate-Collector's edition.jpg
  • A retail copy of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
  • A collector's box.
  • The Season Pass
  • A 9" Jacob Cross-Road figurine.
  • A copy of the official soundtrack.
  • A copy of the official artbook.
  • A double-sided London map.
  • One exclusive single player mission: The Darwin and Dickens Conspiracy.

Syndicate-Charing Cross edition.jpg
  • A retail copy of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
  • A collector's box.
  • A 9" Jacob Cross-Road figurine.
  • A copy of the official soundtrack.
  • A copy of the official artbook.
  • A double-sided London map.
  • Two exclusive single player missions: The Darwin and Dickens Conspiracy and Runaway Train.

Syndicate-Big Ben edition.jpg
  • A retail copy of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
  • A collector's box.
  • The Season Pass.
  • A 30cm Jacob's Machinery figurine.
  • A copy of the official soundtrack.
  • A copy of the official artbook.
  • A double-sided London map.
  • A numerated lithography chosen by the fans who have pre-ordered this edition.
  • An exclusive FuturePak.
  • An exclusive Hip Flask.
  • Two exclusive single player missions: The Darwin and Dickens Conspiracy and Runaway Train.

Trivia

  • Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is the first game in the series to feature an updated version of the franchise's trademark opening statement. The text now reads as follows: "Inspired by historical events and characters, this work of fiction was designed, developed, and produced by a multicultural team of various beliefs, sexual orientations and gender identities."[21]
  • In pictures and in videos of the skill upgrade menu, both Jacob and Evie are shown to be able to hold their canes outside of battle, but this feature did not make it into the final version of the game.
  • Syndicate is the Assassin's Creed game to have been leaked the quickest. In December 2014, a mere month after the release of Assassin's Creed: Unity, a couple of images from Syndicate, which was referred to as Assassin's Creed: Victory at the time, were leaked by Kotaku.
  • Syndicate is the first main game in the series to have both a playable female Assassin and four playable characters in total. Both Jacob and Evie serve as the main protagonists, while Lydia Frye, Jacob's granddaughter, is playable in a short section of the game set during World War I. The fourth character is Jack the Ripper, only playable briefly in the Jack The Ripper DLC.

Gallery

Appearances

By type 
Characters Creatures Events Locations
Organizations and titles Sapient species Vehicles Weapons and technology Miscellanea

Characters

Creatures

Events

Locations

Organizations and titles

Sapient species

Weapons and technology

Miscellanea


References

  1. Ubiblog - Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is coming to PC in November
  2. Ubisoft - Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Gameplay - London
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gamasutra - The world design of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
  4. 4.0 4.1 YouTube.png Assassin's Creed Q&A with Scott Phillips - Gamescom 2015 on the Access The Animus YouTube channel
  5. Gamespot: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate's New Rope Launcher
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gamespot: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Story, Characters and Setting
  7. Ubisoft - Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Gangs & Weapons
  8. GameInformer: Five Things to Know About Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
  9. IGN: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Officially Announced
  10. VG247: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate to get collectible replica weapons and novel
  11. Ubiblog: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate - Combat, Navigation, Stealth
  12. 12.0 12.1 GameInformer: Interview with Marc-Alexis Côté
  13. GameSpot - Assassin's Creed Syndicate Has Microtransactions
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Facebook.png Ubisoft Singapore (@ubisoftsingapore) on Facebook "Did you know that our studio created the gameplay around the River Thames in Assassin's Creed Syndicate?"
  15. GameSpot - Assassin's Creed Syndicate Taps Grammy-Nominated Composer
  16. Ubisoft - Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Purchase
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ubisoft - Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Season Pass
  18. IGN - TGS 2015: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Getting Jack the Ripper DLC
  19. PlayStation Blog: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate - The Dreadful Crimes
  20. YouTube.png Behind the Scenes of F. Gary Gray’s The Syndicate on the Ubisoft North America YouTube channel
  21. Eurogamer - Assassin's Creed: Syndicate takes a leap towards inclusivity with the series' first transgender character

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