Let Me Make This Painfully Clear, Ubisoft
Don't do it again.
And no, I'm not referring as much to the technical issues on upsetting display in Assassin's Creed Unity. I was always of the mindset that such issues were blown way out of proportion and that hasn't changed. They're certainly not the driving force behind why I had to retract my score for the game.
I'm talking about the underlying structure: Don't make the new AC such a blatant cash grab or I won't play it. I won't even review it if I hear similar complaints this year. You hid it well with Unity, not making it evident until many hours into the game that you're a second-class citizen if you're not "connected" in multiple ways and you don't try multiplayer. This is a franchise that was always rooted in an amazing single-player experience; to completely erase that focus would be a critical mistake, so let me repeat: Don't...do it...again.
Thing is, Unity remained a great game in my estimation. If the message wasn't painfully obvious with every ten steps I took (and those technical issues were gone), it would've been a true-blue masterpiece. Absolutely. But let's see...Novice chests to get me to have a Uplay account, Nomad chests that forces me to have the Companion App (which took way too much time, and for worthless prizes in those chests), and a Skill Point allotment that basically says, "play multiplayer or you will never have enough Points to unlock all of Arno's skills. Yeah, not even all the good ones." Then there's the content, grayed-out but visible from the start, that would only be accessible with the Dead Kings expansion. And that would've cost money if they hadn't offered it for free after the launch fiasco.
Did you know they sent me an email after I beat Unity, saying congrats on becoming a master assassin and oh by the way, there are some other things you should buy? No other game I've played has done this. None has been anywhere near as blatant. So, just don't do it again. That's all I'm saying. Give us the AC we'll all love (and deserve) and remember that your core fanbase remembers the series for what it once was. You want to have all those options? Fine by me. But if any of it has a direct and negative impact on the single-player experience, I'm done with the franchise.
I'd write a "deliver or else" email to Square Enix concerning Final Fantasy XV, too, but only if I had any hope in hell the game would actually be something I'd want to play.
2/13/2015 Ben Dutka