After more than a year of waiting and guessing, we finally know a little more about what Assassin’s Creed Infinity is. As part of today’s Ubisoft Forward Assassin’s Creed Showcase, it was said that Infinity is a “hub” that will tie future Assassin’s Creed games together. But, after an in-depth interview with project lead Marc-Alexis Côté, IGN learned a whole lot more about Infinity.

Assassin’s Creed Infinity will host a variety of games of different genres and lengths. It will mix premium boxed games with paid and free content. There will be a multiplayer mode that will unite the eras of the franchise. And it will be where the modern Assassin’s Creed story now lives.

But let’s start with the basic concept of Infinity. It is not a video game, nor a replacement for traditional Assassin’s Creed games. It’s a platform that will host past and future Assassin’s Creed entries, starting with Codename Red, a Shinobi-themed RPG coming in the future. This full-priced single-player open-world RPG will be purchased like any other Assassin’s Creed game.

“You can absolutely buy [Codename Red] as a boxed product,” confirms Côté, executive producer vice president of Assassin’s Creed. “But the first thing you’ll see [when you boot it up] is infinity [hub] which makes it consistent. But you can buy [Infinity’s second game] Hex separately as well. This is how we look at things today. So it’s still the same games we were building, but tied together in the Infinity Hub. And obviously, if you’re in the Infinity hub playing Red, you’ll see Hexe come and be available as memory for you to explore.

Infinity is therefore somewhat of a launcher. But rather than displaying games as a library-like collection, like in Steam or Ubisoft Connect, Infinity will carry the look of an in-universe Animus interface. New entries in the series will be shown as DNA memoirs rather than games. Côté notes, however, that we should expect Infinity to be more than just an Assassin’s Creed-themed launcher, and to evolve over time.

“So [Infinity] won’t start as a game,” Côté said. “The version of Infinity that we launch will not be the final version of Infinity. It’s something that will evolve over time as our experiences grow and we can connect them more together. So I think that opens up a world of possibilities as to what we can do that goes way beyond just being a launcher for our various games.

The version of Infinity we release will not be the final version of Infinity.

Although Infinity isn’t technically a game, it will contain elements that we would associate with Assassin’s Creed games. From now on, Infinity will be the home of the series’ modern or “meta” storyline.

“People who just like to immerse themselves in the past will be able to jump right in and never be interrupted or need to know who Desmond and Layla are,” says Côté. The implication, then, is that the main games will now only take place in the past.

So if Infinity has a storyline, but isn’t a game, does that mean we won’t be controlling a modern-day protagonist anymore? I’m asking if the meta storyline will be limited to things like audio logs and chainmail.

“The way we tell the story will evolve over time,” says Côté. “It’s something we do for the long term, not the short term. But the abstraction we want people to have is [Infinity] is your Animus. It’s your DNA explorer on your desktop. You are the main character of the story.

To give an example of an element from traditional Assassin’s Creed games that will be moved to Infinity, Côté points to the codex entries. “Before, we had an encyclopedia in our games. But to make it cohesive, like something that always grows over time as you explore the past, [the encyclopedia] would be something that would be in the Infinity hub.

Cutting the modern storyline from the base games will no doubt be fantastic news for a dedicated and vocal segment of the show’s audience. But Infinity doesn’t stop there to respond to public criticism. Future Assassin’s Creed games released in Infinity will vary in size and genre. Codename Red is an RPG in the tradition of Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla, but Codename Hexe will mark the start of a less stereotypical period for the series.

“What I can confirm to you is that [Hexe] is not an RPG,” explains Côté. “When I say it’s a different type of game, I want people to go above and beyond what Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla expect. They’re all an iteration of our RPG design, isn’t it? But Hexe and Red take different paths.

“I think this Infinity approach also allows us to have different experiences of different sizes,” he adds. “Not everything has to be a 150 hour RPG, does it? To bring more diversity to the places we choose to visit and how we choose to represent those times.

Although not part of Infinity, 2023’s Assassin’s Creed Mirage will be similar in length to previous games in the franchise. I ask if we can expect more of these large-scale, or even smaller, games in Infinity.

“Yes, absolutely and priced accordingly,” says Côté. “Sometimes you’ll also get free experiences, which I think is a great way to keep players coming back.”

Infinity allows us to have different experiences of different sizes. Not everything has to be a 150 hour RPG, does it?

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has clearly been a testing ground for what’s to come in Infinity. Its DLC has varied wildly, with free offerings ranging from small in-game events to a full roguelite mode, while paid content starts as small as cosmetics and goes all the way up to a 30-hour expansion pack. It looks like we can expect that kind of approach with Infinity.

But one thing Valhalla hasn’t experimented with is multiplayer, something Infinity will bring back to the series in the form of “Invictus.” Said to be a standalone game delivered through Infinity, my initial instinct was to assume it will be free-to-play.

“We haven’t finalized our plans for the Invictus business model, but it’s a possibility. [that it will be free-to-play]said Cote.

So, while we know Infinity will offer free experiences, we can’t currently say if Ubisoft plans to use Invictus in the same way that Halo Infinite and Call of Duty use their own multiplayer/Warzone offerings. However, like Warzone, it looks like Ubisoft is planning for Invictus to unite the many eras of its single-player games.

“I think the concept art we had for Invictus kind of alluded to this possibility of crossing characters from different time periods,” Côté says, referring to an artwork shown during a press briefing that showed many characters from different games standing side-by-side. “So I think you can see the intention of Invictus to allow us to link our different games together again.”

The 10 Best Assassin’s Creed Games

Meta-stories, new genres, and multiplayer are all compelling aspects of Infinity’s promise. But it seems that the main focus of the platform is to provide much longer support periods for each individual game. Rather than low-key offerings, a new Assassin’s Creed will be part of Infinity instead of just living (and, eventually, dying) on ​​its own. I’m asking if that means new games won’t have a strict limitation on developer support.

“Exactly,” Côté said. “That’s not how we see things. We want to support everything that comes out on Infinity for a much longer period of time.

“What excites me about Infinity is not just our great games, but this idea that we don’t replace games with another game, you [don’t just] replace your new RPG,” says Côté. “I think these games can last longer and we’re architecting them differently than in the past. If you look at a game like Valhalla, most of its expansions were sort of around the game. Now one of the things we think about is how can we develop this experience, this world, more like an MMO? [rather] than what we have done in the past.

Infinity feels a lot less disruptive than I first imagined. It’s clearly not Fortnite for Assassin’s Creed. The series is still (at least as far as we know) built around the concept of single-player adventures in historical open worlds. But Infinity promises to make these worlds less static and more malleable. We still know very little about what it will eventually offer, but regardless, Infinity sounds a fascinating answer to the seasonal content factories that are the game’s multiplayer monoliths.

For more on Ubisoft Forward, check out the latest details on Assassin’s Creed Mirage and mobile game Codename Jade.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Features Editor.