In this modern era of movies, games, and even books, most publishers don’t put their money forward unless expanding into a trilogy or other similar franchise opportunities is a possibility. The difference between many IP’s and The Order: 1886 is that its foundation was made to support an ongoing narrative that arches over centuries.
In a recent interview with GamesTM, Ready at Dawn’s Creative Director Ru Weerasuriya talked about the development of their PS4 exclusive, The Order: 1886.
“We’ve built this franchise to be much bigger than just one game. There are stories that have been told in the game, but there are stories that haven’t, and stories about what happens after the events of this game.” Weerasuriya goes on, “Absolutely, though, I would love to get the chance to tell more stories with sequels and other things that we can do with the intellectual property.”
Of course, every game creator wants the chance to make more, should their story allow it, but there have been many times where investors push to add numbers to game titles, whether or not its good for the game itself, to expand their wallets. This is the business side of the gaming industry. Now, the foundation of The Order: 1886 can appease the bigwigs while telling more stories quite naturally.
The backstory of The Order: 1886, which started being written in 2006, tells of an order –obviously– of knights that span as far back to and originate with King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table. The names of the original knights are passed on as title’s over the years to worthy recruits, and with the title comes immense world-saving responsibility.
Through trailers we’ve seen Sebastian Malory, who has the title Sir Percival; Isabeau D’Argyll, who was given the alias Lady Igraine; and Sir Galahad, whom you, the gamer, play the part of. Though it is assumed that the definitive Arthurian text Le Mort D’Arthur is a source of inspiration, as Sebastian Malory is a descendant of Thomas Malory, the book’s author, there hasn’t been word on it other knights may be included in The Order: 1886. That being said, the opportunity for other knights to be included in or lead stories of their own in future titles is fully there.
Fun fact: Arthurian stories have ranged from 12 to 150 knights participating in King Arthur’s “equally the best” club, though the Winchester Round Table sports 25 names engraved into the wood.
Lastly, and perhaps most interestingly, is Marquis de Lafayette’s involvement in The Order. A real historical figure who fought in both the French and American Revolutions, Lafayette is a knight-in-training and currently awaiting his title. Why the inclusion of Lafayette is so intriguing is this: the addition of someone with much established history couldn’t have been a mistake.
It could be a nice twist on history –alternative history can be great as you both know and don’t know what has and will happen– but it could also hint at how the rest of the series could unfold. What other parts of history could this Order have touched?
The Order, presumably having been established centuries ago, covered plenty of time with many adventures set in many eras and cities. What does this sound like? That’s right; Assassin’s Creed.
The formula has proven bountiful for Ubisoft and though I believe that Ready at Dawn are genuinely crafting a unique IP without a copycat mentality –proven by the strain of lore, cinematic art style, and so on– the similarity of opportunity is undeniable. If it plays solidly and is well-received, The Order could be Sony’s next big franchise with incredible longevity.
The acceptance of technology in The Order: 1886 could also prove to be a leg up on the Assassin’s Creed series. Ubisoft has made it well-known that eras involving sophisticated machinery and artillery (cars, for example) are no Animus-zones, but Ready at Dawn have evidently embraced newly applied sciences.
Even though most of the tech is acquired post-Industrial Revolution (late 1700’s – early 1800’s), I can just as easily picture The Order: 1429 as I can The Order: 1916 –the years of Joan of Arc’s victory at the Siege of Orléans, marking a turning point in the Hundred Years’ War, and of the first World War’s bloodiest battle, The Battle of Verdun.
What figures in history have been part of this Order? What other historical events could have resulted from (or been caused by) This Order? Who else do we know could have participated in it? One of the most badass people the world has ever seen, “Mad” Jack Churchill, could have been a Sir Lancelot for all we know.
The potential for a variety of environments, eras, characters and pages of alternate history is thoroughly exciting, even if restricted to the last 128 years. Not only is an alternative and potential competitor for the Assassin’s Creed franchise necessary, but a deep series whose developer has put stress on the integrity of storytelling is, in its own right, welcome to the fold. After all, Ready at Dawn has been writing The Order’s lore and story for an impressive 8 years now.
To bring us from elation and back to reality, we still haven’t seen much of The Order: 1886, only being given an announcement and brief gameplay trailer, and it’s supposed to come out at the end of this Summer. The developing studio thus far has only worked on ports, aside from Daxter for the PSP. There are many questions left, perhaps even concerns, and hopefully we’ll receive answers at E3, but it’s undeniable that this new IP has the potential to be truly special.