Though she’s older than her twin brother by just a scant few minutes, Evie and Jacob Frye are nearly polar opposites. Where Jacob is brutish and headstrong, Evie is patient. She plans. She considers every angle to ensure her mission has the best chance of success. She never leaves anything unfinished. But sometimes her careful nature gets in her way. Evie could probably afford to think a little less, just as Jacob should think a little more. Throughout Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, the Frye twins will often need to meet in the middle, because while they have their own personal weaknesses, they’re a force to be reckoned with when they work together.
Evie Frye is a firm believer in the teachings of the Assassin Order, and wants to use what she’s learned to take on the Templars. Jacob believes the path to victory over the Templars is to use the Rooks to force them out of power. So while he’s on his own personal mission, Evie is gathering clues to the whereabouts of a Piece of Eden known as the Shroud – an incredibly powerful, incredibly mysterious artifact that can’t be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.
In the Gamescom demo for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, those wrong hands belong to Templar lieutenant Lucy Thorne. A consummate Templar (and therefore Evie’s target), Lucy is haughty and overconfident – although you might be too, if you had enough influence to effectively occupy the Tower of London while searching for the Shroud. “Evie wants to get her hands on the Shroud before Lucy, and the best way to ensure she does that is to eliminate Lucy,” Associate Producer Andrée-Anne Boisvert tells us. Getting to Lucy takes every tool at Evie’s disposal – and even when the two have their final, postmortem conversation in the series’ familiar White Room, Lucy remains uncooperative, even ominous about the Shroud’s true power.
It Takes Two
One of the questions we’ve seen a lot is, Why make the main characters twins? Wouldn’t it also make sense to have them be a couple whose children also go on to be Assassins? Sure, but the series has already been there, done that. They wanted Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s story to feel as fresh as its gameplay.
“We’ve already done the romance angle in the past, and when we started making this game, we asked ourselves how we could make the story different,” explains Creative Director Marc-Alexis Coté. “We know our fans, and this is something they want. They want the experience to feel fresh year after year, and this kind of dynamic is not one we have really explored at all in the franchise. So much of the Assassin’s Creed brand has to do with human DNA, and seeing into the past through that DNA. Having a brother and sister – twins who share the same DNA – feels like something that really plays into the strengths of the franchise.”
Together, these two very different individuals form the ideal Assassin and though their means are seemingly at odds, their motivations are the same. Through their trials, they both realize they need the other to see their mission through. “Evie is very clinical,” actor Paul Amos (Jacob) says of his in-game twin. “She’s very ordered and precise and she likes to plan, but don’t mess with Evie because once she gets going she is lethal. Between Evie and Jacob, they’ve got all the skills that make up the perfect Master Assassin. As they learn to work together as twins, they’re a powerful force.”
“Jacob is much more like, ‘Let’s get it over with. I’m going to get my guys and we’re going to end this,’” says Boisvert. “Evie, on the other hand, sees London and everything around it as a political spider web that needs to be studied. She needs to have a perfect understanding of the situation before she jumps in. Of course, this is going to spark some heavy discussions between them. But their differences are complementary, and I think this will provide a lot of freedom to the players – plus, it’s a fun story to see unfold.”
After the decision to have two main characters was made, the team began thinking more in-depth about how this would affect the gameplay. “Our mission design actually depends on the personality of the protagonist that we are designing the mission for,” explains Boisvert. “These two people have very different personalities, so of course we’re going to design the missions to suit these differences.”
“Evie’s missions will be more oriented toward tactical choice and stealth by definition or design, and Jacob’s will be more about confrontation,” says Coté. And their personality traits are reflected in their skill trees. Coté adds, “Their trees are a bit different. They will share a lot of core skills, but Jacob will have more combat skills, and Evie will have more stealth and infiltration skills.”
Evie’s Chameleon skill is a prime example. While standing completely still in stealth mode, Evie is able to blend almost perfectly with her environment, allowing to her to quite literally hide in plain sight. Several times in our demo, we found ourselves out in the open with guards approaching, a situation that would normally end in a fight or a chase. With the Chameleon skill, we simply settled in and watched as the patrolling guards marched right past our obvious hiding spot. This also came in handy when hiding around corners that were somewhat exposed. With a little bit of cover, Evie’s near-invisibility goes a long way for players who want a perfectly stealthy playthrough.
Evie’s Knife Master ability is another perfect choice for those who prefer to work from the shadows. “Throwing knives are a very silent, very deadly weapon,” Boisvert explains. “Jacob is going to be more of a gun guy. Evie is going to favor the quieter weapons. Once you get the Knife Master skill, throwing knives do more damage, Evie can throw them farther, and she’ll be able to carry more of them.”
Sharing Is Caring
Even though a weapon might make more sense for Jacob or Evie to use, they will both share the same arsenal. The development team wanted them to have different skills, but they didn’t want to punish a player for choosing one over the other in the open world. So while Jacob might not be as good with them as his sister, he can still use the throwing knives and cane sword, just like Evie can still use the gun and brass knuckles. Both twins will also be able to use the newly revealed Voltaic Bomb. Letting loose a massive blast of electricity, the Voltaic Bomb stuns and weakens groups of enemies to the point where Evie or Jacob can rush in and finish the job with a few well-aimed hits, or distract them long enough to make an escape. It’s especially useful when they’re mobbed by enemies, at which point Jacob or Evie can simply drop a Voltaic Bomb without any damage to themselves.
Each mission in the open world is available to both players as well. “There are some activities in the open world that will come a bit more naturally for one of the characters than the other,” says Boisvert. “Like the Gang Wars, for instance. Those fit a bit better with Jacob’s narrative and playstyle, but you’ll never be blocked from these types of missions if you choose to play as Evie. Freedom really is key with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.”
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