"Hello, Initiate." Those are the opening words to Assassin's Creed Syndicate. "Initiate" is you, the player, as the last several Assassin's Creed games (Black Flag, Rogue, Unity, and Syndicate) have made you the out-of-Animus protagonist. Your job has been to covertly unravel the memories for the Assassins while using Abstergo's (the Templars) equipment.
Over the past three years, Ubisoft has put less and less of an emphasis on the present-day story. The original Assassin's Creed through Assassin's Creed III told Desmond's arc, but current happenings have since become an afterthought. There's good reason to believe that will change with the next installment in the series.
The recently-released Jack the Ripper add-on to Assassin's Creed Syndicate contains six Assassin intel files that detail the faction's highest priorities and future direction. The video embedded above has all of them laid out in order for easy reading.
The third file is of particular interest. In it, an influential Assassin says "I think the continued involvement of the Initiates is dangerous. They are not trained Assassins ... Involving a large number of civilians who simply happen to own a device connected to Helix puts them directly in the Templars' crosshairs." In the fifth file, another Assassin agrees with this sentiment.
Finally, Bishop, the one leading the Initiate charge, confirms that the Assassins are shutting down the program. She states "To any Initiates reading this, thank you for your great service. For your own safety we will not be contacting you for the foreseeable future. But the fight isn't over, and there's a good chance you'll hear from me again."
That's more than enough to suggest that we, the players, won't be the modern-day stars of Assassin's Creed for a while. However, this theory is heavily supported by the fact that Ubisoft recently shut down the Initiates website, the network where players could link all of their Assassin's Creed progress. It seems as if Ubisoft has no continued plans to make the player part of the game in any capacity.
But, all of this presents a chicken-and-egg type of scenario. Did Ubisoft close the Initiates program to fall in line with the direction the game is moving? Or, did Ubisoft want to close the Initiates program, so it had the Jack the Ripper developers add a few lines of explanatory text? That's an answer we'll likely never get.
Regardless, it seems as if Assassin's Creed's Initiates push will end at four games. Next, we'll likely either have another notable present-day protagonist in the vein of Desmond, or Ubisoft will just do away with that facet of the series. The latter's tough to envision, so we might be moving toward an Assassin's Creed where modern day matters again.
Retiring the Initiates Website [Ubisoft Forums]