Last week, Ubisoft finally gave fans a good look at its much-anticipated open-world fantasy epic, Gods & Monsters. First revealed during E3 2019, the exciting new IP had been radio silent with fans chomping at the bit for any scrap of information. Ubisoft rewarded that patience with a deep dive into the game’s mechanics, story, and more. The presentation also served as the christening for the brand new title: Immortals Fenyx Rising.
If I had rolled my eyes any harder I would have been trapped in a permanent state of Undertaker. This has to be the most generic video game name this side of Godfall.
Before I come off as too negative, I just want to say that I’m very excited to play Immortals Fenyx Rising. Sure, it looks eerily similar to Breath of the Wild. A lot like Breath of the Wild. OK, it’s basically Breath of the Wild. But Link’s 2017 masterpiece became my favorite game that year so anything resembling it gets me pumped by default. The world looks great, made better that you can fly around Kid Icarus-style. Combat and puzzle-solving doesn’t look too shabby either. With it launching December 3rd, Immortals has skyrocketed to the upper echelon of my most anticipated games for the holidays.
Now that praise has been given, that new title sucks hard.
Let’s break it down to try and make sense of it. “Immortals” obviously references the Greek gods you’ll encounter throughout the game. Fair enough. “Fenyx” is, of course, the name of protagonist. Checks out. “Rising” has dual meanings. Fenyx “rises” in that she/he/they grow stronger as both as a fighter and, maybe, a personality (though I’m not sold on that latter aspect). In the literal sense, players soar the skies using their angel-like wings.
The title makes sense on paper but the name is a terrible mouthful when spoken aloud. Why not just Fenyx Rising? Or just Immortals? Gods & Monsters: Fenyx Rising would have been a solid middle-ground as well. Seems like Ubisoft couldn’t make up their minds so they decided to smash all of the words together like a truck colliding with an airplane and planet Mars. Either that or a team of highly trained manatees assembled the title by selecting balls containing overused video game buzzwords. Actually, I’d be more accepting of the name change if that were the case. Manatees rock.
Another problem: the lack of a colon. Immortals Fenyx Rising reads super weird on paper. Writing it as “Immortals: Fenyx Rising” at least suggests that this is the start of the “Immortals” franchise in which someone names Fenyx, well, rises. The sequel could be “Immortals: Fenyx’s Arrival”. The third could be “Immortals: Fenyx Retires”. You get the idea. Even Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, another word fort of a name, managed to squeeze a colon in there somewhere. Those two magical dots help clear the fog, and I can’t think of a title that cries out for them more than Immortals.
Most importantly, Immortals Fenyx Rising simply pales in comparison to Gods & Monsters. There was something elegant in the old title’s simplicity–it’s the quintessential example of less is more. I look at that and think “whoa, this game has gods AND monsters? Receive my currency, Ubisoft!” I never forgot the name Gods & Monsters. I had trouble remembering Immortals Fenyx Rising only an hour after Ubisoft Forward concluded. If nothing else, maybe venting about the new name will help it retain permanent residence in my mind. Yay?
I don’t expect the title to change only four-ish months before release but stranger things have happened. The initial reaction online seemed similarly jaded so maybe Ubisoft will take a buzzsaw to the name and shave off a word or two. Regardless of the moniker, Immortals Fenyx Rising still looks like it’ll be a fun ride. I’ll just have train my body to handle the violent cringes when I’m, hopefully, telling friends the name of the hot new game they should check out.