Assassin’s Creed Unity will have an alternate in-game currency which you can buy with real-world money.
Along with the standard currency used by the characters, you can buy “Helix Credits”, presumably with your credit card. Helix Credits will allow you to access boosts or unlock certain customizations (that you’d otherwise have to save up for with your ingame money), or reveal hidden stuff on the map without having to go to a viewpoint. So, for at least some features, you’re paying for convenience.
However, you can also buy boosts which enhance your abilities for a short while or upgrade existing weapons by “hacking” them, for considerable benefits:
So, the big question: how much does your hard-earned real-life dosh get you? This screenshot (from Polygon) shows 1,400 Helix Credits being sold for $19.99, with $99.99 getting a lot of 20,000.
The purchase of Helix Credits only seems to be available in North America at the moment, with the launch of ACU in the region, so it doesn’t appear to be available on all platforms yet. It’s also not clear what your Credits would buy you; Ubisoft has not released a full price list of all the buyable items.
The pre-order for ACU also gives you a taste of what this would be like, with two “Helix Credits packs to enhance your skills” included. (It’s not specified what those packs are.)
Of course, having ways to fast-track parts of the game with real money has enraged some corners of the internet. Here are some of the comments from Polygon’s page at the moment:
To be fair, the Assassin’s Creed series has featured real-money transactions before, but not to this extent. In Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, players could spend real-world money to make modifications to Kenway’s outfit or his ship. However, the boosts and enhanced weapons have made this a potential game-changer, so that those with the means to do so would be able to throw money at an ingame problem for a different (although not necessarily enhanced) gaming experience.