The Many Possible Settings of Assassin’s Creed
With a lore that spans from the Third Crusade to the American Revolution, one of Assassin’s Creed’s best traits is its ability to transport players to creative time periods and engaging locales. With the announcement of each new game, people seem to hungrily desire the knowledge of the game’s setting rather than knowing the name and face game’s new main character. The franchise has shown the flexibility of taking the war of Templars and Assassins to any year and place of their choosing, while remaining faithful to the games core themes.
Each setting Ubisoft has chosen for the game has revolved around not only an interesting period in history, but inserting their main character directly into the middle of the area in turmoil. From Jerusalem, to Venice, to Boston, each metropolis has said as much about the game as the plot and characters. There are few games that can boast such a feat.
But what are some other settings that Ubisoft has not touched or mentioned? Where could the series go next? Here are some ideas to get you wondering.
Cliche? Maybe. A selling point? Most definitely. Ubisoft knows their audience well. After selecting two time periods of a more obscure variety, the franchise traveled to a historical period that would appeal to American audiences. The response was deafening to the tune of about 12 million copies sold. What better way to push the game in the biggest Asian console market than setting it in their own country? American audiences would be sure to eat it up as well, as Japan continues to be a source of interest in the video games industry.
Marketing reasons aside, there are plenty of cool story lines to dissect in Japan’s history, most specifically the end of the Kamakura period in the early 14th century. During this age, power shifted away from the Emperor and into the hands of the Samurai class. The Emperor was little more than a figurehead while the Kamakura Shogunate, or the Shogun, ran the country. This era ended when Emperor Go-Daigo sought to take back his power. The emperor led coup d’état that involved the warlord Ashikaga Takauji who turned on the Emperor for control of Japan.
The political conflicts and unrest make this period ideal for an Assassin’s Creed game. With numerous figureheads to off and a period that would provide an intriguing backdrop to the Templar and Assassin conflict. While the cities of Japan did not have the same verticality as Europe, Assassin’s Creed III showed that traversing terrain can be just as interesting. There is a question of how the war between Assassins and Templars found its way to the far East, but compared to other inconsistencies in the Assassin’s Creed lore, it could be easily overlooked.
The Cold War
A modern setting? For an Assassin’s Creed game? Yeah, I went there. True that the series would have to consider ditching its white hooded attire for something that matched the times a little more effectively, but they could probably still keep the hidden blade. Since the first game it has been revealed that the factions of Assassin’s Creed are still around today, thus there is much to explore leading up to the Desmond.
The Cold War offers one of the most difficult time periods to pull off as much of the Cold War is still fresh on people’s minds. In fact, much of the world’s politics are still feeling the ramifications of the Cold War. But rarely has a conflict been fought so discretely behind closed doors. Assassins would never be more necessary to carry out assignments that would hinge on keeping one’s identity a secret. With the threat of nuclear war ever looming in the background the time period perfectly matches the tone of the franchise. Not to mention, with intriguing political players from Kennedy to Khrushchev, there is no shortage of characters.
There would be questions to address, of course. The Cold War is an expansive conflict that had its fingers in everything from Berlin, to Korea, to Cuba. Determining one city or a cluster of important cities would be difficult without having characters fly from locale to locale. The bigger question is that the Cold War is so close to Desmond and Williams Miles that the game would almost have to feature their father/grandfather. Would people be willing to learn more about the, thus far, uninteresting Miles family?
Ancient Rome is nothing new to the movies. From Ben Hur to Gladiator, the drama and politics that fueled one of the greatest early civilizations has long captivated audiences. However, Video games have yet to really explore this time period. Aside from the Rome: Total War series the Roman Empire has been ignored, but plays perfectly to the strengths of Assassin’s Creed.
Again Rome is a hot bed of backstabbing and secret wars fought internally amongst politicians. There are many periods that would lend themselves to Assassin’s Creed’s backdrop of revolution and unrest. There’s the brutal reign of Commodus, who often fought in the gladiatorial arena and was assassinated in a schemed that involved his mistress, Marica. There were, in fact, several attempts on Commodus’ life. There’s the Crisis of the 3rd Century, in which a new emperor arose to power on a monthly basis. Or the game could take place during the rise of Emperor Constantine who was the last great rule of Rome.
Ancient Rome would have a gorgeous art style for the developers at Ubisoft to play with. The buildings and monuments would be perfect for players to climb. The time period boasts enough plots and schemes that equal to a veritable laundry list of potential victims. It hits many of the marks on the Assassin’s Creed checklist.
Roaring 20’s America
If the white hood seemed out of place in the Cold War Era, there’s no hope that it would work in 1920’s America. It would be hard to taken an assassin very seriously when he was wearing a white-hooded cloak next to the a mobster dressed in a pinstripe suit. But after you find a way to get over the hood, the world of Prohibition-Era organized crime would lend itself to the series much like the pirate-filled year of 1713 in Assassin’s Creed IV.
Both New York and Chicago found themselves deep in mob war, filled with lies and deceit The kind of place that would make Assassins and Templars feel right at home. With hits going down in backroom speakeasies, or taking place amidst the crowded Times Square, the period offers plenty of cool people and places to inject into the story. Rich characters litter this time in history with names like Al Capone, Frankie Yale, and Eliot Nes. Booze, money, and the American dream all swirling in a plot that would have to include the St. Valentine’s Day massacre.
A drawback would be the question of series doing away with its infamous, yet consistently mediocre, platforming? It would be pretty hard to justify a guy running around the rooftops of a crime filled city. Though who could resist the urge to scale the numerous skyscrapers and architectural achievements boasted by two of the greatest American cities? Besides, Batman gets away with it.
Elizabethan Era England
One of the questions, understandably unanswered, in Assassin’s Creed III was the disjointed connection from Ezio to Haytham Kenway. One could argue that Altair and Ezio had the same disjointed history, but it seems like there is a nice pocket of time one could fill with the connecting story from the brash and daring Italian to the cunning Englishman.
While the numerous European monarchs warred with each other, what drove the Assassins from Italy? One of the time periods to bridge the story would be the Elizabethan Era in England. Elizabeth comes to power in a time where politics rule Europe and monarchs lose their throne in a blink of an eye. The question of birthright and lineage often led to violence.
Being an Assassin in the employ of Elizabeth would provide a nice context for the period. The main character could be involved in the capture of Mary of the Scots, witness the execution of Anne Boleyn (Elizabeth’s mother), and reveal the betrayer Gilbert Gifford. The churches, castles, and city walls of England would provide all the verticality an Assassin could ask for.
What do you think? Are there some time periods and locations that have been woefully forgotten? Do any of these locations seem like they would be up your alley? Or have you been there, done that? Sound off in the comments below.