I’m excited, you guys. I’m excited because I love Assassin’s Creed, and because Assassin’s Creed Revelations came out this week. I mean, seriously, there might as well have been a pool of pee pee collecting beneath my feet over at the E3 Ubisoft multiplayer demo booth. Seriously, if Ezio Auditore was a cake, I’d be the insatiable fat kid engorged with his deadly sweet frosting-covered flesh. I LOVE Assassin’s Creed. It’s super cool.
Me, playing Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
Speaking of things that are super cool, leave it to Ubisoft to, just a week before their holiday tentpole drops, tease the next entry in the series for 2012. Even cooler is the popularly held idea that this game will be none other than Assassin’s Creed III. Of course, Ubisoft is being understandably tight-lipped about this to keep the focus on Ezio and Altair’s swan song, but I say it’s never too early to start speculating.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, get your history books and your hidden wrist blades ready. Let’s take a minute to talk about the five coolest time periods Assassin’s Creed III could be set in, in no particular order.
When a game has the word “Assassin” in the title, the mind immediately goes to ninjas, right? Shurikens, katanas, nunchaku, and smoke bombs, guys! Not to mention, samurai and ronin and feudal lords! And like, cool tall grass in the rain scenes? Come AWHN! The high drama of the goings on in feudal Japan is like the perfect setting for a game about assassins! People were probably straight up murdering each other all the time!
YES. YES. YES.
The ninja, oftentimes also called shinobi, are so mysterious that no one really even knows for sure if they ever existed. Historically, they were known to be sort of like, secret agents for hire, known to suddenly appear from someplace near the Iga and Koga regions of Japan somewhere around the 17th century, and then just as quickly, they sort of vanished into myth. That’s why we don’t know that much about them, because it’s tough to separate real accounts of ninjas from like, stories of their magic, where they can like, turn invisible and like, sprint across the water. Perfect fodder for a game, you guys! Let’s see this!
Also, it wouldn’t hurt your feelings as much as some OTHER ninja games.
The only real hard sell for me is that I can’t imagine a real, solid way for the current storyline to smoothly tie in, with it being so Western-centric, but the concept of being a ninja with gameplay as satisfying as we get in Creed is exciting enough that I wouldn’t really mind whatever stretch they needed to implement to make it work. I bet a lot of you agree with me, too. When I ran a Google image search on “Feudal Japan”, not even mentioning anything about the game, one of the results on the first page was the fan-made concept art I used right up there! Outrageous. We all want this. It would be amazing.
This one comes from a theory I have about where Ubisoft’s ideas for time periods come from: the adventures of Robert Langdon. In Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, we learn a lot about the Holy Grail and the history of the Crusades. This is also the setting of the original Assassin’s Creed. We also expand upon this, and figure in the Vatican setting from Angels and Demons in Assassin’s Creed II. Heck, my boy Da Vinci’s is in the game! So, considering the Freemasonry lore, early US history, and conspiracy theory we see in The Lost Symbol, it’s not out of the question to think that maybe this post-Revolutionary War America is a good guess. Plus, how dope would that be?
Imagine riding a horse through a Washington D.C. under construction. At night, the lamplight casts long shadows on the brick buildings as you climb up a nearby overhang as you pass it, with a long blackpowder musket slung across your back. You make your way up a bell tower and use your hidden wrist blade to neutralize a guard in the top before using the tower as a sniping position. Or imagine perching in the rafters, and listening in on a meeting of the inner sanctum of the Freemasons, and learning about how they’re connected to the Templars! DUN-DUN-DUNNNNNNN!
A screenshot from my dreams. This is basically what it would look like, right?
All I’m saying is, we’ve seen a little too much of deserts, wide-open fields, and Mediterranean zones so far. Gimme some lush forests! Let’s get out of Europe! Let’s see some cold weather! There’s more to Western Civilization than cool Bible stuff! Let’s see some cool, secret George Washington stuff, bros! The Templars are coming! The Templars are coming!
Oh man, this one is exciting. In my brain, for this game to be as awesome as possible, it would not only have to take place in the deep jungle of Central America, but in a version of the Aztec Empire where Montezuma II’s already been killed, the area is rife with sickness, and the Spanish presence is positively stifling. I’m not the only one who thinks this idea is fantastic. In fact, Assassin’s Creed II came really close to being set a little earlier than this, in the Mayan-era Aztec Empire. Also, Borgia already visited the Aztecs in an official Assassin’s Creed Facebook game called Project Legacy from last year, so precedent totally exists!
In my fantasy scenario, the Templars have come over from Europe to find some alien artifact that was left with the Aztecs. An Assassin is hot on their heels, but before he has a chance to stop them, he starts to die of smallpox, and has to teach an Aztec native who stood out to him in eagle vision about his destiny as a killer. The game could play off of how the Spanish would not count our hero as a threat, and all the bloodsport and human sacrificing in Aztec life would be so dope to see in 1080p. Also, are you kidding me? Who doesn’t love ancient alien theories?
If anyone has ever thought of it, high quality fan art already exists. #protip
Also, it’s super-rare to see heroes of Mexican ancestry in video games. The only one I played that had one this whole last year was Shadows of the Damned’s Garcia F**king Hotspur, and I really feel like it added a fresh feel to the game. I had a great time with it. Also, look how cool this freakin’ white and red Aztec-style assassin’s outfit looks! Dope as hell, right?
At first, this one doesn’t seem too exciting, but only because there’s not really any sort of romantic, cool idea of England in the 1800’s, except for really dirty poor people, child labor, and the mutilated corpses of prostitutes, courtesy of Jack the Ripper. Yikes. But think about what we’re not considering! Miles and miles of slanted rooftops of stone and iron! Smokestack forests! Cranking gears and wheels! Steam power! You guys, a game in the Industrial Revolution is the closest we’ll ever get in history to a Steampunk Assassin’s Creed!
I just want to give you a few visual touchstones for what I’m imagining here: That cool birdcage apparatus from The Prestige, the atmosphere of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, the weird secret society-type goings on from From Hell and Leauge of Extraordinary Gentlemen, those weird torture devices and surgical tools from Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, and screw it, that giant spider from the 1999 film adaptation of Wild Wild West. Picture all that stuff, imagine it’s like, perpetually dark and foggy, and imagine a scruffy little orphan, clothed in rags, being whisked away from his crappy life to learn to kill rich old dudes who sit around looking at naked chicks and pretending that magic is real. The awesomeness practically becomes tangible.
Elementary my dear…Assassin! (I apologize for this joke.)
Also, speaking of Sherlock Holmes, how about this tasty, little, extra crispy chicken strip of an idea? What if the assassin character can’t let anyone know he’s an assassin, but a Sherlock-style detective is hot on his case, complicating the situation at every turn? This would be a nice complimentary idea to the game, I think, especially considering how sh**ty some people are at stealthily murdering even a guard or two in these games. Having to create alibis for ourselves and properly disposing of our victims would really keep us from giving up, sprinting around, and stabbing every single person all the damn time.
First of all, I’m going to assume that many of you aren’t fully sure of what the hell time period this is. Secondly, I’m going to tell you that it’s the one with like, Anastasia and Rasputin and Czar Nicolas II near the end of Russia’s Imperial years at the turn of the century. This is the time period that some of the series’ writers have expressed interest in doing, and really, it’s pretty perfect. People were murdering each other for power constantly, the entire royal family and even the country’s system of government was on thin ice, and you have like, the perfect real-life built in villain in Grigori Rasputin. That’s right, that weird bearded guy who’s always falling apart in the film version of Anastasia is a real guy.
Apparently, the character of Bartok the Bat was based on that creepy look in his eyes.
He like, dabbled in the mystical arts, had most of the royal family under his thumb, and the real way that he was killed was basically a real life boss fight. He was poisoned, stabbed, beat, sliced, shot, and thrown into ice cold water with his hands tied before he went down, and when they found his body, he had already freed himself from his ropes. Yikes. He also rarely showered or took any real steps to clean himself, and it’s very likely that he once raped a nun. Double yikes. But yeah, can’t you imagine this guy in some like, crazy Hellboy-esque wizard’s robes, casting spells and tapping into the power of the Pieces of Eden?
Plus, just do a quick Google image search on the House of Romanov and check out how beautiful those buildings are! They like, fully look like they fit in with the established Assassin’s Creed style, without keeping the same tired settings we’ve seen in the last three (and the recently FOURTH!) game. The inclement weather would also be a neat new element, and would probably drive more of the action inside of these beautiful palaces, but also, white robes are hard to see in snow, aren’t they? Think about it. SO cool.
Listen, Assassin’s Creed is a well-loved franchise, and sure, there’s a bunch more places that we all want this game to be. Even I had a few more that I wanted to write about, but as I thought about them more and more, they all seemed to have a nagging little something that kept me from writing full-fledged entries on them. Here they are, for my (and hopefully some of your) personal satisfaction.
World War II
As much as I’d like to see this, with a wrist blade used to kill Hitler, and the rumor of a strong female assassin going around attached to this rumor, I agree with Patrice Désilets, recent ex-creative lead on the series. He said in an interview with MTV Multiplayer, “I ask myself, how many games can we make in World War II? That's maybe the only [setting] I'd say is not interesting to me.”
This is another fun one to think about, especially since the character of Desmond is so developed now, and we now feel like we have a little stock in his storyline, but I also think that taking the historical aspect out of the formula might ruin a lot of what makes these games fun.
This one could be real awesome, especially considering that it could be done in either the glory days of the New Kingdom, or when Alexander or Rome started creeping in, and, with all the ancient alien theories floating around, it would fit in perfectly. However, I think it would be too weird to go so far back in time when the focus of the game is on 2012, and each entry moves close to that point.
The Far Future
This one is a dark horse, and mostly far-fetched, but how cool would it be if the “present day” of Assassin’s Creed III was 1,000 years in the future, after whatever happens with Desmond and Lucy and those weird-ass aliens, where you play as a descendant of Desmond who goes back into the Animus to relive the events of 2012? Even I don’t know how I feel about this, but you know, might as well mention it. Play Assassin's Creed Revelations to see if all revelations are… well… revealed.