We take our first look in Part 1
UPDATE – Assassin’s Creed 3 announced – details, screens and scans here
Assassin’s Creed III Limited Editions Detailed and Priced HERE
© 2009 David Hilton
With Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 2 achieving great first-week sales of 1.6 million units worldwide, a 32 percent increase on the original medieval action stealth title, which sold around 1.1 million copies the first week in 2007, I’ve decided to jump the gun a bit and explore where and when the inevitable third Assassin’s Creed game could take place.
Ubisoft have chosen very well for their first two titles and so they must think very carefully (if they have not already decided) [Ed: which they already have, but just haven't let on about] about the setting of the next installment, especially now that they’ve got the game’s mix of free-running action and mission diversity right this time.
Here is Part 1 of my list of possible time periods and settings that I’ve come up with after pondering the possibilities through the filter of my past education in history. Part 2 is now available HERE. I’d really like to know which one you, as fellow gamers, think would fit the Assassin’s Creed style.
UPDATE 7/3/12: In Part 2 (# 9) HERE is my suggestion in 2009 of the Seven Years War (French-Indian War) which actually is when Assassin’s Creed III begins. I explain there why it is a good starting point for the American Revolution.
1. The Fourth Crusade: Crusaders Sack Fellow Christian Bastion of Constantinople
This would be a bit of a “back to the past” as far as time period goes, but there is no reason why this series needs to stay in chronological order, except if Ubisoft believes gamers want ‘more’ technology (like the gun and flying machine in Assassin’s Creed 2). I hope that isn’t the case because this period has much to recommend it.
First, the Medieval Crusader period is still a rich setting to explore, and second, the Fourth Crusade wasn’t remotely the same as the one explored in Assassin’s Creed.
Finally, it is a time when the Templars were still active, and they and the Assassins are central to all the games’ overarching plot.
This ‘crusade’ started out with the goal of Christian soldiers fighting the ‘infidel’ Muslims in the Holy Land, but the crusaders were waylaid by the Venetians and used instead to fight Venice’s trading rival and the Greek Orthodox Church in Constantinople (present day Istanbul).
In other words the war was about power, greed and competition between both the merchant cities and the two great Christian Churches: Roman Catholic and Eastern Greek Orthodox.
The Crusader sack of Constantinople in 1204 was largely due to Venice’s manipulation, where you had the Crusaders all ready to recapture Jerusalem only to get into debt with the Venetians who were to transport them there and then instead get pointed toward Constantinople to pay off their debts.
This presents plenty of the betrayals and manipulations found in the first two games.
It also presents the gamer with beautiful exotic new settings in Constantinople, which had been the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire full of rich culture and history and extraordinary Byzantine architecture which can still be seen in Istanbul today, and Zadar (in present day Croatia), which is still a beautiful medieval town along the Dalmatian coast.
There is also some familiarity in a setting that has been done just recently in Venice, though the city has not yet reached the Renaissance period.
Ubisoft Montreal have said they want to use historically significant events as settings for their Assassin’s Creed games, so why would this be a good choice? I found this website summed it up nicely:
Probably the most telling event which displayed the decline of the crusader ideal was the capture and pillage of the Christian bastion of Constantinople by the members of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The subsequent dismemberment of the Byzantine Empire weakened Christendom in the Near East and created an animousity between Catholics and Orthodox which has lasted into the 20th century.
Constantinople could not recover enough to fight off the Turks after this and much of Eastern Europe fell to the Muslims as a result. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot: go off to expand Christianity and end up losing a whole lot more territory of it.
2. The French Revolution: Vive La Revolution!
This is very likely one of the strongest possibilities for the next game as it was rumoured to be the setting for the second game back in December 2008. I’ve written about this before, and you can find more detail about the time period here, but I will try and summarise why this setting would be appropriate.
The French Revolution (1789-1799) was a huge historic period of upheaval where the notion of absolute rule by the monarchy and the aristocrats was turned on its head when the downtrodden, starving, smelly, diseased peasants, incited by the intellectuals and merchant class, revolt and start killing off their so-called betters.
When they ran out of them, they followed by killing each other off too during the Reign of Terror. Of course the ideas of freedom, equality, and brotherhood were all dandy but repression was more fun. It was just that repression was now carried out by the lay-people, not just upper crust lords and ladies in wigs.
The other monarchies of Europe felt threatened by the French Revolution and so attack. Napoleon fights them and wins. For awhile anyway.
The mayhem of this period and the clash of idealism and power make it another great period for an Assassin’s Creed game. This would allow Ubisoft to be more chronological as well, though I don’t personally believe this is necessary.
Certainly the French Revolution and the Republic that followed showed the violent transition between the old feudal social model and the new ‘power to the people’ ideal which would be revisited in various forms throughout Europe and the New World.
Paris (before the big wide boulevards, cafes and Eiffel Tower) still has a lot to offer as a setting, even if dirtier and full of narrow alleys, and various other French towns could complement it.
I’m not sure where the Templar and Assassins conflict would come in, but as secret societies now they could be integrated into the upheaval fairly easily.
3. World War 2: Was Hitler A Templar?
I’ll be upfront with my opinion of this option: it stinks! Yet according to some rumours Ubisoft may be looking at a female protagonist and they may be looking at World War 2 as a time period appropriate for a female assassin. That means I’d better include it in my list, reluctant though I am.
I have no problem with a female assassin but I don’t believe that female assassins are only appropriate to the 20th Century. And let’s face it, World War 2, though it still can be an engaging game environment, is not fresh or inspiring for an Assassin’s Creed game.
The female assassin in World War 2 has been done before in a game as well: Velvet Assassin, not to mention that a stealth open-world style game set in WW2 is being done by EA in The Saboteur, out soon.
Could the Nazis make good neo-Templars with their insignias, swastikas, uniforms, and interest in the occult? Yes. Would they make good targets for an assassin? Yes. Do I see this time period being exciting and feeling like the historic Assassin’s Creed games so far? No.
Still, Sebastian Puel, the producer, said:
We don’t want to just decide we want to change and have a female hero as the first inspiration is always the time period, but if you’re talking about, say, World War II the economies in England and France were run by women because the men were off fighting.
Hmmm….the economies, huh? Factory girl gone assassin….fascinating stuff.
4. The New World: Conquistadors
An intriguing option would be the expansion of the Spanish Empire into the New World with the conquest of Incan and Aztec territories by the gold and land hungry conquistadors from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
These men were explorers, conquerors, adventurers, soldiers, and fortune hunters and invaded the New World for themselves, for Spain, and for the Church.
As far as turning points in history go, this is a big one: the wealth and prestige gained by owning new territories began a colonialism race that only fairly recently has faded and certainly is responsible for the way the world is made up today.
What role the Templars and Assassins would play in this is unclear, but the New World represented a new start to many, and a place where people could build their own society with some degree of independence.
This would appeal to any surviving Templars, as they would see a new place for them to rebuild their wealth and influence (possibly at the Spanish Court using their new riches, but possibly just in new territory away from interference).
The conflict for the Assassins would be to prevent this, while all around them native populations are taking sides, dying of sickness brought by the newcomers, and waring against these smelly pale Europeans who carry advanced weaponry.
Depending on the exact date chosen, there could be Spanish colonial towns and forts, Incan or Aztec cities with temples, and dangerous jungle in between.
PART 2 can be read HERE.
And even more Assassin’s Creed:
- Assassin’s Creed III Limited Editions Detailed and Priced HERE
- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Update- The End of The Beginning? – Read more
- Previously On…Assassin’s Creed: story catch-up video, here
- Assassin’s Creed Revelations: Flamethrowers – Did they exist back then? Read More
- What Assassin’s Creed Could Learn from Shadow of the Colossus - Read More
- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations: All the facts revealed – read more
- Assassin’s Creed 3: Set in American Revolution? - check here
- The Assassin’s Creed Effect: 3 Templar Games in 2011 – Read More
- Assassin’s Creed 3 – Where and When to Next Part 1. –Read more.
- Assassin’s Creed 3 – Where and When to Next Part 2 –Read more.
- Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Review (Single Player)
- Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Review (Multiplayer)
- Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: (Almost) Modern Warfare – do you agree with new direction? Look Here.
- Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood novels HERE
- Assassin’s Creed Ascendance Animated Film teaser HERE
- Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: Beta Kill Video and Verdict here.
Remember that David’s prediction of the current location and era was correct, so perhaps his predictions may well be close to the mark for the next iteration. Make your vote count, as we send these articles to Ubisoft, and they can see your comments and the poll.
©2009 David Hilton
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