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Assassin’s Creed 4: When & Where To Next?

Assassin’s Creed 4: When & Where To Next?

The Future of Assassin’s Creed: Caution! Spoilers ahead

by David Hilton

© 2012 David Hilton

In case you didn’t read the header, please take note.

Spoilers ahead!

If you have not completed Assassin’s Creed III, please do not read any further as major plot points are discussed in order to form our predictions.

You have been warned.

Futility.

That seemed to be the primary theme to the final chapter of Desmond’s story and Assassin’s Creed 3.

His ancestor Connor fought for his people and freedom to no avail; the independent United States nation he fought to create turned on his people and stole their land.  The freedom he fought for was for some but not all; slavery continued to flourish in the new nation.

Desmond himself, after 5 games, is faced with the impossible Sophie’s Choice:

1) Support the cause of the Assassins and freedom, allow the Earth to burn and most people to die, only to see it rebuilt in his image, and then that image corrupted, and the cycle of chaos repeated.

2) Save the world with the power of the First Civilization, knowing that Juno has corrupted it so that she will dominate the world with her version of order, much like the Templars are seeking for themselves.

In the end, he makes the choice risking the very cause he has been fighting for, sacrificing everyone’s free will in order to save them.  He dies hoping that someone will take up the fight for freedom against Juno’s rule.

Futility.  He is forced to do exactly as the Templars would: sacrifice freedom for protection.

While many would have preferred a happy ending where good triumphs gloriously over bad, the third game made it clear that good and evil are not so clear-cut and that the only thing that often makes them different are the good intentions used as their excuses.

This leads into where Ubisoft will to go next.  What can they do now that they have established that Assassins and Templars fight for the same thing, to benefit humanity, only with different causes to that goal?

Some would argue it is also futile to guesstimate where the next Assassin’s Creed game will go.

Any prediction of future games has to take into consideration where the series has been, and what it uses as its essential building blocks.

Nevertheless, I will make a bold prediction and outline some of the other plausible options.

But first allow me to humbly submit our credentials in relation to previously predicting the series in our sometimes slightly cracked crystal ball.

The OXCGN Crystal Ball

  • In April 2009 I was the first on the net to identify in an article that Assassin’s Creed 2 was going to Sam Gimignano, Italy, ironically known as the Medieval Manhattan considering the last game’s location took place in New York.  Look here.
  • In November 2009 I made a series of predictions on where the series might go for Assassin’s Creed 3.  One of those was Constantinople, which was the location for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, though I got the time period wrong.  Look here.
  • I also suggested Rome, the setting of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, in 2009, but Ancient Rome.  Look here.
  • Not long after, I suggested the Spanish Reconquista in 2009, which was the location and time period used for the DS or iOS game Assassin’s Creed 2: Discovery.  Look here.
  • In 2009 I also suggested the Seven Year’s War, the setting for the beginning of Assassin’s Creed 3, but located at Quebec City (which was also under siege later during the American Revolution and in my opinion should have been a city in AC 3, as it is much more architecturally interesting to traverse and explore than New York was). Look here.
  • My OXCGN associate, Nicholas Laborde, first published his solved clues in March 2011 (an entire year before the announcement, and before anyone else plausibly suggested it) from the Da Vinci Disappearance DLC (AC: Brotherhood) that Assassin’s Creed 3 would be set during the American Revolution and near New York.  Look here.

So where do I think it should head next?

Here’s my most likely unexpected and boldest prediction.

First Civilization Earth

Ubisoft’s Alex Hutchinson said in April this year that “people on the internet suggest the most boring settings. The three most wanted are WWII, feudal Japan and Egypt. They’re kind of the three worst settings for an AC game“.

Perhaps with Ancient Egypt he is referring to the wide open expanses between temples and pyramids.  These would make poor parkour-based locations.

But what if the spaces between these sorts of monuments we know today could be ‘filled in’ with other buildings and made into the perfect free-running playground?

What if you could have cities based on monuments in Ancient Egypt, the Angkor Civilization, Ancient Persia, Ancient Greece, or even the Mayans, without having to explain the travel between vast distances or the mix of architecture?

Our current ancient monuments could simply be shadows and imitations of the more distant early post-First Civilization past.

As long as the locations weren’t all like the temples we’ve already visited in the previous games, which are sparse, futuristic, light-lined-smooth-walled linear rectangular grey domains that are simply too sci-fi.

They are more akin to futuristic basements than beautiful monuments.

The freedom to re-invent the past

The Toba Catastrophe that largely ended the First Civilization

Ubisoft can re-invent the past the way they want to with buildings that resemble our huge wonders, but aren’t constrained to historical dating or spacing.

They have easy license to do all this within the Assassin’s Creed mythology.  And maybe they will.

The big problem with a history-based series is that you have to match the known historical data with your own story.  This spawns a great many creative boundaries for a game developer.

But the Assassin’s Creed universe has a ready-made invented historic period that they could cover in Assassin’s Creed 4 that could be based on our ancient societies and architecture, but hand complete freedom to the developer.

The apocalypse of the First Civilization

That period has been constantly referred to in previous Assassin’s Creed games: the era of the First Civilization and its fall.

In 75,000 B.C. humanity and Those Who Came Before were at war and they faced the Toba Catastrophe that would destroy most of humanity and virtually end the Precursor race.

This “prequel” game wouldn’t have to worry about current modern times or Animus pseudo-science.  Let’s face it, the Desmond story was the least compelling part of the series, and ultimately didn’t pull through.

The elements of the game would be the same: it would be told in a historical framework without magic or overt fantasy, except in the form of the ancient technology of Those Who Came Before.

There would be a few remnants of the First Civilization’s future technology and weaponry that still survived the destruction, so they could still have sophisticated ways to assassinate and do tasks.

The First Revolution

Adam and Eve, the first hybrids who rebelled by stealing the Eden Apple

The story would center on the humans’ resistance to their creators, and the earliest signs of a freedom Assassin movement, followed by a jump to a later post-Toba event period where some humans (and Templars) are guided by the remaining Precursors whom they see as gods,  creating magnificent architecture to honor them (like our ancient monuments).

By following the latter period of the human rebellion,  right before the destruction of much of the Earth by solar flare, with the futuristic Halo-like architecture of the cities crumbling, leaving a Pompeii-like post-apocalyptic version behind, they would be building to our current ancient origins.

The Toba apocalypse and the end of the First Civilization that ended the war

This is where humanity was ‘guided’ by the few remaining Precursors and leading to a variety of pantheons familiar to us.

By jumping from the end of the Precursor world to a crossover world where there still are overgrown post-apocalyptic ruins of the former Precursor world’s cities and the new ancient society-styled ones built by the human survivors under remaining Precursor influence, the conflict for freedom from rule and slavery would give the gamer a familiar yet different environment to explore.

The First Civilization cities, ruined and overgrown

It would be one part post-apocalyptic futuristic, and another part ancient historic.

It would be stunning, rich with detail in story and environment, and with the freedom it gives developers, a game that could become a modern masterpiece of gaming.

And best yet: it would still be distinctly Assassin’s Creed.

The dispute between Juno and Minerva that is demonstrated in Assassin’s Creed 3 could be explained.  It would therefore link perfectly with the previous series.

The themes of power,  freedom, control, and slavery could also form the argument humanity faces in the deep past, forming the seeds of conflict between Assassins who support freedom and Templars who support the order provided by Those Who Came Before.

This Indian city could be what our  human cities looked like after the fall of Those Who Came Before

Alex Hutchinson has also stated that he wants the next Assassin’s Creed location and time period to be unexpected.

This would be a brave, unique and surprising choice. I think it would be a winner.  The world wouldn’t be so primitive that it would be boring, or so modern that it was too familiar and didn’t feel historic.

Rumours are that the next Assassin’s Creed game will be late 2013 or early 2014.

If Ubisoft has been working on next-gen consoles with their next title, this one would be a system seller.  What better way to explore new technology than with the ultimate freedom to create a historic world that still is very much familiar to us, but without the normal constraints history makes?

The alternative

Another alternative would be to follow Connor a bit longer (after all there is a line in Assassin’s Creed 3 where Juno tells him that “you have made a difference.  You will do so again.”)

Since we’ve already been introduced to the Marquis de Lafayette in Assassin’s Creed 3, it could very well be that the next game, while they got a hold of the new console technologies, would be the well-documented French Revolution option.

Lafayette was not only involved in the American Revolution as we’ve seen, but also the leader of the Garde Nationale during the French Revolution.

This game would bridge the current generation of consoles to the next generation where they could do the First Civilization more justice.

Against this, though, is the fact that Alex Hutchinson has said they will not go where expected, coupled with the fact that Connor’s character has largely failed to resonate with gamers the way Ezio did.

Other options

Here’s a list of locations with quick arguments.

World War 2: Alex says no, it’s boring.  It’s been done in Saboteur and Velvet Assassin and the era is done to death.

Cuba/ Pirate era:  This is a great idea, especially with the success of the naval warfare element of Assassin’s Creed 3, but likely to be a new franchise, as Assassin’s Creed branched off of Prince of Persia.

Silk Road/ Marco Polo:  Another favourite of mine, I’d love to see this one done, and it would be unexpected.  The problem would be how to frame the Templar/ Assassin battle around it.

Signing of Magna Carta:  This was indeed an important period in history for freedom and England hasn’t yet been explored.  But will Ubisoft so soon return to the medieval era?  I’d be fine with that.

Alexander the Great/ Middle East/ India:  This is another one I’d be interested in and is actually fairly plausible.  The big issue is the huge amount of travel involved, but exploring the huge variety of areas he conquered and explored, including India (once suggested as a favoured option for the AC series) would be fun, if massive, unless done in a series.

Ancient Rome:  This is always a great choice, but Renaissance Rome was done in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and so it would have to be in some other part of the Empire.  There was also a French Assassin’s Creed graphic novel series set in Ancient Rome already.

Feudal Japan:  Alex doesn’t like this option, along with Egypt and WW2.  I’m not fond of it either; it’s been done in many samurai/ninja type games, especially coming out of Japan.

Modern Times:  Nah.  Ubisoft now have their exciting new IP Watch Dogs to cover the near-future era.

The Russian Revolution: This was explored in Assassin’s Creed graphic novels and certainly was an important period of world history.  But we still enjoy the blade fighting over the shooting.

The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Norman invasion of Britain and the conflict between the new Norman feudal way and the old Anglo-Saxon way after they won would be interesting.  But will Ubisoft go medieval again so soon?

Industrial Revolution: Important period of history, but ugly and fairly uninteresting from a gameplay perspective.

Voyages of Discovery: This is also a good option for a spin-off series based on the naval combat in Assassin’s Creed 3, since Christopher Columbus was briefly in Assassin’s Creed: Discovery.

100 Years War:  This could be interesting and there were lots of factions at work: English, French, English-supported regions of France, mercenaries on the loose, and general chaos in France.  Again, I’m not sure the series will go medieval again for a while.

Colonisation of India/China/Africa: This one could be a bit touchy, but certainly would be left field.  The period of Empire-building by the Western powers and the exploitation is certainly relevant to the shaping of our world.  For the purposes of an Assassin’s Creed game, China and especially India would be better suited for free-running. [Ed.: It would be the version of Heart of Darkness that didn't suck!]

World War I: The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand to light the fuse that became the Great War certainly has the historic importance, but is it really a period suited to a free-running assassin with hidden daggers?  While sabres and horse-riding are still around, much of the conflict involved being stuck in trenches.  Mind you, the story of the  futile landing of ANZAC forces at Gallipoli would be effective in communicating the futility of conflict. I won’t rule it out, but I won’t call it likely considering the development stigma that World War I is impossible to make fun.

Ancient Greece: Another favourite of mine, the period of Themistocles, who was involved in conflicts with Persia while an Athenian politician could really be rich with assassin and Templar machinations.  He created a great Athenian navy which battled Persia, but got on the wrong side of the Spartans when he re-fortified Athens.

They ultimately got the better of him by getting him portrayed and exiled as a traitor and he ended up throwing his lot in with his former enemies, the Persians.  I can see this story working in with the Assassin/Templar conflict quite well.  But would modern gamers be happy with triremes after having cannoned warships in Assassin’s Creed 3, or less fancy gadgets?  At least with my suggestion of the First Civilization, they were technologically advanced, so you could have anything, even if the environment was ‘ancient’.

Once again, as with 2009, let’s do a poll, and see which option you like.

© 2012 David Hilton
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24 Comments on Assassin’s Creed 4: When & Where To Next?

  1. Okay, I’ll have to admit, the First civilization Earth idea is bold, very,very bold and it could actually bring back the codex weapons as Altair say them in the Apple. So,coupled with the reasons you gave, its a win – win situation. But…. Ubisoft has to attract new customers and the first civilization could scare them away. In the previous games they probably thought, yeah these real life locations are cool but in the First Civilization world…. well there’s that.

  2. I really liked playing as Connor. He’s cool, but i know a lot of people were desapointed… So i don’t think there’ll be a pt 2 for him (except “King Washington”)
    I really hope that AC IV will take place during the first civilization… That would be AWESOME ! A new setting, a new character, and why not a female lead… ?

  3. Am i the only one around here who thinks desmond go into the animus and go back to the times of the first civilization and learn more about juno. After that you may have to fight her in modern time.

  4. Persia would be awesome. it’s true- the first assassins were there. it would be veeery interesting to see how alamut originally looked like

  5. THEY NEED TO USE A SLAVE AS THE NEXT ASSASSIN IN THE PRE CIVIL WAR TIMES.

  6. I personally love the idea of Connor becoming a pirate (Given the Captain Kidd stuff) and that would give cause for a “Brotherhood” type game for AC3, although probably not to everyones taste and people want assassins creed to have a break for a few years.

    I really love the idea of England too, rather the victorian era or the time of Robin Hood.

    Nobody has suggested this idea that i have seen anywhere but me but Carthage i think would be a great idea, huge massive ancient city, very important in history, Hannibal a templar or had a POE? Just a thought.

    I would also love them to have a few years out and come back with AC4 in the future.
    Ideas being – Desmond didnt die, Minerva saved him or saves him somehow.
    – The Apple saves him and bestows ultimate knowledge on him or reveals his true importance and unlocks his full 6th sense and he becomes kind of powerful like Juno (Not too much).
    – It has to be about Desmond in some way rather he did have a son somehow or the ideas above i just think it would be very hard for the franchise to now introduce yet another new character.

    But anyways whatever happened if Desmond did come back bla bla bla he would go out of the cave and find Juno had enslaved the majority of the population and the world had changed into complete order and free minds were being hunted down then Desmond would have to free people.

    I feel the Templars and Assassins are soon going to merge because every game is trying harder and harder to get us to see both sides of the story and sympathise with both.

  7. Persia (where the real assassins were)
    (The real hashashin)

  8. I think that the First Civilization would be quite cool to play in, after having Subject 16 give so much info to begin with, on the civilization. Juno definitely needs to be gotten rid of though, so I was thinking the apple Desmond had in his pocket when he was shocked could have endured it for him, and replaced his life force with the life of the apple, after several hours, allowing the apple to bestow its energy upon him – thus giving him more knowledge than what he had previously from Altair, although his body would be weak – which could set up a small part in the animus, to find how Juno was imprisoned, and patch up Adam’s story told in AC2. Then once the information has been received, leave the animus behind, and focus purely on Desmond, in his training physically (I think something has to be done about Desmond having the knowledge of Altair, skills of Ezio, and noticeably the arrogance of Connor), and have him liberate the Templars, making his way to imprisoning Juno once again.

    But I really think there should be something following Connor again as well. – Its possible, taking the information from the first in the series, that Connor gets yet another key which could release Minerva, or another of the Ones who came before, in another location, and you need to find that while Desmond gets his strength back up.

    Sorry, but the series has been following Desmond the whole way – I just think its too far into it to change from him to another person, and these are ideas I’ve had since I saw him be electrocuted approximately 23 hours after the release.

  9. What about the cold war?

  10. Isaac Winkler // 29 November, 2012 at 2:01 pm // Reply

    I reckon they should do a descendant of Connor fighting during the American civil war. The Templars could easily be tied in with the slave states and the assassins fighting for the freedom of slaves. This would allow for some interesting characters historically to be used aswell.

  11. I reckon that upon Desmond’s “death” his mind was captured by the machine so he can still access ancestors memories and try to find a way to defeat Juno and return to his body before it’s too late.

    That said I do also think there’ll be a Connor pt 2 before AC4.

    • James Phillips // 26 January, 2013 at 1:26 pm // Reply

      As a big fan of AC, I definetly agree with you on the part with Desmond. I just think leaving Desmond out of the game would take away from it.

  12. Weird my comment isn’t showing up:They should go back to the first civilization via the animus (which is central to the series) to find a way to over come Juno. Cain and Abel started the conflict between assassin’s and Templar’s so it would be very cool of you could play through that story so that we can further examine and understand the goals of both groups.

  13. I think while Ubi Montreal would do a great job of Japan, it would not fit with the bloodlines of AC. We’re definitely going to see at least one more Connor game in America. Probably still in this generation of consoles too. Not sure where they’ll go with AC4 though, London would be a good choice, possibly with smaller cities such as York and Liverpool as other municipalities.

    Any point in history can be turned in to a Templar v Assassin battle. It’s more about choosing the right city at the right time.

  14. Future. This would also be completely as the mercy of the AC crew since it could be anything, but someone seriously needs to kill that **#$@!^ named Juno. and please, please, PLEASE can we have a female lead!!!! on the big consoles! A flexible one would make it so much more interesting and they could use smaller spaces for her to get into.

  15. I think this idea is fantastic! But on the other front, would it not be great to play as a new main character? Someone to replace Desmond? Like have a young Assassin use the animus to go back to the first Civilization to see how they imprisoned Juno in the first place! As Juno would’ve taken over the world and be ruling everything, whilst having the Templar’s to control and do her biding! that would be cool…

  16. The Russian revolution would give them a lot of ground to work with

  17. What about London in the 16th to 17th century. Have Guy Fawkes as a Templar, and in the end you have to stop him from blowing up the houses of parliament.

  18. i love the first revoluton idea i realy hope they do that

  19. Medieval Britain, Robin Hood is an Assassin.

  20. I can think of plenty of RTS first civilization games (Populous, Black & White, Age of Empires, etc) but hardly any action-adventure type games. So it would definitely be fun to explore.

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