Not surprisingly considering the truckload of money the series continues to make, Ubisoft has announced there will be a new “Assassin’s Creed” for 2014. What is surprising is that it will be developed by new design teams, feature a new hero, and take place in a different time period.
That last one is particularly interesting considering the amount of miles that the publisher got out of the renaissance era Italy setting of “Assassin’s Creed II,” and the big news that was the third taking place in the new (and rarely seen in gaming) era of the American revolution. The question now is, where (or more appropriately, when) will gamers get to free run and eliminate their targets next?
I’ve got a few time periods on my wishlist, but just for fun’s sake, I’m ignoring the progressive chronological order of the series so far, and just picking some of the best time periods available for the franchise
Victorian Era London 1837-1901
Could London be calling for “Assassin’s Creed?”
There could be worse options for sure, as the Victorian Era is both one of the most stylized periods consistently featured in pop culture (and a big inspiration for steampunk worlds), and a genuinely interesting historical time that featured a melding of two different time eras, resulting in unique architecture, technology, and people. Not to mention the series preference to include historical figures could have you interacting with everyone from Charles Dickens to Jack the Ripper.
In many ways this would be a logical, and welcome, next step for the franchise.
Feudal Japan 1185-1603 (Roughly)
It would definitely violate the chronological story progression up until this point, but may be worth it.
The feudal Japan era is one of the most romanticized yet brutal periods in world history, and has the added benefit of not quite being overplayed yet in the world of video games. Featuring two of the most prolific and exciting warrior types of all time (samurais and ninjas), as well as the potential of siding with several warring clans “Yojimbo” style, depending on the exact time period, feudal Japan could feature a nice mix of styles and weaponry as well as provide plenty of opportunities for memorable moments.
American Industrial Revolution 1760-1840
If Ubisoft is looking for a new time period, but not a new setting entirely, this might be the best way to go.
The big draw of the industrial revolution is all of the new technology that could be incorporated into the series, but the time period itself was also noteworthy for the effects it had on society and social mentalities of the people. Ubisoft could incorporate the prolific plight of the average working man in this new, exciting, yet often challenging time and create a story both unique to gaming, and genuinely noteworthy if they play it right.
Chinese Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
“Assassin’s Creed III” surprised nearly everyone by taking place in the rarely seen American revolution. “Assassin’s Creed IV” could do the same by visiting Ming Dynasty China.
This time period had everything you could want for a dramatic tale. Unique weaponry, feuding clans, government corruption, plight, rebellion, rising industry, incredible works of art and design, empires, and much, much more. There is a lot to explore during this time, much of which hasn’t been thoroughly examined by a video game. For sheer potential, this would be my personal favorite way for the series to go, though a dark horse candidate to be sure.
World War I 1914-1918
The only real question is, how far does the series want to go?
Though part of the games do take place in the future, the majority of “Assassin’s Creed” takes place in the pretty distant past. Without fundamentally changing the gameplay to a serious degree, World War I is about as far as you could go, considering the major influence of technology on just about everything past this point. Since some of the best parts of “Assassin’s Creed III” was your involvement in large scale battles, doing the same during the chaotic, often confused battles of WWI would be incredibly intense and provide some of the most uniquely hectic moments seen yet in gaming, all set on a world stage.
Considering the options it presents, “Assassin’s Creed” needs to reach this era at some point, but it’s a matter of when.
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