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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Editorial: Four Historical Settings That Would Make Great Assassin's Creed Games.


Editorial: Four Historical Settings
That Would Make Great Assassin's Creed Games.





We've had a bunch of Assassin's Creed games come out recently - or two, at least, one of which was rather unexpected until shortly before its release. Something that Assassin's Creed fans are almost always pondering is 'what would be the best place to set the next game?' Being the sort who can't keep his opinions to himself, I thought I'd put forward my suggestions.

(Reecey is still outraged that Thomas Paine wasn't a major character in Assassin's Creed III. Same, Reecey, same.)


The rise of the Ming Dynasty, China.

The Ming Dynasty is probably the Chinese dynasty everyone knows about, and it is regarded as one of the greatest periods of stability in human history - but it didn't come to be without a fair share of blood, as it came about due to the collapse of the Mongolian-led Yuan Dynasty, a process which involved several different rebellions, famines and plagues, before Zhu Yuanzhang (there's a historical figure that can be buddy buddy with our Chinese assassin) raised a force capable of toppling the weakened Yuan Dynasty, becoming the Hongwu Emperor.

We've not really had any Assassin Creed games set in the far East yet - indeed, they seem to be getting progressively more and more about white Westerners - so it would be a breath of fresh air, and for a game which is largely about scenery, the gorgeous landscapes and beautiful architecture of China would be a massive boon.

Also, we've very briefly seen Chinese assassins before, in a short film about Ezio's death, and the one we saw was awesome, with hidden blades in her feet. I want to play that.


The Battle of Stalingrad, Russia.

Usually, I'd be firmly against a WW2 Assassin's Creed game, as I think most everyone is. We've all had our fair share of WW2 video games in which Americans desperately and rather snivellingly attempt to convince everyone that they were especially relevant or important during either world war.

But I like the Battle of Stalingrad, insofar as anyone can like large, extremely long, bloody battles. Lasting over five months, the battle was marked not just by bloody, close-quarters combat, but also by prolonged psychological warfare from the Russians, as they did things like play an assortment of tango music from loudspeakers constantly.

That's a great setting for an Assassin's Creed game. A Russian assassin is caught in the Battle of Stalingrad, and must seek to end it by assassinating key figures in the German army (and/or traitors amongst the Russians), all while attempting to cope with the immense strain and pressure the prolonged battle is having on everyone.


The Indian Rebellion of 1857.

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was an uprising against the East India Trading Company, which, let's face it, are pretty much the natural and unambiguous villains of anything they show up in (unless you have something which has the US in it, because as awful as the East India Trading Company undeniably was, they still abolished slavery before the US). Building up slowly, the rebellion eventually broke out into out-and-out revolt,  with several large battles and sieges that would be perfect for an Indian assassin to have a 'make your way through this battle and kill someone' set up that Ubisoft enjoyed in Assassin's Creed III. 

India has beautiful cities, an incredibly rich culture, and an interesting history that would all work in favour of an Assassin's Creed game - and with Ubisoft's increasing trend towards more modern settings for their games, a period that was less than one-hundred-and-sixty years go would be right up their alley.


Iraq, 13th Century. 

People tend to forget (read: they never knew or they just like to pretend so) that Iraq was practically the height of civilisation at the time between the 8th and 13th century (and, for a very, very long time, would remain unmatched).

An assassin in 13th Century Iraq would have no shortage of interesting cities to ply his trade. Baghdad, a centre of scholarly pursuits in which massive advances in technology, medicine and art were being made spring to mind. Erbil, an ancient city dating back to 6000BC and an early centre of Syriac Christianity. Mosul, a riverside city that was (and is still today) heavily contested over due to its importance to trade. Basra, a vast city which grew out of a military base and was the site of a large mosque. Samara, the centre of power in the region and a hub of politics and religion.

But the 13th Century was also a time of great upheaval, brought about in large part because of invading Mongols led by Hulegu, Genghis Khan's grandson, and in large part because of the imperialist ambitions of the Ottoman Empire. A 13th Century game could see an Iraqi assassin struggling with, among other things, the brutal and destructive Mongolian siege of Baghdad.



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