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Since 2007, hooded assassins have stalked historical eras and graced our gaming screens, from the medieval Middle East, when Altair Ibn La-Ahad first flashed his hidden blades, to the most recent braided Viking raider, Eivor. In all that time, we’ve travelled the globe and plunged deeper into the evolving mechanics of one of the most popular franchise games ever made.
Now, with the impending arrival of Assassin’s Creed Mirage looming up behind us, we thought we’d take a second to consider those sequels that could’ve been – our way of acknowledging the limitless potential of Ubisoft’s action-adventure series.
The latest game – set in 9th-century Baghdad and revealed at the Ubisoft showcase in September 2022 – will be the thirteenth major instalment and follow-up to 2020’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The game is already being described as a back-to-basics dive deeper into combat and narrative-driven storytelling, hemmed in among the winding bustle of the Islamic Golden Age. You’ll join Basim Ibn Ishaq as he ascends from the streets into the Assassin Brotherhood, pitched against the now familiar Templar Order.
Before all that, let’s get stuck into our pick of the five Assassin’s Creed sequels we really need right now:
5. 13/14th Century Scottish Highlands
Okay, so it might be easy to guess which film was the inspiration behind this one. Just imagine wielding double-handed claymores and maces in the heather-swathed hills of 13/14th century Scotland. Of course, the obvious appeal of this area is the chance to cross paths will William Wallace and his war-painted blue cronies (historical accuracy be damned). This would be your chance to stalk Highland battlefields and hunt in the shadows of a rebellion against the tyrannical English King.
If you need a good catalyst for violence – this would also be the time when nobility were granted the right (by way of ‘Prima Nocta’) to take Scottish brides for the first night and consummate a marriage themselves. Not only would you have an iconic villain – King Edward Longshanks, still referred to in the Scottish national anthem – but you’d also get to dig deeper into the grime and bludgeoning combat that Valhalla brought us back to. After the death of Scotland’s Alexander III, who left the throne without an heir, the English King muscled his way into the power vacuum, rousing the Scottish clans to do bloody battle against him. What better backdrop could there be for another Assassin’s Creed adventure?
4. 1940 Occupied Paris
Jumping forward on the historical timeline, we would love to see hidden blades brought to the swastika-stamped streets of Nazi-occupied Paris. The city fell on June 14, 1940 – one month after the unified armed forces, known as the German Wehrmacht, invaded France. Then the armistice was signed, which buckled France into subservience and created a puppet state in the capital of Vichy. Paris had started to mobilise in September 1939, when Poland was attacked, but the swift defeat of the French army followed much quicker than expected. Before the German military took over and appointed their own approved French officials to govern the most vital regions.
Peace through authoritative control. Sound like the work of the Templar Order? We think so. Why not send a certain Brotherhood out on the curfew-darkened Parisian streets? The theme of rebellion would be strong in the narrative arcs for this one. Starting from the first anti-Occupation student demonstration on 11 November, 1940. Then evolving into the networks and groups devoted either to the French Communist Party, or the London-based General Charles de Gaulle. Slogans, the underground press, assaulted German officers… all leading up to the Allied invasion of Normandy in early June 1944, which culminated in the August 19 seizure of police headquarters and government buildings by the French Resistance. There’s room for our favourite assassins in there somewhere, surely?
3. Future Los Angeles
Now, we enter new territory for this popular franchise. We know the games love to trot backwards into the shared ancestry of our past – what about finding a way to launch the tendrils of Abstergo Industries forwards? We imagine our assassins kitted-out like a Mandalorian, hurled into some neon-lit metropolis – maybe a cross between Blade Runner’s Los Angeles and Coruscant in Star Wars. If we’re talking high fantasy here, why not throw in a few aliens too? Or, ground the game in the dust-shrouded alleys of Blade Runner 2049. We’d just love to see some stealth-focused combat and killing tools forged in the dreamscape of science fiction. Jet packs, drones, sticky grenades, thermal snipers… okay, so maybe we’re straying away from the games’ medieval roots, but who wouldn’t love to go hunting corporate bad guys under tall, concrete monoliths, inspired by Soviet-era architecture?
2. Era of the Samurai Meiji Rebellion
Yes – another entry inspired by a film. Only this time we’re trading out another strangely assigned actor, Mel Gibson, for Tom Cruise. This time, we’d enter rural Japan in the 1800s and quickly sidle up to Saigo Takamori (known as the Last Samurai), who lived until 1877 – a paragon of bushido, which is the well-known samurai code. Keen blades. Strong ethics. Decorative armour. These are the key ingredients for another memorable adventure with the Brotherhood. You could chase enemies in the capital backstreets of Satsuma. Then find a nice synchronisation spot on Mount Fuji to fly your eagle and trudge in the snow. Not to mention the fact that you’d also get to join the 1868-69 Boshin War, when roughly 5,000 Japanese samurai and nobles charged against the shogun’s well-armed army, which was almost three times their size.
1. Prehistoric Cenozoic Era
Let’s say we didn’t convince you earlier with our foray into the future – how about a journey way back into prehistoric times? Far Cry pulled it off with their club, fang and woolly mammoth formula applied to Primal. Who doesn’t want to go off riding feral beasts into the primeval wilderness? It’s true you wouldn’t have the usual cities and crowds to nudge through in silence. If you set the game in the Cenozoic era though, including those crucial millennia when humans hit the scene, you could replace milling crowds with all the wonderful creatures that showed up for the rise of mammals. Admittedly, the game would lose all its usual political intrigue and historical context – it would wind up being more of a solo safari, like Horizon Forbidden West. I guess, we’re pushing the boat out with this one. Honestly, we just want to wield spears, clubs and bone arrows and escape the clutches of woollen colossi and sabre-toothed beasties.
Travel back to the series’ roots and pick up your copy of Assassin’s Creed Mirage when it’s released in 2023 for Microsoft Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Series S and Amazon Luna…