As Assassin's Creed III ended, Connor's storyline felt like it had come to a fairly natural close. But Ratonhnhaké:ton's time as the series' main protagonist seems to have passed: Ubisoft confirmed yesterday that the next Assassin's Creed would feature a new hero and a new setting.
This is an important announcement on Ubisoft's part. The next Assassin's Creed marks a rare opportunity, and with both Connor and present-day conduit Desmond presumably taking a rest for while, the series now has the biggest opportunity for a blank slate and a fresh start since the first game launched in 2007. And with a new batch of consoles on the horizon, it seems particularly fitting for Ubisoft to transition into the next generation (perhaps literally, considering the series' genealogy-obsessed narrative) of Assassin's Creed.
A new beginning would also give the series a chance to refocus its core mechanics. Assassin's Creed III was a complicated, conflicted game--its final chase sequence was honestly one of the worst things I played in the whole of 2012, but I still ended up quite admiring much of the ambition in the overall game. There's clearly a lot of potential across the multiple studios developing the game, and a fresh take could allow that talent to be laser-focused.
But while Ubisoft's "new setting" doesn't exactly help narrow down the entirety of history--and I'd also say it's unlikely Ubisoft would want to abandon all the time and money it poured into making 18th century America--there's a few places I'd really like to see the series head.
You can't write anything about a new Assassin's Creed setting without mentioning London. It's the law. Though in the interests of full disclosure, I am English, and over here we like to think we're still living in the nineteenth century anyway. ACIII briefly dipped its toes into London in its opening, but imagine the possibilities of an Assassin's Creed set in the dark, smog-laden city in the full throes of the Industrial Revolution. It would be like Dickens, but with more even pocket watches, big hats, crossbows, and Templars.
Paris in World War I
Taking Assassin's Creed to Paris could mark as a homecoming of sorts for French publisher Ubisoft. France was a key location in World War I, with the Battle of the Marne in 1914 establishing the Western Front across Belgium and north-eastern France. This would allow for Ubisoft to develop a few show-piece scenes of trench warfare, similar in sorts to the epic musket battles of ACII. The politics behind the war would likely allow Ubisoft to elegantly weave in the Templars and Assassins, and Paris' artistic spirit and gorgeous architecture would bring a vibrancy to the series.
India under the British Raj
The British Raj, which ruled over India from 1858 to 1947, was the engine of The British Empire and also a politically complex period in a geographical area of extreme beauty. Imagine an Assassin's Creed in Calcutta, or replacing Assassin's Creed III's Frontier with India's jungles and wildlife. Themes of capitalism, corporation, and oppression would work well with the Templars, and the game could even head back a little further and overlap with Assassin's Creed III, showing The East India Company appealing to British parliament to pass the Tea Act of 1773 as a way of offsetting the company's severe financial woes, an event which would serve as one of major moments leading up to the American Revolution.
Ocean piracy in South Carolina
With sailing the high seas one of the most celebrated (and enjoyable) new additions in Assassin's Creed III, there's a certain sense of logic for Ubisoft to continue down this path. And what better way than with the most famous pirate of them all, Blackbeard, in an adventure that features his famous blockading of Charleston in 1718? Or a game that spans multiple decades and could bring in Jean Lafitte and the War of 1812, which should at least let Ubisoft reuse those redcoat models. To make the piracy angle even more tempting, one Reddit poster claims to have spotted a marketing presentation for an Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flags.
Assassin's Creed: Embers, the disappointing short film made by Ubisoft to end Ezio's storyline, spoke of the Assassin order in China during the Ming Dynasty. Shrouding Assassin's Creed in the exoticism of a historical Eastern country would likely appeal to many, with Japan's Sengoku period of particular interest to me. This era of Japanese history was laced with political intrigue and constant conflict as the country attempted to remain separate from the rest of the world while establishing unification across Japan's various clans, all of which would serve Assassin's Creed well.
Any of those five settings would be absolutely fantastic, if you ask me. Elsewhere in the GameSpot office there's a suggestion from Cam for Ubisoft to tackle the War of Scottish Independence (think Braveheart) and Mark would like to see what happens when you set the Animus for 65 million years BC. But what about you? Where do you think Ubisoft will take the next Assassin's Creed? And are you ready to unwrap another wristblade for Christmas this year, or do you think it might be time for the series to take a rest?