The Storming of The Bastille

Where can Assassin’s Creed take us Next?

 

When Assassin’s Creed 3 comes out later this year it will leave behind Italy and Ezio and head for the turbulence of the American War of Independence. But what about after that? Because there’s simply no way October’s release marks the end of the series. Here’s a list of places where I think the franchise could explore in future titles and yes, this is a history heavy list, but it needs to be in order to explain why each scenario could work in an Assassin’s Creed game.

5. The British Raj: India 

India may not be as unlikely as it might sound. In fact there’s some indication that it could be the setting of a future game in the series. Ubisoft Montreal’s Alex Hutchinson, the creative director of the Assassin’s Creed 3, has previously told Official Xbox Magazine that “[Assassin’s Creed 3 writer Corey May] really wants to do India, I would too. I’d really love to do the Raj.”

The Raj, meaning kingdom in Hindi, is the period of British control in India from 1858 and 1947. The Raj  began when the control of the British East India Company was transferred to the British government (in 1876 Queen Victoria was declared Empress of India) and only ended after Mahatma Gandhi’s successful non-violent campaign against the British government nearly a century later.

One of the most interesting periods of the 19th century was the Indian Mutiny of 1857 when East India Company Soldiers known as sepoys rebelled in the town of Meerut. This uprising led to revolts across the country against the Company and the rebellion saw the end of the East India Company’s rule. In August the following year powers over India were transferred to the British Crown by parliament.

As in Assassin’s Creed 2 and 3 there would be potential for a great deal of back story for the protagonist, growing up, the Rebellion and so on as well as the outcome of Raj and it’s rule on the Assassin’s character. Since Assassin’s seem to have an unusually long life expectancy – given their profession at any rate – it might even be possible for the Assassin to live through the entire Raj (Altair was in his nineties when he died after all).

That would be a fascinating journey of watching the assassin age and change over the course of nearly a century of direct foreign rule. You can see what Assassin’s Creed in India might look like here.

4. The Boshin War: Japan

This civil-war lasted about a year (1868-1869) between the armies of the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate and the forces of those loyal to the emperor. Technically supreme power in Japan rested with the imperial court however actual authority had rested solely with the shogunate for centuries.

Alex Hutchinson told OXM in the interview mentioned earlier that Japan would be one of the worst settings for Assassin’s Creed. Quite why he thinks that he didn’t reveal and I really don’t see why Japan wouldn’t work as a setting. Ninjas anyone? They’re a perfect example of stealth and assassination.

The Boshin War began because many in Japan were frustrated by opening up the country to Westerns in the previous decade following the arrival of Commodore Perry of the US Navy. It was a relatively bloodless war (only 3,500 of the 120,000 soldiers mobilized died) and even though the Imperial faction won they abandoned their isolationist stance almost immediately. A Piece of Eden could explain this change of heart.

While the heavy influence of the British and French set up an Assassin’s Creed set in a Japan with a much broader backdrop in terms of the conflict between the Templars and the Assassins. As long as the game didn’t go down the route of The Last Samurai (i.e. making a Tom Cruise-a-like the hero of a Japanese story) I again don’t see why Japan couldn’t work.

3. The Roman Republic/Imperial Rome: Italy (again but over a millennium earlier) 

Julius Ceaser, modern society owes that man a lot; leap years, for instance and he even gave his name to the month of July. He led Rome’s armies to conquer Gaul (France), crossed the Rubicon – a big political no-no – with his army and loved Cleopatra and effectively ruled Rome.

Indeed his adopted son Octavian changed his name to Ceaser Augustus when he became Rome’s first emperor while the Russians Czars’ and German Kaisers’ drew their titles from him. That was his legacy, which lived until the twentieth century. He was stabbed in the Senate, 33 times, with each senator passing a knife on to the next. His life and death could be explained by the Assassin’s Creed mythology.

But the formation of the Empire isn’t the only period of Roman history that could be chosen. The foundation of the Republic for example which was established after the seventh and final king of Rome raped the daughter of a nobleman leading to a civil war that deposed him.

The three conflicts with Carthage (the Punic Wars) and of course Hannibal’s infamous march across the Alps. There’s the collapse of the Empire in the fifth century CE or the split between Eastern and Western Roman Empire when it grew too large to effectively control from Rome.

There were nearly constant civil conflicts and imperial assassinations in Rome’s troubled history, really it’s a miracle the empire survived as long as it did, and more importantly there’s any number of occasions that would work perfectly for Assassin’s Creed. If nothing else, you’d be able to see the landmarks of Brotherhood in their full glory.

2. The First World War: Several Countries

On the 28th of June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was assassinated in Sarajevo – see where this is going? Country after country got sucked into the biggest war the world had ever seen until that point.

There was a rebellion in Ireland, the 1916 Rising; two revolutions in Russia in 1917, the February and October Revolutions, the rise of the Bolshevicks, and the subsequent Russian Civil War.

Against the backdrop, but not necessarily involved in the conflict, the assassin would have plenty of opportunity to eliminate Templar’s on both the Allied and Central powers sides of the conflict as well as interact with some of the most influential people of the twentieth century.

Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty and later British Prime Minister. Lord Kissinger famous for the “Your Country Need You” poster and the British Secretary of State for War. On the other side most notably is General Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish state, and hero of the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign of 1915.

Meanwhile not directly involved in the war but certainly necessary in some capacity is Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevicks who returned from exile to Russia. Woodrow Wilson, the US President, and creator of the League of Nations.

Eamon De Valera, one of only two leaders of the 1916 Rising not be executed – on account of his American citizenship – who would go on to be a prime minister and later president of Ireland and Constance  Markievicz, the only other leader not to be executed – in this case because she was a woman – and the first female member of parliament in the world.

These are just a sampling of the fascinating characters that were around at the time and given the pace of change, especially in Russia in 1917, a lot of these events could be explained by a Piece of Eden. While in Ireland for example most people supported the British during the Rising but support quickly swung to rebels after their defeat.

Ireland may not seem like an important battleground but the Rising happened smack bang in the middle of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest of the entire war, when Britain needed every soldier it could get. In the war between Assassins and Templars all of the additional drama would have to be taken into account if not started by one side or another.

1. The French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars: France (Oddly Enough)

Assassin’s Creed 3 is setting the revolutionary precedent so why not carry that forward to one of the most fascinating and important periods of the last half millennium?

The Storming of the Bastille by Parisians frustrated by dire economic circumstances and regressive taxes (in part to pay for French intervention in the American Revolution) on the morning of the July 14 1789 marked the beginning of one of Europe’s most tumultuous periods.

It would be followed by the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety which is far more interesting than it sounds. The Committee were the people largely responsible for the Reign of Terror, a period in which 16,594 executed by guillotine and another 25,000 in summary executions across France. His supporters called him “The Incorruptible”, while his adversaries called him dictateur sanguinaire (bloodthirsty dictator).

Robespierre fell when the National Convention believed him to be abusing his power and in 1794 he was executed the day after having been shot in the jaw during his arrest. His rise from relatively humble beginnings (he was a lawyer) to effective leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world at that time and ultimate rapid fall from grace could be explained quite handily by a Piece of Eden.

And after Robespierre? Napoleon Bonaparte who, as Napoleon I, was Emperor of France from 1804 to 1815 (during his coronation he grabbed the crown from the Pope and placed it on his own head). His legal reforms have been a major influence on many jurisdictions worldwide, but he is best remembered for his role in the wars led against France by a series of coalitions, the Napoleonic Wars.

Often winning battles against vastly superior armies Napoleon’s victories could easily be contributed to a Piece of Eden. So too could his first exile, to St. Elba, his triumphant return to France, his defeat at Waterloo and second exile to St. Helena in middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

While his death remains contentious to this day with some arguing that even by the standards of the time Napoleon’s autopsy were shoddy. Perhaps Napoleon and Robespierre were Templars, even if they weren’t this is one of the most fascinating times in human history.

 



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