If you were to ask anyone – even non-gamers – what a good setting would be for a stealth video game about assassins, Japan would almost certainly be very high on this list. Ninjas obviously fit perfectly into this archetype! Even the pirate-themed game is a less obvious choice for a franchise like this. Just ask fans of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise, and they’ll probably admit to salivating at the idea for years. Over the weekend, the Ubisoft Forward showcase delivered that dream scenario in the form of the upcoming codenamed title. Red. There’s only one problem: Ubisoft is at least ten years behind the party.
The long road to Japan
The very first mention of Japan in the Assassin’s Creed franchise was in 2007 as part of the very first entry. Protagonist Altair mentions the nation in passing, fueling theories that it could hint at a potential setting for the franchise in the future.
In 2011, Ubisoft asked gamers to complete a survey about what settings they would prefer for a future Assassin’s Creed Game. Japan was one of the options. This cycle of stoking the fire and putting it out has become a centuries-old tradition for Ubisoft in the decade since. Polls like the one from 2011 would appear every few years. Japan would always stick around as an option tempting fans with the idea of what could be without ever delivering.
Reverse also wrote in 2015 about some fan-made concept art and lingering theories that an AC game set in Japan was in development.
Alex Hutchinson, director of Assassin’s Creed IIIspat on the idea of a Japanese THAT game and the stupidity of fans suggesting it in 2012. “People on the internet suggest the most boring settings,” he told United Kingdom. “The three most wanted are WWII, Feudal Japan and Egypt. These are sort of the three worst settings for a THAT Game.”
Famous, the franchise went to Egypt in 2017 with Origins of Assassin’s Creeda game that served as a saving grace to the then stagnant series.
This all brings us to 2022 when September’s Ubisoft Forward devotes substantial time to the Assassin’s Creed franchise and reveals not one, not two, but three new games. one of which is codenamed Redput in (drum roll please), Japan.
But the historic stealth action parkour game set in Japan that everyone’s been dreaming of for a decade already exists, and Ubisoft hasn’t pulled it off.
To better things
“Ghost of Tsushima Do what Assassin’s Creed never could – and much better”, is what we said about the Sucker Punch 2020 standout title in our review. It follows the last samurai of a clan on his journey to seek revenge during the first Mongol invasion of Japan in the 13th century CE.
The influence of Assassin’s Creed are worn on the sleeve in Ghost of Tsushima. It features stealth gameplay, one-shot assassinations, historical characters, and a beautiful world to explore. Without the chains Assassin’s Creedconvoluted history, Ghost of Tsushima tells an emotionally contained story while delivering the open-world action fans want and polished to perfection. At a time of THAT games filled to the brim with RPG elements, Ghost of Tsushima offered a lean product without grinding.
Dark Souls developer FromSoftware, a Japanese studio, has created its own version of a ninja game with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. While remaining tough as nails, the gameplay introduced vertical movement and stealth to the game, all in a mystical take on Japan’s Sengoku period.
If the RPG elements of the most recent THAT the games are what attracts you then Ring of Elden offers a refreshing take on the open-world RPG that does away with checklist-type quests and gives the player a sense of discovery that THAT the games failed to deliver with their icon-filled minimaps.
Ubisoft Forward’s plethora of announcements regarding the Assassin’s Creed franchise covers all the bases. Do you want a classic THAT Game? Boom. Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Want an RPG? We will also do those again. You wanted Japan for a decade? You got it!
Assassin’s Creed has already gone through a great reinvention, something that after three entries is already losing steam. This scattered approach to satisfying fans feels like a desperate attempt to keep a flagship franchise alive.
For fans who want everything Ubisoft promises, they can play many other games that have already been released and have iterated, perfected, or drastically changed the core elements of Assassin’s Creed over the years that Ubisoft hasn’t. managed to deliver.