You Don't Want An Assassin's Creed: Japan

Assassin's Creed games can be set in any place at any moment of history. For a time, fans thought the clues in the early games ensured that Assassin's Creed II or maybe Assassin's Creed III would be set in Japan, the player's assassin taking on the role of a ninja or other great martial artist.

Maybe it could have happend, but it wouldn't have been good enough, the game's creative director told me.

Alex Hutchinson, who started overseeing the ACIII project in early 2010, says that "four or five locations were in discussion," for the upcoming game. "The decision is based on what's fresh," he said.

Revolutionary War America felt novel.

"This gives us an opportunity to do something fresh and exciting," he said. "If you got, say Samurai Japan, you'd realise pretty quickly that I think you've played a lot of ninja games, and this is not as interesting as you thought it was going to be."

Hutchinson's producer Francois Pelland sounds a little more open to an AC: Japan, noting that "At some point it's true that any good piece of history could be good for an AC game." (Consider other options from this supposed Ubisoft survey that mentioned Japan, America and other settings.)

The stealth action and de-emphasis on firearms surely made a feudal Japan setting feel natural to many fans. But that was before some AC fans even considered ACII going to the Italian Renaissance and certainly before the series started introducing firearms. That progression brings us to the American Revolution, a setting Hutchinson happily pointed out that most games not only won't touch but are incapable of addressing. "It's cool that no one else could do it," he said. "You couldn't do a shooter in this period because the guns are so bad. You couldn't do most classic genres in this era, so it's sort of untouched. It's sort of virgin soil for video games."

I asked Hutchinson and Pelland to spill the details on the other locations that were considered for AC III. They declined.

To find out what more they are doing in the American Revolution setting, read our big preview of the game. And look for more ACIII coverage on Kotaku in the coming days.


Comments

    Meiji era where you get the contrast of Samurai Japan and the encroaching western influence would be awesome for an Assasin's creed game imo. Maybe that's the Rurouni Kenshin fanboy in me speaking though...

      How bout a Assassin's Creed: Australia/ New Zealand
      Steal money from banks for the poor with Ned Kelly
      Put vengeance upon the troopers for the indigenous.

        why does that idea need to be an Assassin's Creed game?

        Long overdue imo.

      I would like a Rurouni Kenshin game. Or one thats localized at least, if its any good.

      But yeah a Meiji era Assassin's Creed would work. I think another popular theory was the french revolution. Either way im real keen for AC3.

    Whilst I'd love a Japanese Assassins Creed I don't think it will happen anytime soon. A lot of the reasons as to why all the Assassins Creed games are set where they are is because Western people know about them at least to some extent. They know the people of the Italian Rennaisance, the American revolution.

    Historic eastern education is still very much negated to specific subjects in high-schools which may or may not cover them. People just don't know about ancient China or Japan all that much despite their rich histories.

      To be honest, with AC2 I only really knew about the De Medici family and Leonardo Da Vinci prior to playing it. The game made me interested in finding out about the Borgia as well as other figures that were represented. Most of the history that is pilfered is explained in game/character profiles.

    Or 19th century China as Wong Fei Hung battling foreigners Jet Li style.. everybody was kung fu fighting..those kicks etc.

      Porky Rong was an assassin?

      I do agree with this as well. Boxer rebellion Hong Kong and the 10 tigers of Canton could be very interesting.

      Considering one of the main Ubisoft studios that works on AssCreed is in Shanghai, doing anything remotely political related to China would be a very dangerous idea for them.

    I still think Revolutionary/Napoleonic France would have been better.

      There's always a chance Connor could end up there, given the setting of AC3.

      We know Napoleon had a Piece of Eden, and I'm sure there's room for a Templar conspiracy against him in there somewhere.

      (And Revolutionary France fits the freedom/authoritarianism thing probably even more than America, given how radical it was)

      Indeed, Paris would have been a perfect environment to run around in.

    How about an industrial revolution era Mother Russia? Or Jack the Ripper/Victorian Noir era London?

    Still, I would play the shit out of a Assassins creed game set in Japan.

      Pre-communist Russia would be a fascinating environment for one of these games actually.

    Nobody would want a game with a shoddy Japanese accent whilst speaking English and it wouldn't be commercially viable to do the game completely in Japanese. Authenticity would be a bitch as well

    Because Desmond really has Asian ancestors.
    had to say it :D

      yeah just like he had Arabic and Italian ancestors... maybe he had a Chinese uncle...

    I am surprised that no one has really tried to do a true stealth based ninja game.

      Tenchu attempted. Let me highlight that again - attempted. If you can, try to track down one of the ealier titles (for the PS1 or PS2) on...certain things that may or may not be...well, *cough*.

      *Awkward silence*

      Yeah. But Tenchu actually punished you for trying to hack and slash through a level. You had to attempt to be stealthy and quiet. Sometimes, it was easier to leave a guard than to kill him. I still love those games.

      All ninja games past that are all "I have a sword and dress in black, watch me walk in the front door, announce my presence and then chop all your heads off."

      And my two cents, that could fit into the AC timeline: the Malinese conquering of Africa. Look it up. Perfect setting, fits in well, does the whole freedom/authority thing, plus - How many games can you think of set in Africa?

      Plus:stealth killing elephants. Especially when they're war elephants with drivers and bowman all packed in baskets on there.

    America is 'fresh'?? Every game now days is set in America. Video games really need to start pushing boundaries, at least out of the norm that all games seem to follow. That's why I liked AC and ACII, they were in different environments than what I was used to in most games.

      The American revolution is pretty fresh, no one has done it aside from some really hardcore PC strategy games. It's not really even set in 'America' as a nation technically, it's set in a group of British colonies on a new continent.

        Possibly the best Half Life mod is called The Battlegrounds. First person Revolutionary war shooter. True, muskets are pretty terrible, but that was half the fun! As far as i can tell, it's THE ONLY game like it. Lets have some more, i say! And i'm Australian!

    I dunno, maybe I've just missed out on a lot, but I've never played a samurai game, and I'd kinda like to. Something set in a relatively historically accurate feudal Japan, sans giant enemy crabs.

    Or what about going way back, to something during the Roman empire? Plenty of conquests throughout Europe to explore there.

    All that said I think I'll enjoy the American Revolution setting as well. Just as long as they don't feel that time must keep moving forward for each game.

    Well, let's be honest here. The majority of people that want an AC game based in Japan are weaboos. If the game was accurate then they would get pissed off at what Japan is really like and their dreams will shatter, causing them to go down into a depressive spiral of pain and misery until they can no longer take the pain and have to end it all with a quick...

    ...hmm, maybe setting it in Japan isn't such a bad idea.

    How does anyone justify Rev War > Japan?

    Yeah, China sounds good. But how about medieval India, ancient Egypt or Greece?

    I'm fairly confident you could do The American Revolutionary War as an RTS game.

    I WANTED RUSSIAN REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I always thought the New World would be a great setting for an AC game. There's plenty of opportunity for characters, different settings be it city, river or jungle . Forts were common so you could keep some verticality to the game. And it was a time of expansion and corruption within the church, also jaguar fights.

    I'd play the [email protected]$* out of AC: Japan. I won't even touch AC: America.
    The character seems so out of place in the US revolution, but Feudal Japan seems like a much better fit

    Personally I would have prefered London in the late Victorian era. An action game in that setting would truly be unique. Though given the option between what we have and Japan, I think they made the right call. Lots of us love Japanese history but it really has been done to death. Besides, I wouldnt trust Ubisoft to get it right. I have a feeling AC: Japan would focus more on the imagery and less on the substance of Tokugawa or Meiji Japan.

    yeah i think I'd still want fuedal japan.

    In a game series featuring heavily on Christian conspiracy (eg, the Templars, the Ark of the Covenant, etc.) Japan doesn't really fit in unless it was like a tack on location or post feudal period when Christianity spread there.

    What would of been cool would have been America, but at the time of the Columbus and the Spanish Conquistadores, that would have been novel :D

    We should get Assassins Creed - Australian Christian Lobby. It would be a crusade against the R rating HAHA (jks)

    There's still a reasonable likelihood that we'll see a French Revolution Assassins Creed if they decide to do more semi-sequels like Brotherhod and Revelations. The French Revolution was right after the American one and tied directly to it for a number of reasons, so we might still end up with a Scarlet Pimpernel edition.

    For what it's worth, there no reason they couldn't do Victorian era London either if they keep moving chronologically. I suspect that'd fall under the same "played out" label that Edo period Japan got.

    For some reason, that symbol reminds me of Thundercats :)

    And nobody's ever heard of North & South on the Nes?

    Nope...still wanting a AC Japan.

    Screw America, they get too much attention IN video games as it is anyways.

    Wouldn't have liked a Japanese setting. Making a stabby videogame and you'll inevitably wind up with some 13 year old weebaoo's definition of 'cool' like Kai Leng.

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