The Assassin's Creed Film Might Have Forgotten What Made Assassin's Creed Great

Last week we got our first, beautiful glimpse of Michael Fassbender running around shanking people in the face for the Assassin's Creed movie — and it was actually quite promising! But fresh news about the film will give anyone familiar with the gaming franchise cause for concern. The Assassin's Creed universe divides its story into two branches: it mainly focuses on adventures in the past (the games have covered everything from Crusades-era Holy Land to the dawn of the American revolution), but is lightly framed by a contemporary sci-fi conspiracy thriller about modern Assassins training a new generation of soldiers to fight the shadowy Knights Templar.

However, according to executive producer Pat Crowley, the new movie will get that balance flipped: 65 per cent of the film will be spent in the present, where Fassbender's character, Callum Lynch, is kidnapped and forced to live out the memories of his 15th century assassin ancestor — while a mere 35 per cent of the film will take place in the past, showing him reliving those memories. Fans of the franchise are probably already groaning; after all, the modern side of Assassin's Creed was never that great. It was merely an excuse to "explain" what the video game was actually about, which was going back in time, meeting interesting people and then assassinating the bejeezus out of them.

Hopefully the Assassin's Creed movie can make all the present day stuff as exciting as the past-based segments. Considering how gorgeous all that historical stuff looked in the trailer, though, that might be an uphill battle.



    I like the future stuff. I think people just gained a bias against it due to how poorly done it was in AC1. Where you're always forced out of the animus when you were just getting into it.

      i hated the present day stuff, i hated desmond, i hated everything about the present day that was shoe horned into the games. what pissed me off more was the present day shit always happened just as i was getting into the actual gameplay. even though there was fuck all of it in blackflag i still hated it because i refused to help the technician and i sure as hell didnt want to meet and greet the douchenozzel ubisoft ceo

        Yes BUT... The present day story bits whilst lacking in gameplay actually had more story in them so I can see how that balance works better for a movie

    Whelp. Into the trash with this one as well.

    In terms of story telling this might actually make sense. In the game 90% of the game is inside the animus because that's where the majority of the gameplay actually is. The movie isn't going to be a game, it's going to be a narrative driven movie.

    Also, let's not lampoon the movie without actually seeing it shall we? Based on what we've seen so far they seem to be doing a rather decent job of adapting it, particularly in the visual sense. I also appreciate that they're doing it with an original character, rather than compressing the Desmond/Altair/Ezio storyline that spanned over 50+ hours of game into a couple of 2 hour films.

      Yeah. I think there's a certain logic to it. In-game it makes sense to focus the story on the part you'll be interacting with the most but that doesn't automatically make it the most appropriate part for the movie. I'm guessing they'll fold the two stories together more since they have less time, and in doing so the main story will be outside the animus with the inner animus portions supporting and progressing the main story. Otherwise they're going to have to cram two rather independent stories into one movie.

        I think as gamers, we look at this from a gaming perspective, which means looking at the historical parts and expecting them to be where the important stuff happens - games get to the action and tend to ignore backstory to some degree.

        But as moviegoers, as you say, there is a certain sense to giving that background, and its where movies are different to games. The movie ISNT a game, its a story, and if the story is told from the perspective of a game, it misses many things crucial to being a movie, and will fail.

        Personally, I think this is a big reason why a lot of game to movie adaptations dont quite work. They try to be games when they need to be movies first and foremost.

        Having said that, you still need enough references to what makes the games work to tie it back together. Which means having the historical parts be significant.

      I think it's especially pertinent that the set-up (and one assumes, denouement) will be taking place in the present. It effectively means that a sizable chunk of your movie needs to be book-ended by the present day, and given enough time to actually establish viewer involvement in the overall memory-diving conceit.

      Last edited 17/05/16 2:51 pm

      let's not lampoon the movie without actually seeing it shall we?

      While I agree with the sentiment, the pedigree of movies based on games is so woefully bad that I completely understand why people assume this movie will be terrible.

      The balance of future vs memories for me doesn't pose a problem. In the games most of the gameplay set in memories had little to do with the templars vs assassins, or the Juno, god like aliens story line. It was bulked out with character background missions, side quests, collectibles, secrets etc, and most of the exposition and plot advancement happened in the future/present. That's fine in a 40 hour play though but they don't have that luxury in a 2 hour movie that isn't guaranteed a sequel. So they'll have to set the templar-assassin rivalry in motion and use memories to get the clues to advance it towards it's inevitable God Alien conclusion.

    A 64/36 split I can accept but not 65/35. What are they thinking!?

    Seriously though, it's about time the series got out of the Animus and started showing us what the whole point of this stuff is. I stopped playing after Brotherhood so maybe we've already seen where the Animus trips lead but still, I don't mind this split as long as it makes good use of it and doesn't squander it like Suckerpunch which was 84.2% faffing about a brothel and only 15.8% cool imaginary worlds with awesome action.

    Last edited 17/05/16 2:31 pm

      I figured Suckerpunch to be closer to 83.2% to 16.8% myself.

      But yeah, this is what the movie can do to really add to the series. It doesnt need to be completely focussed on the action elements, the narrative side of things lets it stretch things out somewhat, while a game sucks when that happens.

      Let the movie fill in those gaps and complement the games, rather than mimic them.

      " I stopped playing after Brotherhood so maybe we've already seen where the Animus trips lead but still"
      No, we haven't. I stopped after the utter trainwreck that was AC3 - it is seriously one of the worst AAA titles ever produced - and the modern day story died at that point and reportedly has gone nowhere since. By definition it was impossible for it to do so.

      Ubisoft decided that churning out sequel after sequel was the way to go, and thus destroyed any possibility of giving the series a decent narrative - because with AC2 they had created Ezio, the first (and only) character that people actually gave a toss about.

      I still maintain that Desmond's character arc should have been wrapped up in an AC3 primarily set in modern day, rather than going through the needless diversion of Brotherhood and Revelations, and culminating in the abysmal AC3 American Civil Bore. That way the series could have then spun off into different stories and conflicts within the same setting, without just trashing any and all of the chips they had banked with the slightly tedious setup of AC1, and the cool "WTF" ending of AC2.

    Trash game will be a trash movie.

      No no. I think you're thinking of Garbage Truck Simulator 2015: The Movie.

        Cant wait for Garbage Truck Simulator 2015: The Movie: The Game.

        Wonder if we'll get any pre order bonuses for it. Life size model of a garbage bag perhaps?

          I'll wait until the Book of the Game of the Movie of the Game thanks.

            Really? Not going to hang out for the trading card game? Garbage Truck Simulator 2015: The Movie: The Game: The Book: Collectible Card Game?

            GTS15:M:G:B:CCG is gonna rock man!

              Nah, I'm not really into collectible card games.

              But I'll probably collect the minifigs and lego sets that the card game of the book of the game of the movie of the game inspires.

    I cringed the moment the "action" music started playing in the trailer. It automatically started feeling like another terrible Hollywood video game movie. The modified trailer with in game music was much more appealing but I doubt they will go with what the gamers want in this.

    That's why the first AC was the best. One-dimensional Desmond, faceless Altair as fillers for what was essentially an assassination simulator, and Ubisoft did well to stay out of the way with silly nonsensical plots.

    While it is clear that the AC games place the vast majority of the gameplay in the past, if you remove all the gameplay and focus only on story, the present-day parts are represented better. If you look at the first game, there might even be more story in the present.

    So if you are making a film, it doesn't seem that surprising that they'd minimise the gameplay portions. I don't expect past Fassbender to repeatedly be accosted by beggars, or hide in a hay stack for a few minutes waiting for guards to lose interest.

    Here's hoping that the film actually advances the modern plot that's been terribly missing in the recent games, and that there will be some crossover in future games (or easter eggs at least).

      Yeah, I'd really like that. If they made a series of movies and moved most of the modern-day story there, leaving the games to mostly cover the Animus bits, it could provide a really interesting cross-media franchise where the two compliment each other.

    Something made Assassin's Creed great? I remember a couple of somewhat okay games (Black Flag and AC2) and a bunch of other games running the gamut from 'tedious' to 'utter dogshit'.

    To be honest what worried me the most was their choice of music for the trailer. I mean spanish inquisition and they pick a shitty modern rap kayne-esque song?

    Although I'd rather the 65/35 split be in favour of the historical scenes, I can see how it could work like it did in The Matrix: the scenes inside the Matrix were shorter resulting in them being more impactful and special. They become the highlights instead of the standard.

      Good example. The Matrix games were all pretty much played within the Matrix itself, where the expected action should have played out, while the movie, which obviously came first, was able to give that backstory and flesh out the behind the scenes stuff more than the games should.

      It created the framework the games were able to hang off. With the Assassins Creed games, they havent got that solid framework, so as I said above the movie is a great way to address that.

      The Matrix is a great comparison to how that can work.

    I always loved the modern day narrative, that's what got me hooked on the game initially. I wanted to keep playing to see what happened to Desmond and the Assassins in the future..

    The modern day is where the real narrative and science fiction themes are, without the modern day its just a historical assassination simulator.. and while I'm sure theres an appetite for that I've always felt like the modern day haters kinda missed the point with the first few games anyway... now its a complete convoluted mess.

    Absolutely astounded at how much people think they know from the sparsest of details. Let's just do aways with reviews and previews and just put them under "assumptions", it's more accurate at this point.

    So long as it doesn't force you to buy 3 tickets, 3 times it should be better than the games

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