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There have been a lot of rumors going around that the next entry in the Assassin's Creed franchise will be set in Feudal Japan, however, Ubisoft's managing director Jade Raymond dismissed these rumors in a recent interview. These rumors are nothing new though. I have been a fan of Assassin's Creed since the first entry in the series released in 2007. Since Assassin's Creed II, rumors that the next Assassin's Creed game would take place in Japan have popped up a few months after each game released. A lot of people seem to want an Assassin's Creed set in Feudal Japan, but I have a different opinion.
Assassin's Creed has always been lauded for it's realism and historical accuracy, although nobody is afraid to admit the series takes liberties when it needs to. A realistic and historically accurate game set in Feudal Japan recounting the conflicts between Assassins and Templars does sound enticing, but I don't believe it is the direction the series should go. Everyone can agree that Feudal Japan would be an incredible environment to explore, but it needs to be done right. I'd like to make a point that I don't believe the issues are with Feudal Japan as a setting, but with Assassin's Creed itself as a franchise.
The past six main entries to the series, as well as various spin-off titles, comics, films, and novels have established a grounded universe for Assassin's Creed to reside. This isn't a big problem, in fact it's really a good thing for the franchise. However, the boundaries that have been set by the existing media of the franchise can limit the creativity that Ubisoft developers can apply to a Feudal Japan set game.
Even with annual releases, Assassin's Creed has a lot of potential and room for creativity. Still, not every idea that comes to the table fits well into what what the franchise has become. I honestly think it would be great for Ubisoft to make a realistic game set in Feudal Japan. When it comes to that setting, I can think of zero realistic and historically accurate games that take place there. This is a great opportunity for Ubisoft to really let their creative minds shine.
Ubisoft has also expressed aversion to setting an Assassin's Creed Game in Egypt, to the disappointment of fans.
I am of the mindset that if Ubisoft were to create a game set in Feudal Japan, it should be it's own game separate from Assassin's Creed. It can share some gameplay mechanics with the Assassin's Creed games, but I'd like a fresh new story that Assassins and Templars are absent from. I'm not saying that Assassin's Creed's story is losing it's luster though. I'm just saying that I'm not interested in seeing the Assassin/Templar conflict in Feudal Japan. Other settings would be much more interesting and appropriate for telling that story.
Assassin's Creed doesn't like to leave unnecessary loose ends. Everything not purposely mysterious has an explanation. Even the existence of the in-game menu has an explanation: you are interfacing with it via the Animus. There are laws, rules, and precedents set by the past Assassin's Creed games, and I think some of these would need to be left behind to create a successful game in the form fans are suggesting. However, I don't want even these seemingly non-essential elements of Assassin's Creed to be damaged because they are the little things that make these games so great. This leads me to the conclusion that the best possible way for Ubisoft to deliver the game fans are asking for is to make one outside of Assassin's Creed.
However I have been wrong about this before. Back when Assassin's Creed III first revealed its naval battles at E3 2012, I discussed with my friends how Ubisoft should make a pirate game with Assassin's Creed styled gameplay, but set in it's own universe as it wouldn't fit with other Assassin's Creed games stylistically and may as well be on it's own (This was literally discussed over the phone as we watched the presentation live). Little did I know that about a year later Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag would release, doing a very successful job at blending pirates and assassins together. The game overall was a success, receiving an 8.25/10 score from Game Informer.
Assassins and Pirates make a surprisingly good combination.
It's possible that at some point in the future, Ubisoft may surprise me by finding a way to make a wonderfully done Assassin's Creed game set in Feudal Japan. But we already know that the next game won't have that setting, so it will be a while before we hear any more about that possibility. If Ubisoft can pull it off, I'll fully support their decision, and be just as excited about that game as all the previous ones. However I'll still hold my ground that I think Ubisoft should make a realistic and historically accurate game set in Feudal Japan, but it should be something new and not restricted by what they have done before. The Assassin's Creed universe is a great foundation for many possible games, but it would be a shame if Ubisoft wasted the opportunity to build on something completely new.
Edit: Honestly I'm even open to and totally cool with the game being set in the Assassin's Creed universe, but still part of a separate franchise (as Watch_Dogs is rumored to be).
Please feel free to share your own opinions in the comments. It would be great to hear other people's thoughts and opinions on this topic.
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