I don’t intend to go really deep into speculation about what the recently confirmed upcoming Assassi’s Creed game focused on ancient Egypt will be like. I kind of just want to bring up some details about the setting some people might not realize, details that separate it from just about everything else the Creed games have done up to this point.
The land of the Pharos is a pretty different setting for a Creed game. Other than the original title, this codenamed “Assassin’s Creed ‘Empire'” would be the first mainline one not centered on western civilization. That not only potentially brings an entirely different color to the main Creed games, but also opens it up to a much greater span of history.
One thing that always bugged me about people begging for Creed games based in China or Egypt is they would usually stop there without any further details on what they would want. It’s as if people think of places like China and Egypt as singular ideas with only just enough detail to be done once for something like this, when in reality each of those settings probably contains enough material for a whole other series of games.
The words “ancient Egypt” comprise a period of time spanning something like 3000 years. I’m only basing this blog post on my admittedly basic knowledge of world history, but I get the feeling most people don’t realize the span of time involved when you’re talking about pharos and pyramids and whatnot.
My gut tells me Ubisoft will focus on the conflict between Rome and Ptolemaic Egypt around the 30’s BC, involving historical characters like Augustus Caesar, Marc Antony, and Cleopatra. This would give it access to two famous ancient civilizations (maybe three if you count Greece) and a lot of well-documented history. But let me drop a statistic on you: the Great Pyramid of Giza was about as ancient to Cleopatra as Cleopatra is to us.
Those pyramids were built in the middle of the third millennium BC. I think (but am not sure) we have fairly detailed historical records of the rulers of Egypt and their interactions with neighboring civilizations going back that far. I imagine an ancient Egypt-themed Assassin’s Creed would want to at least namedrop Imhotep or have some extra side objectives involving him, but he lived sometime around the 2600’s BC. I know the countries Ubisoft has already covered like Italy, France, and England have long histories as well, but from what I understand we know basically jack about what was happening in England in 2600 BC. Think about all the potential material (probably not all of it incredibly detailed by what historians currently know) stretching from that time to Cleopatra, much less modern Egypt. I know we’re at the very least leaving out Ramesses II or the Macedonian conquest.
I think this is why Ubisoft was so cagey about doing settings like China and India until it kind of copped out and gave them spinoff games. With China Ubisoft chose the Ming dynasty, but really you’ve got juicy historical potential going back another 2000 years. Off the top of my head I can mention things like the 1912 revolution, the warring states period, or the An Lushan rebellion — reportedly one of the most destructive wars of all time. It’s a paralyzingly massive span of history to comb through.
But I guess that’s why Assassin’s Creed has so much potential as a franchise in the first place. Ubisoft has created an action game that’s not chained to the era of automatic firearms. When you think about it though, almost any genre of video game outside shooters could be applied to historical settings: adventure games, hack n’ slash action games (potential for God of War anyone?), even RPGs (why hasn’t there been another game like Gladius?). Creed just decided to make history its entire selling point. Strategy and simulation games are really the only other category that have done this, but maybe others should give it a look. It’s too much for one developer, even one as big as Ubisoft.
- Cool artist: http://matsuohiromi.com/
- I didn’t even know they made a sequel to Protect Me Knight: http://www.siliconera.com/2016/01/08/protect-knight-2-still-bound-overseas-eshops/
- A pretty smart analysis of The Force Awakens: http://www.giantbomb.com/articles/off-the-clock-space-opera-millennials-and-their-gr/1100-5371/