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View Full Version : Suggestion Assassin's Creed - Feudal Japan



d.kemnitz
11-21-2018, 06:56 PM
My goal with this thread is easy. I want to sell the idea of an Assassin's Creed game set in feudal Japan. Please join in on the action if you like, and strap yourself in for a long post! Here we go:

I have written a short introduction story to one of the ways I think this game could bring the player into the story in a way that no other game does. You can find it in the bottom of this post.

Why do I want an Assassin's Creed set in Japan?

Prelude:
I have played most of the Assassin's Creed games all the way back from the original with Alta´r. I was mesmerized by how that game brought me back through time and allowed me to genuinely explore the middle-east during the Crusades. It was an experience like no other. I did not enjoy it because it was centered about Assassins, nor the action or fighting - which is usually selling points in "similar" games. No, I was drawn to the game because it combined all of this, with the ability to feel like you were actually a part of the life people lived back then. I felt like I was a part of that world, I could explore it to my heart's content, I was invested in the historical figures and the role they played. I was interested in the story and the "hidden historical factor" that was the creed of the Assassins.
This continued in the Ezio trilogy, and it improved on everything. The gameplay was smooth, the scale of the world seemed immense, and the way you interacted with it, with people, throughout the story, it was amazing. That is, to me, what Assassin's Creed offers the player that no other game really achieves. It lets you be a part of the world you play in. You experience it at your own pace, you have the story (and what amazing historical stories those are!), but you do it the way YOU like. You can approach it in a million different ways, and enjoy it however you like. The atmosphere you get from an Assassin's Creed game is just something else, and it really allows you to dive straight in and forget the real world outside, because your mind now exists in a historical era many hundred years ago, living a life that would not be possible today.
I once had to write a essay in school with a historical subject, and I chose to write the essay specifically about the Assassin's Creed games - explaining the points above and how the games worked and allowed you as player to interact with a bygone age. I got an A. My teacher at the time was a 60 year old lady, quite classical and conservative of mind, but she was so impressed with the potential of the Assassin's Creed games and the scope of them, beyond the typical "qaction and fast pace" that are often associated with these kind of games.
Point is, I managed to spark interest for Assassin's Creed in a 60 year old conservative school teacher.. THIS is the true potential that Assassin's Creed offers.

This is why I believe that an Assassin's Creed game set in Japan could be perhaps the greatest AC game to have ever existed. I know the reasons for Ubisoft staying off the obvious topic for so long, because "it's been done so many times, it won't be fresh or challenging". But you see, that is not what makes Assassin's Creed great in the first place anyways. It's not the idea of being a Ninja or Samurai in Japan that is the selling point of this idea. That, you can find anywhere. The true potential is in how Assassin's Creed allows you to explore a world and invest yourself in the historical culture, characters, atmosphere, nature, cities, the life - and then all the action and awesome settings. No other game offers this, and the pinnacle is still not achieved. I strongly believe that Assassin's Creed is the true game title that can achieve that pinnacle. I imagine that Assassin's Creed would be the title that can define all feudal Japan-themed games now and in the future. It will be the pinnacle, but at the same time no one can aim at doing it better, because no one really are able to capture the essence of an Assassin's Creed game and what it brings to the player. Playing Assassin's Creed is literally like reading a book where you have control of the main character. It is the ultimate dream.


From a historical standpoint, looking at inspiration like he movie The Last Samurai really depicts how culturally rich Japan is, without any of that culture spreading outside the borders of the land of the rising sun. It is so compact, yet so diverse - and it introduces outside factors in the form of industrialized nations clashing with such a traditional country. The potential is limitless, like no other game in the franchise's past. You have some of the most influential figures in Japanese history, you have multiple factions fighting for their own causes, you have many groups of people devoted to their own ideals. Samurai, Ninja, the reformed Army of the Emperor, the leaders of outside nations, and then all the disputes between local villages etc. Everyone seemingly has their own agenda, on different scales. Some rooted deeply in ancient culture, and others in the bigger contemporary picture of the increasingly globalized world. Japan is in many ways split in two, with most of the people and important figures standing in the middle ground and having to pick a side for themselves and their country. Add to this the Assassin's Creed faction in whatever manner you find fitting, and a full circle is completed.
In the very first game you are exposed to the idea of the Assassin's order not being any better than the Templars. In Black Flag you pretty much do everything for the treasures and bounty. In the Ezio trilogy you fight with the Assassin's for noble causes throughout, and become the head of the order in the search for ultimate truth. A game set in feudal Japan could bring all of these elements into coexistence in one game, because of the endless possibilities and disputes, people wanting different things for the country and the population, as well as their cultural history. It's like standing at the south tip of Africa where multiple oceans and land meet, each trying to claim their right over the land.

Gameplay:
I think we are at a point, where it is very well defined which aspects of Assassin's Creed games work the best. If the best parts of games like Origins and Odyssey are mixed with the traditionally loved style of AC1, 2, Brotherhood, Revelations, Black Flag, etc. Then I think that a setting in feudal Japan would be optimal for the combination of all of those styles. A lot of cultures, weapon and armor styles, means of transportation, ways of living, etc gives the game such a high potential for a rich simulation that no other game has achieved so far. I want to see Assassin's Creed feudal Japan, because it is the game that no other title has managed to successfully create. I want it because others have tried, but no one has succeeded to the full capability that I know Assassin's Creed is capable of achieving.

As an idea for a main character, I personally find it intriguing to explore the ways of the Samurai. The word and title is describing of the person, it means to serve. For this reason I find it interesting to explore the possibility of our main character being a Samurai without anyone to serve, and therefore no official cause. There could be many reasons to this, the example given in the above mentioned movie The Last Samurai shows how the Samurai serving the Emperor is no longer needed in the industrialized world, and depicts how said Samurai doesn't give up on their task as a servant to the "divine" Emperor.
From a more artistic standpoint I can envision a female lead character, who is taught by her family in the ways of the Samurai, but because of the cultural reasons of feudal Japan, she is disregarded by everyone because a woman is not seen fit for such a title. This leads her to be a masterless Samurai, someone that no one of power respects, and she is not accepted in society. However, her will is strong and the mindset of Samurai continuously leads her to try to serve her country and her people as well as she can, and eventually she discovers the creed of the Assassins, from which she gains the means to have a say in the larger conflict over Japan.
I will point out that this has nothing to do with feminism and gender issues in modern society at all, I purely imagine this because I think it would be a strong driving factor for the plot, and it would fit well into the cultural depiction of feudal Japan.


Short story scenario:
Imagine traveling down from a mountain pass. It's early spring, but the snow has only just given way for you to pass safely. The still white summits around you send a cold, chilly breeze down through the valley. You shiver, as a few gusts of snow and ice cold wind blows across the trail where you walk. The pass has been open for a week, but the winter still appears to cling on - like a mortally wounded target clinging on to their last words.
The journey is rough, and after traveling for a few hours, time is becoming short. You must reach the town in the valley before sunset, those were the orders. As you quicken your pace, a leaf falls on your shoulder. The cherry blossom has been showing the first signs of spring. The further down the valley you go, the more the road and the air turns pink and red. The calm descending of the pink leaves and the red sunset calms your mind. The falling leaves have an almost trance-like effect, as your eyes follow them from the sky, while they slowly fall to the ground.
Your gaze follows the leaves down to your feet and the ground - already covered in pink and red colors. Something catches your attention. The ground has an abnormally rich redness to it, more than what a cherry blossom would cause. You take a step back, and realize that the red does not come from the leaves.. It's blood. The trail beneatht he leaves is soaked in it. All your senses activate, your muscles tighten. A faint whistle of a pulled string being released breaks the silence. As you look in the direction of the sound, an object pierces through the sky. An arrow, lit in fire, soars through the now dark sky. In the distance the town bells start ringing, only just before the entire night sky is lit up by a sea of flames. The sparks fly through the air and mix with the cherry blossom leaves, as if it was snowing fire from the sky. You start to run, straight towards the town bell that echoes through the streets. You just hope that you are not too late.. [And here the mission starts].

If you managed to read through all of that, then I applaud you. Hopefully it has given you some food for thought perhaps inspired you, or in other ways intrigued you. I also hope that members of the Ubisoft team are willing to hear not just mine, but the voice of many people who see the immense potential in an AC game set in Japan. If you look past the basic "this has been done so many times" mindset, there is a whole world of rich culture and immersive adventurous gameplay that has yet to be explored. I sincerely hope that Assassin's Creed will become the game title that manages to successfully do this to the full potential of the historical culture that Japan offers.