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

Illustration for article titled You Don't Really 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 realize 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.



This is totally false.

"If you got, say Samurai Japan, you'd realize 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."

I think if Alex actually tried to play a lot of ninja games, he would very, very quickly realize that in reality, there aren't any!!! We have Ninja Gaiden, which is not at all about real, historically accurate ninjas. The only other game that has ever attempted it is Tenchu, and we haven't seen anything from that series since Tenchu Z when the 360 launched. Shinobido 2 on Vita is basically just like Tenchu Z, but not as good.

There aren't even a lot of ninja movies. Try and find one actually great ninja movie that's accurate, realistic, and based on historical fact. I'll be waiting.

This drives me nuts more than almost anything else. People just assume that ninjas, pirates, and zombies have a ton of games and movies all over the place. In reality, there is virtually zero content out on ninjas now. There has yet to be even ONE single game or movie that is truly historically accurate and realistic, focusing solely on ninjas.

This article was deeply disappointing. Not to mention, why does it have to be "samurai Japan?" You could still set it after AC3 during the Meiji Revolution, like series such as Kenshin. You have extremely rapid technological advancements, guns, machinery, railroads, side by side with the old way of life being phased out. It would be a very interesting time to set a game in.