The Assassin’s Creed franchise has always been as much about the historical eras that it explores as it is about stabbing people. As flawed as the franchise can be at times, their historical research tends to show in their work and the little tidbits that turn up while you play the games.
And they do pick some fascinating historical eras to stab people in. So far, the games have featured the Third Crusade, the Italian Renaissance, the American Revolutionary War, and the upcoming Vita game, Liberation, will be set during the period of New Orleans’ history where it was a French colony under Spanish rule.
These are all fascinating eras. But since Ubisoft is probably unlikely to keep going forwards in time for the series since it raises the question of firearms, here are a few suggestions for historical eras they could explore next.
The English Restoration
The key event here is the return of Charles II after Richard Cromwell basically demonstrated he was unable to clean up his father’s mistakes. Needless to say, switching from a repressive Puritan to Charles II, who was in favor of religious freedom (while the government of England wasn’t), made for some interesting times. Theaters reopened, society started loosening up in some respects… and the Puritans starting thinking about going somewhere else.
It’d make for a good game because of the social turmoil at the time. Charles especially found himself fighting for freedoms that Parliament wasn’t eager to grant. It makes a great backdrop to the intrigue the Assassin’s Creed games love.
The Early Reign of Saint Louis
Louis IX, who actually is a saint, was actually a horrible anti-Semite, but in the early years of his reign, there were constant plots to seize the throne from him partially due to the fact that the rules of succession weren’t entirely clear. So it seems like the kind of thing Templars and Assassins would get involved in fairly quickly.
The Opium Wars
Put it to you this way: If you can’t write a compelling story around a government declaring war over its right to sell addictive drugs to people they view as beneath them, you need to get into the used car business.
It’d also give the series a chance to step away, a bit, from European history without ditching it entirely.
Speaking of which…
The Gupta Empire
Widely considered India’s golden age, the Gupta Empire saw some incredible advances in the sciences, mathematics, and the arts. It’s also a pretty fascinating period in terms of gameplay, because if you’re going up against the Gupta Empire, that means you’ll be running into lots of archers.
There’s a lot of history from this time to dig through, and it’d be a great way to add some variety and a unique setting to the series.
17th Century Africa
Granted, there’s really no way to talk about African history without dealing with some of the lowest points in human history. This is right when the Atlantic slave trade was beginning. But first of all, avoiding these moments doesn’t really do us a service; forgetting history has never achieved anything.
Secondly, properly done, a game would be a great way to learn about this history, especially from an African perspective. And on a more practical level, slavers are like Nazis and zombies, you can do pretty much anything to them and not feel bad about it.
Those are my five. Throw us a few in the comments with some links: Let’s be history geeks and game geeks!