It's about that time, folks. If Ubisoft sticks to its past actions, we'll soon find out what's next for the Assassin's Creed franchise. While Assassin's Creed II, Brotherhood, and Revelations were all announced in the April/May window, Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag were both announced in early March. So where is the series heading in 2014?
The AC series is a collaboration borne by Ubisoft's vast studio system; a number of internal studios work in concert on each annual iteration, with one studio taking the reins each year. The creation of 2014's Assassin's Creed is being led by Splinter Cell: Blacklist developer Ubisoft Toronto, a studio run by managing director Jade Raymond. In a recent interview with Adweek, Raymond shot down the idea that the next Assassin's Creed would take place in feudal Japan.
This is surprising because the Assassin's Creed: Initiates was previously focused in modern day Tokyo, Japan. Initiates is Ubisoft's community program that provides extra color to the world of Assassin's Creed. The series is following Assassin Order leader Gavin Banks and his travels aboard the Altair II, as told through reports from a (Templar?) spy. From May to December of last year, Initiates was focused on reviving the Order's presence in Japan (Yakuza Assassins!), leading some to believe that feudal Japan was the series' next stop. In January, Initiates moved to a new location, Moscow, Russia.
Russia has been the focus of previous Assassin's Creed graphical novels, The Chain and The Fall. Both series chronicled the adventures of Russia assassin Nikolai Orelov, through the Animus memories of his ancestor Daniel Cross. Orelov operated from the late 19th century until the early 20th century. His story was completed in the two series, but a new game could follow his son or an earlier Russian assassin during the Industrial Revolution.
The Initiates Twitter account also tweeted two hints today. Sleuths at NeoGAF and the Initiates forums used the two clues to nail down a set of coordinates just outside of Moscow. The era is still in question, but the location is at least firming up.
Of course, that only covers one of the possible Assassin's Creed games for this year. Anonymous sources told The Examiner in December that Ubisoft may be planning two AC games for 2014: one for generation seven platforms like the PS3 and Xbox 360, and one for the Xbox One and PS4. It's not the first time Ubisoft has done such a thing, as Splinter Cell: Double Agent was a vastly different experience on Xbox/PS2 and Xbox 360/PS3/PC. Ubisoft Sofia, the team behind Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD, would probably be the team behind a second AC release.
"Definitely [multiple releases a year] is a possibility. That being said, I don't believe AC Liberation and AC IV are in competition as both games provide different experiences and I'm sure our fans enjoy both," Ubisoft Sofia producer Momchil Valentinov Gindyanov told the Examiner in a separate interview.
Ready to kill Templars in the frozen outskirts of Moscow?