Despite comments pointing to the series skipping a year again, it looks like we might get another Assassin's Creed in 2018 after all. After a small retail leak, Ubisoft confirmed that we'd see the new entry, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, this year at E3 2018. The publisher also released a brief teaser for Odyssey, recalling the iconic "This is Sparta" moment from the film 300.
The original leaking site, Jeuxvideo-Live, called the game a sequel to Assassin's Creed Origins, with Bayek returning as the main character. Kotaku followed this with its own report offering further potential details. Odyssey is set in Greece, but players won't be seeing Bayek: instead, the player can choose between a male or female protagonist. Odyssey is also supposedly doubling-down on the RPG nature of Origins with dialog choices.
So where exactly will this game take place? The problem with the original rumor of Bayek returning is that most of the interesting Greek history is over by his time. Origins starts in 49 BC and the last scene involves Julius Caesar's death in 44 BC. Greek history didn't stop after that point or anything, but the historical flashpoints that an Assassin's Creed game could really play with happened far before Bayek's time.
Back in a previous speculation article when this was just a rumor, I guessed that the Greco-Persian Wars would be a good spot for Assassin's Creed. This conflict raged from 499 BC to 449 BC, pitting Greek city-states against the might of the Persian Empire. The brief teaser for Odyssey recalls the film adaptation to Frank Miller's 300, and the film and its sequel only depict a small part of the Greco-Persian Wars. Regardless, it's an era of conflict, betrayal, sieges, and all-out battles. Perfect for Assassin's Creed.
It's worth noting that the era has already been briefly mentioned in Assassin's Creed lore. See, the Greco-Persian Wars began during the reign of the Persian king Darius the Great. The king spent three years preparing to strike against the Greek city-states again after the Persian loss at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. Unfortunately for him, there was a revolt in Egypt—tying us to where Origins took place—and dealing with the revolt took a toll on Darius' health. Darius I died in 486 BC, leaving his son Xerxes to take over the empire (Xerxes is the antagonist in 300, by the by).
Xerxes I took a knee for a few years, prepped his war game, and headed out to conquer Greece in 480 BC. At the time, he was leading one of the biggest armies ever assembled in ancient history. This kicked off an ongoing conflict. The Persians won at the Battle of Thermopylae, burning Athens to the ground and conquering several Greek territories. The Greeks hit back in the naval skirmish of the Battle of Salamis and won again in the Battle of Plataea the next year; the latter battle saw a large part of the Persian army killed. It was here that the Greek coalition began its true offensive.
Xerxes retreated back to Persia after this conflict, focusing on governing and building projects. He would die in 465 BC, assassinated by his own royal bodyguard. That's history, but in Assassin's Creed lore, Xerxes was killed by an assassin called Darius (no relation to his father). In Origins, Bayek and Aya received their Hidden Blades from Cleopatra; the assassin Darius is the first recorded user of the Hidden Blade. Darius' tomb was featured way back in Assassin's Creed 2, alongside the tomb of Amunet, which was Aya's chosen name in the Brotherhood.
The most logical idea is to start in the Ionian Revolt in 499 BC, with the Greek city-states beginning to fight back against their Persian masters. That's prime Assassin's Creed territory: down-trodden people beginning to fight back. Then the game can skip around after that, picking and choosing which battles to feature. The Battle of Marathon feels like a given, as does the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Plataea. I'd probably end the game during the siege of Byzantium, which is where the Spartan faction of the Greek coalition decided it had done its duty. This lead to establishment of the Delian League, which eventually led to the Peloponnesian War, with Greek fighting against Greek. Byzantium is my chosen bow on the main story, with that city eventually becoming Constantinople, the setting of Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
This gives us an early assassin, stretching from 499 BC until the siege of Byzantium in 477 BC. The playable map would be centered around the Aegean Sea, meaning I'd expect naval combat to be a bigger part of the game. Perhaps our character uses a prototype version of the Hidden Blade, with the final device being used by Darius to kill Xerxes I in 465 BC. This would work like Origins' coda, with Aya killing Julius Caesar in Rome. I think that would cover a lot of cool history and tie into existing Assassin's Creed lore.
It's worth noting that back in early 2016, prior to Assassin's Creed Origins being confirmed, an original leak pointed to a potential trilogy. This trilogy would begin in Egypt before heading to Greece and Rome with the same character. Given that many those original leaks proved to be true and Greece is now on the table, can we expect this trilogy to conclude with Rome? That setting was briefly shown at the end of Origins, becoming Aya's primary stomping grounds.
It's possible that Assassin's Creed will return to an annual release for this trilogy, and then take some time off again for a release on the next generation of consoles. That means we might see a Rome-based Assassin's Creed in 2019, building on concepts and mechanics established in Origins and Odyssey.