Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Key Art
Image Source: Ubisoft Entertainment

The Top Five Assassin’s Creed Historical Settings We Want to Revisit

No need for a Leap of Faith!

In more than 15 years in gamers’ hands, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has traveled throughout the globe and human history. However, we’ve rarely gone back to previously explored settings for another set of adventures. Here are Twinfinite’s picks for the five historical settings we want the Assassin’s Creed franchise to revisit.

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Looking Back

Assassin’s Creed games have pivoted back and forth between the classic, stealth-focused gameplay and the newfound role-playing game stylings. However, one thing fans have consistently loved about this series is the world of the Templars and Assassins, and the games’ detailed recreations of history’s greatest civilizations.

“There are worlds in some of our older Assassin’s Creed games that are still extremely rich … The goal is to have Assassin’s Creed games come out more regularly, but not for it to be the same experience every year.”

Yves Guillemot, ‘CEO Yves Guillemot on Ubisoft’s Upcoming Portfolio, the Future of Assassin’s Creed’

Perhaps as a result of fans’ calls for the series to revitalize its games’ historical settings, Ubisoft has consistently varied the series’ locations. However, hot on the heels of Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot’s comments on the possible return of some previously explored historical settings, fans’ imaginations have run wild with the possibilities.

5. Revolutionary France (1789 – 1799)

Assassin's Creed Unity Key Art
Image Source: Ubisoft Entertainment

The eighth Assassin’s Creed title, Unity, launched in 2014 and almost instantly became a touchstone on the consequences of rushed development cycles. Having been hit by the critical guillotine, Unity’s rocky post-launch relationship was reported on by us in 2015; ‘bugs, patches, delaying the patches, and most notable of all, the season pass was removed’.

However, as we’ll see throughout this list, the quality of the title itself rarely equates to the love the historical setting receives. Case and poorly-textured point; Unity and the French Revolution.

Assassin’s Creed has always attempted a balancing act; to give players as many creative tools to take on their titular role, while remaining as steeped in history as possible. It seems that, while approaching the modern age, the gunpowder firearms of the 18th century are just old enough to be allowed.

And thank goodness for that. The political unrest, polarizing social classes, and dynamic cultural shift of the French Revolution are the breeding ground for fantastic Assassin’s Creed stories.

“The French Revolution is set in a time where everyone was an asshole in desperate need of a stabbing … how could you go wrong with a setup like that?”

Chris Jecks & Zhiqing Wan, ‘Best Assassin’s Creed Game: All 18 AC Games, Ranked’

The Order of Assassins has made it their life’s mission to uphold personal freedom, at the expense of social stability. On the other hand, the Templars work directly against this function – they vow to protect order through totalitarian rule. As such, the conflict between these social philosophies is one of the Assassin’s Creed series’ most fundamental themes. And in Unity, that conflict spills out onto the streets of Paris.

4. Victorian London (1837 – 1901)

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Key Art
Image Source: Ubisoft Entertainment

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate may be the ninth major installment – in a series that is now approaching its fourteenth – yet it remains the series’ most chronologically recent main-series endeavor. With that title comes an even more precarious tightrope act, between creative assassination gadgets and historical accuracy.

However, in a move that was previously seen to be unattainable, Syndicate was able to bring the franchise as far into the future as 1868 – only 150 years ago. The inequality, poverty, and rampant crime of 19th-century London were brought forth in all their grimy glory through Syndicate’s narrative.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate brings players to London in the middle of the Industrial Revolution … This paints a gorgeous backdrop rife with opportunity as the world moves toward a new age. It also presents some unique gameplay opportunities not seen previously in the series.”

Ishmael Romero, ‘5 Reasons to Be Hyped for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’

There is no debate regarding how the towering cathedrals and sandy vistas of Assassin’s Creed titles before were astounding. However, climbing up the Gothic Revival terraces of Big Ben and looking out at the beauty of a truly modern, industrial city is breathtaking in an entirely different fashion.

3. Ming Dynasty China (1368 – 1644)

Shao Jun poses in a watercolour illustration, ready to do a 'leap of faith'.
Image Source: Ubisoft Entertainment

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has very quickly become publisher Ubisoft’s most financially rewarding series. As such, it’s no surprise it has attempted to expand the reach of its intellectual property to as many players as possible.

A consequence of this has been the production of a plethora of unique Assassin’s Creed ganes, focusing on varying aspects of the formula. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China is one of these adventures – a game that has been left to the wayside by many fans and is now playable on two generations of consoles and a portable system.

One of the most wanted settings for fans of the Assassin’s Creed series has been ancient China or Japan. With all of the mystery, war, and violence in those eras it seems like a perfect fit … China does take you to some iconic locations like The Forbidden Palace and Great Wall, but unfortunately there wasn’t a whole lot to be seen otherwise. 

Hayes Madsen, ‘The Best Assassin’s Creed Historical Settings, All 12 Ranked From Worst to Best’

Now that Assassin’s Creed Shadows is diving head-first into the much-requested historical setting of feudal Japan, many are celebrating the series finally showcasing an adventure taking place in Asia. However, almost ten years ago, Ubisoft let gamers skulk around 16th century China of the Ming Dynasty.

The gameplay and lukewarm critical response left much to be desired. However, the appetite for an expanded sequel to Ubisoft’s Chronicles trilogy of games, or even a mainline entry based in the same setting, hasn’t been satisfied by the 2015 side-scrolling title.

In fact, Ubisoft has clearly divulged that such a unique and requested period is not only something it’s aware of but happy to produce a title in. As such, the wait now begins to see if it’ll ever dedicate the resources to a fully 3D title.

2. Ancient Egypt (3150 BCE – 30 BCE)

Assassin's Creed Origins Key Art
Image Source: Ubisoft Entertainment

Assassin’s Creed Origins was a turning point for the series. After years of the franchise existing in a creative limbo – drifting from yearly title to yearly title – Ubisoft finally took the franchise out of the loop of annualisation, with the result coming two years later.

The conclusion of this doubled production time was an Assassin’s Creed title like no other. The Arkham-like combat still remained, but Origins fully embraced the role-playing game tropes it had been flirting with for a decade. While that presented itself in elements like experience points and leveled gear, the shift also dynamically altered how players interacted with the game’s historical setting of Ancient Egypt.

Ubisoft has done their damnedest to recreate Ancient Egypt, and it is an absolute sight to behold. It’s clear that this sandbox was one of the primary focuses of the extended development period provided to Assassin’s Creed Origins.”

Ishmael Romero, ‘Assassin’s Creed Origins Review’

Assassin’s Creed games have always been surprisingly faithful depictions of historical civilizations, but Origins makes the world of Ptolemaic Egypt feel less like a classroom diorama and more like the living, breathing world the games have always promised.

Chronologically, the world of Assassin’s Creed Origins is the earliest players have traveled in a mainline title, while Syndicate is the most contemporary. However, when scaling the two landmarks of their respective cities – although the Great Pyramid of Giza may be around four and a half thousand years older than Big Ben – there’s no denying the breathtaking wonder of Ancient Egypt.

1. Golden Age of Piracy (1650 – 1680)

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag Key Art
Image Source: Ubisoft Entertainment

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag had all the hallmarks of a regular Ubisoft title in the beginning. Yet another annual title, a prequel to the so-so story of Assassin’s Creed III, and a flashy reveal trailer. However, with franchise fatigue already setting in after five titles in six years, fans were wary of another Assassin’s Creed game.

Then gamers got hold of Black Flag, and Assassin’s Creed discourse changed forever. The freshness of naval combat, the intriguing narrative, and the fluid gameplay worked in tandem to create an Assassin’s Creed game that finally felt new.

Even today, fans of the Assassin’s Creed series are combing through Black Flag 11 years on, fuelled by the pure joy of immersing themselves in Ubisoft’s imagining of the 18th-century ‘Golden Age of Piracy’. That love for the game manifests itself in unique challenges, like completing it having taken no damage, or in comparing every new release to the lofty heights of the fourth.

“Who would’ve thought that Assassin’s Creed and pirates would actually turn out to be a pretty damn fun combination? … As Connor’s grandfather Edward, your job as an Assassin is simple: get treasure, get drunk, plunder.”

Chris Jecks & Zhiqing Wan, ‘Best Assassin’s Creed Game: All 18 AC Games, Ranked’

We know that we’re just as guilty – in the second sentence of Twinfinite’s review of Skull and Bones, we had already compared it to the more-than-a-decade-old Assassin’s Creed title.

Yet it can’t be avoided, because the world of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is just that enthralling. Black Flag can be played on three generations of Xbox and PlayStation, as well as two generations of Nintendo console, and even through Google Stadia – and there’s a reason why.

Arguably – even with the gargantuan strides attempted by titles such as Sea of Thieves – no game has itched gamers’ seafaring, swashbuckling itch quite like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. So, it’s high time we return.

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Connor Wright
Connor is a Freelance Writer at Twinfinite. Hailing from the east coast of Scotland, with experience in the development and retail spaces of the industry, he uses his passion about games and Scottish charm to write features and guides. When he's not writing, Connor loves dissecting his favourite fictional worlds and plundering on the virtual open seas.