No game series provides a better historical sandbox than Assassin's Creed. Over the course of eleven games, players have been transported to a variety of stunning times and locations. Even without counting the spin-offs or the movie into account. But despite a few bumps in quality, fans of the series are still looking forward to which historical period they'll be taken to next. Plenty of suggestions have been put forward, specific eras that gamers are eager to explore, but with Assassin's Creed's focus on stealth, open-worlds, and parkour-style gameplay, some periods are better suited than others.
So what would make a good Assassin's Creed setting? Looking over the setting the series has used before, the ideal seems to be a combination of factors. A mostly urban environment to facilitate those cool leaps off buildings, some historical intrigue, and someplace where the developers can put in cameos from famous figures. Like palling around with Leonardo Da Vinci in Assassin's Creed 2. We've also tried to avoid the 20th century in this list, as the introduction of better firearms and motor vehicles kind of changes what kind of game Assassin's Creed is.
Some of the entries on this list are fan favorites, but don't fall under the criteria listed. Others are lesser-known but would be fun sandboxes for stabby folks in white hoodies.
These are 10 Settings Assassin's Creed Should Go To Next (And 10 It Should Skip)
20 Should Go: The Civil War
The conflict between the Assassins and the Templars at the heart of Assassin's Creed is one of free will versus control. No war better illustrates the nuance of that conflict better than the Civil War. Both sides saw themselves as fighting for freedom and saw the other as a controlling force.
Plus, the Civil War is historically important.
There is so much they could tap into here, and gamers would have a lot of fun searching for the bad guys. It's a ripe conflict for Assassin's Creed.
19 Skip: WWII
World War 2 is among the most requested settings for Assassin's Creed and it's understandable why. Clear bad guys, lots of skullduggery, scenic locations. It's an attractive prospect, but here's the thing.
There are already hundreds of WW2 games.
Heck, Call Of Duty just went back to World War 2. As a setting, it's just overused and we don't see what adding an Assassin's Creed story would do for the franchise. If anything, doing a World War 2 game might hurt it by not being able to stand out from the others. Plus, the 1940s is far enough into the 20th century that developers would run into the "Guns and Cars" problem we mentioned above. A WW2 stealth game would be cool, just not for Assassin's Creed.
18 Should Go: Warring States Japan
Many fans have been asking a Feudal Japan set Assassin's Creed. Making the assassins even more like ninjas? Sounds good. But the problem is Feudal Japan usually means the Edo Period, after Japan cut itself off from the rest of the world and the Shogun was in complete control. But if players want the real action, the game should be set in the Sengoku, or Warring States, Period. This was when Japan was still being unified and assassination was much more common. Being set here would bring in the big name historical figures like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Hattori Hanzo. There could even be some DLC about the invasion of Korea and bring back the sailing everybody loved from Assassin's Creed 3 and 4.
17 Skip: Victorian England (Again)
Yes, we know Assassin's Creed Syndicate was set in Victorian England. All the more reason to not go back there. The problem with Victorian England as a setting is the same as with World War 2. Overexposure. Maybe not in games, but in pop culture in general. Thanks to Jack the Ripper, Gothic Horror, and the Steampunk genre, there are more stories set in Victorian England than maybe any other place. We don't need another alternate history tale in those already crowded foggy streets. Plus, Victorian England lacks the instability and revolutionary fervor that characterizes the better Assassin's Creed games. What would the Templars and Assassins even be fighting over here?
16 Should Go: The Napoleonic Wars
Few figures loom as large over world history as Napoleon. That happens when you try to take over the world. So it's kind of surprising we haven't gotten an Assassin's Creed game involving him yet.
Would Napoleon be a Templar or an Assassin?
Yes, he was trying to make himself emperor of the world but he was (theoretically) doing it to spread ideals. As for what city to actually set the game in, there's any number of choices. Paris, of course, which was being built into the city we know today. But also Regency London, with all its colorful characters and behind the scenes intrigue, or occupied Barcelona, where players could join Lord Wellington in kicking Napoleon out of Spain. The possibilities are endless.
15 Skip: War Of The Roses
The War of the Roses is really confusing. That's really the reason why it would not be a great Assassin's Creed setting. Basically, the war (or wars, depending on which historian you ask) was between two English houses, the house of York and the house of Lancaster, about which one of them should be King of England. They fought each other for thirty years, trading the throne about three or four times, until they basically exterminated each other. If that sounds familiar, it's because this war was the basis for Game of Thrones. But besides being wicked confusing, the War of the Roses also lacks the crucial urban environment for an Assassin's Creed game. There's no King's Landing in this game of thrones.
14 Should Go: The Anglo-Chinese Wars
Most of the historical settings visited in Assassin's Creed are big, world-shaping events. The Anglo-Chinese Wars may not be one of those, but they are darn interesting. Better known under a different name, this was a series of short battles the British provoked to get a better foothold in the 19th century Chinese economy. How'd they do that? By smuggling a ton of, let's just say, illicit substances into China, fostering addiction, and then occupying Chinese territory to force the emperor to legalize their product. All of this was sanctioned by the British government by the way. This sort of historical organized crime would be the perfect back drop for an Assassin's Creed game set in the Chinese city of Canton.
13 Skip: The Old West
Assassin's Creed has visited many of the more well-known historical periods already. The Crusades, the Renaissance, the French Revolution. The Old West is another one most people know, thanks to the cultural prominence of movie westerns, so it seems a natural choice. But no.
The Old West is a terrible fit for Assassin's Creed's gameplay.
While it has the great cast of historical figures, the Old West lacks the crucial urban element necessary for open-world parkour. Plus, the gun was the weapon of the west and everyone knows that Assassin's Creed prefers hidden knives. You'd have to change so much to make an Old West Assassin's Creed, that it wouldn't be Assassin's Creed anymore. Best leave it to Red Dead Redemption.
12 Should Go: Mongol Empire
Genghis Khan's empire was the largest continuous land empire in history. It stretched from the Sea of Japan to the Middle East, and ran from Russia to the Himalayas. So many different people and cultures mingled in it, it would be surprising if the Templars and Assassins didn't get involved with the Mongol Empire. But that's all academic.
How does it fit the criteria? Pretty well.
What is now Beijing was founded by the Mongols, so there's your city. And as far as historical figures go, how about Marco Polo and Kublai Khan? Everybody's heard of those guys. There's more than enough intrigue and backstabbing to fill out an Assassin's Creed story here.
11 Skip: Ancient Rome
This entry is more of a "Wait on Doing" than a "Skip." An Assassin's Creed game set in Ancient Rome would probably be spectacular. As a setting, it fits all of the laid out criteria. Big, sprawling urban environment for the open world. Lots of classic historical figures to make cameos. But here's why Ubisoft should wait on doing Rome. The last two Assassin's Creed games, Origins and Odyssey, were set in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece respectively. To go from those two into another Ancient Mediterranean civilization would feel repetitive. Like the series is getting stale. Hold off on doing Rome and maybe come back forward in time, just to add some variety if nothing else.
10 Should Go: Byzantine Empire
Contrary to popular belief, the Roman Empire didn't fall until the 1500s. Well, the Eastern Half of it anyway. Nowadays, historians tend to refer to this entity as the Byzantine Empire. Gamers have already kind of visited the Byzantines in Assassin's Creed. They kicked off the Crusades the first game was set against. But that was in the empire's waning years, and there deserves to be an Assassin's Creed set at its peak. The reign of Emperor Justinian would be perfect. That will let players experience violent chariot races, rioting in the streets, a plague sweeping through, and Justinian's crazy plan to reconquer Rome. And if ever there was a city begging to be an open-world, it has to be Constantinople. Or is that Istanbul?
9 Skip: Elizabethan England
Going to the Renaissance in Assassin's Creed 2 made that installment one of the best in the series. But going to Elizabethan England around the same time would just feel redundant. It is an attractive setting, especially if developers wanted to strike some of the same magic as 2. London could easily sub in for Florence, and the player character could be best buds with Shakespeare instead of Da Vinci. Plus, you could meet Queen Elizabeth. Doing that would just feel like playing 2 with slightly different backgrounds though. Plus, there's a big difference between Renaissance Italy and England. Italy was full of power struggles and city-states at the time. Heck, the Pope bribed his way into office. England though, was relatively stable and united. There wouldn't be as much skullduggery for an assassin to get up to.
8 Should Go: Viking Britain
One of the most interesting periods of history Assassin's Creed hasn't gone to yet is the Viking Age. The face of Europe was changed when those nutty Scandinavians surged out on their longships to raid and pillage. This would actually be a great way to bring the sailing mechanic everybody loved from Assassin's Creed 3 and Black Flag back.
Because there's where most of the Vikings ended up settling, so there were tons of power struggles, battles, and action for the Assassins to get involved in. Viking Britain has been the setting of two popular TV series, Vikings and The Last Kingdom, for this very reason. Plus who doesn't like vikings?
7 Skip: The Vietnam War
As far as important historical events that the general public is aware go, the Vietnam War is a biggie. It's hard to emphasize just how much of an impact this conflict had on the psyche of an entire generation. That's enough of a reason for Assassin's Creed to avoid it. Setting in action game during an event many people were alive during may appear disrespectful.
It's too soon, as they say.
Guns being the primary weapon of the era wouldn't fit well with the gameplay either. There is some potential here. Guerrilla fighting is very appropriate for assassins and the jungle canopy could stand in for the tall city towers, maintaining the series' verticality. Maybe just not during this particular event.
6 Should Go: The British Raj
The British Raj, the time in the 19th century when Britain directly ruled India, is another fan favorite request for Assassin's Creed. It's not hard to see why. Exotic locations with gorgeous architecture to climb all over. An environment that can easily be folded into the Assassin-Templar war.
The chance to hang out with Gandhi.
And maybe not most important, it's also an educational opportunity. The Raj is something the general public is aware of but doesn't know much about. An Assassin's Creed game set there could change that. The Raj has a great pop culture pedigree, inspiring everybody from Rudyard Kipling to Indiana Jones. With the right cultural consultants, it could make a one of a kind experience.
5 Skip: Zulu Africa
If Assassin's Creed's historical sandbox has a failing, it's that it been too Eurocentric. So far, the games have been focused mostly on time periods and conflicts where Europeans were heavily involved. Some fans have been wanting to break from that paradigm and explore other places. That's a good idea, but Zulu Africa probably wouldn't be the best place to start.
The optics of it are just bad.
Nobody is going to let a game studio get away with having players blast away at stereotypical Africans with machine guns without a peep. They could make the Assassin a Zulu fighting the British, but that's problematic in its own right. Best to avoid the mess entirely. That shouldn't stop Ubisoft from making an Africa-set Assassin's Creed.
4 Should Go: The Great Northern War
This is one for all the history buffs out there. The Great Northern War is often forgotten, but the dudes involved with it were crazy. On one side there was King of Sweden Charles XII, a man who once got a bear so drunk it fell out a window. On the other side there was Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, a literal giant who loved boats. In fact, that's why he went to war with Charles. Sweden had all the ports and Peter wanted one. But Charles, being 19 with one of Europe's best armies, decided to take some of Russia's land instead just to show them who's boss. If you don't think that would make a great backdrop for an Assassin's Creed game, you're as crazy as those two.
3 Skip: The Spanish Inquisition
Bet you didn't expect that. The Spanish Inquisition is another one of those historical events that most people have heard of but no don't really know the fine details of. What they do know is pretty intense. We can't even really describe what they did here. Assassin's Creed doesn't have that problem, but they might still want to stay away from the inquisition. While Renaissance Spain does have the beautiful urban environments the series is known for, the Inquisition itself is a pretty murky affair. Plus, the Assassin's Creed movie was set here and that was a box office dud.
2 Should Go: The Wars Of Independence
Assassin's Creed has often ben set at times of great revolutionary fervor. Look no further than Assassin's Creed 3. But the Revolution wasn't the only revolution going on in the 1700s. Down in the South, there was just as fierce a fight going on for Independence from Spain. Led by Simon Bolivar, a dude nicknamed "El Libertador" or "The Liberator", these wars lasted 25 years. They were the perfect environment for the Assassins to get involved. The high mountains and deep jungles would add some great variety to the open-world too. What other historical conflict has a group that literally called themselves "The Legion of Hell"?
1 Skip: Greco-Persian Wars
We say skip this time period for two simple reasons. First, Assassin's Creed Odyssey already did Ancient Greece. That game was set during the Peloponnesian War, which was right after these wars. That's too close together. And second, 300 already did it. The Siege of Thermopylae? Leonidas and Xerxes? Yeah, that was this war. 300 is a darn good action movie, but nobody thinks it's historically accurate. An Assassin's Creed game set here runs the risk of keeping all those historical misconceptions going. The Greco-Persian Wars were historically significant, but they are still within the narrow sandbox of mostly European history Assassin's Creed has been playing in. Fans and gamers want to see the series explore newer, lesser known times and places.