The Assassin’s Creed series of games is one of the most successful in modern gaming, with a huge amount of work that goes into keeping them fresh and relevant over the years.
While not every entry in the series has necessarily hit the mark, it remains one of the most popular franchises in gaming. Every entry has plenty of speculation about where it will be set and there are plenty of reasons why it should be Japan.
Storytelling through Setting
One of the secrets to the success of the Assassin’s Creed series of games is their utilisation of familiar and recognisable settings to tell their story. Even recently they set Assassin’s Creed Origins in ancient Egypt, a setting that has many features that players will know as soon as they pop up on the screen. This is something that other games have done as well, with Age of Mythology and Overwatch both taking Egypt as a backdrop for the action.
You can see the same across a range of mobile games too; Cheeky Bingo features many Egypt-themed online slots, such as Egyptian Fortunes and Scroll of Egypt which play heavily on instantly noticeable imagery and themes. Even mobile titles such as Age of Pyramids: Ancient Egypt and Tap Tap Civilization create their ambience by using the landmarks and themes of ancient Egypt. Japan has similar pop-culture penetration, with figures like ninjas, samurai, and geisha featuring in many games, films, and tv shows.
Recent Successful Games Set in Japan
One of 2019’s biggest gaming hits was Ghost of Tsushima, a game set in feudal Japan and following the story of a samurai who is trying to free his island from invaders. Though the story is false, it is based on the very real island of Tsushima and is loosely based on historical events.
The gameplay of Ghost of Tsushima is even similar to Assassin’s Creed, with stealth takedowns and traversing between buildings as well as combat inspired by the films of the legendary Akira Kurasawa such as Seven Samurai & Yojimbo. The success of this game lays out a blueprint for how to set an Assassin’s Creed game in Japan.
Ample Architecture to Scale
The biggest appeal of the Assassin’s Creed games isn’t necessarily the story or the combat. Arguably the most fun in the series can be had by finding well-known landmarks and buildings and climbing them. In this way, Japan has some of the most interesting architecture that the series has encountered to date.
With buildings that have been influenced by the cultures throughout the region, there are pagodas and palaces to scale as well as the natural landscapes that Japan is known for. Assassin’s Creed could fit in very well among these settings, allowing the player to explore cities like Edo, Kyoto, and Osaka as they would have been during the Edo period.
A Rich History to Explore
Imagine an assassin setting their sights on the impenetrable Himeji Castle or the iconic Imperial Palace of Kyoto. It isn’t difficult to think about how fun it would be to plan an infiltration mission in these places, getting to walk through them and climb to the top of their scenic landscapes.
Japan has just as rich a history as London, Rome, and Boston, all of which have featured in Assassin’s Creed games in the past. Showcasing cities across the nation in the past alongside images of the bright lights that dominate them today would be a fantastic way to bring the old and the new together through the game.