Why Assassin's Creed Never Went To Japan

Assassin's Creed fans have been hoping for a game set in feudal Japan for years. In a new interview, Ubisoft's creative director Alex Hutchinson explains why this setting hasn't been featured in the series yet.

"In the broad strokes and scale of history, that's a theme that's been well-mined in videogames," Hutchinson told TotalXbox. "So, Assassin's Creed is one of those games that can take [lesser-known] time periods or corners of the world and make them cool, fun, new and refreshing."

Hutchinson added that feudal Japan "would work" for Assassin's Creed but would be too familiar. He points out players have already become ninjas or samurai in plenty of other games.

His statement is in line with an interview he gave back in 2012, when he said Japan would be one of the "worst" settings for an Assassin's Creed game because of how overdone it is.

"People on the internet suggest the most boring settings," Hutchinson said at the time. "The three most wanted are WWII, feudal Japan and Egypt. They're kind of the three worst settings for an AC game."

It's true that feudal Japan's been a popular setting for games, thanks in part to large amount of studios in that country. That said: an Assassin's Creed game set in Japan would be a very different experience than Tenchu, Total War: Shogun 2 or countless other works set in Japan. The free-roaming style of AC, coupled with its focus on historical accuracy, would make it a distinct way of experiencing that time period.

On the other hand, Hutchinson is right when he says there are plenty of other settings and time periods out there that haven't been explored by games. There's something to be said for introducing players to a completely unfamiliar land. The first Assassin's Creed had its flaws but I really enjoyed being thrown into the middle of the Third Crusade, an era I knew next to nothing about.

Picking an underused setting helps its visibility, too. You might see 20 games at GameStop with ninjas on the cover. If you make a game with a a French assassin, though, it sticks out. It also makes the gamer seem more original than the latest sequel in a long-running, annualized series normally would.

Japan would make a great setting but it's part of a long list of places that Assassin's Creed should visit. The series has visited Russia and India in comics but both countries would be strong locations for games. Brazil, once a rumored setting for AC4, is a good idea as well.

(Image by Txikimorin)

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Pete Haas

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.