Ubisoft’s ASSASSIN’S CREED franchise began life sometime after the release of PRINCE OF PERSIA: SANDS OF TIME, the critically-acclaimed game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox released in 2003. Tasked with imagining a sequel to the game, Ubisoft Montreal settled on an assassin the player would control, tasked with taking down the titular prince. The game would be inspired by the life of Hassan-i Sabbah, a missionary who lived in 11th Century Persia, and whose followers became known as “Hashshashin”, or Assassins.
It quickly became apparent that Ubisoft Montreal had something that stood on its own, and with Ubisoft keen to focus PRINCE OF PERSIA on the prince himself, the Montreal team’s assassin game quickly became an all-new IP. ASSASSIN’S CREED was born.
But even before the first game’s release, its powerful, cinematic trailers seemed to be a perfect segue to a future for the franchise on the big screen.
Now, in 2016, audiences will finally get the chance to see ASSASSIN’S CREED brought to life, in a new film directed by Justin Kurzel. The film, which stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, lives within the overall ASSASSIN’S CREED narrative and features plenty of moments and nods that fans of the games will pick up on.
At the Abstergo facility in the present day, Callum Lynch (played by Michael Fassbender) is a death row inmate spared lethal injection if he’ll promise to explore his genetic memories through the Animus. When he steps into the Animus, Cal is brought into the world of 15th Century Spain, and he becomes Aguilar de Nehar, a Master Assassin determined to unseat the Templar influence behind the Spanish Inquisition.
The Templars controlling Abstergo claim to be seeking to understand violence. In reality, they see in Cal the missing link on their search for the “Artefact”. But also at the Abstergo facility are a number of other captured Assassins, all of them struggling with the trauma induced by the Animus.
As they help Cal to understand the traumatic history that put him on death row to begin with, and as he begins to understand the legacy his genetic memories have left behind for him, he will seek to stop the Templar plan before it can be executed.
The film will play a canon role in the ongoing development of ASSASSIN’S CREED. Under the stewardship of Ubisoft, the events of the film will further deepen the games’ narrative about the battle between the Templars and the Assassins and the key tenets of the Assassin Brotherhood.
text: Joe Utichi