There are a variety of rumored settings for the next Assassin’s Creed, one of which is sometimes considered an obvious next step for the open-world series: feudal Japan. The country is, after all, the birthplace of the ninja, a group more famous even than the sect that gave rise to the word “assassin.” So if fan wishes come true, what path might a Japanese Assassin’s Creed take?
That depends in part on whether Ubisoft intends to continue the combat-heavy path of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla or return to something subtler. The former would probably resemble Ghost of Tsushima, starring not a ninja but rather a samurai or ronin who occasionally engages in stealth. This might require the least work from Ubisoft, but could also draw accusations of copycatting, historical inauthenticity, and ignoring an obvious choice of protagonist. For the sake of this article, it makes more sense to consider the subtle approach ninjas represent.
If the next Assassin’s Creed does take place in Japan, rumors suggest it may be set in the Edo period, an age of relative peace in which the ninja were on the decline. They were, however, still engaged as spies and bodyguards, and in the pre-Edo era were well-known for acts of assassination and sabotage. All four of those activities would be easy fodder for a new Assassin’s Creed, especially if Ubisoft decided to re-embrace the “social stealth” it invented for the original game. Real ninjas rarely, if ever, wore the black robes they’re stereotyped with – typically they were more concerned with blending in, and did so by disguising themselves as people like monks and merchants.
Conversely, they did in fact use a wide assortment of weapons and tools, ranging from katanas and grappling hooks through to darts, poison, shuriken, and grenades. It presents a virtually limitless set of design and character upgrade options. If Ubisoft decides to retain the fantastic aspects of the Assassin’s Creed series, legends claim ninja were able to do things like shapeshift, walk on water, or fly with kites. Japanese religion is replete with spirits and demons.
At this point however there are also rumors of Ubisoft taking Assassin’s Creed to China, India, southern Europe, or even back to France, despite the failure of Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Only an official announcement will clear up confusion. That said, Japan is one of the few natural choices Ubisoft hasn’t explored, which could make it a shoe-in for the series’ next mainline title.