Before I go any further ahead, I’d actually like to back up just a little bit. Shortly before Black Flag‘s October 2013 release, its Creative Director, Ashraf Ismail, was asked by the Examiner about where he would like to take the series in future games. His response was, “I’m not saying we are going there, but one day I would love to explore Egypt as a setting for this game. Ancient Egypt could be a really cool place. We have a really cool explanation for how we can do this, and it is with this Animus device that allows us to go to anytime in history.” He went on to add, “It was never a set rule that we always get closer to the present day. We were a bit surprised by people who [were] saying, ‘how do you go back in time, how’s that possible?’ It’s that Animus device we have. But again, I’m not saying Egypt is where the next one is going, it’s just where I would like it to go.”
While Ismail made it clear that he wasn’t necessarily saying he would indeed work on an Egypt-based game next, his words do help reinforce the next leak to occur. (Unfortunately, the original source for this interview seems to not be online anymore; however, US Gamer has a summary of the interview here.)
After the release of Black Flag, news and leaks regarding Osiris – or whatever it had become – wouldn’t surface until early 2016, when an anonymous 4chan poster opened up about supposed details on the next Assassin’s Creed game. An archive of the conversation thread can be found here.
The poster, supposedly an artist working for Ubisoft, claimed that the team behind Black Flag is leading development on the game, which is set in ancient Egypt before the Assassins and Templars as organizations were formed. It is intended to be a “complete revamp” of the series, and would not be released until 2017, meaning no main Assassin’s Creed game would be released in 2016.
Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier stood by the 4chan poster shortly after, claiming that several sources familiar with Ubisoft had told him similar things about the game for several months, while also adding that the game’s internal codename was supposedly Assassin’s Creed: Empire. Schreier’s sources also claimed that the game may include additional locations in Rome and Greece, though the two settings may instead be saved for potential sequels to Empire.
While Ubisoft did not outright comment on these leaks, the company did announce less than a month later that the Assassin’s Creed series would indeed not see a major game release at any point in 2016, giving some credence to the claims.
Our final and most recent source of information about Empire comes from yet another Ubisoft game.
Watch_Dogs 2 was released this past November, and featured a side-mission where the player hacks into Ubisoft’s servers to leak secret footage of an unannounced game to the public. While this footage sadly doesn’t appear to be of Empire, there’s a small bit of interesting dialogue at the start of the mission where two fictional Ubisoft employees speak to each other. The first employee states, “I can assure you there’s no way the trailer’s getting out,” which prompts the second person (speaking over a phone) to say, “Can you? Can you assure me? After what happened with Unity, Syndicate, Osiris…”
In real life, Unity and Syndicate are the two most recent main entries in the Assassin’s Creed series, and the existence of both were leaked well ahead of their respective official announcements. These namedrops in Watch_Dogs 2 seem to be Ubisoft not only poking fun at their inability to keep their projects secret, but also possible confirmation that the next Assassin’s Creed is indeed going to be known as Assassin’s Creed: Osiris.
So, with all of this in mind and assuming all of it is true, what exactly do we know about the next Assassin’s Creed and its development?
As early as 2012, Ubisoft was developing a new game known as Osiris, which may or may not have been a reboot or reimagining of the Prince of Persia series at one point.
At some point as early as 2013, Osiris was cancelled, but at least some aspects of it may have been reused or retooled when development of 2017’s Assassin’s Creed title began by the team who led the creation of Black Flag. The 4chan and Kotaku leaks indicated that the game’s current internal codename is Empire, but its final title may be Assassin’s Creed: Osiris if Watch_Dogs 2 is to be believed.
The game’s world, set in Egypt, will be approximately three times the size of the map in Black Flag, and going from area to area will be seamless rather than separated by loading screens. Due to the map’s size, the game will bring both horseback riding and boats back to the series as methods of travel, though the game will have less of a focus overall on freerunning/parkour elements due to the designs of villages. In addition, Rome and Greece were intended to be visited in the game at one point, but now may not be seen until the sequel or sequels to Osiris.
In terms of story, the game will center around a slave or former slave who doesn’t speak very often.
Finally, for gameplay, Osiris is meant to be a “complete revamp” of the series, with inspiration taken from games like The Witcher III: Wild Hunt.
One final note: as with all leaks and rumors, all of this information should be taken with a grain of salt. Despite things like the 4chan leak being corroborated by the typically trustworthy Jason Schreier, companies’ plans do change very often, and none of this information has been officially confirmed by Ubisoft.
Still, I personally believe most (if not all) of this information is accurate, partially due to the various references Ubisoft has included in its games that point towards an Egyptian setting. In reality though, only time will tell what the next Assassin’s Creed will be.