Ubisoft has been very quiet about the future of one of its top gaming franchises ever since the release of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in 2015. The series has remained popular, the fact that the developer works in a new setting and a new chapter of history with each release has kept it feeling fairly fresh, even if the gameplay is a little repetitive. But with the exception of some add-on chapters following Syndicate, there’s been very little word on what’s next, prompting some to believe the series may be fizzling out a little bit.
Even aside from Assassin’s Creed, however, historical settings have always been used effectively in video games, and in the year-plus since Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate came out, one era in particular has been popping up in smaller games with increasing frequency: ancient Egypt.
To be clear, it’s not as if any major console game has been released with an Egyptian setting or backdrop. The closest thing might be the coming Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which is due out from Activision Blizzard in November. We don’t know all the locations for that game just yet, though the series has gone to Egypt (admittedly not the highly fictionalized ancient version) in the past, most notably in Call Of Duty: Ghosts. But online and in mobile app stores, Egypt has proven to be an attractive setting for developers of late.
Recently, one of the trendiest apps from Gameloft, a developer of action and adventure mobile games introduced a major update that’s all about ancient Egyptian mythology. Gods Of Rome started out as a fighting style brawler with playable gods and warriors from Roman mythology, but quickly expanded to include other mythological figures as well. And the latest update roped in the likes of Osiris, Ra, Cleopatra, Anubis, and other Egyptian figures, as well as a new ancient Egypt-inspired arena for battles to take place in.
Some of the most well known ancient Egyptian characters have surfaced recently in online casino gaming as well. Gala Casino’s online games are known to include various history and pop culture inspired slots, and a title called “Rise Of Anubis” has lately been among them. It’s actually a clever backdrop for a slot in that it can replace typical reel icons with Egyptian hieroglyphics, and there’s a clever theme of “letting the gods guide you to riches fit for a Pharaoh” in place as well. But ultimately the draw is the imagery of ancient Egyptian gods and settings.
Also of note is that Fireaxis is getting ready to release yet another Civilization game (Civilization VI), continuing one of the great historical gaming franchises. And it’s already been revealed that, once again, Cleopatra will lead an Egyptian civilization. Over the years the many titles in this Sid Meier series have incorporated a number of different civilizations from throughout world history, but there have been a handful of them that have pretty much always been there. Egypt is one of those, and as with the other nations included, the game will undoubtedly provide an accurate history of the cultural tendencies and expansion timeline of the empire.
Will all these titles considered, it’s clear that even though we aren’t buzzing year in and year out about major console releases invoking the history of Egypt, the heritage is one that tends to be kept alive through gaming. So perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising that this is where Ubisoft would go with an upcoming title that is intended to revive the Assassin’s Creed series a bit.
We don’t know too many details about this game other than that it won’t be coming out until at least 2017. Earlier this year What Culture put together a collection of leaked details about the next installment that included some solid information. Most interesting of all, however, was the revelation that this will be a full reboot with an original story, set in ancient Egypt.
That’s a completely new direction for Assassin’s Creed, and the thought of the ancient Egyptian setting brought to life with the kind of beauty and detail we’ve come to expect from Ubisoft on modern consoles is wonderful. We really don’t know what it will be like at this point, but it seems pretty clear that Ubisoft is making a safe play here. They’re opting to put one of their biggest franchises in the comforting embrace of an era that’s been popular on pretty much every gaming platform around.