Why is “Assassin’s Creed: Codename Red” special? Well, because the game we’ll be talking about today has next to no information available. Not even an actual title, so it’s hard to say when this will come out (please, 2024) or how it’ll be. This will be pure speculation because of that, but it’s interesting nonetheless, as this is one of my most anticipated games that will arrive in the future. The “Assassin’s Creed” series started all the way in 2007, telling the tale of one Altair, an assassin leaping across the rooftops of Acre, The Holy Land (now Jerusalem, Palestine, etc.). The game had a ton of issues that did not make it the perfect experience, but it was a memorable one. Why? Because it was unique. At the time, there was nothing in the market that even came close to what “Assassin’s Creed” did. Set in an open world with a heavy emphasis on combat, exploration, and stealth, “Assassin’s Creed” allowed players to interact with the world in ways that gamers thought weren’t possible at the time through the ability to parkour. Ubisoft came up with this new free-running system for the game that allows you to run and leap over any object on the streets, shove people away as you do so, or blend into crowds if you must. The best part in all of that was your ability to scale any building you see and climb to its peak. This was innovative and revolutionized the way players got to interact with the worlds they inhabit, as before this, worlds were just 3D renders of most non-interactable cityscapes or countryside that did nothing but fill up space and act as set dressing.
The game took a bold step to differentiate it from the competition, and fans and critics went gaga over its uniqueness and sang praises of it as there was nothing like it. There were some major problems present as well that didn’t go unnoticed, but everyone knew that experimentation can’t yield perfect results on the first try, so no one cribbed about it too hard. I don’t think even Ubisoft knew at the time how big and popular this series would become, as they released a bigger and better sequel two years later in 2009. “Assassin’ Creed 2” was an ever-greater leap that pushed this franchise forward and spawned a trilogy with its formation and introduction of the main character, Ezio. The game was a massive success, and most of the problems that were mentioned and talked about in the first game were addressed and fixed here. The game took us to renaissance Italy, and the games that followed, namely “Brotherhood” and “Revelations,” gave us an older and much-matured version of Ezio, who was still very charming and took us to Rome and Constantinople (now Istanbul), respectively.
The series was firing on all cylinders, and Ubisoft took another massive step and introduced a new character named Connor and took us to the American revolution with “Assassin’s Creed 3”. This one is my least favorite, personally, and I couldn’t care much about it despite the massive bump in graphics and gameplay systems thanks to new technologies and the addition of being able to free-run across trees. “Assassin’s Creed 4” was the natural next step, and this one is probably my favorite game in the entire series. It gave us control of a pirate turned assassin, Captain Edward Kenway, and took us across the Caribbean on a swashbuckling adventure. This was the last numbered “Assassin’s Creed” game, and the series was in the stratosphere at this point and showed no signs of stopping.
The next few steps the series took were the boldest and most controversial ones that pretty much split the community right in the middle, but if you ask me, it definitely helped push this franchise forward. “Rogue” came and went and told us the tale of an assassin turned Templar named Shay Patrick Cormac across his journey through the North Atlantic. This is the most underrated and overlooked “AC” game, as all eyes were glued to the next gen “Unity.” “Unity” took us to French Revolution Paris while giving us control of Arno Victor Dorian and was the lowest point in the entire series. The game was gorgeous, and the gameplay was fun, but there were an incredible number of bugs that came with it when it launched, which took a ton of steam away from the series. This game was a mess and could be considered a disaster when it launched. “Syndicate” came out next and took us to Industrial Revolution London and gave us our first and so far, only set of dual protagonists in any “AC” game, siblings Jacob and Evie Frye. “Syndicate” was equally incredible but because of the bad rap “Unity” got, this game carried that and never reached its full potential.
Fans demanded two very specific locations with Ancient Egypt and Feudal Japan while also asking for a break, and the series, for the first time since its inception, took a year off and came back with a massive facelift and completely revamped itself. Enter the era of RPG “Assassin’s Creed” games with maps that featured entire countries, gameplay that was gated behind level-ups and loot grind, and combat that let go of counter-killing and shifted focus to a more heavy-hitting melee brawler system. These changes are not taken kindly by a huge chunk of the community as they demand the series goes back to its roots, but I love them all the same. The next three games that followed were titled “Origins,” “Odyssey,” and “Valhalla,” taking us to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Dark Ages of England, respectively. To say these games are massive would be an understatement, as each of these games’ dwarves all of the games that came before combined. Are they the best? No, but they are good and incredibly fun. In September of 2022, Ubisoft did its first-ever “Assassin’s Creed” showcase to give us a glimpse into the future of the franchise. It came packed with announcements and reveals that I am sure nobody saw coming, with the next game being “Assassin’s Creed Mirage,” which we have an article about, coming in 2023. Fans can rejoice as this will take the series back to its roots and will be a much more compact and focused experience. What about us RPG fans? We got big news, too, in the form of not one but two games coming in the future, alongside more which I won’t be covering here.
You may be wondering what the need for all this preamble jargon was, and the reason it’s there is that you must understand the history of this franchise to know why this next game is a big deal. Ubisoft unveiled “Assassin’s Creed Codename Red,” their next flagship “AC” RPG title set in, *drumroll please*Feudal Japan! It took more than a decade of fans asking for this, but we are finally getting it, probably, hopefully, in 2024. We know nothing about this game, not even its name, and yet we wanted to talk about it. Why? Because speculation is fun, I can give you just one reason why I am so excited about this game and can’t wait for it to come out.
“Assassin’s Creed” games have always focused on making history your playground by basing their games across different eras of human history, as we mentioned above. This prospect is incredibly interesting because pretty much no other game does this the way “Assassin’s Creed” does by mixing real history into their dose of fiction. I love playing these games and the series as a whole, not because of the stories or gameplay but because of the worlds and the historical figures you meet while playing them. “Assassin’s Creed” games are a really good way to learn more about a particular historical time period as they do a brilliant job with the way they handle the historical figures, and despite having a fictional tale, they carefully and flawlessly meld actual history with their fiction. Another thing I really enjoy are the worlds we get to see and roam around in because it’s one thing to read about them and imagine how they’d look like and be while these games give us a visual interpretation that is stunning and awe-inspiring.
Feudal Japan has been one of the most requested locations for the game to go pretty much since it became popular. The assassins are fast-moving quick killers who know how to hide in the shadows and have a flair for the dramatic. Who else comes to mind who shares and exhibits those properties? The answer is Ninjas. Think about it if you haven’t before, and you’ll realize that these two are two peas from the same pod. Ninjas are found in Japan, and Japan is a beautiful country with a rich and violent history that fits the “Assassin’s Creed” games perfectly. It’s a no-brainer and a marriage made in heaven when it comes to “AC” going to Japan, and I am so happy that it’s finally happening.
They announced that this will be the next flagship RPG title, and it’s being made by Ubisoft Quebec, the guy behind “Syndicate” and “Odyssey” so I think it’s fair to assume a 1:1 recreation of Japan here with a lot of visual variety and loads to see and do. In the trilogy of RPG games that have come out so far, “Odyssey” is my least favorite of the bunch, but at the same time, that game has a humongous recreation of Greece with loads of variety, diversity, and density cramped in. I may not be a fan of the gameplay structure they implemented specifically for this game but the world? Yes, I am a massive fan.
Scaling Mount Fuji, watching the leaves of a cherry blossom tree blow away in the wind, and exploring dense cities with incredible architecture will be some of the things we’ll be doing in this game, and I can’t help but have an ear-to-ear grin just thinking about it. Japan also has a ton of visual diversity, so that’ll definitely factor in here and help make the world look and feel even more alive. The lush forests, vibrant cityscapes, mountainous terrain, and the sea surrounding it all will all come to life here; finally, as part of the Feudal era, Japan becomes our playground. The music will also be something to look forward to here. This is one thing that may be hit or miss for a lot of people but check it out nonetheless, as it is very exciting. I love how “Assassin’s Creed” games, as of late, have also been including mythological elements into their games as well. We fought the gods of Egypt in “Origins” DLC. Saved Hades and Atlantis in “Odyssey” and visited Asgard and Jotunheim in “Valhalla.” These were awesome, and I loved every second of them, so I hope they include the Japanese mythos in the game as well or sell it later as DLC, as seeing/fighting Eastern dragons will be incredibly cool, and you can’t tell me otherwise.
The combat, exploration, and gameplay in general also have the potential to be the best the series has ever seen as they can implement Kurosawa-like action, flair, and drama to their gameplay with things like dramatic sword showdowns that end in a single fast blow with blood spewing everywhere or things like the use of free running and parkour on rooftops under the pale moonlight to sneak into an enemy tower and cut your way across from the shadows without a single soul noticing your existence. Am I the only one who can’t stop thinking about the possibilities here? The RPG systems like stats, perks, loot, and gear are bound to return here, and I hope they are as streamlined as they were in “Valhalla” or even better instead of being garbage like they were in “Odyssey.” Boss battles also have the potential here to be extremely cinematic against menacing Samurai enemies or terrifying encounters with ninjas stalking the player. The possibilities this game can throw at us are nearly endless.
“Assassin’s Creed Codename Red” is a way off, but it can be the best “Assassin’s Creed” game Ubisoft has ever made. Everything from its setting to its combat, visuals and more is just what the fans have been wanting from this series for years at this point, and in a way, it feels weird that we are finally getting this. The land of the rising sun awaits us when this game comes out. This may also be the first truly next-gen “AC” game, as “Assassin’s Creed Mirage” will be the last cross-gen title, in my opinion, at least. Being exclusive to the next-gen will make this game look even better, thanks to the already incredible AnvilNext Engine powering this series. Because of all of that, it’s safe to assume that this game will be released for The PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, hopefully in 2024, with “Assassin’ Creed Codename Hexe” following it the year after. I know this game is quite far away, and we barely know anything about it, but this is one of my most hyped games that we’ll be playing in the future.