Sneaking and Stabbing Through Feudal Japan With the Reveal of Assassin’s Creed Shadows

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Thomas Richards
| May 21, 2024
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After over 15 years and close to 20 games, we’re finally getting an Assassin’s Creed game set in Feudal Japan! Assassin’s Creed Shadows (AC Shadows for short) is the newest game in the franchise and has been announced with a really pretty CGI story trailer (classic Ubisoft move). Even though we’ve gotten several games that have filled the void left by the lack of a Japanese Assassin’s Creed, like Ghost of Tsushima (a pretty fun game, would recommend), I’m still interested in what this game has to offer. So, let’s dive into all the info from the AC Shadows reveal.

What We Know

Teamwork makes the dream work. (Ubisoft)

Assassin’s Creed Shadows is set in the beautiful country of Japan, and the story starts in 1579. This time around, we’ll be playing as two separate characters for the first time since Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. You can choose to play as the shinobi Assassin Naoe or the legendary samurai Yasuke. You’ll be able to switch between the two whenever you’d like and tackle most missions with whichever character you prefer (outside of character-specific missions). Besides main-story missions, you’ll also fully customise a hideout for a growing shinobi league (think Ravensthorpe from AC Valhalla or all of AC Brotherhood). The game will also feature a system that cycles through the seasons affecting the gameplay by changing what hiding spots are usable as well as the look and feel of the game. In terms of the story, we don’t know much. The trailer did give us an idea of what will happen throughout the game, such as assassinating evil dudes and helping the people (like most AC games). We’ll just have to wait and see how this story unfolds, but that doesn’t mean we can’t theorise all day long.

Speculation Time 

They’ll never know what hit them. (Ubisoft)

Now we’ve covered everything confirmed for AC Shadows, it’s time to get to speculating. Regarding the story, I think the two protagonists will start as reluctant allies, become friends and trust each other, but the climax of the game will involve one of them dying, whether because the main villain kills one or you’ll have to choose one character to play as to fight the other. Either way, one of them is gonna die. In terms of gameplay, I’m hoping for something similar to older AC games. AC Mirage was a step in the right direction, and I hope they continue down that path (having the characters move faster is a must). I’d be ok, though, if Naoe’s gameplay feels more like older AC games, but Yasuke’s gameplay is more in line with recent entries like Valhalla. I’m also hoping for less RPG mechanics like leveling, but that comes down to personal preference. Also, please, I beg of you please, make the map smaller than Valhalla and Odyssey. I don’t need another 120 hour+ completion time.

Fake Outrage 

He’ll feel that in the morning. (Ubisoft)

Ever since the game’s reveal, there’s been some online discourse. Are people up in arms about the locking of content behind pre-orders? Maybe they’re pissed at another Ubisoft game with more editions than I have toes? Or maybe it’s because the reveal trailer had no gameplay? While those are the reasons normal people have criticised the game, that’s not what has caused the biggest waves. No, instead, it’s racists and sexists that are ruining everything for everyone. I know that’s a bold claim, but when you get so bent out of shape over a black samurai who actually existed in the time period, I’m gonna give you the side eye. Then, those same people say there should be a Japanese protagonist when Naoe is right there. But she’s a woman, so she can’t possibly be a shinobi.

Then they claim that these two characters aren’t historically accurate, as if the AC games have ever been 100% accurate. I didn’t know that a dud from Florence had a fistfight with the pope over a magic staff. Or that people were zipping around Victorian London with grapple hooks. And let’s not forget how all gods are real, and they were actually called the Isu. This series has always used history as a stepping stone to tell its stories but never tried to recreate them 1 to 1. I apologise for the small rant, but if you want to critique the game, do so on the actual issues and not as an excuse to be a crap person.

What a nice view for murder. (Ubisoft)

I’ve been growing a little tired of some of the more recent AC games, but after AC Mirage showed me that they can capture the essence of what made the series special, I’m inclined to give Assassin’s Creed Shadows a shot (at least until they reveal gameplay). And despite Ubisoft once again locking content behind pre-orders and having so many editions, I’m still intrigued by the game. Ghost of Tsushima showed us how an open-world game set in Feudal Japan can work, and it’ll be interesting to see how Assassin’s Creed approaches it. We won’t have to wait too long, though, as the game is set to launch on November 15th. Keep it locked to Couch Soup for all the Assassin’s Creed content to feed your hungry nerd soul.

Did you see the reveal of Assassin’s Creed Shadows? What did you think? Are you going to give the game a shot? Let us know in the comments where we can talk about which character we’re gonna play as more.

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