In 2011, French game developer Ubisoft opened a new film division called Ubisoft Motion Pictures. The intention was for the studio to maintain complete creative control over film and television adaptations of their games, a level of control no other studio would be willing to give the company.
It came as no surprise that their first film project was going to be based on the developer’s hit franchise Assassin’s Creed. Not only is the series one of the highest selling video game franchises of the past two decades, but the combination of science fiction and historical elements have great potential for delivering a visually stunning film. The franchise’s story spans centuries and the Animus – the unique narrative device that allows characters to relive their ancestors’ memories – would give the filmmakers near limitless storytelling possibilities.
After the announcement, fans immediately began speculating on which game or games the film would be based on. However, it was soon confirmed that the movie would be based on an original story, leaving fans to wonder if there would be any real connection between the film and games.
Ubisoft announced today, via the official Assassin’s Creed Twitter, that the film would take place in the same universe as the games. The company also confirmed that the events that have taken place across the games, comics and novels would have an effect on the film and vice versa. This opens up the possibility that characters from the franchise could join Michael Fassbender’s assassin Aguilar on the big screen.
We share the same universe. Elements in the film have consequences as in our games, comics, and books -Aymar https://t.co/FSpepKARt7— Assassin's Creed (@assassinscreed) August 28, 2015
It’s a brand new story, w/ new characters set in our universe. It’s possible you may find some familiar faces -Aymar https://t.co/dTpDat4STS— Assassin's Creed (@assassinscreed) August 28, 2015
While it has been repeatedly emphasized that the film will tell its own unique story, it’s interesting to note the setting of the movie. Assassin’s Creed‘s historical storyline has been confirmed to take place in late 15th century Spain, during a period that the Spanish Inquisition was extremely active. There’s another Assassin in the series that was around during this time period: fan-favorite Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
Ezio is the main protagonist in three of the main Assassin’s Creed games — Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. The games span a period of time from the middle of the 15th century to the early 16th century. However, perhaps more importantly, Ezio is also the main protagonist of the spinoff game Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery. The game is set in 1490 and features a story where Ezio travel to Spain to rescue a group of Assassins. He comes into conflict with the Templars, who have imprisoned a number of Assassins under the guise of the Spanish Inquisition. It’s not a stretch to think that maybe Aguilar is one of those prisoners.
Of course, it’s very possible that Ezio won’t appear in the film at all or have any more role in the story than a brief cameo, but the possibility for crossover is readily available. By including Ezio without making him the focus of the film, Ubisoft could reap the benefits of acknowledging the game’s existing fanbase without alienating new audiences.
Assassin’s Creed premieres in U.S. theaters on December 21st, 2016