The first trailer for Assassin’s Creed finally came out late last week, and expectations for the adaption of the popular video game series are already running high. Fans are hoping that this could be one of the first successful films based on a game, and maybe even be the start of a film franchise. Nobody wants another movie to add to the long list of game adaption flops, but there are a lot of things Assassin’s Creed is going to have to do to please both the casual fans and the gamers in the audience.
The film already has some actors with good track records, like Michael Fassbender in the lead role, and the visual style of the sets and costumes looks well done. But we won’t know for sure about elements like the plot until we get to see the finished product for ourselves in December. Still, like any fan out there, we’ve got a wish list of ideas we’re hoping will come true to please longtime Assassin’s Creed players, as well as the newcomers.
So without further ado, here are the 10 Things We Want to See in the Assassin’s Creed Movie.
10. REFERENCES TO CHARACTERS FROM THE GAMES
It’s good to see the Assassin’s Creed movie is developing a unique storyline for the big screen, because one of the major pitfalls a lot of adaptions from games to movies fall in is trying to compress hours and hours of gameplay into a ninety minute film. It usually leaves fans of the games complaining about what was cut and saying how it’s inferior to the original, and leaves newcomers deprived of a lot of necessary context.
The most interesting part of the Assassin’s Creed games is the premise of how technology could be used to relive the memories of our ancestors. The fact that the protagonist had an assassin for an ancestor just sweetens the deal. So it’s not Altaïr, Ezio, or even Desmond who are key to telling the story, but it’d be nice to at least see or hear mention of them to create continuity between the games. If the movie winds up being the franchise starter that the producers no doubt want it to be, it’s only a matter of time before the movie and the game wind up exploring a story set in the same country. If they set a sequel movie in Italy, they can’t just ignore all the crazy stuff Ezio would bring to the backstory—the man nearly assassinated the Pope!
9. CRAZY PARKOUR STUNTS
Ever since Assassin’s Creed debuted, being an assassin has become synonymous with basically being a super athlete. We expect our assassins to be fast, to have the skill of a master rock climber, and to be fearless enough to tumble and roll across rooftops. In short, all assassins now know parkour and have ample opportunity to show it off. It’s honestly not the most stealthy thing, but it definitely looks cool to watch.
It looks like the movie is already ahead of us on this one, because we saw a lot of athletics on display in the trailer. If anything, it appears the movie is further accentuating the parkour from the games. Now instead of just jumping from rooftop to rooftop, we’re seeing the assassins do midair flips as they jump. Again, not the most logical thing to do, but it looks cool. And for an action movie, that’s what counts.
8. AUTHENTICITY IN THE LOCATIONS AND CULTURES DEPICTED
Artistic liberties are one thing, but we’ve seen time and again with the likes of Gods of Egypt, Pan, and Exodus: Gods and Kings that there’s a backlash from critics and fans alike against movies that don’t maintain the racial diversity of their characters, or decide to exoticize foreign countries. Assassin’s Creed is going to be set in historical Spain, so it has the liability of perhaps stumbling over that same hurdle that has hurt other films.
Like in the games, the Assassin’s Creed movie is using a white protagonist, so it’s understandable that his assassin ancestor counterpart would also be played by Michael Fassbender for the sake of avoiding confusion. But as a movie set in Spain, it’s only logical that the majority of the characters in it would in fact be people of Spanish descent. And though the movie could say just about anything about Spanish history and most non-Spanish people wouldn’t immediately know the difference, with how quickly word spreads on the internet, inaccurate details will inevitably come to light. So we’ll be glad to see some fantastical assassin fun, but here’s hoping it’s backed up by authentic depictions of Spanish history and culture.
7. A GOOD BALANCE BETWEEN THE MODERN DAY SECTIONS AND THE HISTORICAL SEGMENTS
The technology of the Animus is somewhat unique in the world of gaming, but for movies, there have been quite a few similar plot devices that transport a character into another body or world. Gamer, Avatar, and The Matrix all quickly come to mind. Two of those three movies wound up being incredibly popular, so perhaps that’s a good sign.
But the thing about all these sci-fi movies is they are basically telling two narratives now, and hoping the viewer becomes invested in both. And in the Assassin’s Creed games, that has not been a total success. The sections playing as the ancestor are simply far more fun and interesting than the modern day sections. But then there’s also no real stakes in the sections involving the ancestor, since that world is just a computer program that the protagonist is booted out of if the ancestor is killed. The filmmakers will have to maintain a careful balance of having enough mysteries in the past to intrigue the viewers in a story where death likely won’t be a threat, while also laying the groundwork for the modern day plot where the protagonist will have to make use of all the assassin skills he learns inside the Animus.
6. AN ASSASSIN JUMPING OFF A BUILDING AND SURVIVING BY LANDING IN HAY
The Assassin’s Creed games stretch the player’s suspension of disbelief… a lot. The technology for the Animus being able to access the memories of a person’s ancestors by using the offspring’s DNA is iffy at best. The Knights of the Templar and the order of assassins conspiring behind some of history’s biggest moments sounds one step short of asking people to put on tinfoil hats. But the biggest leap of logic is a literal leap—off the top of a building and into a pile of hay.
Climbing to the top of an enormous church feels cool in the games (though its purpose of “gaining a vantage point to scout the city” is silly), but the game designer’s probably just couldn’t think of a logical way to get down quickly. Climbing back down would be a chore, so apparently they just said screw it and let you jump off and defy all medical reasoning by surviving through landing in convenient hay piles. It’s ridiculous, unnecessary, and totally impossible. And we want it in the movie. It’s one of the most iconic things about the game series, so we’re hoping that swan dive the assassin at the end of the first Assassin’s Creed trailer takes concludes with him landing in some horse’s dinner.
5. HIDDEN MESSAGES IN THE MOVIE
One of the most interesting aspects about the games is that the sections focusing on the assassin ancestor are all produced in the Animus program, which allows for that program to be altered on the fly and affect the surroundings of the ancestor. We see this frequently in the games where characters and environments dissolve into code or data. A lot of it is just for aesthetic, but at times the player is also cued to initiate a glitch that will show some new piece of information, or there will be puzzles in the world to solve. Even in the modern day sections there are secret notes and emails to access.
The Assassin’s Creed movie obviously isn’t going to be interactive, but it can still take advantage of the visual medium to hide information in creative ways. Movies that reward rewatching are a nice surprise, and the story of Assassin’s Creed is exactly the kind of story that can provide layers to enjoy on multiple levels. On the first pass everyone will be so busy focusing on the action sequences, or trying to figure out each of the characters. But rewatches could be rewarded by the inclusion notes and phrases hidden in scenes that reveal more of the deeper plot. They could even get creative with the advertising for the movie and give fans puzzles to solve to unlock more trailer clips. There’s much more to this world than just people in cloaks stabbing people, and some creative storytelling could really make Assassin’s Creed a franchise that people want to dig deeper into.
4. JESPER KYD (THE ORIGINAL COMPOSER FOR THE GAMES) HELPING WITH THE SOUNDTRACK
The first trailer for Assassin’s Creed got a lot of people excited for the action and story of the movie, but something that had just as many people feeling lukewarm was the music used for our first extended look at the project. Nothing against Kanye West, but his music style isn’t the first thing that pops into mind for a story about Spanish assassins. And if the movie is anything like the first game, the ancestor assassin learning to overcome and atone for his arrogance will be a big plot point, and that’s pretty at odds with Kanye declaring “I am a god.”
The games, however, are actually highly praised for their consistently well-done and atmospheric soundtracks. Assassin’s Creed II in particular has multiple tracks that have become iconic of the franchise, such as “Ezio’s Family” and especially “Venice Rooftops.” Composer Jesper Kyd’s work helped makes people take notice of the early games in the series, and could be perfect for the movie as well. Fans already want it so badly that the same day the first trailer was released, someone reposted the trailer and replaced Kanye’s song with music from the games.
3. HISTORICAL FIGURES FOR THE PROTAGONIST TO MEET
More and more as the Assassin’s Creed games have gone on, the player has had the chance to interact with notable figures from history. In Assassin’s Creed II, Ezio Auditore has frequent conversations with Leonardo da Vinci, who produces new inventions for Ezio, including a flying machine. And at the end of the game, Ezio even travels to Rome and gets into a fight with the Pope during an assassination attempt.
It’s gotten to the point that each new entry in the game series is intriguing not only because of the new locations, or the advancement of the plot in the modern day, but also to see who the assassin ancestor will be interacting with from history. The various games have either had connections to or allowed the player to meet people such as Vlad the Impaler, Blackbeard, Jack the Ripper, and even George Washington. We know the movie will have the ancestor exploring Spain, though during which time period is still not totally clear. But hopefully between all the scheming and murders, our assassin will have time to come across a few familiar faces from Spanish history.
2. MORALLY COMPLEX ASSASSINATION TARGETS
It’s no fun when the good guys and bad guys are as easy to determine as looking at the main character and whoever opposes them. There are two sides to every conflict, after all. And that’s something that has been very much present in the Assassin’s Creed games as well. Even in the first game, Altaïr increasingly begins to question whether he is being misguided in his orders to kill his targets. He finds each person he assassinates has justifications for their crimes, and he begins to wonder just whose side he’s actually fighting for.
It should go without saying that the company in control of the Animus has their own agenda as well. In the games, Desmond was effectively a prisoner of Abstergo Industries. In the movie, the protagonist really is a prisoner who has been pardoned from an execution sentence so he can be used in the Animus. Throw in the conflict between the Knights of the Templar and the assassins, and there are a lot of different allegiances in the story. Plus these are assassins we’re talking about, so we’re sure to see some last minute backstabbing from people with ulterior motives.
1. A MOVIE THAT BREAKS THE STREAK OF BAD VIDEO GAME MOVIES
Let’s face it, one of the big reasons Assassin’s Creed is drawing so much attention in the gaming community is curiosity whether this will finally be the year we see a movie adapting a game and it actually turns out good. Some of the earliest cinematic adaptions of games, such as the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie, are straight up laughable in retrospect, even with the occasional box office success.
The Angry Birds Movie, the Warcraft movie, and several other adaptions of video games are poised to try and break the curse soon as well, but Assassin’s Creed is arguably the biggest current franchise out of everything set for release. Other big franchises like BioShock, The Witcher, and The Last of Us are also in talks for getting movies, so the success of Assassin’s Creed will go a long way towards seeing whether there’s a casual audience interest for big names in the gaming world. But more than just hoping for Assassin’s Creed to be profitable, we’re hoping it can shed the stigma of gaming films and be something newcomers will consider good enough to recommend to their friends.
What do you think the Assassin’s Creed movie needs to live up to the high expectations? Tell us about what you want to see in the movie before it premiers in December in the comments!