Although Assassin’s Creed‘s storylines are based on achieving freedom and equality for all, one long-standing sore spot has been its lack of diversity. AC2, Revelations, Brotherhood, Black Flag and Unity were led by white men (it’s unclear what Altair from AC1‘s ethnicity is) and although Assassins’ Creed 3 featured Connor, a Native American protagonist, we also had to play as his white father for a significant chunk of the game. Last year, publisher and developer Ubisoft also came under fire for not including playable female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity.
And while no one can force Ubisoft to include more diverse characters in doing so, they can tell more stories about more cultures and more groups of people throughout history. That’s what the company is doing now with the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles trilogy that takes us to India, China and Russia too.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy Announced for PC, PS4 and Xbox One
The first game in the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles trilogy is Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China which stars Chinese assassin Shao Jun as she returns to China in 1526 right as the Ming dynasty is starting to fall. She’s the last member of the Chinese Brotherhood but having trained under Ezio, she’s certainly got the chops to restore it and carry out vengeance in the process. Shao Jun’s mission will involve side missions and collectibles and it will take us to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace and other Chinese landmarks. She’ll be taking people down with martial arts, her hidden shoe blade and her “powerful” Kian sword too so expect things to get messy.
We know a great deal less about Arbaaz Mir, the star of Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India, though his story takes place as the Sikh Empire prepares for war in the country (the Sikh Empire reigned from 1799 to 1949). We don’t know much about Nikolaï Orelov from Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia either, but his story is set after the Red October revolution of 1917. All three games have their own art styles but they will tie together narratively, but with the games being centuries apart how Ubisoft will pull that off is anyone’s guess.
So do these games solve Assassin’s Creed‘s diversity problem? It’s certainly nice to see these characters given their own games (Shao Jun was in the Ambers animated short and Arbaaz and Nikolaï were in the AC graphic novels), the obvious criticism here is that the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles games are spin-off titles and not fully fledged AC releases.
People had similar issues with the story of Aveline (the black female protagonist of Assassins Creed Liberation) and Adewale (a freed slave who starred in Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry), asking why Ubisoft can’t give these a full release as part of the main franchise instead of being a digital spin-off releases only. The Assassin’s Creed Chronicles trilogy is a step in the right direction though, so that’s certainly something.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China will be released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on April 22nd, 2015. Releases for India and Russia have yet to be announced.