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Assassin’s Creed Shadows: Everything you need to know pre-release

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Ubisoft is launching a new Assassin’s Creed game. After attempts to make the series return to its core with AC Mirage, the game developer is now making a second, and perhaps stronger attempt to bring back fans that lost interest after Ubisoft turned the game into massive open-world RPGs instead of sticking to the linear gameplay the older games offered. 

Assassin’s Creed Shadows (formerly Assassin’s Creed Red) takes you to Japan’s tumultuous Sengoku period (1467-1603). Japan was undergoing a massive unification stage in this period, during which different clans were at war, vying for power. This is the historical backdrop for your adventure. Feudal Japan is one of the most requested periods for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, so it’s good to see Ubisoft listening to the players for once.

You can watch the video here or continue reading the article below:

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What’s the story like?

Essentially, you play as one of two characters: a Shinobi Ninja Naoe or a Samurai Yasuke. 

  • Naoe: A young and talented shinobi (ninja) assassin from the Iga Province. Agile and deadly, she adheres to the Assassin’s Creed, a philosophy centred on protecting the innocent through subterfuge and elimination of threats.
  • Yasuke: A towering figure based on the real-life African samurai who served a Japanese daimyo (feudal lord) during this era. Yasuke is a skilled warrior bound by honour and loyalty, but the growing unrest in Japan forces him to question his allegiances.

They start on opposite sides of the war, destroying Naoe’s homeland, but eventually come together despite their contrasting backgrounds. Naoe and Yasuke’s paths converge in the game, and you can do any mission as either of the characters. 

The two protagonists in Assassin’s Creed Shadows — Naoe (left) and Yasuke (right). | Source: Ubisoft

The story follows the usual Assassin’s Creed formula of a young protagonist initially driven by revenge to dive into battle and later find out more about themselves. The core storyline is similar to the massively popular Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood and Revelations trio, known as the Ezio saga. These were some of the franchise’s best games regarding storyline, gameplay, and sales figures.   

Gameplay development and connection to older AC games

While specific details are still under wraps, Assassin’s Creed Shadows is expected to stay true to the original formula. Expect open-world exploration, engaging combat (likely with a focus on stealth and confrontation based on your character choice), and a rich narrative that blends historical fiction with the series’ ongoing lore of the Assassins and Templars.

However, the problem is that Ubisoft has left people hanging and is extremely short on detail. The company was making similar claims with Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and while the trailer did look promising, the actual game wasn’t as true to the core of Assassin’s Creed games as it should’ve been. 

We don’t know what the combat will be like, how the setting will be, how the graphics will look, or just about anything else. I mean, looking at the prerendered CGI trailer gives hope that the graphics and settings will at least be rather good, but unless we see some gameplay footage from Ubisoft, it’s going to be difficult to make conclusions, especially considering Ubisoft’s track record. 

The game will offer different approaches based on the character you’re using. | Source: Ubisoft

Akim Milne, the assistant director of cinematic design, and Jonathan Dumont, the creative director for Assassin’s Creed Shadows, shed some light on this issue in a trailer explainer video. It seems like the trailer is made to resemble the game as closely as possible. 

That includes dynamic weather elements, the weapons and their specific animations, and a hint of what the combat looks like. You can break away from the monotony of the hack-and-slash fest that the older Assassin’s Creed games were by switching between the two characters, which have a life of their own, so you can expect the character-switching mechanism to be somewhat similar to GTA V, where when you switch character each of them is doing their own thing at any given point of time. 

Gameplay aside, the fanbase is also divided between Ubisoft’s choice of protagonists. Yasuke’s character is supposed to be historically accurate, and Milne and Dumont point this out in the explainer video. However, there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered. 

Release date, pricing, platforms

It is also debatable whether this is another cash grab for the company because the way the game is priced with all its different bundles is just horrible. 

The game launches on November 15 this year on PC, Playstation, Xbox, and Luna. The “standard edition” comes in at $69.99 (roughly ₹5,000). As if that’s not enough money for a game, Ubisoft is also selling “Gold” and “Ultimate” editions priced at $109.99 (₹9,000) and $129.99 respectively (₹10,500). 

The two more expensive editions also add a season pass that gives players access to an additional quest on launch, some unlockables and two future expansions. This means that players on the base edition will eventually have to spend more money if they want to experience the full game. There’s also a collector’s edition with goodies like a wall scroll and figurines for an eye-watering $279.99 (approximately ₹23,000) for all three platforms. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: