Assassin's Creed Ideas: Ancient Egypt
With so many untapped historical resources and a rumored one-year break from the main series, it has become a hobby of many gamers to ponder which setting will show up next in the Assassin's Creed franchise.
It is my pleasure to announce a brand new weekly column on this very topic! Each and every Tuesday for the foreseeable future I will be submitting a brand new idea for an Assassin's Creed game - anything from logical/probable to outlandish. We'll be talking about more than just the setting itself, but about weapons, characters, and potential storylines!
Without further ado, let's talk about the highly rumored-to-be-upcoming setting of Ancient Egypt.
Ancient Egypt was one of the first independent civilizations in the world. It had an enormous upbringing spanning multiple millenniums. In order to make a game with a consistent story, Ubisoft will need to narrow in on a specific, well-known timeframe.
The general public only knows a small amount about ancient cultures, so the company will need to squeeze whatever life they can into the time period they choose. The game needs to have two main features to entice players: a believable conflict and recognizable characters.
Despite many Pharaohs being quite well known, there is a good chance that Ubisoft will skip the "Ancient" part of this setting entirely. A more likely option is to place the game in an altered version of late Ptolemaic Kingdom/early Roman Egypt. Being one of the most well documented, and extremely action-packed time periods, the opportunities for this era are endless.
The end of the former Late Period saw Alexander the Great lead his armies to Egypt, in order to annex the land. Following his death circa 320 BC, the land fell to the Ptolemies to rule as a newfound Hellenistic dynasty.
This era saw the creation of the great city and Library of Alexandria - said to have held the greatest collection of historical artifacts and documents the world had ever seen. (Does this scream pieces of Eden to anyone else?)
The restoration of Egyptian lifestyle was made possible with the Ptolemaic Pharaohs adopting Egyptian religion and crafting style, but many native rebellions, foreign and civil wars led to the downfall of the period. The Roman empire, extremely interested in the civilization after becoming dependent on it for resources, had to step in and claim the land as a Roman colony in the end, circa 30 BC.
This era saw the upbringing of one of the most well recognized faces associated with the period of "Ancient" Egypt: Cleopatra. Her tale is an intriguing one, filled with war and manipulation - perfect for Assassin's Creed storytelling.
In her childhood Cleo saw Roman military leader and protector of Egypt, Pompey, fall to Julius Caesar in civil war. Throughout this turmoil, Cleo and her brother/husband Ptolemy XIII were each attempting to gain control of the throne. When Caesar came to Alexandria, Cleo went to him in an attempt to alienate her husband.
Ptolemy XIII ended up face down in the Nile river. Cleo became the lover of Caesar and the couple moved to Rome. Though the story turns away from Egypt for the time being, it isn't inconceivable that this tale would show up in the game. After Caesar was murdered, Marc Antony and Octavian began to rally his previous supporters. Cleo was patient and sided with Antony after his prevalence - becoming lovers with yet another powerful figure.
All of Rome was outraged with the pairing and it would seem that Cleo was manipulating the ruler as he began to gift her entire Roman colonies. Eventually Octavian rallied the troops and attacked the pair, finally ending their reign.
How Assassin's Creed Fits In
If this story doesn't scream Assassin's Creed, I don't know what does. There are so many ways Ubisoft could spin it: the Romans are Templars and the Egyptians Assassins, vice versa, some Egyptians are Assassins and some aren't. The Library of Alexandria has to fit in there somehow. Cleopatra always seemed to be a conniving minx, maybe she's a secret Templar employed by Caesar and Antony in the first place? The opportunities are endless.
In the long run, this is probably the most well known story of "Ancient" Egypt, and it is quite likely we'll see this tale at some point or another.
What to Expect
If this sort of game comes to pass, what could we expect to see in-game?
- Much of Egypt - including the famous pyramids - was constructed with large limestone blocks. These would make for great climbable objects, however, it wasn't too often that large structures were erected near each other. An answer for this would be to include a high quantity of scaffolding, ramps, and other wooden structures to bridge the gaps, allowing for that high speed "rooftop" travel we all know and love.
- Expect to climb the Great Pyramid of Giza. It would probably take a full hour all on it's own, but no Assassin's Creed Egypt game would be complete without scaling the massive 450 foot tall structure.
- Mark down the Sphinx for climbing on too - I'm sure we all want to do that.
- There are thousands and thousands of tombs in Egypt. Believe it or not, pyramids are actually tombs as well. The Egyptian culture was absolutely obsessed with death and the afterlife; Pharaohs would spend their entire lives preparing to die. They would bury themselves amongst their riches deep below ground surrounded by hundreds of traps to dissuade grave robbers. But grave robbers aren't trained Assassins now, are they?
- Horseback riding, or more accurately, camelback riding. The desert is a large and unsavory place to travel on foot. Expect to see a lot of camel usage.
- Finally, the job description on this one will certainly include "some travel required." Apart from camel riding, players will likely sail the Nile river, venture to Rome, and more.
Egypt would be a truly exciting era to see Ubisoft delve into for the Assassin's Creed series. As stated way back at the beginning of this article, there is a widespread rumor that an Egyptian Creed could show its face around 2017. Being one of my favorite historical time periods, I truly hope that the rumors are true, and that the devs don't screw it up.
Don't forget to check back on Tuesday February 9th, 2016 for the next installment of Assassin's Creed Ideas where we'll be discussing the possibility of a Creed game set in the near-modern Great War era.