Why Assassin’s Creed is Perfect for Netflix

Netflix just announced that the service will be developing a live-action Assassin’s Creed series. Ubisoft’s Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik will serve as Executive Producers. The deal will also see Netflix and Ubisoft develop other live-action, animated, and anime series based on the franchise. Let me come out of the gate saying I am unbelievably excited about this news. I’m a huge Assassin’s Creed fan and I think there is an almost limitless amount of storytelling potential in the franchise that hasn’t been explored much outside of the games. Sure, we had the movie starring Michael Fassbender, which I will defend, but that wasn’t exactly a hit. A Netflix series, however? That’s perfect.

The feature film directed by Justin Kurzel was solid but struggled a bit carrying the weight of the world that is Assassin’s Creed. There is a lot to the lore and to try to establish everything and explore it in two hours is a daunting task. Assassin’s Creed typically “balances” time between a historical setting and the present, with the struggle between Assassins and Templars a constant between both periods. Balance isn’t quite the word for it, though, as the major draw to all installments in the franchise has always been the historical setting.

(20th Century Fox)

The current/near-future setting of Assassin’s Creed has an overarching story of course, but it primarily serves as a transportation device to the past. Through a bit of sci-fi tech, a protagonist can relive memories, and thus we are thrust into the struggles and adventures of the past. This, the past and present timelines, and the constant change of historical setting make Assassin’s Creed perfect for a series as opposed to a movie.

Ask anyone and I’m sure they’ll agree that the best parts of the Assassin’s Creed movie were the scenes taking place in the past. Many people, myself included, find the exploration of the past to be the best part of the franchise. Making Assassin’s Creed a series allows you to introduce some of the meatier concepts from the lore and world over a longer amount of time while spending the majority of your series in the past. Not only that, but the constant change of historical locale means you can travel to a different time each season. One season could be ancient Rome, another Feudal Japan, another ancient Egypt, and so on.

Generally focusing on the past while being able to continually expand and thread out the current day storyline over multiple seasons would exponentially help the show. And from a production standpoint, I think it’s safe to say we’re in for a treat. Netflix originals are given plenty to work with and given the high profile of the Assassin’s Creed IP I can only imagine the series will be offered a good chunk of change for its budget. We’ve seen Netflix knock tons of historical shows and movies out of the park and I expect nothing less from this.

Netflix offers the ability to fully realize and develop any historical setting the franchise could imagine. It will also allow complete creativity and more flexibility in exploring mature content than what may be possible for a standard theatrical release. Multi-layered and exciting storytelling across multiple shows is something entirely possible now. The opportunity that Netflix presents the franchise is enormous and something that I could not be more excited about. Everything from costume design and art direction to cinematography and sound design will be given extreme detail.

Assassin’s Creed is one of the biggest gaming franchises of all-time, and though there have been a few books, comic spin-offs, and a feature film, the potential of the IP outside of the gaming world hasn’t been fully explored. With Netflix taking the reigns for a series it seems that Assassin’s Creed is poised to finally explore all that untapped greatness and hopefully joins the trend of great video-game adaptations.