The Assassin's Creed movie: our 5 burning questions

Odd List Ryan Lambie 10 Jul 2012 - 06:00

As news breaks that Michael Fassbender’s to star in an Assassin’s Creed movie adaptation, here are the five questions we’ve been asking ourselves…

The recent news that Michael Fassbender has agreed to star and co-produce an Assassin’s Creed videogame was surprising, to say the least. Although we’d heard rumours that Ubisoft was attempting to put a movie together based on its hit series of historic rooftop slaughter games, we didn’t hold out much hope of ever seeing one – after all, movies based on such titles as Gears Of War, Halo and World Of Warcraft have all been discussed, but never got beyond the planning stage.

With a name like Fassbender’s on board, it’s far more likely that an Assassin’s Creed movie will actually see the light of day. And with his and Sony’s involvement, it’s just possible it’ll be a decent adaptation, too – better, we hope, than Street Fighter II at least.

At any rate, the Fassbender announcement has inevitably left a few questions burning in our minds – so here goes…

Who?

In the videogame, we’re introduced to the humble barman Desmond Miles. His humdrum, boozer-dwelling existence is radically shaken when he’s kidnapped by a shadowy organisation called Abstergo Industries, a corporate arm of the Knights Templar. Miles is then plugged into a machine called the Animus, which sends his consciousness back in time, effectively placing him (or in reality, the player) in the shoes of one of his ancestors.

In the first game, Miles was reintroduced to Altair, a former assassin living in the Holy Land of the 12 century. Assassin’s Creed II introduced another relative, the Italian, Ezio. Both had a penchant for running around the roofs of cities and occasionally dropping down to kill various unsuspecting victims – usually crooked members of the ruling elite. 

The unfolding story across the games is extremely convoluted, and takes in numerous sci-fi conspiracies, along with the possibility that the world might end this very year. 

Our question, then, is what role Michael Fassbender’s likely to play. Presumably, he’ll play Desmond Miles, though he looks very little like him. Assuming the game retains the same Animus-time-travel concept (which it surely will), whose ancestral consciousness will he drop back into?

When?

Our next question, given just how important settings are to the Assassin’s Creed games, is an obvious one: where will it be set? Will the movie follow the chronology of the videogames, and begin in the 12th century? Will it go more up to date, and head to Colonial-era America?

It’s equally likely that, with Ubisoft’s oft-repeated mantra, “History is our playground”, the Assassin’s Creed movie will have an entirely different historical setting. This way, the movie would have a better chance of standing on its own feet, rather than being endlessly compared to the events in the videogame. 

Ubisoft has ruled out the possibility of an Assassin’s Creed game set in World War II, Ancient Egypt or Feudal Japan – the most commonly requested settings, apparently – so presumably they’re out of the question for a movie, too.

Rating?

This was one of the foremost questions that came to us when the Assassin’s Creed movie was announced. The games are violent. Very violent. This is, after all, a series based almost entirely around the concept of sneaking into secure buildings, swan diving dramatically off a length of guttering, and stabbing a dignitary in the neck.

Okay, so the Assassin’s Creed titles aren’t as horrifyingly bloody as some videogames, but they still have their gory moments, and there’s no getting away from the protagonist’s murderous job description. Presumably, the movie will have to ease off on the violence a little to get a PG-13 rating – the certification choice for most modern films that aren’t Prometheus or a bawdy comedy.

Does this mean that its protagonist will have to tone down his use of various maces, swords, daggers and hidden blades? Or will the film’s makers go for a harsher tone more in line with the games?

Budget?

The Assassin’s Creed games are sumptuous, expensive affairs which revel in the recreation of period detail – or at least a fun, vaguely believable impression of it. Few who’ve played Assassin’s Creed II will forget the experience of crouching, Batman-like, at the top of the Florence Cathedral and surveying the landscape below. 

Such sequences aren’t cheap to create in videogames, and they’re not cheap to produce in movies, either. The presence of Mr Fassbender implies that Assassin’s Creed won’t be a tawdry, straight-to-on-demand affair directed by Uwe Boll, and we assume that, with the combined coffers of Ubisoft and Sony behind it, the film will have plenty of financial heft behind it.

Director?

An important one, this. Because with Fassbender in place, we already have the makings of a movie with a rock-solid dramatic centre. The Assassin’s Creed games have always been, first and foremost, about atmosphere, high-wire tension and widescreen spectacle. (The writing, if we’re being honest, has long been a secondary concern, even if the stories are fun in a pulpy sort of way.)

To translate well to the big screen, an Assassin’s Creed movie needs a director who can recreate the best elements of the games in a non-interactive form.

The sneaking around, free-running, combat and conspiracy in the videogames provide some fertile ground for the right filmmaker to pick from, as long as they have the imagination and the artistry to make a proper movie rather than a slavish recreation of the games’ stand-out scenes.

Its director needn’t be an expensive, big-name talent, either – although its plot was painfully generic, we thought the Swedish director Daniel Espinosa (who previously made the fabulous Snabba Cash) made a thoroughly decent job of directing the material he was given, filling the various fist-fights and chases with raw immediacy.

If Assassin’s Creed: The Movie is to end up as something more than just another second-rate videogame adaptation, it needs great people on board. With Fassbender, it’s already some way there. Let’s hope some decent filmmakers are hired to go alongside him.

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looks sweet! but Ezio is the 15th century renaissance assassin, not Altair

Please check facts this article is so incorrect. However the idea does sounds quite awesome as long as it does well.

This has clearly been written by someone who has never played the games. Altair comes for the middle east during the Crusades.

yeah...and AC 1 takes place in Jerusalem, not Italy; some quick fact checking would be super awesome guys.

Altair was from the Crusades around the Constantinople (if thats how you speel it) area hence Assassin's Creed revelations finishing there, in the Assassin's Tower from the first game. Ezio was from the 1500's and was a teenager in Renaisance Italy.

To be fair the games carry an age rating right? Surely the film has to do likewise? If (in theory) no one under the age of 17 (I think that's the rating) has played the games then there's little point making a film for anyone under that is there? God I hope not.

So many facts wrong with this article. For shame Den of Geek, for shame!

What had a painfully generic plot but was well directed by Daniel Espinosa? Safe House?
Also, while I agree that Michael Fassbender is a great talent, he's not above appearing in sub par genre efforts like Jonah Hex and X-men First Class (yeah I said it).

Altair wasn't in 15th century Italy. Maybe you should play the game before reviewing it.

These people know almost NOTHING about Assassins Creed!
I Sighned up just to say that I am THOROUGHLY DISSAPOINTED in this information!

Unfortunate to see mistakes in this piece. Altair's story takes place in Jerusalem, Acre, Damascus and other areas in that region. Ezio's story mostly takes place in Italy.

Although this has already been pointed out, I thought I would gently remind you that Altair is not Italian. As for the "Rating" and "Budget" section, I find it strange that you didn't once take into consideration the live-action "Lineage" series that was released alongside AC2 seeing as that basically was an AC movie (albeit a short one). I've never visited this site before and with poorly researched articles like this I doubt I'll be coming back here. My little rant aside, I wouldn't put it past them to go with an entirely new setting/character rather than making the story too similar to the game (any of them)

I give you Jonah Hex but XMFC? LOL! You're funny. If you had said Prometheus, I might have agreed, that one's been pretty dissed by critics. But XMFC? Your personal dislike doesn't make it a sub par genre effort - I don't like TDK but I can objectively acknowledge its quality - check out the ratings and reviews. Except for a few bad ones - and there are always some bad ones - this movie has been lauded by most and is considered the resurrection of the dying X-Men franchise.

XMFC was excellent, but Prometheus was also generally favourably reviewed by critics (73% at Rotten Tomatoes).

Altair operated in the Holy Land (Jerusalem, Acre, Damascus) which is further from Constantinople than London is from Berlin.

Prometheus and XMFC have exactly the same Metacritic score and I think everyone would agree that Fassbender's performance in Prometheus was a tour de force. Fassbender and McAvoy were the only things to like about XMFC, every single other mutant was just ridiculously overpowered (Shaw) or ridiculously stupid (Banshee, Darwin and Zoe Kravitz's insect mutant).

I loved these games. I liked the Ezio character the best though. And so must the developers because he was in three games. The film will probably go with the Ezio character, because having a muslim / arab or whatever Altair was supposed to be in the first game, going around killing Christians etc might be a bit too heavy for Hollywood to handle. Ok its just a point I dont want to get into an argument over religion on here! Anyhoo, my best guess is Fassbender will be the Desmond character and appear in the past as the Assassin, but looking to other characters as though he blends in with the times. Think like Quantum Leap the Tv series. They might jettison the Animus concept and modern day setting altogether and just set it in the past as it might be easier. Or it will be called Assassins "whatever" and not have anything to do much with the games, but just have Fassbender dressed like Ezio or whatnot in the past fighting and killing baddies. In the third game Ezio could recruit and train and use other Assassins to help him, so it might go along those lines with him training and building an Assassins guild. Theres lots they could do with it , it does not have to stay slaved to the plot of the games, think of the way Pirates of the Caribbean was based on the Disney Ride...

If you need a director who can bring to life the murder and freerunning aspects of the game, my choice would be Mike Newell as he has already shown the ability in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time in 2010.

They never ruled out a WW2 setting, Feudal Japan or Ancient Egypt...they were options in a poll, alongside Colonial America, that fans might like to see in AC3. The latter had the most votes and was ultimately chosen, but they never said future iterations couldn't go to the other locations.

get fassbender as desmond, christian bale as altair, and johnny depp for ezio please! and jack nicholson needs to be in this movie! and, uh, al pacino!

Objectively I thought the action was underwhelming and they picked the least visually interesting characters for the action (Angel Salvatore and the Whirlwind guy? Banshee who existed only to catch someone at the end, killing the evolving guy even though he had the coolest power). The mutant and proud stuff was heavy handed and cheesy. With the exception of Xavier and Magneto the characters were under developed and I didn't really care about them, a good example being Alex Summers who we find in a cell and is meant to have issues that affect him being able to focus his powers but we learn nothing about him other than his power. Some things don't make sense like Mystique abandoning the closest she has to family minutes after he's been paralysed. Or Emma Frost getting captured and cutting through that glass showing she's clearly capable of escape but not doing for no real reason. Also, why make a sequel to explore Xavier and Magneto's relationship in the early years, but get their relationship to where it is at the start of the first X-men film within a few week or months of them meeting? In my opinion, it's a sub par genre film. Critics might have given it good reviews when it came out, but critics initially gave Blade Runner bad reviews. I don't need their opinions to form my own.

thats where youre wrong. Ratings means nothing but who can buy the game. an elder brother can buy the game and the younger one can play. in todays world these ratings dont count for anything. hell even 10 year old kids watch p*rn nowadays.

Perhaps. There's always ways around the system. I'm just saying in theory there should be little point making a film for under 17's when they shouldn't have played it in the 1st place. Plus the film has the word assassin in the title, surely that's as un child friendly as it gets?

I hope this movie turns out good because if not I don't think il be able to look at Assassins creed again

He did however go there in a canon novel.

Altair killed any Templar. Templars on both sides of the Crusade, of numerous nationalities and faiths. It'd be fine. Besides, there are numerous films set during the Crusades that had no such problems.

Who will play (if there is a role) as Ezio? the guy who played as Hannibal in Hannibal rising would be perfect.... Gaspard Ulliel

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