It’s everyone’s favourite way of teaching the more bloodthirsty boys and girls about history – Assassin’s Creed is being developed into a live-action Netflix show.
What do we know?
The project is yet to name a showrunner, but Ubisoft Film & Television’s Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik have been named as executive producers. “For more than 10 years, millions of fans around the world have helped shape the ‘Assassin’s Creed’ brand into an iconic franchise,” said Altman, head of Ubisoft Film & Television. “We’re thrilled to create an ‘Assassin’s Creed’ series with Netflix and we look forward to developing the next saga in the ‘Assassin’s Creed’ universe.”
“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that ‘Assassin’s Creed’ is beloved for,” said Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s vice president of original series. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”
Given that the games have covered many of the livelier parts of human history, from Ancient Greece to Victorian London, the show could be set practically anywhere – although the popularity of Altair’s adventures in the Third Crusade and Ezio’s intrigues in Renaissance Italy makes them better bets than most. The announcement reveals little, beyond the fact that it’s happening:
The game franchise began in 2007 and has been a reliable not-quite annual title ever since, with the twelfth entry, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, set to be released November 10th.
Ubisoft and the screen
This is not Ubisoft’s first collaboration with Netflix – it’s not long since the two announced an anime adaptation of Splinter Cell, which is itself basically Assassin’s Creed with guns and a marginally less convoluted story.
While Assassin’s Creed has been adapted for the screen in the past, the 2016 film version starring Michael Fassbender drew some fairly scathing reviews, and was a box office flop, bringing in $54.6 million in North America against a budget of $125 million. It would ultimately bring in $240 million worldwide, but factoring in stuff like marketing and distribution this was, at best, breaking even, not the kind of payday one might expect from a triple-A brand like Assassin’s Creed. Given that this new announcement was little more than ‘Netflix and Assassin’s Creed, you know it makes sense’, it’s hard to see whether they’ve learned their lesson about just letting brand recognition do the work.
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