The newest part of the Assassin’s Creed franchise is Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which for the first time allows players to choose whether they wish to play as a male or female protagonist. These two protagonists are Jacob and Evie Frye, who were raised as assassins. Players are welcome to switch between the siblings at any time, and can complete each twin’s specific missions and develop each one’s unique skill set.
Set 75 years after the previous Assassin’s Creed, which took place during the French Revolution, Syndicate begins in London in the year 1868, at the height of the Industrial Revolution. The setting of Victorian London provides players with new experiences as they see the evolution of technology, the distinction of social classes, the construction of what would eventually become modern London, and the change that humanity went through during this pivotal point in history.
The new game by Ubisoft takes place in a time when science is gaining in popularity and religion is loosing some of its grip. This is an era where Darwin’s theory of evolution exists and modern medicine is allowing people to live longer, healthier lives. London is the center of what humanity can achieve, and players are right in the middle of it.
The game promises to showcase some famous historical figures, such as Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens, among others who will be revealed later on.
Players will be shown the separation of social classes, as the twins are neither wealthy nor privileged. They will be shown the “seedy underbelly of London”, as well as the difficulties of people who had to work long, hard hours from a young age to earn money. While the Industrial Revolution was an age of advancement and many benefits for people, it was also a dark time. It gave birth to organized crime, which is where the game’s protagonists come in.
The time period that the story takes place in allowed game developers to explore themes in ways that previous games wouldn’t allow, and also lets them explore new experiences for players, from technology to traffic.
Among other things, the new time period allows a more diverse cast, from a young tavern girl who will serve as the twins’ informant, to an Indian immigrant who leads the city’s assassins, to a number of female crime lords.
Unlike the other games from the franchise, this one takes place during a time of no war, civil or otherwise. Creative director Marc-Alexis Cote says that they wanted to recapture the essence of Assassin’s Creed II, and that was by choosing a time with no war.
So far, details have only been released on one of the two protagonists. Jacob is described as always being ready for a quick fight. He is sly and charismatic, with a top hat to complete his outfit. His weapons include a curved blade called a Kukri, a set of brass knuckles, a revolver, throwing knives, and the traditional assassin’s gauntlet, which now includes darts laced with hallucinogens and a rope launcher in addition to the hidden blade.
The sibling dynamic is a change from previous romantic story lines. Cote says the choice to make the protagonists siblings rather than lovers was to keep the story clear. The sibling rivalry adds a new element to the game which wasn’t there in previous ones.
The inclusion of Evie was planned from the beginning of development. Victorian London was the start of a more diverse world in which all kinds of men and women took part in its growth.
“It came naturally, creating a world that is more diverse. It’s something I want our players to be able to really feel and identify with more.” Cote said.