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Calls for an Assassin’s Creed in ancient China inspired by hit TV show

Popular show The Longest Day of Chang’an prompts calls for Ubisoft to bring game series to ancient China

Video gaming
This article originally appeared on ABACUS
In the past ten years, Ubisoft has taken its popular Assassin’s Creed game franchise to many historical settings: Classical Athens, ancient Egypt, colonial Boston, Victorian London and revolutionary Paris.
Now Chinese gamers are calling for a new Assassin’s Creed game set in Chang’an, China’s majestic capital during the Tang dynasty that today is known as Xi’an. The informal campaign is gaining steam thanks to the latest hit TV show in China, The Longest Day of Chang’an. The show itself actually draws heavy influence from Ubisoft’s hit franchise, and it shows.

Take a look for yourself:

Fans added the Assassin’s Creed UI to the show to highlight how much it looks like the games. (Picture: Yuyue Film/Dongyouyuan/Bilibili)

The action sequences and costumes in the show look like something plucked straight out of an Assassin’s Creed game. Creative fans have even made their own clips with the game’s UI superimposed over the show, dubbing it “Assassin’s Creed: Chang’an.”

It’s probably not a coincidence: The show is adapted from a book by the same name, which was penned by avid Assassin’s Creed fan Ma Boyong.

Even before he ever wrote and published the book, Ma already had Assassin’s Creed in China on his mind. In 2016, he posted a short story on Zhihu called “Assassin’s Creed: Chang’an, the trailer.”

Zhihu, where people in China go to ask questions and get answers

Chinese gamers’ plea to see “Assassin’s Creed: Chang’an” become a reality hasn’t gone unnoticed. Ubisoft said on Weibo that it has heard the request from fans, but didn’t make any promises.
This beginning sequence of a mission is hilarious. (Picture: Yuyue Film/Dongyouyuan/Bilibili)
Fans who are dying for an Assassin’s Creed set in ancient China might be able to find some solace in Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, which was released in 2015. Sadly, this is not the 3D action adventure game you’d expect from a typical Assassin’s Creed game. That’s because Chronicles is actually a spinoff series of 2D side-scrolling games developed by a separate company, Climax Studios.

Chinese gamers want a full-fledged, open-world Assassin’s Creed title that allows them to explore ancient Chang’an.

In case you’re not a Chinese history buff, Chang’an was the capital of China under the prosperous Tang dynasty from 618 to 907 AD, when China was at the peak of its power. (It was also the capital of other dynasties before Tang, including China’s second most important dynasty, Han). Geographically, Chang’an also marked the easternmost point of the silk road.
The Longest Day of Chang’an isn’t only being compared to Assassin’s Creed, though. The story’s plot has drawn inspiration from another piece of iconic Western pop culture: The TV series 24. Rather than taking place over the course of 24 hours, though, Ma’s story is a detective piece about a retired investigator tasked with preventing a criminal conspiracy within 12 hours.

The show will reportedly soon be available on YouTube and Amazon for anyone dying to see how it compares.

If Ubisoft does decide to make a new Assassin’s Creed game set in China, there’s at least some indication that there’s a strong appetite for it. Fans point to the recent success of Total War: Three Kingdoms in China as an indication that Chinese gamers want more big Western gaming companies to make games about their country’s history.
Ubisoft was one of the earliest Western gaming companies to enter China, allowing it to build up a sizable following there. But operating in China also means being cautious about local sensitivities of a capricious fanbase. The company recently faced backlash over its upcoming game Watch Dogs: Legion, leading to a public apology.
The game has been interpreted by some as supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong because advertising features dissidents holding umbrellas -- a common symbol for Hong Kong protesters, who often use umbrellas to shield themselves from things like tear gas and rubber bullets fired by police. A promotional social media post in Chinese also read, “It is time for us to seize back our city, and our future.”

Watch Dogs doesn’t actually have anything to do with Hong Kong, though, as it’s set in a post-Brexit London. While most Chinese gamers think the two are unrelated, some were willing to be much more hostile toward Ubisoft online.

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.