We’re just about two weeks away from the release of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the latest chapter in Ubisoft’s long-running time-hopping sci-fi action-adventure video game franchise. The series follows a secret order of assassins opposing the power-hungry machinations of the Knights Templars throughout history, with these events being experienced by descendants of the assassins in the near-future tapping into the genetic memories of their ancestors locked inside their DNA. After dipping slightly for a few years in terms of critical and commercial success, the Assassin’s Creed games have seen a resurgence of late thanks to the franchise returning to its roots – literally. And now as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is creating hype as it brings the franchise to next-gen gaming platforms, it would appear that Netflix wants to get in on some of that action.
In a set of tweets posted just minutes ago, the streaming service has revealed that is currently developing a live-action TV series based on the Assassin’s Creed games. Ubisoft’s very own Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik will be executive producers on the show.
Aaaaaaand that’s all we know about this development right now. Just like the many protagonists in the games hiding out in crowds before they pounce, this news has come out of nowhere. This isn’t Netflix’s first foray into the high-profile video game adaptation arena though, having recently produced a live-action series based on The Witcher starring Henry Cavill. That show was MASSIVELY successful for the streamer and has already spawned prequels and animated spinoffs on top of the highly-anticipated second season.
We unfortunately can’t say the same thing about the previous live-action adaptation of Assassin’s Creed though. Despite a killer cast led by Michael Fassbender and a super-talented filmmaker in Justin Kurzel, 2016’s Assassin’s Creed feature film was a critical and commercial flop. The movie was gorgeous to look at and action choreography was great – especially its dedication to the games’ signature parkour action – but everything else was a mess.
The movie didn’t adapt the events of the games – which to that point had focused on only a handful of characters such as Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad during the Third Crusade and Ezio Auditore da Firenze during the Italian Renaissance in the 16th century – but rather told the story of a different unrelated assassin. Though there were a few anomalies, the movie was designed to slot into the overall timeline of the games and exist alongside them, but who knows if Netflix will do the same here.
Given how poorly received the movie was, the streamer will probably do what they did with The Witcher and combine a handful of key story points to create something new. I’m definitely down with that.
UPDATE: In a follow-up Ubisoft blog post, the video game publisher has also revealed that the deal signed with Netflix “includes multiple different series, the first of which will be a genre-bending live-action epic, while the others will be animated and anime adaptations”. So yep, definitely following the Witcher model of success here.
Last Updated: October 27, 2020