The next instalment of the Assassin’s Creed (AC) video game franchise will be set in the Iraqi capital Baghdad according to insider sources cited in a report last week by Bloomberg.
The developers behind the hugely successful series, Ubisoft, are currently working on the new game, which was originally planned to be a DLC (downloadable content) for the AC Valhalla game released in 2020 but is now rumoured to be a standalone title.
The upcoming game, codenamed “Rift”, will focus on the backstory of one of the main antagonists from the Viking-centric Valhalla game named Basim Ibn Ishaq. The character hails from the Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate and is a member of the so-called Hidden Ones, an ancient order of assassins which is a feature of the game’s lore. It is also noteworthy that the Vikings had direct contact with the Abbasids.
Although the project will not be on the same scale as the large open world game of Valhalla and other later AC titles, Rift is speculated to return to the more stealth-focused gameplay which characterised earlier versions of the series.
It will also be the first time the game will be set in the Middle East region since the 2007 release of the ground-breaking first entry of Assassin’s Creed which was set during the Third Crusades in the Holy Land.
A spokeswoman for Ubisoft told Bloomberg that the company won’t comment “on rumours or speculation as they do a disservice to our development teams and community”. However, she did confirm that it has a “solid and exciting line-up of titles in our pipeline, both established brands with new story twists and features, and brand new IPs that will continue to change the landscape of today’s video games”.
Late last year, Valhalla producer Jose Araiza confirmed the return of Basim, telling Eurogamer: “I’m not going to give you more details. But yes, you definitely will see more of Basim.”
Rift is expected to be released later this year or in 2023, the sources said.