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African samurai charges into Assassin’s Creed

Play as both an agile shinobi and a formidable samurai in the upcoming ‘Assassin’s Creed Shadows’.

Set in 16th century Japan, the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Shadows (ACS) features a real-life historical samurai as one of its two protagonists. Originating from Africa, Yasuke was known for his formidable size, remarkable strength, and keen intelligence, which is emphasised in Shadows. He offers a distinct perspective on the late Sengoku period (Azuchi-Momoyama era), known for its political tumult, warfare, and dramatic social reformation.

In the game, Yasuke meets with a Japanese leading figure of the time, a daimyo (warlord) by the name of Oda Nobunaga. Jonathan Dumont, creative director at Ubisoft Quebec, says: “There is a lot of speculation about Yasuke’s arrival in Japan. The most common one is that Yasuke came in a couple years ago before this meeting, and he learned Japanese quite fast. And he was very fluent into the Japanese culture. And that impressed Oda.

“So, his stature, of course, impressed Oda, he was seen as super big. His skin colour was one thing as well that the reports on the chronicle of Oda say that that was the first African man that Oda had ever seen. Oda asked him to stay with him, and this what we know pretty much of the story of Yasuke. So, there are a couple of elements that we will see also in the game that are historical reports of his presence, but then after that, there’s quite a bit of an interesting ‘What if?’ with him that will happen.”

Yasuke is combat-oriented and armoured, whereas the second protagonist, Naoe, is a shinobi who uses stealth, parkour, and gadgets. At the beginning, she is a 17-year-old from Iga, and the daughter of one of the era’s most iconic shinobi, Fujibayashi Nagato, who – despite a promise to keep her safe – is forced to train her to be his equal in battle. With her home province of Iga squarely in the path of Nobunaga’s conquest, she sees first-hand the destruction that war can bring, and vows to use her skills to help her people.

The pair’s personalities ultimately complement each other to form a distinct dynamic. Both offer different gameplay experiences, and overlapping perspectives on a transformative moment in Japanese history.

Naoe and Yasuke’s disparate personalities also lead them to have different relationships and rapports with other characters, and they don’t always feel the same way about people, nor do people always feel the same way about them. Romantically, they will also attract and be attracted to different types of people. Through the pair, players will get to experience a multitude of relationships.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows launches on 15 November 2024. It will be available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Amazon Luna, Macs with Apple silicon via the Mac App Store, PC through the Ubisoft Store and the Epic Games Store. Play the Ultimate Edition 3 days early as part of the Ubisoft+ Premium subscription which includes the season pass, bonus digital content, and the pre-order bonus quest “Thrown to the dogs”.

* Pre-order ‘Assassins Creed Shadows’ here.

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