Following ‘Assassin’s Creed Shadows’ Trailer Premiere, Former Ubisoft Contractor Reveals Rejected Pitch For Historically Accurate Franchise Entry: “I Guess They Tossed All That Out For Black Samurai”

Yasuke (TBA) and Naoe (TBA) stand ready for a fight on the cover to Assassin's Creed Shadows (TBA), Ubisoft
Yasuke (TBA) and Naoe (TBA) stand ready for a fight on the cover to Assassin's Creed Shadows (TBA), Ubisoft

With the debut of Assassin’s Creed Shadows first trailer, a former Ubisoft contractor has alleged that the gaming giant rejected his pitch for a more historically accurate, Feudal Japan-era franchise entry in favor of presenting players with a more ‘progressive’ narrative.

Yasuke (TBA) reveals himself in Assassin's Creed Shadows (2024), Ubisoft
Yasuke (TBA) reveals himself in Assassin’s Creed Shadows (2024), Ubisoft

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According to the ex-employee, known on Twitter as @InfinitaleComic and whose affiliation with Ubisoft and the project was independently verified by this article’s author, he had originally pitched a Japanese-era Assassin’s Creed title back while working for mobile game company Aeria Game Studios, now Gamigo, in 2013.

“I worked on some narrative elements for the Sengoku Era of Japan for Assassin’s Creed back in 2013-2014 when I worked under contract in San Jose/Tokyo (Aeria),” wrote the former contractor in response to a criticism of Shadows‘ announcement from fellow Twitter user @Mangalawyer. “I guess they tossed all that out for Black Samurai and some canon-destroying Kunoichi-boss?”

“I’m so glad I’m not in that industry anymore,” he added. “I guess it’s only fitting that my contributions to these studios vanish like everything else I worked on (every MMO shooter I have worked on has been shutdown).”

@InfinitaleComic reveals his original pitch for a Feudal Japan-era 'Assassin's Creed' title.
@InfinitaleComic via Twitter

From there, @InfinitaleComic detailed how, while working on an ultimately unreleased build of the now-shuttered Assassin’s Creed: Memories iOS game, he had helped to put together both official historical lore documents and a story treatment for a mainline series title set in the Sengoku Era of Japan.

This treatment, as shared by the former contractor himself, bears a striking similarity to what has been shown so far regarding Shadows, such as its featuring of historical figures Nobunaga Oda and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

However, in a stark difference from Shadows, rather than the historically enigmatic Yasuke and the seemingly modern-ized kunoichi Naoe, this pitch instead focused on a sole Japanese protagonist: Yamauchi Taka, a young monk who joins the Assassin’s order

Yasuke (TBA) and Naoe (TBA) come to an agreement in Assassin's Creed Shadows (2024), Ubisoft
Yasuke (TBA) and Naoe (TBA) come to an agreement in Assassin’s Creed Shadows (2024), Ubisoft

“The main conflict was about ‘The Sword of Eden’ (aka ‘Excalibur’, ‘Honjō Masamune’, ‘Genghis Khan’s Sword’, etc.). and how it had given its latest wielder, Oda Nobunaga, an unfair advantage in his conquest of Japan,” explained @InfinitaleComics. “After Nobunaga is assassinated by Hattori Hanzo, Taka becomes a part of the brotherhood and, under Hanzo, is trained as an Assassin (Shinobi). The brotherhood try to transport the recovered sword out of Japan but are beset by Jesuit (Templar) ships and it is lost. To make matters worse, Hanzo is assassinated as he considers retirement as a monk. His lord, Tokugawa Ieyasu, charges Taka with finding the killer (and recovering the sword).”

“Despite Nobunaga’s successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi acquiring the sword and going on a rampage that extends into Korea, Taka steals the sword back and mad Daimyo loses his power, weakening his campaign in Korea,” he detailed. “Incensed by the theft, Toyotomi believes he was betrayed by the Templars and basically exterminates all Jesuits (Templars) in Japan. Taka infiltrates Toyotomi’s castle and faces him in a final battle, resulting Toyotomi’s death.”

Yasuke (TBA) storms a castle in Assassin's Creed Shadows (2024), Ubisoft
Yasuke (TBA) storms a castle in Assassin’s Creed Shadows (2024), Ubisoft

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Bringing his recollection to a close, @InfinitaleComics ultimately concluded, “The ambitious daimyo is left to die as Taka slips away before his retainers could intercept him. The now seasoned assassin spares Toyotomi’s infant heir, knowing the clan has lost its teeth and will eventually wither without Hideyoshi. Ieysau begins his ambitious power grab, demanding Taka and the Brotherhood give him the sword and help him wipe away (“abstergo” in Latin) all of his enemies from Japan to fully unite it under his clan’s banners. Taka and the Brotherhood decline and vanish into the shadows with the sword.”

Pressed by fans for further details, @InfinitaleComics would reveal not only that his pitch would have left itself open for sequels, as “the story treatments I worked on ended with the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and didn’t follow through to the conclusion of the Sengoku Jidai”, but also the fact that while it did not feature a female ninja as its protagonist, “there was a scenario in the original treatments where Taka and Hanzo had to assassinate a noblewoman (Assassin turned Templar) that was running an orphanage of girls all trained to be kunoichi (female shinobi).”

@InfinitaleComic reveals his original pitch for a Feudal Japan-era 'Assassin's Creed' title.
@InfinitaleComic via Twitter

Finding myself intrigued after reading his tweets, I proceeded to reach out to @InfinitaleComics for additional information, particularly regarding any proof to his claims that he might be able to share.

Responding to my message, he proceeded to provide me with proof of his employment in the form of a number of design documents related to Memories bearing a metadata date of September 28th, 2013 – almost a full year before the game actually released in July 2014.

From there, I performed my own independent investigation into his background, during which I was not only able to confirm his prior employment at Aeria Games, but also discovered his past video game work portfolio, which itself contained a number of Memories art assets which had been created prior to the game’s release.

An 'Assassin's Creed: Memories' style guide, as shared by @InfinitaleComics
An ‘Assassin’s Creed: Memories’ style guide, as shared by @InfinitaleComics

As noted above, @InfinitaleComics’ pitch bears a striking similarity to what has been shown thus far of Shadows, particularly in how both are set in the specific Sengoku era and feature a heavy focus on the historical Nobunaga.

To this end, some have questioned whether or not Ubisoft borrowed elements from the Aeria Games pitch for use in their next official Assassin’s Creed title.

In pursuit of an answer, Bounding Into Comics has reached out to both Ubisoft and Gamigo for comment on the matter.

As of writing, neither entity have offered a reply – but rest assured, if either of them do, we will update this article with their respective responses.

Yasuke (TBA) suits up in Assassin's Creed Shadows (2024), Ubisoft
Yasuke (TBA) suits up in Assassin’s Creed Shadows (2024), Ubisoft

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