The next Assassin’s Creed game is rumored to be set in Baghdad, returning Ubisoft’s sneaky action series to the Middle East for the first time since its initial installment in 2007.
That’s according to investigative journalist Jason Schreier, who said the next Assassin’s Creed title – codenamed Rift and thought to be a spin-off game – will be set in the capital city of Iraq. Schreier revealed the setting of the game in a Reddit post, dismissing a rumor that it would be located in central Mexico during the Aztec Empire.
The rumor tallies with what we already know about Rift. The game is expected to star Basim, a character first introduced in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla who, according to the game’s lore, was born in the Abbasid Caliphate. The capital of that caliphate was Baghdad. Although Rift hasn’t yet been officially revealed by Ubisoft, rumors suggest it will be a smaller, stealth-focused series entry.
Schreier went on to suggest that Rift will release before Assassin’s Creed Infinity, an upcoming live service game that’s been acknowledged but also hasn't yet had an official reveal. Infinity is expected to serve as a central hub for the series
“The next AC game is Rift, which is set in Baghdad,” Schreier said in the Reddit post.
“After that will be AC Infinity, and while that's going to include a bunch of different games/experiences/biomes/whatever you want to call them, I've heard about the main two and neither of them are Aztec.”
A perfect choice
Baghdad is an inspired choice of setting for Assassin’s Creed. Sandwiched between Europe and Asia, it served as a hub of cultural history, and a political focal point of the Middle East for centuries. As the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, it grew to become the world’s largest city, thriving on scholarly, scientific and artistic discoveries, while spurring the Islamic Golden Age.
That gives Ubisoft plenty of fertile ground to work with when it comes to storytelling. Although Rift is pitched as a smaller Assassin’s Creed game, it's likely to have the same romanticized historical drama that’s hallmarked the series. Its writers will be left spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting interesting characters and novel plot lines.
Although no details have been confirmed just yet, we can be sure of a few story points. Baghdad was destroyed by a Mongol invasion in the 13th Century, and as much as series fans would like to see the horse archers of the steppes make an appearance, don't be expecting them to show up. Rift’s protagonist, Basim, lived in the 9th Century, a couple of hundred years too soon.
The game is reportedly scheduled for release sometime later this year or in 2023. Now we’re halfway through 2022 without having seen so much as an official reveal, our money’s on next year.