It's no secret that Ubisoft has shown interest in setting up a studio in the Philippines, and then started encouraging Filipinos to submit their resumes during the E-Sports Gaming Summit. It could only mean one thing: that an Assassin's Creed game set in the Philippines is bound to happen. Or else, why would they be interested in checking Filipino resumes? Unless they're just looking to expand their talent pool.

In any case, a Philippine-based Assassin's Creed sounds like a delightful thing. There is a rich history scattered around every era that it's actually impossible not to come up with some crazy-awesome story based on what happened five hundred years ago.

There are a lot of words to choose a title from. Freedom is one, but we figured it's possible it might hit on something a little more closer to what happened to the country. It will have to be something that rolls smoothly in the tongue, and knowing Ubisoft, they're looking for a one word title - Assassin's Creed: Colony is possible, or, Assassin's Creed: Conquistadors sounds pretty sick. But then again, it could just be Assassin's Creed: Conquest. Imperial doesn't sound too far from the bat either. But besides the names and its setting, it will more or less reflect whatever story they cooked up, like Black Flag, Unity, and Syndicate.

Then again, we shouldn't concern ourselves too much with the title. What's important is the timeline. Right now, should Ubisoft decide to have an Assassin's Creed game set right here in Manila, we've narrowed it down to three potential eras.

1521

It's also known as the year when Magellan first reached Philippine shores and gave the archipelago its proud name. A Spaniard Assassin would be an awesome concept, and then inheriting his skills from a Filipino native, presumably a warrior from the first hero Lapu-Lapu's tribe. But then again, the Assassin's Creed games are always looking forward. This type of setting would have been more interesting and fitting back in 2007. Besides, there are not many establishments around this time, only a few villages, ships, and an overload of wilderness. But there would be multiple islands to hop around with unique rock formations and dozens of caverns to explore that it would turn Assassin's Creed into a strange combination of Assassin's Creed III and Tomb Raider.

Photo by Justin Jovellanos

1890s-1900s

This is the most popular time in Philippine history. It's a stronghold of economic growth and development, colonization, rebellion, and inequality. Heroes fought both in the form of politics and in blade. Blood was shed everywhere. Filipinos were second-class citizens and some of the educated ones were recognized and fortunate enough to leave the country. The Spaniards that roamed the streets of Manila were hostile. If this era would be featured, we won't be dealing with Filipinos and Spaniards only. We'll be dealing with the Chinese, Indians (thanks to the British), and Moros. Edge a little into the early 1900s, we can throw in Japanese and Americans into the mix. It would probably be the most diversified setting in Assassin's Creed history.

So, what's there in this era?

The revolutionary group known as the "Katipunan" was founded on 1892. They fought for the liberation of Philippines from the Spaniards. In 1896, Philippine National hero Jose Rizal was executed. A year after was the controversial killings of the Bonifacio brothers. General Antonio Luna was murdered in 1899 by fellow Filipinos during the Filipino-American War started. Story-wise, there's so much happening that spanned in decades. Though, I don't think we would go that far. But if Ubisoft has seen the film Heneral Luna, they might be swayed otherwise.

Photo by Justin Jovellanos

Then there's more good stuff to use.

There would also be a lot of interesting places to climb and run around. The Walled City, Intramuros, was built in 1571, and has since established residences, colleges, and churches. The University of Santos Tomas, for instance, built in 1611, was first located in Intramuros until it was moved in 1927. Fort Santiago is right beside Intramuros, and will definitely be around. Manila Cathedral would be there as a viewpoint, of course. Manila Bay would play a vital role in 1898 that is known in history as The Battle of Manila Bay, which sought the end of the Spanish colonial period in Philippines. This could work as the final mission.

Again, lots of good stuff, lots of places to explore. A blown up version of Intramuros and Manila in general is a welcome premise. It can carry over the drive system from Syndicate and sailing from Black Flag.

The setback here is that the game might mimic Assassin's Creed III. Replace New York with Intramuros, and the rest are pretty much wilderness after wilderness, with a few villages spread out. There won't be much room to parkour, unless you're inside the Walled City. But if Ubisoft decides to take a few liberties, it's all in good faith.

1941

Now this is way ahead in time, even in Assassin's Creed. But we can assume if they were to start developing a title set in Philippines, it won't be until four or five years later. Syndicate was said to have been developed alongside Unity, which started development in 2010, right after Brotherhood. This gave the latest entry at least five years in development.

In this case, an Assassin's Creed during World War II is bound to happen at some point. The Manila version might be a spin-off, but let's hope it wouldn't be as bad as Rogue. In this time, American soldiers flocked the Manila streets. Intramuros, the University of Santo Tomas, and other locations had been turned into prison camps. The Manila Post Office riddled with bullet holes, Quiapo Bridge, sunk on the bottom of the Pasig River. If anything, it's an apocalyptic era for the country, where everything is plunging to death and despair.

Photo by Justin Jovellanos

Why would this be an ideal setting? For all, the country is developed enough for Manila to have buildings everywhere, more than enough to scale some decent heights, bridges to cross, ships to wreck, cargos to sabotage. The blending in nature of Assassin's Creed would not be about mixing into the crowd, but keeping a low profile. You don't use automated weapons because it's loud, clumsy, and tools used by cowards.


There are more interesting structures in this time as well, particularly the Manila City Hall, which was constructed in 1939 (technically, 1901, but the 1939 version is the bigger one.) Since Philippines is under the protection of the Catholic church, the Manila City Hall was designed to look like the shield of the Knights Templar.

Once more, lots of good stuff to fool around with. It's not a guarantee that Ubisoft will actually have Philippines as an Assassin's Creed setting, but with the company jumping from country to country in each game, the idea is not totally impossible.

About the author: Jonathan Kevin Castillo

Jonathan is hiding from a lynch mob after messing with the wrong basketball team. His favorite song is "Boys do Fall in Love" by Robin Gibb.


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