"There is no justice in politics; no right or wrong; no black or white. There is only bloodshed, backstabbing, murder, destruction: When giants clash, the victims are the little people, pushed around mercilessly by the ones who have power. These are troubled times, and troubled times call for radical solutions......"
- Jonathan Griffon, Assassin's Creed: Turbulence "War" Trailer
Assassin's Creed: Turbulence (Chinese: 刺客信条：乱世豪杰) is an upcoming action-adventure game and the thirteenth main installment in the Assassin's Creed series. It is also the first major Assassin's Creed game that is not developed by Ubisoft Montreal. The first game of a planned new saga, the player takes the role of a new protagonist, Yisun Chen, a quarter-American member of the Chinese Brotherhood, as he relives the memory of his grandfather, Jonathan Griffon, in search for the whereabouts of the second Sword of Eden.
The game is set for release on 23 October, 2021 in Mainland China, 27 October in Europe and November 1 in UK. It is available for PlayStation 5, XboxNEXT, and PC, with a planned release on Nintendo WiiPlay in 2022.
Assassin's Creed: Turbulence follows Jonathan Griffon, a mercenary fighter pilot during the Second Sino-Japanese War, who was later recruited by the OSS division in Shanghai to uncover a Japanese plot that may turn the tide of WWII.
The game is highly anticipated and closely followed as it is the first major production mainly developed by Ubisoft Shanghai.
Assassin's Creed: Turbulence began as a series of negotiations between Ubisoft Shanghai and Montreal since 2017, shortly after the release of Assassin's Creed Origins. However, due to human resource limitations and governmental policies Ubisoft Shanghai was unable to work on a large-scale project on its own and as a result a planned Assassin's Creed title for the team was put on halt indefinitely.
After changes regarding laws of video game censorship and intellectual property in China, as well as an increase in employee numbers, the Shanghai-based team finally came to an agreement with Montreal to head the development of a new Assassin's Creed title in late 2018. Main development was carried out in conjunction with the Chengdu studio, and additional assistance was provided by six studios in Sofia, Quebec, Kiev, Annecy, Barcelona and Toronto, in addition to technical advisement from Montreal.
The creative director, Qiyin Xing, previously worked as a creative advisor in the video game wing at Tencent. He was offered the job as the creative director for the game shortly after finishing his involvement in the Kings of Glory mobile game. He was chosen mainly for his knowledge of the series, being a "big fan" of the game.
Xing was ambitious in creating a long story-line covering many aspects of the war and plans to recreate historical events "as accurate as possible". He also plans to return the storytelling of the game back to the original Assassin's Creed style, which is more linear and emphasizes on smooth flow of plot.
Popular internet writer @Haozhugonglelanbaicai was hired to write the single player storyline, he had previously been known for his historical fiction web novels and his accurate description of historical events and aesthetics. He also acted as the historical advisor for the development group. Co-op missions and side missions were done by Zhi Kang and Boyang Liu of the Chengdu studio.
The game is dubbed mainly in Chinese, where dialogue in Japanese and English were dubbed in the respective language with Chinese subtitles. The North American and UK releases were redubbed and subtitled in English by Quebec, whereas the European release retained the Chinese dub, only changing the language of the subtitles. To maintain the authenticness of an American who had only learned Chinese of recent, the Shanghai studio recruited volunteers for the main character from American students in Shanghai Foreign Language School. Alex Adler, a sophomore majoring in broadcasting, was eventually chosen as the voice actor for Jonathan for his "generally authentic" pronunciation and accent.
The game is built upon the WrenchRabbit engine developed by the Chengdu studio, it is a modified version of the Anvil engine which further improved animation, texture, physical effects, lighting and optimization when running the game.The system also allows smoother running and climbing mechanics as well as a developed ranged combat mechanism and a better stealth mechanism suited for the "inflitration" style of gameplay.
Musical components of the game were composed in the studio in Kiev. Stefan Melnik, lead composer of the soundtrack, drew inspiration from “Shanghai Classics", pop songs that were sang and played in socialite ballrooms in Shanghai during the 30s-40s for a more accurate and coherent theme.
Stealth has a heavier emphasis in game compared to previous works within the franchise. The WrenchRabbit engine allows for lighting to play a more important role in stealth as enemies would have lower detection radius in darkness and gradually increases as they get closer to light sources, giving player more strategical options when evading attention.
The new system encourages players to avoid combat as enemy encounters become significantly harder, and firearm damage is greatly increased, prompting the player to avoid detection during missions and encounters, and level design has allowed more freedom for the player to tackle objectives, while encouraging players to kill as few enemies as possible.
The new dragging mechanism allows the player to drag bodies of killed enemies, either to cover up their tracks or distracting enemies, enabling a Commandos style of strategizing that the overall gameplay aesthetics are going for.
The ranged combat mechanism has been improved to suit the setting of the game, allowing first-person view when aiming with weapons. Ranged assassination and hit-and-run tactics play a greater role in missions. Lead mechanics designer, Qinyang Ye, assured that melee combat would still be important to the gameplay, but less common and prevalent than previous games and greater focus will be put on puzzle-solving and stealth approaches. With the improved physics engine, melee combat will allegedly be even more "realistic".
With storytelling leaning towards a more linear style similar to the first Assassin's Creed, more locations will be covered and included within the main storyline of the game. However, this does not imply there will be less freedom in terms of exploration within the city, as the game features what is described as the "largest map in the history of Assassin's Creed", with a map covering over 120 km2, almost the size of the maps of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption combined, spanning over four cities/areas: Shanghai, Chongqing, Yan'an and Urumuqi.
Most of Nationalist Era Shanghai and Chongqing will be accessible by the player, with certain areas that are of less gameplay value omitted. Yan'an and Urumuqi will be much smaller cities and contain large landmasses of suburbs and wilderness, including cavern systems, villages and Japanese military facilities, for the player to explore and interact with.
The Stronghold mechanism, introduced in the game, replaces much of the unlockables and collectibles in previous games, with the player striving to capture a stronghold to gain access to weapons, gear and resources that will aid them as the game processes.
Transportation has become more important in game and Jonathan will be able to utilize an assortment of vehicles to aid him in getting around the enormous map better, including cars, military jeeps, trucks, motorcycles, horses, armored cars and even tanks. As Ye assured, this will not undermine the importance of free-running in the game as free-running could traverse more crowed areas much more easily and could ignore terrain restriction that vehicles would otherwise be unable to circumvent.
Activities and Collectibles
Assassinations and kidnappings in the previous games are combined into missions known as "Strategic Subversion" and are accepted solely through intelligence offices spread across the maps, the missions will be replenished after a certain amount of time every time a mission is completed.
Research is a new mechanism introduced in the game where the player collects research reports in Japanese military bases and outposts to contribute towards a research bar and whenever the bar reaches a "breakthrough" mark the player will be able to unlock experimental weapons, gear and even vehicles, often given choices to best suit their gameplay style.
Control is another mechanism introduced in the game tied into the Stronghold mechanic where the player's progress in liberating strongholds will fill in a control bar that would gradually give them access to military resources such as an artillery shelling, an airstrike or even reinforcements during missions and gameplay. More control within an area also makes it safer for the player to traverse and conduct activity as enemy patrols will lessen, replaced by friendlies as control over an area increases.
The money system plays less significant role within the game as many weapons and equipment are unlocked by doing activity. However, the player is still able to purchase weapons in black markets and local suppliers located in cities and villages. Vehicles cannot be purchased with dealers and are found strewn across the area for the player to interact with. Unlocked vehicles could be found in the garage of the nearest intelligence office, where would also provide basic forms of transport, usually in the form of cars, motorcycles and/or horses.
Character, Customization and Weapons
Throughout the game as Jonathan completes missions and earns experience he will be able to spend them on a skill tree with three different specialities: Combat (melee and ranged), Utility (navigation) and Subterfuge (stealth), with active and passive abilities benefiting Jonathan in different ways. For example, Jonathan could acquire the ability Extreme Focus that slows down time for 5 seconds when triggered.
The character, Jonathan Griffon, will have access to a variety of gear and weapons to customize his loadout to suit the playstyle of the player. His hairstyle and facial hair, as well as outfit, could be customized and purchased in barber shops and clothing stores, respectively. Changing an outfit within an alleyway clears heat similar to removing wanted posters or paying newsboys in previous games. The player is also able to obtain gear within the following categories to aid in their gameplay:
Gadgets - Equipment that could be used in a standalone slot on the equipment page, such as the Military Radio that tunes into enemy frequencies and briefly reveals their positions, or the Crossbow that shoots a zip line that the player could utilize similar to that of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
Accessories - Equipment that enhances player performance such as body armor, and associated clothing such as boots, gloves, jackets.
Since the game's relatively modern timeframe, the use of firearms are greatly increased. The player is able to equip four of the following categories of weapons:
Melee - Weapons used in melee combat, bayonets, daggers, clubs, single and double-handed swords.
Sidearm - Weapons that are short in range and deal relatively less damage but easy to conceal; handguns, revolvers, and even sawed-off shotguns.
Rifles - Firearms dealing high damage per shot but comparatively slow in rate of fire. Carbines, bolt-action rifles, semi-automatic rifles, many of which have sniper variants that are scoped and have even longer range.
Submachine Guns - Firearms dealing low damage per shot but high rate of fire and easy to conceal. Due to its high rate of fire the player is only able to carry 150 rounds of ammo every time.
Machine Guns - Firearms having immense damage and high rate of fire at the same time but is highly inaccurate and slows down the player's movement when firing. The player is only able to carry 250 rounds of ammo every time.
Shotguns - Firearms that are short in range but high in damage and has area affect.
In addition, there are also heavy weaponry that could be contemporarily picked up and used. Anti-tank rifles, flamethrowers, heavy machine guns and even rocket launchers providing player emergency relief in desperate situations.
The player is also able to carry two types of grenades alongside their choice of weaponry.
A new feature in the game to prevent the player from being overpowered due to the introduction of rapidly firing firearms is the weight system. Every item equipped by the player is associated with a weight value and passing certain thresholds would gradually limit their player's mobility until they are unable to move at all. Prompting the player to strategize what gear to equip exactly and how much ammunition to bring.
Compared to previous games, Assassin's Creed: Turbulence contains much more aspects of science fiction and some missions within the game pertain much to popular conspiracy theories on the Japanese in WWII that are often seen within the historical fiction genre in China. The research mechanism also yields non-existent or limited designs that appeared during the period, ranging from the Type 2 SMG to the Personal Tankette.
The game takes place in seven years between 1941 and 1947.
The Jade Pendant of the Twin Fish singleplayer campaign - Set in 1944, this short campaign involves a rumored artefact in the mysterious area of Lop Nor in Xinjiang, and a Nazi conspiracy revolving around it, plotted to overturn the tide of war.
Hunt For the Dahanjian mission pack - Set in 1944, the mission pack takes place in Nagoya, Japan, where Jonathan works with Kuomintang agents to assassinate the "Great Traitor" Wang Jing-wei.
The Last Stand mission - Set on December 10, 1949, the player controls Jonathan to stall the advance of the PLA on Chengdu to buy time for Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek and son to evacuate via airport to Taiwan.
A direct sequel to the game, considered an expansion pack due to mostly same gameplay features and mechanics, Assassin's Creed: Division, is planned to be developed and likely to be released in Q3 2022, taking place two years after the events of Assassin's Creed: Turbulence as players return into the shoes of Jonathan Griffon as he is caught up in the bloody struggle on the Korean Peninsula, trying to prevent the Capitalists and Communists from destroying each other and starting a new world war.
- Assassin's Creed: Turbulence is the first main installment in the series that takes place in East Asia.
- During E3 2020, one of the main developers in the series hinted that "it is time for us to introduce a little change to the series; you know, it starts getting boring if it's made by the same people all the time." Merely a month later, developmental screenshots were leaked via Weibo in China, confirming the development of a new game by the studio in Shanghai.
- The game was the only installation of the series that is banned in Japan due to controversial content involving Japanese war crimes during the Second World War.
- Assassin's Creed: Turbulence is one of, if not the, game that features the fewest famous historical figures being assassinated by the main character, due to most of the characters, whether protagonists or antagonists, featured in the game, died at a later time period.