Assassin's Creed Shadows: everything we know about the first AC game set in feudal Japan

Assassin's Creed Shadows is being developed by Ubisoft Quebec, the studio behind Assassin's Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft)
Assassin's Creed Shadows is being developed by Ubisoft Quebec, the studio behind Assassin's Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft)

Assassin’s Creed Shadows is out in the open. It’s the first game in the series set in Japan. And fans have asked for an “Assassin’s Creed Japan” almost since the franchise began in the late 2000s.

It’s a new setting, but will we get a new style of Assassin’s Creed gameplay too, after the return-to-roots of 2023’s Assassin’s Creed Mirage?

Yesterday, Ubisoft premiered its first in-depth look at Assassin’s Creed: Shadows’ gameplay, and we’re getting excited. Teased as "the future of our open-world RPG games on Assassin's Creed”, it’s got two playable protagonists, new combat mechanics and some eyewateringly detailed graphics.

Here’s what else we know so far.

What is Assassin’s Creed Shadows’s release date?

Assassin’s Creed Shadows is due on November 15. While this could be subject to future delays, it’s a date as official as they come. You can find it posted on the blurbs of the @assassinscreed X and Instagram social media accounts.

The game is already available to pre-order too. The standard edition of Assassin’s Creed Shadows costs £59.99. The Gold Edition is an eye-watering £94.99, which gets you 3-day early access and the season pass, covering “two upcoming expansions” and other downloadable content.

You can spend even more if you like. The Ultimate Edition costs £114.99 and includes a handful of bonus in-game items such as gear for your characters and customisations for your in-world hangout.

What is Assassin’s Creed setting and gameplay

The Assassin’s Creed games are all about performing deadly takedowns and death-defying parkour in beautifully realised period settings — and Shadows is likely to be no different.

The new game will whisk players to feudal Japan, a location all the rage in pop culture thanks to the success of the Disney Plus series Shogun, and games such as Ghost of Tsushima and Rise of the Ronin.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows takes place in 1579, during the Sengoku period. This was a time of civil war in Japan, as you can see in the trailer lower down this article.

There are two playable characters, Yasuke and Naoe. Yasuke is a black man, Naoe a female shinobi.

Yasuke is roughly inspired by a real historical figure too, the subject of a 2021 Netflix anime of the same name, in which he’s known as the “black samurai”.

“With our dual protagonists, we have two fantasies, the samurai and the shinobi,” game director Charles Benoit told PC Gamer.

“We want the player to experience both, and we cannot squeeze both fantasies into one character because the samurai and shinobi came from different social classes. They have different lives. So we cannot really mix them together.”

This suggests you won’t pick one for a playthrough, and instead will switch between the two in Grand Theft Auto V style. Yasuke is a straight-up fighter who embodies the combat styles of more recent AC games such as Odyssey and Origins, Naoe more of a classic Assassin’s Creed character, a stealthy and lithe figure who can sink into the shadows, uses a wooden reed to breathe underwater and escape enemy detection. Even better, Ubisoft has promised that the weather will change with the seasons, allowing Naoe to use thunderstorms, snow or foliage as coverage as she tracks down her enemies.

Yasuke wields a kanabō, which can fully decapitate enemies (or impale them), and can even run straight through doors and walls. Naoe, meanwhile, wields a polearm and katana as part of her fighting gear, which the gameplay showcase showed her switching between in combat.

She will also have a grappling hook, which is likely to become Assassin’s Creed Shadow’s key stealth tool.

“The grappling hook allows you to climb over walls that you cannot climb with Yasuke, or without the hook, which opens different paths for Naoe,” Creative Director Jonathan Dumont said in a trailer breakdown.

Even better, the assassination scenes have been changed up, too: a death will be greeted by a Kurosawa-style animation, in which colour bleeds to black and white, except for the bright red blood spatters of the downed enemy.

You can expect political intrigue, ruthless warlords, machiavellian power grabs, and an army of ninjas and samurai. It’s developed by Ubisoft Quebec, a Canadian video game studio under the larger Ubisoft umbrella responsible for 2018’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and 2020’s Immortals Fenyx Rising.

Assassin’s Creed: Shadows trailer

Ubisoft released the first Assassin’s Creed Shadows trailer on May 15. It’s a cinematic preview that offers a look at a few of the game’s themes and characters. But if you want to fee full-on gameplay, you’ll have to wait.

However, the trailer did become the number one trending video on YouTube, so it’s clear people do want to see what’s up next for Assassin’s Creed.

For a deeper dive into what each part of the trailer tells us, don’t miss the trailer breakdown too. It features Creative Director Jonathan Dumont and Assistant Director of Cinematic Design Akim Milne talking about Assassin’s Creed Shadows in more detail: