Netflix is working to adapt another major video game series: Assassins Creed. It’s signed an agreement with Ubisoft to develop a major TV franchise based on the games, starting with a live-action show.
According to Ubisoft, the “deal includes multiple different series, the first of which will be a genre-bending live-action epic, while the others will be animated and anime adaptations.”
The gaming franchise started off in 2007 with Assassin’s Creed, about a centuries-long fight for free will and control between two groups: the Assassins and the Templars. Players follow a modern day character who can draw upon memories of their ancestors. Since the first game, Ubisoft has released a number of games for PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and mobile devices.
The series has been adapted before: in 2016, Justin Kurzel released an adaptation starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons, set alongside the video games, but with an original story during the Spanish Inquisition. The film wasn’t well received, and a sequel never materialized. Over the years, there’s been a handful of short films, Assassin’s Creed: Lineage (live-action), Assassin’s Creed: Ascendance (animated), and Assassin’s Creed: Embers (animated).
The franchise is the latest such acquisition for the streaming service—it released the first season of The Witcher last year to much acclaim, and has begun spinning it off with a handful of other projects, including a live-action prequel series and an animated movie, and it’s announced that it’ll be building out a franchise based on the Resident Evil series, which includes a live-action show and animated shows. (Incidentally, Netflix just released a teaser for the animated show, Infinite Darkness.)
Netflix’s approach as of late has been to pick up properties from which it can build out larger constellations of original projects, a mix of live-action and animated films and television shows, which it can then use to attract and retain subscribers. The idea here is that dedicated fans of these video game franchises will sign up and keep watching as new seasons come out year after year.
That’s critical for the company, which has put a huge emphasis on original (expensive) content. It’s been facing increased competition from the likes of Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, and CBS All Access, all of which have their own high-profile franchises.