We have been enjoying Ubisoft’s recent Assassin’s Creed video games as gamers. With the last two taking place in Ancient Egypt & Ancient Greece respectively, they have done something quite interesting. Instead of focusing only on historic, factual material, they have opened up the opportunity to let things like mythology creep in a bit.
This is nice to see as it only helps to fit a time period known for its legends and stories. People still are not sure of Jason and the Argonauts or simply Homer’s Illiad & Odyssey books themselves are true or false. Mostly because most of what he has claimed is based on fact, with only a few things known to be untrue.
Assassin’s Creed is still as historically accurate as it can be, but it is clear that in the next few games that they need to consider some big time periods. The problem for the team at Ubisoft is obviously going to be which to go with. It is said that one is currently in development now while they are still considering what to do with the following title.
We felt that we could offer at least 4 time periods that would be awesome for the Assassin’s Creed universe. This made us want to expand on the topic with a 4-Part Series. The first of these will be on the Viking Era, a massive time in history that could be awesome for an Assassin’s Creed video game.
Let’s dive in now!
The Viking Assassin
The Vikings were the definition of dominance, having destroyed any and all in their path for just under 300 years. The major portion of the Viking Age occurred from 793-1080 AD. This was the time period in which they were sailing the ocean throughout the known world, mostly in the northern section.
Before the Viking Age truly began, the Germanic Iron Age occurred. It was this era that would allow the Vikings to step up.
The Germans of their time were considered to be savages to the rest of the world. In fact, Ancient Rome and Egypt even had trouble handling them. Rome eventually fell and this led to an expansion in Europe.
No one had a better advantage in this time period than the Scandinavians…at least for a short while. The Scandinavians were taking over Europe in this period. They ended up expanding into modern-day Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Normandy, Italy, Netherlands, Ukraine, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man, Estonia, Turkey, Russia, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Germany.
With no one to stop them, these Norsemen were able to navigate both the known and unknown worlds. While they ended up conquering several sections, they also blended into others. However, it was the movement in these sectors that led to consolidation we see today in the Scandinavian nations.
However, it is this period of conquering that the “Viking Era” truly began. Yet it is important that we remember the history of what led to them doing so.
The Expansion On The Sea & Land
A lot of people forget that the Scandinavians are also the ones responsible for some of the major history in Europe. The Irish and Scottish have heavy connections to them because they’re the ones who began the Celtic influence.
The Vikings and colonists were considered to be massively violent and brutal raiders. Many feel that they were doing this as a revenge tactic. Christian Missionaries had invaded their tribal lands. The Saxon Wars are likely the main culprit in this. Of course, this was done by former King Charlemagne and his family toward the South.
It resulted in encroachment on the Scandinavian lands, which then began overpopulation, took away trade opportunities, and farmland from them. Lack of money and resources, combined with the death of many Scandinavians, we can see why the Viking Era is such a brutal time period.
It is interesting that most of our Viking history was not written by them but, rather, their enemies. Keep that in mind, as the stories surrounding them are absolutely epic. Imagine if they wrote their own history! Obviously, they did tell us a bit about themselves but like with many that do this, sometimes stories can be almost unbelievable. Yet their enemies back up several claims made.
Of course, the Vikings ended up in a war with many different people. This led to the sea, where the Vikings were almost unbeatable. The big enemies in their time were the French as well as the Anglo-Saxon. The latter of which eventually became Great Britain. Although they did face off with some Slavic Nations too.
Then King of the Franks & eventual Emperor of Rome, Charlemagne, actually had to face off with the Vikings off and on. He’d do so in some way for the rest of his life.
Assassin’s Creed Connection
With the Assassin’s Creed franchise focusing heavily on a war with The Templars, this connects heavily. In fact, it could be the era where we can actually show the Templar War starting. Considering the Templars have heavy religious ties, it is possible to connect them to this time period where they may have just been called something else.
The Holy Wars era is where the Assassin’s Creed franchise began. This era lasted from 1095 to 1291 AD, which means that our Viking Era can easily slide right into that time period. The Holy Wars are part of the start of the Crusades, which did not end until the late 1400s. However, what matters is the start of it
Of course, our assassin in the first game known as Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad is put right in the middle of this time period. It takes place in the Third Crusades period around 1191 AD. Thus, we could easily say that the Vikings connect to the Assassins while the Anglo-Saxon sector was heavily influenced by The Templars.
Keep in mind that Altaïr is Syrian and is most likely Muslim, so it makes complete sense that he too would oppose Christian-led expansion. Not so much due to the faith, but due to those behind its movement.
Dropping Into The History
Erik the Red was the leader of one section of the Vikings and the founder of their Greenland civilization. Obviously, we need our Assassin to come into contact with Erik, but also his influential children. Erik had many children, one of whom happens to be Lief Erickson.
It was Lief who technically led the Vikings when they discovered North America. They were mostly in modern-day Canada and never really navigated land-wise into the modern-day United States. However, they likely did sail past it with possible U.S. land in their eyesight at one point or another.
Many feel that if they wanted to, the Vikings could have remained in North America and likely could have expanded from Canada into the rest of the continent. Lief and the Vikings had already set up a colony in Newfoundland in a place called Vinland, which was at the northern tip of the island. This is in modern-day Canada today.
Yet most of the Vikings preferred Greenland and Iceland, which is likely why Newfoundland never expanded out as much as it could have. Lief also was against the idea of further expansion. This was believed to have been religiously motivated, as he recently became a Christian. However, there was more to it than that.
His half-sister Freydis Eriksdottir, however, wanted to expand further. She was just as tough as any other Viking male and in spite of her slightly smaller size, could fight with the best of them. She was one of the leaders for the Vikings along with her brother and father. Yet she was considered by some to be a homicidal maniac who thirsted for blood and war.
There are stories of her and her husband murdering Icelantic natives simply because they could or if they did not hand stuff over to them.
Why Didn’t They Expand Into North America?
While Native American tribes were present in this time period (around 1000 AD), it is highly unlikely they would have been able to fight off an invading Viking force. Vikings had iron weapons and were masters of warfare that was brutal and in your face. This means that, should history have changed slightly, the Natives would have been overrun by the Vikings. However, it is unlikely they would have done this as they did in European territories.
The Natives here were a lot like the early Scandinavians. If they did to others exactly what happened to them, just in a different way, they would not be any better. This was another reason Lief was against it.
However, many believe that the climate also played a huge role. This all happened during a time period called “The Medieval Warming” that occurred between 900 to 1300 AD. The North Atlantic was a bit warmer, causing warmer summers and very little sea ice. Yet the late-12th Century into the 13th Century, they saw what amounts to a small ice age, especially in that part of the world.
The Norse colony in Greenland heavily struggled by this point due to several horrible winters. Unlike the Inuit people who hunted seal, Vikings were used to farming and only hunting off and on. This had been the European custom for centuries prior.
All of this being said, if the Vikings struggled like this then they may very well have been unable to acclimate to the various environmental changes throughout North America. This means warfare wise they would have been fine but they would have died off much quicker due to trouble growing food. This is similar to what happened to other Europeans who came to America.
How Can Assassin’s Creed Connect The Vikings To AC Folklore?
Our Viking Assassin very well could allow us to explore the partial start of the Viking movement. Then by the mid-800s AD, we could end up bringing our Assassin into the era, or possibly by around 900 AD. We pretty much want the Viking Assassin to be present for the movement in Europe on top of the movement on the sea when the Vikings took over Iceland and Greenland.
This could result in his use throughout the late 800s into the mid-900s. It would make the most sense based on the time, as well as allow us to connect to even more Assassin’s Creed stories.
However, it is likely best to start our Assassin out as a young child who sees Erik the Red and Greenland’s founding but does not get involved in anything until the mid-900s. Then he or she will age as the story grows, which gets us to the Canadian time period where the assassin could easily have children that eventually move south and join tribes there.
That connects us to Assassin’s Creed III’s storyline. If you recall, it took place during the initial American Revolution from 1754 to 1783. Yet the tribes of Native Americans had been alongside immigrating Europeans for hundreds of years before this. Therefore, it is likely that we get another game that we can put between these to fill in some gaps.
Since the Viking Era is such a huge time period and involves numerous nations and huge historical figures, dropping us into this era would make sense.
The Assassin’s Creed Timeline
Of course, we do have time periods somewhat covered. The Ezio Assassin’s Creed II titles all took place during the Italian Renaissance. Meanwhile, Assassin’s Creed: Unity took place during the French Revolution. Ubisoft is seemingly trying to fill in all gaps when possible.
However, only the Ezio titles come before the third installment in the series. Before that, the last 2 games and the first Assassin’s Creed are present. This means all the other games they have will need to somehow fit in-between these.
This means we need to connect assassins wherever we can. It makes complete sense that due to the change-up in the series, Desmond Miles is no longer our present-day protagonist. Plus, our change in the Animus allows us to access memories of assassins unrelated to us. Abstergo’s improvements now allow anyone to do this, meaning we can find an assassin to fit nearly any era.
The problem simply is finding the right historical time periods to fit into the AC Timeline. The Viking Era fits in a time period right before the first game. This allows us to avoid any bypassing connection with other major assassins or game timelines. Therefore, not only is it a great era but we’re also filling in some major gaps.
This could ideally be the game where The Templars officially become the enemy of the Assassins. It makes perfect sense to do so in this time period with all the historical tie-ins that allow it.
That said, this is thought to be the next time period that Ubisoft is heading into. Therefore, we’re likely ahead of the curve a bit with this. For now, we shall wait and see.
In our next installment in this 4-part series, we discuss the Assassin’s Creed franchise moving into Feudal Japan!
[Custom Featured Images By Tony Mcelveen]