WARNING: The following includes details regarding the ending of "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood." If you're not looking to spoil it for yourself, you may want to stop reading here.
Like all "Assassin's Creed" games, the ending of "Brotherhood" was, well, infuriating. And not really in the ridiculous-cliffhanger sort of way. No, all of the games seem to end in a head-scratching moment of pure what-the-f**k. Nothing that makes you think, 'Man, I can't wait to see what happens next.' No, the usual feeling is, 'What the hell just happened?'
The ending of "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood" features the apparent death of a major character and more mystical prophecies from ancient holograms. No specifics, just sort of vague prognostications from an ancient race of proto-humans. Which is precisely zero help to you, since you just want to know where the next game will be set.
Everywhere Around The World...
If you only watched the ending once, you may have missed the biggest hint the developers gave us with regards to where the next game might be set. It came from Shaun Hastings, also known as the most annoying character ever written. And although you probably wanted to ignore every word that came out of his mouth, these last few words were important. At the moment that Desmond finally touched The Apple, holograms appeared all around the group. It was here that Shaun said the following:
"I know that symbol. That's a Phrygian Cap. It stands for freedom...and that, that's a Masonic Eye. Now those two come together in only one place--"
It's at this point that things go south. Everyone freezes in place and the end-game plays out. I'm going to ignore everything else that's said and just focus on Shaun's line.
Phrygian Cap And The Masonic Eye
God bless the internet. I'm not sure too many people know off the top of their heads the history of the Phrygian Cap symbol is, but Wikipedia sure does.
The two likely "places" that Shaun might be referring to are France and America, since the "Assassin's Creed" time line has long-since passed Republican Rome.
Now, factor in the "Masonic Eye." In America, the Phrygian Cap was used in early coinage. And the Eye? Well, do you have a US dollar handy? If so, you can spot the Masonic Eye at the top of the pyramid. It's also known as the Eye of Providence, and while it has many connections outside of Freemasonry, it's mark on American currency, like the Phrygian Cap, is strong.
So the developers clearly have us thinking America, but no specific time period is stated. Unfortunately, much is left up to speculation, but I do have a solid guess as to where "Assassin's Creed 3" will be set.
The American Revolution
At this point, I'm thinking that the next game will take place during the American Revolution, with the Freemasons playing a large role. First off all, take a look at the Freemason logo, placed next to the Assassin's Creed logo:
Secondly, and ignoring the fiction entirely, the buildings are still sort of small at this time period. There are limits to free-running and once buildings start to extend past five stories, you're going to need a lot more than good climbing gloves to keep things moving swiftly.
Thirdly, there are important historical figures that would fit in perfectly with the franchise. After all, George Washington was a Freemason. And Ben Franklin? A whiz with inventions, technology and early studies of electricity. Who better to hook you up with fancy new tech of the day, taking the place of Leonardo da Vinci?
The last reason I'm thinking that "Assassin's Creed" is bound for the US is that it makes good business sense. The franchise is one of Ubisoft's most successful, and it's not because people are fascinated by the futuristic dealings of Desmond and the Templars. People enjoy discovering and exploring famous periods in history, and few periods are more well-known than the American Revolution. This would give "Assassin's Creed 3" more mainstream cache, encouraging non-fans to check it out.
In New York...
And if Ubisoft really wanted to bring in the mainstream, where better to set the game than the most famous city in the world? New York's Manhattan Island in the late 1700s was made up of narrow, winding alleyways and a dense collection of buildings in the south, while the north part of the island was still mostly undeveloped, perfect for horse-riding and mansion-robbing.
Of course, if "Assassin's Creed 3" went the route of the second game in the series, we might even see multiple cities, with Philadelphia and Boston being the most likely inclusions. Either of these two cities could also make of their own game, if "Assassin's Creed 3" was followed up with a similar "Brotherhood"-style installment.
Ubisoft is obviously not talking about the setting of "Assassin's Creed 3" yet, though they have confirmed that a new game in the franchise will be coming in 2011. If Ubisoft follows the same promotional roll-out schedule as they have with the previous games, expect to start hearing more details around April of 2011. Until then, I've got a few dozen Borgia flags to collect.
It seems Shaun's was off about there being only one place where the Phrygian Cap And The Masonic Eye appear. Apart from American currency, the two actually appear on "The Declaration of the Rights of Man", with the eye at the top and the cap sitting on top of the spear in the middle. Which could mean the next game will be set during the French Revolution. Considering Ubisoft's French roots, it wouldn't be a surprising move.