The big selling point of the Assassin’s Creed series has been its mixture of past and near-future-set story – the core gameplay typically takes place in a sumptuous period city (or location with ample opportunity for free-running), but the framing device involves corporate ancient guilds and doomsday plots, with your character reliving the past events through ancestral DNA.
This basic balance is what Justin Kurzel’s movie adaptation, due in just a couple of weeks, is going for, although it looks like there’ll be more to the modern pieces than the simple exposition dump they were in the early games. Approximately two thirds of the film will be set in the near-future, and stars Jeremey Irons and Marion Cotillard’s characters exist in the future exclusively (as CEO of nefarious company Abstergo Industries and overseer of DNA time travel machine the Animus, respectively).
A new clip from the film, titled “Cafeteria”, has come online, showing a conversation between Michael Fassbender’s Callum Lynch and Michael K. Williams’ fellow inmate discuss what it’s like being held by company Abstergo and gives a taste of Assassin politics.
This is the first clip for the film released that’s set totally in the future (the past have either been in 15th Century Spain or involved the Animus) so gives a proper taste of how Kurzel is going to present the future, with a very sterile, concrete backdrop and a lingering camera playing up the paranoia.
This is one of the biggest departures the movie appears to be taking from the source. In the original game, which the movie seems to be predominantly taking from (there’s the same basic set-up and goal MacGuffin), the player was the lone prisoner of Abstergo, so this is a major expansion on the idea. The “cafeteria” seen in the clip acts almost exactly like a prison, even with mysterious gangs (most likely to the modern day Assassins), and there’s a hint at the psychological effect of going into the Animus, with Williams’ Moussa saying his real name is Baptiste, the voodoo poisoner whose memories he can access, who happens to be a character in the video games.
There’s clearly a desire to make the future more interesting than just between-mission downtime, which is promising for fans of the series lore: in later games a much bigger conspiracy was revealed, going all the way back to Adam & Eve and involving cross-millennia messages. Whether we’ll get to see even a hint of that in the first movie is unclear, but there’s at the least the seeds of an inmate rebellion – the latest trailer, which was pretty much a supercut, hinted things would be violent in the future as well as the Spanish Inquisition.