How a new Filipino studio could add authentic flavor to ‘Assassin’s Creed,’ ‘Far Cry’

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016. Filed under: Apps Entertainment Online

Worldwide studio network and video game publishing giant Ubisoft is opening a new studio in the Philippines. Could the addition of a second South East Asian team improve Filipino representation in video games, just as Ubisoft Singapore designed a locally inspired high-rise for another Ubisoft game?

Studios from China and Russia contributed to episodes of "Assassin's Creed Chronicles." © Ubisoft

Studios from China and Russia contributed to episodes of “Assassin’s Creed Chronicles.”
© Ubisoft

So far, Filipino characters and locations have been most prominent in fighting games and historical shooters.

– Historical inspirations –

Nimble fighter Talim was a staple of “Soulcalibur” franchise between 2001 and 2013, while 2016’s upcoming “Tekken 7” contains Josie Rizal, her name homaging national hero Dr. José Rizal, her martial art blending eskrima and Filipino kickboxing.

Santos from “Def Jam: Fight for NY” (2004) was the rap rumble game’s powerful Filipino kickboxer, while the armor of sci-fi combatant Spartan-458 from “Dead or Alive” (2005) disguised elite soldier Nicole, referencing her origins and parent franchise (“Halo”) with a fondness for national dish haluhalo.

First-person shooters, too, have landed in the Philippines on occasion, not least the “Medal of Honor” franchise, whose 1999 entry borrowed Dr. Rizal for its otherwise European-set multiplayer mode, then in “Medal of Honor: Rising Sun” (2003) and “Medal of Honor: Warfighter” (2012) sending players to virtual recreations of the South East Asian island; 2013’s “Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2” and “Red Orchestra: Rising Storm” did the same.

– Ubisoft’s SEA legs –

Like its outpost in Singapore, Ubisoft Philippines has a university partnership in place — this time with De La Salle University at its Santa Rosa base — and work on one of the studio’s higher profile franchises seems likely: Ubi Singapore has credits on seven “Assassin’s Creed” games and two “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” titles, with “Ghost Recon: Phantoms” including a Singaporean level.

But with Ubisoft not known for historical shooters nor purist fighting games, where might a Filipino identity find voice within the French publisher’s catalog of recurring releases?

One answer might lie in the “Far Cry” series, which has often favored island settings. Its first game was in nearby region Micronesia, “Far Cry 3” borrowed elements from Malaysia and Indonesia, and the original “Far Cry” studio started another franchise, “Crysis,” whose first entry was off the Filipino coast.

Meanwhile, the “Assassin’s Creed” franchise has accommodated a worldwide audience with spin-offs based in regional locales; the three episodes in 2015/16 release “Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles” explored China, India and Russia, with studios in the first two countries among the half-dozen contributing to the project.

Perhaps a Filipino edition isn’t too far off after all.

  cp/cm – Relaxnews

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