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Assassin's Creed Shadows trailer reveals first look at dual protagonists

Shinobi and samurai detailed.

Assassin's Creed Shadows main characters Naoe and Yasuke.
Image credit: Ubisoft

Ubisoft has revealed a first proper look at Assassin's Creed Shadows, and detailed the game's dual protagonists. Both characters appear front and centre in the game's new cinematic trailer (gameplay will follow next month, Ubisoft says) and on the game's cover, with each offering a markedly different play style.

Today's trailer opens on Naoe, a female shinobi, as she crosses paths with Yasuke, the historical figure depicted here as a powerful samurai. Initially, it seems, the two are adversaries - but the pair soon find common ground. By the end of the trailer, Naoe is wearing the Assassin's Creed series' iconic Hidden Blade weapon - and both appear to be at least allied with the Assassins.

Assassin's Creed Shadows cinematic trailer.Watch on YouTube

For those catching up, or who've avoided the leaks, Assassin's Creed Shadows will launch on 15th November for PC (via the Ubisoft Store and the Epic Game Store) Mac, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, with three days early access for those with Ubisoft+ or who buy a pricier collector's edition. Development is led by Ubisoft Quebec, the team behind 2015's Syndicate and 2018's Odyssey, with no less than 15 other Ubisoft studios in support roles, including Japanese teams in Osaka and Tokyo.

"With our dual protagonists we have two fantasies: the samurai and the shinobi," game director Charles Benoit said. "We want the player to experience both and we can't squeeze both into one character because the samurai and shinobi came from different social classes, so we can't mix them together."

"The historical character of Yasuke presented a really exciting oppurtunity for the narrative team," associate narrative director Brooke Davies added. Yasuke arrived in Japan in 1579, which is when the events of Shadows begin.

Assassin's Creed Shadows screenshot showing Naoe lowering her Assassin hood.
Assassin's Creed Shadows screenshot showing Yasuke and Naoe in a wheat field.
Assassin's Creed Shadows screenshot showing Yasuke and Naoe facing each other.
Assassin's Creed Shadows screenshot showing Yasuke kneeling.
Image credit: Ubisoft

"He had relationships with some of the most interesting people in our setting, like [prominent feudal warlord] Oda Nobunaga, the Portuguese and Jesuits," Davies continued, "which made it very tantalising and enticing to come in from a narrative perspective and start weaving these facts with story inbetween." Yasuke's perspective as a foreigner discovering Japan is also useful, as a way to explain the country's rules and customs to players.

Naoe, from the mountainous birthplace of the shinobi, crosses paths with Yasuke when he arrives to destroy her village. Her father is the historical figure Fujibayashi Nagato.

The two characters represent two different approaches to the game: the combat-heavy samurai, and the stealth-focused shinobi. And it's the latter character, Naoe, who will be the only one of the two wielding the Assassin's Creed series' iconic hidden blade weapon.

Shadows is set during a period when Japan is in a bloody path to unification, and influenced by foreign forces. The game's open world will feature "spectacular castle towns and bustling ports to peaceful shrines and pastoral landscapes", Ubisoft has said, and will change through the seasons and in different weather. Exploration will be a key part of the game, Ubisoft continues, with a spies network to unveil new areas and targets, allies to call upon during missions, and a customisable hideout where you can train your squad.

There was no detail today on Assassin's Creed Infinity, the content hub that'll launch alongside Shadows and act as a launcher for Assassin's Creed games and a container for the franchise's over-arching metastory. Eurogamer previously talked at length with Assassin's Creed boss Marc-Alexis Coté to find out what Assassin's Creed Infinity will actually be about.

And in the meantime, there's also now details on Assassin's Creed Shadows' inevitable collectors editions to pore over.

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