6:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Assassin's Creed' Live-Action TV Series in the Works at Netflix
Another massive video game franchise is getting the TV treatment.
Netflix and Ubisoft are teaming to bring Assassin's Creed to television and will develop a slate of properties based on the best-selling game. The first project under the pact is a live-action, genre-bending adaptation of the game. A search is underway for a showrunner for the project, which is currently in the development stages.
The deal for Assassin's Creed will also see Netflix and Ubisoft mine the game's trove of stories for other live-action, animated and anime series based on the global franchise.
"For more than 10 years, millions of fans around the world have helped shape the Assassin’s Creed brand into an iconic franchise," said Jason Altman, head of Ubisoft Film and Television Los Angeles. “We’re thrilled to create an Assassin’s Creed series with Netflix and we look forward to developing the next saga in the Assassin’s Creed universe."
Assassin's Creed joins The Witcher and Resident Evil as games turned TV franchises at Netflix as the streamer continues to look for IP with an international reach. The Witcher, for example, is already an international hit and the streamer is also prepping a prequel spinoff of the Henry Cavill drama.
"We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Peter Friedlander, vp originals at Netflix. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy."
Since launching in 2007, the Assassin's Creed series, which comprises 11 games to date, has sold more than 155 million games worldwide and ranks as one of the best-selling series in video game history. The franchise has already been adapted for the big screen, with the 2016 feature starring Michael Fassbender. The film grossed $240 million worldwide (on a budget of $125 million). It has led to a series of books and other merchandising as it became a global phenomenon.
News of a Netflix deal for Assassin's Creed first surfaced in 2016, when the two companies initially began conversations for a series. A year later, Adi Shankar said he'd be creating the show — which he revealed would be an anime series. Nothing became of either project.
For its part, Ubisoft's film and TV division counts Apple's Mythic Quest, Netflix feature Tom Clancy's The Division, Lionsgate's Rabbids and Screen Gems' Just Dance, among others.
The news comes as Netflix is in the midst of a restructuring under newly installed global TV head Bela Bajaria, who is increasingly prioritizing originals with global appeal as the streamer seeks further international growth for its subscriber base as U.S. signups have stalled.
News of the Assassin's Creed TV franchise coming to Netflix arrives two months after the streamer closed a months-long deal to bring Capcom's Resident Evil game to television. It's also worth noting that Showtime has spent years prepping a live-action TV take on best-selling game Halo.