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Ubisoft goes Shakespearean with writer on the Assassin’s Creed movie

People’s appetite for Assassin’s Creed is insatiable. Assassin’s Creed 3 sold 7 million copies in just one month! That’s on top of the millions in sales the previous four games racked up between 2007 and 2011. Ubisoft isn’t content with publishing one of the biggest franchises in video games, though, so it’s making an Assassin’s Creed movie. It was already announced that Michael Fassbender will lend his thespian skills to the story about jumping off tall buildings and cool hidden knives. Now production company New Regency and Ubisoft have a writer on board.

The Hollywood Reporter announced on Tuesday that Michael Lesslie will write the screenplay for the Assassin’s Creed movie. If you’re unfamiliar with Lesslie’s name, you can be forgiven. Lesslie is chiefly known for a series of short films like the Amanda Boyle-directed Skirt and Airlock, or How to Say Goodbye in Space. He also wrote Prince of Denmark, a warmly received prequel to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which was performed by the National Theatre in 2012.

The Assassin’s Creed movie is going to hew close to the plot of the video games. The descendant of noble assassins is kidnapped by members of the Templar Order under the guise of a corporation and forced to relive his ancestors’ adventures to divine the location of magical artifacts. Fassbender will play Desmond, a bartender in this version, which is a more exciting past time for Desmond than pretty much everything else he’s done in the games.

Lesslie will have to set pen to paper fairly quickly if Ubisoft and New Regency are going to hit their release window. Ubisoft’s chief of sales and Marketing Geoffrey Sardin said in November that the movie was fast-tracked and gunning for a 2013 release date. That’s an awfully quick turn around for what’s sure to be a special effects heavy movie.

It’s not surprising that Ubisoft wants a major Assassin’s Creed entertainment product out this year. With Assassin’s Creed 3 closing out the trilogy of games and next-gen consoles expected out this fall, it’s unknown if Ubisoft will have another annual entry for the franchise this year. A movie would keep the brand present even without a game, though.

Ubisoft may want to slow down and make sure the movie is perfect before plumbing forward. The last major Ubisoft movie was Prince of Persia. The less said about that movie, the better.

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