The Assassin’s Creed movie differs from the video games by spending 65% of its running time in the present timeline and only 35% in 15th century Spain. Fassbender explains the decision.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise may be taking a year off from its typical installments, but fans will be able to get their annual dose of templar and assassin action thanks to the feature film scheduled to arrive in December 2016. Although the film isn’t based on any specific version of the game, the first Assassin’s Creed movie trailer does suggest that the studio and director understand the style and aesthetic of the franchise. Despite the trailer spending plenty of time highlighting the past timeline, much like the games do, some remarks from lead actor Michael Fassbender suggest that most of the film will take place in the present day.

Veteran gamers are likely aware the vast majority of every Assassin’s Creed game takes place in the past, with the occasional jump to the future at act breaks. The film plans to flip that formula over and spend more than half of the time in the present timeline and make visiting the 15th century Spain timeline just around 35% of the running time.

This decision is pretty surprising and the team behind the film is already responding to questions and explaining the creative choice. Producer and actor Michael Fassbender explains the decision to spend 65% of the time in the present timeline…

“There are certain things that we absolutely want to respect in the game… But we also want to bring new elements to the game… This isn’t a video game that we’re making. We’re trying to make a cinematic experience, so there are new things that we have to introduce.”

Assassin's Creed Movie Poster

Shortly before the first trailer was released, many fans were worried that the project might be heading in a bad direction, but the buzz around the first footage seems to have calmed that storm. Aside from a surprising choice of music that didn’t really seem to fit with the franchise, the trailer was very well-received by fans. News of a mostly present day setting may rock the boat again, but we plan to withhold judgement until we see more footage. Although ticket pre-sales will offer some measure of how interested fans are, the opening weekend box office total will be the real test of whether or not Assassin’s Creed is able to break the video game adaptation curse.

Video game movies (like these duds) have had a bad reputation for decades now and 2016 is attempting to turn things around with Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed. The Warcraft trailers seemed to leave general audiences scratching their heads, but Assassin’s Creed has the action and star power to win over the traditional action movie audiences. The film arrives late in the year so it dodges most of the blockbuster competition, although it will be overshadowed by Star Wars: Rogue One. As the advertising continues to ramp up later this year, we look forward to seeing what the team behind the Assassin’s Creed film has to add to the already iconic franchise.

Assassin’s Creed will debut in theatres on December 21, 2016.