Yasuke in the cinematic trailer for Assassin's Creed Shadows

Who Yasuke Is in Assassin’s Creed Shadows

Assassins Creed Shadows is the first Assassin’s Creed game set in Japan, and one of its protagonists appears to be quite a unique character. Yasuke is a protagonist with quite an interesting element, and that is that he’s based on a real-life historical figure.

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Yasuke is A Real-Life Historical Figure

As someone fascinated with Japanese history, I was surprised and excited to see Yasuke appear as a protagonist in Assassin’s Creed Shadows. Not much is known about Yasuke. We do know that he arrived in Japan in 1579 with an Italian missionary called Alessandro Valignano and later became a retainer for the daimyo, Oda Nobunaga. When Oda Nobunaga met Yasuke in 1581, he was impressed and asked Alessandro Valignano to give Yasuke over to him. Valignano agreed, and Nobunaga gave him the name Yasuke. Yasuke’s service to Nobunaga ended in 1582 after the Honnō-ji Incident, in which Nobunaga was betrayed by Akechi Mitsuhida.

In popular culture, Yasuke is often called the African Samurai and has appeared in various mediums. There was even a Netflix series about him called Yasuke. However, no historical evidence supports that he ever achieved the rank of Samurai.

Related: Who Do You Play as in Assassin’s Creed Shadows?

Yasuke is One of Two Protagonists in Assassin’s Creed Shadows

Yasuke is one of two protagonists featured in Assassin’s Creed Shadows, and he will be the first protagonist based on a real historical person. In Assassin’s Creed Shadows, Yasuke is a Samurai and is the opposite of the Shinobi protagonist Naoe. With Yasuke being a Samurai, we can expect his playstyle to be a heavy style as opposed to the traditional stealth that we see from Assassin’s Creed protagonists. This new direction for Assassin’s Creed sounds interesting, and I’m curious to see how Ubisoft pulls this off.

As with almost every adaptation of a historical event or figure, there will always be creative alterations. Ubisoft has mentioned that since not much is known about Yasuke, they wanted to explore the “What if” of his undocumented life. It seems that some parts of Yasuke’s story will mirror the historical documents written about him. Yet other parts will have a fictional spin to it. Considering that Yasuke worked for Oda Nobunaga, and Ubisoft is presenting Yasuke as a Samurai, it’s possible that Yasuke and Naoe will start off as rivals and later become allies, especially since the cinematic trailer shows that Oda Nobunaga and Yasuke came to Naoe’s home of Iga to destroy the Shinobi.

Assassins Creed Shadows will be released on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S on November 15th, 2024.


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Lyna De Wit
Lyna is a freelance weekend writer at The Escapist, covering topics such as Star Wars, video games, and more. She has been active in the industry since 2023 and has previously written articles at Game Rant. Lyna is incredibly passionate about Star Wars, especially the animated shows such as The Bad Batch and Rebels. Outside of writing, Lyna enjoys spending time with her tabby cat, playing the next game of her ever growing backlog, tending to her plants, attempting to draw in her sketchbook, and of course, watching Star Wars.