Assassin's Creed Shadows FAQ: Release date, platforms, news, and everything you need to know

Assassin's Creed Shadows art protagonists
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Since the Hidden Blades were first unsheathed in new countries following the rise of Ubisoft's stealth-action franchise, players have desperately wanted to see a game set in Japan. The reasoning makes perfect sense, as the work the Assassins undertake in their war against the Templars seems well-suited for a game filled with samurai and ninjas. 

For years, this plea went unanswered, with Assassin's Creed instead tackling myriad settings like Colonial America, Paris in the grip of revolution, Ancient Egypt, and even the Viking invasion of Saxon-held Britain. Now, at long last, players will get to take up a katana and shuriken with Assassin's Creed Shadows

Initially revealed as Codename Red alongside the further-off, witchcraft-focused Codename Hexe, Assassin's Creed Shadows got its official title in a May 2024 reveal. It's a big game, which means players have big questions. I've rounded up the answers to some frequently-asked questions, so here's everything you need to know about Assassin's Creed Shadows.

What is Assassin's Creed Shadows?

Yasuke and Naoe in Assassin's Creed Shadows. (Image credit: Ubisoft)

What is Assassin's Creed Shadows?

Assassin's Creed Shadows is the next mainline entry in the Assassin's Creed series, following the smaller 2023 title Assassin's Creed Mirage and the huge 2020 RPG Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

Assassin's Creed Shadows is the latest entry in the Assassin's Creed series, which first began all the way back in 2007. Development on Assassin's Creed Shadows is being led by Ubisoft Quebec, the same studio that led work on Immortals Fenyx Rising, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Naturally, the game is also being developed with support work from 15 of Ubisoft's other studios. 

Assassin's Creed Shadows is set in the year 1579, with 16th century Japan at the close of the Sengoku period. Players will be playing as not just one character, but instead two protagonists. Yasuke, an African retainer to Oda Nobunaga, is one playable character, while the other is Naoe Fujibayashi, a Japanese woman trained as a Ninja and an Assassin.

The two characters provide vastly different playstyles and perspectives, and are forced to work together as the Tenshō Iga War causes strife across all of Japan. According to Ubisoft, Naoe is embarking on a quest for revenge to fulfill an "impossible promise," while Yasuke is forced to confront "demons of his past."

Assassin's Creed Shadows is also the first title being developed as part of the ongoing Assassin's Creed Infinity platform. Details are still vague, but Ubisoft has described Infinity as being a unifying platform for all future Assassin's Creed titles.

Assassin's Creed Shadows gameplay details

Taking the stealthy approach to a castle. (Image credit: Ubisoft)

What is Assassin's Creed Shadows gameplay like?

Assassin's Creed Shadows follows traditional franchise gameplay, mixing stealth segments and shadowy takedowns with action and full-fledged combat. New features in this entry include upgraded, lighting-based stealth, as well as having weather affect terrain, such as a pond freezing over in winter.

Gameplay in Assassin's Creed Shadows is similar to past titles, with stealth, Hidden Blade takedowns, and brawling combat. These features are split across the two playable characters, with Yasuke and Naoe each having distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Yasuke is a warrior, capable with large weapons like the bow, katana, naginata, or war club. Capable of fighting multiple opponents and dishing out powerful blows, Yasuke is not stealthy, and is essentially unable to hide in traditional Assassin's Creed fashion. Meanwhile, Naoe uses stealth-oriented gear like the Hidden Blade, kunai, or shuriken, and she can easily slip through crowds and avoid detection. 

Every weapon in the game has a unique skill tree for upgrades. Yasuke and Naoe do not share skills, but they do share XP, so you don't have to worry about one character being horribly under-leveled if you've spent a particularly long time playing as the other. 

Ubisoft is using a new, advanced version of the Anvil engine in Assassin's Creed Shadows, and that's resulted in some new gameplay features. Lighting has been improved, with real-time global illumination that has a direct impact on stealth. It'll be easier for players to tell if they can be spotted or not as they stick to the shadows, something that invites comparisons to older games like Thief. 

Assassin's Creed Shadows also features changing weather, with the seasons advancing as you play through the game. This can have a direct impact on how you play, changing the terrain and in turn your approach. As an example, a pond of water might freeze over in winter, meaning you can now run across it at the cost of being unable to hide underwater.

Is Assassin's Creed Shadows multiplayer?

Players will go back and forth between two protagonists. (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Is Assassin's Creed Shadows multiplayer?

No, Assassin's Creed Shadows does not support any kind of co-op play or multiplayer functionality. This is a single-player adventure, with players going back and forth between Yasuke and Naoe.

Despite having two playable characters, there is no co-op or multiplayer in Assassin's Creed Shadows. The game has been specifically built as a single-player role-playing game, with players simply going back and forth between both playable protagonists. 

If you're hopeful that there'll be multiplayer at some point in the future however, it seems like there will be, just not in Assassin's Creed Shadows. Ubisoft is currently working on an Assassin's Creed multiplayer experience, which is being developed under the working title Invictus. We don't know much about it, but like Assassin's Creed Shadows, this is meant to be part of the Assassin's Creed Infinity platform. 

Assassin's Creed Shadows: Platforms

Overlooking before infiltration. (Image credit: Ubisoft)

What platforms is Assassin's Creed Shadows coming to?

Assassin's Creed Shadows is being developed for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, PlayStation 5, and Mac.

Assassin's Creed Shadows is being developed for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC via Ubisoft Store and the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 5, and Mac via the Mac App Store. The game will not be available on the previous generation of consoles, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. 

This is a big deal, as bar one technicality I'll explain in a bit, this marks the first time in over a decade that mainline Assassin's Creed games haven't been developed with the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 in mind. That lone technicality is 2014's Assassin's Creed Rogue, which was initially developed just for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This game was later remastered and ported to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2018.

Leaving the previous generation of hardware behind, Assassin's Creed Shadows employs multiple advanced features that wouldn't be possible on older machines. This includes upgraded lighting, which directly impacts the new stealth gameplay mechanics. It also means the game can be built around the ultra-fast internal SSDs used in the latest consoles.

Assassin's Creed Shadows: internet connection

Yasuke was born outside Japan, and is now trained as a retainer. (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Does Assassin's Creed Shadows require an internet connection?

Assassin's Creed Shadows does not require an internet connection in order to play. You only have to have an internet connection once, for an initial, first-time setup. After that, you can play offline.

When some players saw mentions of an internet connection being required in the store listing for Assassin's Creed Shadows, they understandably worried that this meant the game would be locked behind having internet, which could be problematic if the servers were ever shut down. 

Ubisoft has clarified that this is not the case, as Assassin's Creed Shadows only requires an internet connection once, when you first set the game up. After that, you are completely free to play the game offline.

Assassin's Creed Shadows: Release date

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

When is Assassin's Creed Shadows' release date?

Assassin's Creed Shadows is launching on Nov. 15, 2024 for anyone buying the standard edition, with early access on November 12 for anyone who grabs the Gold or Ultimate editions of the game.

Assassin's Creed Shadows is set to launch on Nov. 15, 2024 for standard edition buyers. This means it's coming four years after the launch of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, the last major game in the series, as well as one year after 2023's smaller title, Assassin's Creed Mirage. 

Anyone who buys the Gold or Ultimate Editions of Assassin's Creed Shadows can hop in early on November 12. We have a full Assassin's Creed Shadows preorder guide available, so you can determine which version of the game is the one that's best for you.

Assassin's Creed Shadows Standard Edition

Assassin's Creed Shadows Standard Edition

Get ready to experience an engaging adventure surrounding two distinct protagonists who each have their own fighting style as they journey around historic Japan. There's no multiplayer, but new advanced systems mean this could be a promising leap forward for the long-running franchise.

Buy for Xbox: $69.99 at Best Buy | $69.99 at Ubisoft
Buy for PS5:
$69.99 at Best Buy | $69.99 at Ubisoft
Buy for PC:
$69.99 at Ubisoft

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.