Assassin's Creed Syndicate marks the arrival of the series in the modern era. You might not think of 1868 as especially modern, but the Industrial Revolution transformed the world into one based on industry, mass production and ever-faster communications. London was at the heart of this transformation.
It's natural, then, that the latest Assassin's Creed takes place in London. The action unfolds across six boroughs - Westminster, the Strand, the City of London, Whitechapel, Southwark and Lambeth – and of course features many famous London landmarks. Let's take a look at a few of the stops on your tour of the city.
Tower of London
Founded in 1066 with its central White Tower built by William the Conqueror, the Tower of London has served many purposes over the years: royal residence, prison, armory and menagerie, as well as being home to the Royal Mint, the Crown Jewels and some ravens. Guarded by the Yeomen Warders in their distinctive Tudor uniforms, the Tower largely fell out of official use in the nineteenth century, so who knows what's going on there in Assassin's Creed Syndicate? Something nefarious, no doubt.
Popular for its brass lions, its fountains and its filthy, verminous pigeons, there's going to be one main reason for visiting Trafalgar Square: to climb up to the top of the 170-foot-high Nelson's Column. Trafalgar Square was a relatively recent addition to London at the time of Assassin's Creed Syndicate; it had been completed in 1845, and the brass lions at the foot of Nelson's Column hadn't been put in until 1867, one year before the events of the game.
Saint Paul's Cathedral
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1675 and 1720, Saint Paul's Cathedral dominated the London skyline for 300 years, with its Michelangelo-inspired dome giving it a height of 365 feet. It takes center stage in this video showcasing many of Assassin's Creed Syndicate's London locations, with Evie taking a spectacular dive from the top of the dome; even with your rope launcher equipped, we reckon getting to the top of Saint Paul's will be no mean feat.
Adopted by Queen Victoria as the official royal palace in 1837, Buckingham Palace started out as a large townhouse in the early eighteenth century before being seriously remodelled and enlarged in the nineteenth century, then receiving another remodelling in 1913; that's why if you compare the version in Assassin's Creed Syndicate with a modern photo, you'll notice that the in-game palace lacks the decorative columns and cornices the palace has today.
London in the nineteenth century was absolutely transformed by the arrival of the railways; tracks spread out across the capital, making it quick and easy to get across town without having to negotiate the city's crowded streets. Even the dead had their own trains; the London Necropolis Railway was opened in 1854 to carry bodies – and mourners – to Brookwood Cemetery, far to the southwest of London. London railway stations such as Victoria and Waterloo are featured in Assassin's Creed Syndicate, but don't bother with a ticket. On the roof is the only way to travel.
The railways may have made it easier to get around London, but the River Thames was still the heart of the city in the nineteenth century, bringing in trade from across the British Empire and permanently thronged with ships from all around the world. With such a volume of goods and people passing through on a daily basis, it was of course rife with all manner of crime, so watch your back down there, and try to avoid falling in the water; with most of London's sewage dumped into the Thames it was rife with cholera, typhoid and other bacterial delights.
Look, will you please stop calling it Big Ben? Everyone in the UK knows that Big Ben is the nickname of the three-and-a-half ton Great Bell in what used to be known as the Westminster Clock Tower; in 2012 it was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honor of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Obviously it's going to make for a fantastic vantage point in Assassin's Creed Syndicate; just remember that only tourists call it Big Ben.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate officially launches on November 19. For a limited time, you can pick up either Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege on PC for free when you buy an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 or 970 GPU, or 970M or above notebook. Find out more here.