While talking to IGN, Assassin's Creed EP Pat Crowley shared some insight about the upcoming movie adaptation. The proportion of time spent in the present seems to be a major departure from the Ubisoft's franchise.
Crowley revealed that the movie would be set 65% in the present day and only 35% during the Spanish Inquisition. Already relying on an original story, this move seems to be the first real divergence from the games in terms of structure.
Indeed, if you are familiar with the Assassin's Creed franchise, you probably know that most of the action of the game takes place in the past, coupled with some sequences set in the present. Moreover, the latest games pretty much ignored the present storyline, primarily focusing on the newly explored era.
AC's lead actor, Michael Fassbender, may have provided a definitive answer concerning this shift from the source material:
“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.”
This move could be viewed as particularly bold, considering how little the present storyline has been regarded by players over the years. Anyway, this showcases the writers' ambition to tell their proper story, that hopefully will appeal to both players and neophytes.
Assassin's Creed hits theaters on December 21st, 2016