It's been rumoured for quite some time, but Insider Gaming is now reporting that one of the two playable protagonists in Assassin's Creed Red is based on a historical figure known as Yasuke. In case you don't know, the currently in-development Red takes place in feudal Japan, and will supposedly have you playing as both a stealthy female assassin, and a more combat-focused male samurai.
As mentioned, said playable samurai is reportedly Ubisoft's take on Yasuke, who was very much a real person, based on historical documentation. He was originally from Africa — it's assumed Mozambique — and in the late 1500s, he arrived in Japan in service of an Italian missionary. Yasuke's dark skin and relatively tall height supposedly attracted large crowds, and eventually, Nobunaga Oda — one of the period's most powerful warlords — arranged a meeting with Yasuke out of curiosity.
Yasuke would go on to become one of Oda's retainers (with Oda giving him the name 'Yasuke' in the first place), and is said to have accompanied the warlord on many of his travels. It's believed that Yasuke survived 'The Honnō-ji Incident' in which Oda lost his life.
Insider Gaming claims that Yasuke's story is different in Red. He apparently ends up in Japan after his slave ship is wrecked. However, he still becomes a samurai under the guidance of Nobunaga Oda. It's also unclear whether the protagonist will actually be called Yasuke in the final release.
Yasuke has been portrayed in various media over the years. He's a playable character in Samurai Warriors 5, for example, and was the star of a fairly recent Netflix anime, suitably titled Yasuke (which is where half of the image at the top of this article comes from). He's also said to have been the inspiration behind Nagoriyuki in Guilty Gear Strive.
With all of this in mind, it'll be interesting to see what Ubisoft does with this Yasuke-based character in Red. Assassin's Creed has obviously always grounded itself in some degree of historical accuracy, but it often takes creative liberties when it comes to slotting historical figures into each game's narrative.