Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: The Problem With Assassin’s Creed

Ubisoft employees claim Assassin's Creed 3 is not about America Vs. Britain.
Here is the hero.
Assassin’s Creed is a centuries-spanning series about the conflict between The Templars and The Assassins. The franchise has sold millions of copies and is an annual tent-pole for publisher Ubisoft.

The Templars are an evil organization bent on subverting human will. Through subtle manipulations they have orchestrated much of European politics, infiltrating The Vatican and British Empire. Across the games we witness them wrongfully imprisoning dissidents, levying unfair taxes, engaging in incest, and littering the streets and rooftops with oppressive armed guards (those guards don’t seem to do much more than leer at prostitutes, but they look fascistic). In the dramatic opening to Assassin’s Creed 2: Brotherhood, we witness their most evil member executing a man in the street.

The Assassins are our heroes, representing liberty and nihilism. They are a shadowy organization that murders everyone in their path. In each game you murder hundreds of people, including jailers, security guards, police and nightwatchmen, typically because they got in the way of you assassinating a nearby official who might be corrupt. You can rip men apart with shrapnel bombs, stealthily stab them with a hidden wrist-blade, or simply curbstomp them to death. As the series progresses you can recruit discontented citizens and train them for careers as Assassins, perpetuating the righteous path of your guild.

Jade Raymond, former lead developer on the Assassin’s Creed franchise, said, “I really do feel it's time for our medium to grow up. I think we don't need to make the equivalent to a Michael Bay flick in order to sell five million copies. I think things can be exciting, have meaning and hit important topics, and I'm not the only one that thinks that. There are major franchises trying to have more meaning and be something more interesting. We obviously tried a bit - and I hope it was obvious - to make a story with more meaning and mature themes in Assassin's Creed.”

The biggest difference shown so far in Assasin’s Creed 3 is you will now also kill deer and wolves in addition to human beings.


  1. Yeah, all that violence is a little (lot) much, eh?

  2. It's particularly jarring when what you do as a player is considerably worse minute-per-minute than the villains. Even a true moral ambiguity or deliberately evil protagonist would provide a meatier experience.

  3. It was good enough for Arnie. I mean it somebody takes your child, or threatens to raise taxes or has a scar, or a nasty expression, that pretty much justifies excessive indiscriminate violence doesn't it?


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