Could Assassin’s Creed’s American Revolution work?

By on March 1, 2012

Approaching Assassin’s Creed new setting with caution.

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The list of potential locations for the next Assassin’s Creed game that Ubisoft published raised all kinds of hopes about the new setting for Assassin’s Creed III.The list included exotic locations that were rarely, if ever, explored in video games. My favorite options were the Russian Revolution and Feudal Japan. The Russian revolution would’ve provided great architecture, interesting story (Rasputin  as a templar! Come on), and the wonderfully grim atmosphere of early 20th century Russian winter. Feudal Japan would’ve also made a great choice, because ninjas.

But then rumors started appearing saying that Assassins Creed III will be set during the American Revolutionary War, and with the picture leak today, there is little doubt anymore that it is indeed going to be the setting. It is fair to say the reveal was met with mixed response at best, and despite generally trusting Ubisoft (the constant milking of Ezio notwithstanding), I do with a lot of complaints about the setting, and it pales in comparison with the other potential settings. For example:

  • the American Revolution is an era explored countless times in books, movies and even in video games (Age of Empires III and Empire: Total War come to mind). We would’ve liked a setting less visible.
  • The setting does not feature the large sprawling cities typical to AC games, neither does it contain any unique architecture.
  • Depictions of the American Revolution are usually very black-and-white, where the line between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” is clearly drawn.
  • Conspiracy theories about the American Revolution are trite and overdone, and have been explored from Dan Brown books to the National Treasure films.

But then again, I’d like to put my faith Ubisoft (pointless gameplay additions in AC: Revelations notwithstanding), and in the right hands, the American Revolution setting could potentially be good, and there a lot of elements can come into play to create a great AC game, such as:

  • A Native American protagonist (as the tomahawk in the poster suggests) alludes that their will be some moral ambiguity, where neither the white Americans nor the English are the “good guys”.
  • The American Revolutionary had MAJOR effects on world politics and history, and this could play into a very interesting story
  • New era-specific weapons means new combat mechanics without shifting focus from bladed weapons
  • London and Paris could potentially be the settings for some parts of the game, given the role of England and France in the American Revolution
  • A great cast of supporting characters consisting of the likes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, King George III and Benedict Arnold.
  • The lack of big cities could mean new game mechanics for exploring other locations, such as forests, forts, mountains…etc
  • Voice actors won’t have to do any ridiculous Italian accents

Anyways, I can’t say I am not disappointed by the choice of location, but I’d like to keep my faith in Ubisoft (lame filler plot in AC: Brotherhood notwithstanding). Plus, there’s virtually no information at all yet on the game, and it would be ridiculous to make any judgem… oh crap.


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