Assassin’s Creed III is right around the corner, and those who are fans of the stabby stealthy sandbox series are excited but also a bit sad to leave their beloved Italian Stallion, Ezio Auditore de Firenze, behind and begin a new chapter with the latest historical protagonist, Native American/Englishman Connor Kenway. It’s safe to assume that Desmond Miles will also be in the protagonist role, but let’s be honest, the futuristic “this solar flare business is going to fuck us up” framing device that connects the series together is not the reason we play these games. The new setting and time for AC3 is American Revolution era America, with the main locations appearing to be New York, Boston, and the great Frontier. Apart from the change in the scenery Ubisoft is also bringing in a new engine, weather simulations, new weapons, new styles of combat, and more historical figures to guide you in the right direction. While this game will satisfy its constituents for a long period of time, especially with its multiplayer becoming more and more popular, you can’t help but look to the future and by future, I mean slightly more recent past. Use your eagle vision for a sec and you’ll understand.
The Civil War
It’s hard to pinpoint what kicked off the four-year America vs America bloodbath known as the Civil War. Most would say slavery, some would say states’ rights, and others would say a mix of these among many other things such as sectionalism and protectionism. Yeah, I didn’t get a 4 on the AP U.S. History exam for nothing. Anyway, just like any reaction is jumpstarted by a catalyst, the same goes for warfare. Is it a preposterous idea that the Templars were growing the seeds of dissent in the South during the years leading up to the assault on Fort Sumter? I certainly don’t think so. AC3 already alludes that there’s been a Templar influence in North America as early as colonial days. But apart from plot reasonability, it’s important to see if Assassin’s Creed’s style of gameplay works in this setting, and there are certainly a lot of opportunities for a member of the order of Assassins to do some good. This could include getting behind enemy lines and taking out high-ranking generals, leading assaults on plantations to free slaves, leading said free slaves through the Underground Railroad, leaping over the rooftops of Washington D.C. and Gettysburg, and scaling the walls of forts and historical landmarks. And maybe the protagonist doesn’t have to be a Unionist? I see the potential for a certain mission involving Ford’s Theater, a great deal of stealth, and a poorly executed leap of faith minus the haystack. Think about all the free publicity Call of Duty got from their “No Russian” mission. Mowing down Russian civilians is one thing, but pulling the trigger on Honest Abe? That’ll get your game on the evening news. Sic Semper Tyrannis my fellow assassins.
World War II
I mean c’mon, how easy would it be to make Hitler an agent of the Templars? I could go down the list of how similar the Knights of the Templar and the Nazi Regime are, (monastic hierarchy, to die in combat is the greatest honor, vows of obedience), but instead of another history lesson, let’s get right to how gameplay would work. If such a game were to arise, Ubisoft should look to my beloved Pandemic’s final release, The Saboteur, for inspiration. The Saboteur was big on things that made people fall in love with Assassin’s Creed, such as scaling buildings, using evasion and cover to hide from enemies, and the careful art of stealth and disguise to get behind enemy ranks. Pandemic took a few good pages out of Ubisoft’s playbook, but unfortunately, their finished product was not enough to keep the studio alive. But in doing so, they’ve left the door open for Assassin’s Creed to do WWII-era espionage right. And hopefully it won’t be limited to just France, and the player won’t have to slowly make his way up the side of the building like, well, a drunken Irishman.
The Actual Fucking Modern Day Society Assassin’s Creed’s Plot Takes Place In
You know, for a game that takes place in a dystopian future in which an old religious order has developed into a powerful worldwide corporation seeking to gain control, it’s a shame that the only places we’ve visited in the modern portion of Assassin’s Creed’s plot are a laboratory, a warehouse, the ruins of Ezio Auditore’s villa, and some ancient civilization’s archives. Where is the majority of society? Where are the futuristic cities? I want to scale skyscrapers, not steeples. I want to perform a leap of faith into something other than a haystack. I want to use a new advance hookblade that has a zipline attached or something so I can go zipping along a city skyline. I mean really Desmond, you’ve been in that Animus long enough to learn your shit, now go apply it to the real world via your hidden blade. Or you could always go back to being a bartender, using your eagle eye to search for soon-to-be drunk drivers in your crowded bars.
EDIT: In response to a few concerns from this article’s thread on r/assassinscreed regarding the use of modern weapons in these proposed scenarios, I don’t necessarily believe the introduction of auto and semi-auto weapons would ruin Assassin’s Creed. I agree that the protagonist using those guns and the game turning into a cover-based shooter would be awful. But if the enemies you encounter use those weapons, then it would put more emphasis on proper precision, timing, and stealth, which are all vital traits for a master assassin. That way, the silly mechanic of being surrounded by 25 guards, waiting to use “Counter”, would be taken away.
Also, the most widely used gun during the Civil War was still a musket (the Springfield Model 1861).