|US history professor gives two cents on Assassin's Creed III|
|Posted: 20.03.2012 11:49 by Simon Priest||Comments: 1|
Smart guy Assistant Professor of History Gregory O'Malley of the University of California Santa Cruz has aired his thoughts on Ubisoft's choice of historical setting for Assassin's Creed III.
The War of Independence is the next destination for the franchise, but it's far from a 'clear cut' conflict. There's so much to draw from, he says, with "diverse and complicated" armies.
Americans good, British bad? Ubisoft has been adamant neither side will come off looking so clearly defined. O'Malley agrees, citing just how complicated it all was.
"While Altair is driven by duty and Ezio by revenge, Connor is a man of the people: his goal is to resist injustice wherever he sees it. He begins by trying to fight for his people's place in America, but is eventually swept up into the revolution, and the struggle between Assassins and Templars," said Ubisoft's Alexander Hutchinson.
Fans have been a little concerned that the new setting will deprive their assassin the fun of scaling vast urban sprawls like in all the previous games, as this time a lot will be spent in the Frontier where it's all forest and rocks. Ubisoft has revealed our new guy will be able to take advantage of the environment with all new mobility.
Thankfully the story lines running through Assassin's Creed III should be anything but boring as there's plenty of tension to work with. "There were a lot of people in North America who chose to remain loyal to Great Britain, so some American families ended up split, which could set the stage for some drama," said Gregory O'Malley.
"For example, Ben Franklin's son sided with Britain and they almost never spoke again," he noted.
"Both sides had Native American allies. Also many American colonists had spent a lot of time living on the frontier and had really changed. They seemed pretty foreign to the British, so that tension between the British and British-Americans who had kind of gone native seems interesting to me."
"If you deal with the home front at all, rather than just the front lines, there were also interesting dynamics with all the women who were left in charge of farms and plantations because the men had gone off to fight."
That other big social issue to deal with will be slavery. "The British promised freedom to slaves who ran away from American plantations and helped the British war effort," continued the assistant professor.
"Later the Continental Army also started accepting slave enlistments if their master's gave them permission to fight. James Armistead was a slave who became a spy for the rebelling colonists, pretending to run away to the British forces, but actually gathering information on the British to send back to the Americans. That kind of thing is fascinating to me, especially considering that we would assume a slave would resent his oppressors."
There's little chance of black and white morality in Assassin's Creed III - neither side were well behaved.
"I think one thing that many Americans are unaware of is that people who stayed loyal to Britain were not necessarily cowardly, or unprincipled," added O'Malley. "We typically call the two sides 'patriots' and 'loyalists,' but the loyalists were patriots in their own minds; they were patriotic Britons. Being British was a core part of their identity and they had a hard time giving that up. They often had strong family and personal ties in Britain still and it was too painful to sever them."
"Many of them supported colonial demands for reform, but simply thought independence was not a wise or just course of action. So I think good fiction could play with that theme a lot." Well my fellow Brits it seems we won't be portrayed as complete b*stards - this isn't Star Wars - but I'm sure we'll have our moment in the spotlight of villainy. It's tradition.
Assassin's Creed III releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC October 30th in the US, 31st in EU.