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D.I.D.
12-05-2012, 04:17 PM
I was thinking about ways for AC to avoid repetition, and when you think about it, there's not a world of difference between Ezio in Constantinople and Niko Bellic in Liberty City. They're both fresh-off-the-boat murderers for hire in a big city, who struggle to get across town to work every day without stabbing and shooting a dozen police officers en route. They both loot lockboxes and even corpses without skipping a beat. Even if you're really conscientious about avoiding kills, the missions themselves require a massive body count. However, Niko doesn't get to be a noble hero for the ages, and nobody carves statues of him.

So all four playable assassins (Altair, Ezio, Connor and Aveline) might have the odd character flaw, but they overcome them by the conclusion of each game and become Stabby Jesus, joining the pantheon of good guys to be remembered throughout the ages. I've got an idea that turns that on its head, and tries to reflect what actually happens in the game. It also avoids the nice/nasty, stealthy/noisy flip-flopping throughout the game by giving the player all the choice at the start. Whether they play it like a warrior or a ghost there are still going to be enough deaths to serve the plotline, and when the forced stealth arrives, it's for a reason. It's not a revolutionary story, and neither is it lacking in clichés of its own, but I think it dodges some patterns that are being overused in AC right now.

1. The game begins, and the ancestor is found. Your team is puzzled, because the ancestor is not present in the history books. The ancestor is young, popular, quick-witted, and seems to have a bit of a wicked streak. You might love your cat or dog, but you still shudder to think about what it would do if it had full freedom to hunt squirrels, and you're only dimly aware of the true animal personality lurking under the surface.
2. The first mission is a big one, fast paced, with a lot of excitement. There are multiple targets and each chase picks up where the last one ended, so you're taken on a tour of a large chunk of the new city in the process.
3. You, as a player, get to the end of the mission having had a lot of fun. In the cutscene afterwards, the ancestor is also buzzing: maybe he/she is a bit too gleeful. There's something a little unsettling about this.
4. This ancestor takes to the job like a duck to water. He/she is not avenging a parent's death, or gaining a mentor's trust. The ancestor is out in society, hustling for work, eager to play their part in setting the world to rights. Or at least, that's the story the character tells himself/herself.
5. The ancestor is the rising star of their local Order, but also devotes time to the people he/she has always known and truly loves. Those people chide the ancestor a little bit, but generally joke around the subject of this roguish career (which they only half understand). They recognise the ancestor's budding celebrity, and are subtly trying to keep this person's feet on the ground.
6. The Order reveals its historical records to the ancestor. He/she is rapt by these stories, and the statues in their vault. Just as it was for Ezio, Connor and Desmond, the hint is there; that could be you.
7. The ancestor's fortunes are snowballing. As each contractor seeks his/her help with the latest injustice, so each is a more illustrious person than the last. With the work come the parties, the social connections, better housing. Contracts for the nobility draw the assassin into a grey area; sometimes the job doesn't feel quite right, but the Order encourages the ancestor to pursue the work as one questionable kill leads to greater access to an emerging large conspiracy.
8. The ancestor's friends and family uncover just a couple of his/her secrets, and even a small taste is sickening. The ancestor can't justify his/her exploits, and doesn't want to enter into that conversation. The assassin begins to retreat from those people almost entirely, and the profession takes over.
9. The latest job is of vital importance. If it is not done, the conspiracy cannot be stopped. However, the mission involves doing something reprehensible, in very public circumstances. It is done, but the news comes to the attention of someone of particular importance to the assassin. This person vows never to speak to him/her again, and that turns out to be true. Nothing can be done to fix this, because some actions ought to have permanent consequences.
10. The assassin has a lot to consider about the motivations at work, and whether there was ever anything noble about this life. When the character sought out so many assassinations early on, was that ever about justice or was that an excuse to kill? Did we move on from 'little' cases to the 'big' ones because of the merits of the work, or to rub shoulders with the powerful? Were all the good deeds tainted from the moment he/she imagined her own statue being on a plinth in the vault? The assassin is horrified to think about the possibility of another young person being inspired to follow in his/her footsteps.
11. The ancestor now seeks to change all of this. He/she plants various stories; some people hear of the assassin's death, others hear that the assassin went mad, or is jailed, or fled abroad. Nobody can know the truth, because the assassin has truly disappeared; nobody has seen him/her for a number of years. In silence, the character is a ghost, and occasionally another official record goes missing or is destroyed: deeds to a house, relatives' gravestones, archived newspapers at the library. Just as the fame is fading, the assassin arranges for a popular novelist to write fiction featuring a character with the same name. For today, nobody will know for sure what happened, and for the future, the strongest remaining record will be works of fiction.
12. The assassin has not forgotten the conspiracy that was stalled years ago, and knows that the people responsible have not dropped the plan entirely and will soon be ready to repeat it. The final missions involve the ancestor achieving the objectives without being seen and without killing anyone, since he/she no longer officially exists, and wishes to honour the people that once loved him/her even though they will never be seen again. If the character was doing all of this just to win back a loved one then it would be self-serving, but only the ancestor will ever know what happened. Information will be taken and publicly published, and the enemies will be ruined. With that done, the ancestor leaves the city forever.

There's no hunt for a PoE in this. Instead, it's about uncovering something that will have a lasting effect on the modern day witnesses' motivations and their approach to becoming legends and handling revenge. There is some irony in the ancestor working hard to ensure that nobody will ever be influenced by his/her life story, unaware that one day someone else will see every part of that story and will be influenced by it in a good way.

Would this kind of idea work for you, or is it terrible?

TrueAssassin77
12-05-2012, 04:58 PM
Ezio doesn't have a character flaw... that is why hes unrealistic. that's the only part i read.

TL-DR

D.I.D.
12-05-2012, 05:03 PM
Ezio doesn't have a character flaw... that is why hes unrealistic. that's the only part i read.

TL-DR

Yeah he did. He was bratty, impatient and womanising, and ended up sparing the life of a major enemy and becoming a focused thinking man.

TrueAssassin77
12-05-2012, 05:10 PM
Yeah he did. He was bratty, impatient and womanising, and ended up sparing the life of a major enemy and becoming a focused thinking man.

bratty? at what age? the 1st 45 min of AC2?

Impatient? give a few examples. all he assassin are impatient except altiar i think.

Womanising? some people love him for that

D.I.D.
12-05-2012, 05:30 PM
bratty? at what age? the 1st 45 min of AC2?

Impatient? give a few examples. all he assassin are impatient except altiar i think.

Womanising? some people love him for that

Ezio is brash when he's happy, but when he's given reason to be unhappy he gets even worse. He has to be taught not to take an "eye for an eye" approach, or he'll be as bad as his enemies and lose sight of the concept of justice. He's spitting mad at the idea of saying his respects to a fallen enemy. By the end of that one game, he's sparing lives and has changed considerably.

It's not a thread about AC2, it's a thread about character arcs, and all the games with decent stories have them. Every writer strives to include some kind of flaws into their characters in order that they can have some kind of growth. Sorry if you don't know what a character arc is.

[edit] Also, Altair's whole story begins with a massive case of impatience! It's the root of the entire story.

TrueAssassin77
12-05-2012, 06:06 PM
Ezio is brash when he's happy, but when he's given reason to be unhappy he gets even worse. He has to be taught not to take an "eye for an eye" approach, or he'll be as bad as his enemies and lose sight of the concept of justice. He's spitting mad at the idea of saying his respects to a fallen enemy. By the end of that one game, he's sparing lives and has changed considerably.

It's not a thread about AC2, it's a thread about character arcs, and all the games with decent stories have them. Every writer strives to include some kind of flaws into their characters in order that they can have some kind of growth. Sorry if you don't know what a character arc is.

[edit] Also, Altair's whole story begins with a massive case of impatience! It's the root of the entire story.

you still haven't given me a character flaw imo. "an eye for an eye" concept is not even viewed as a negative philosophy, and the example to support it you gave is a giant "IF". bottomline is that didn't happen, nor did it ever seem like a problem. anger is not a character flaw. he is not even quick to anger in the 1st place. you didn't give me his character flaws(which are non-exsistent), you gave me, a few generalized actions he did... once.Character flaws are something that are recurring, that is evident throughout the story, som,ething that makes the reader think, "****, he's gotta get that sorted out". connor is more brash than ezio anyhow

D.I.D.
12-05-2012, 06:13 PM
you still haven't given me a character flaw imo. "an eye for an eye" concept is not even viewed as a negative philosophy, and the example to support it you gave is a giant "IF". bottomline is that didn't happen, nor did it ever seem like a problem. anger is not a character flaw. he is not even quick to anger in the 1st place. you didn't give me his character flaws(which are non-exsistent), you gave me, a few generalized actions he did... once.Character flaws are something that are recurring, that is evident throughout the story, som,ething that makes the reader think, "****, he's gotta get that sorted out". connor is more brash than ezio anyhow

Jesus wept.

Mario thinks they're flaws. Shouts at him. Trains him out of them.

See, this is the problem with people wanting to get patted on the back by the forum knights for squawking, "I stopped reading when he said...". I wasn't saying what you think I said. I did not say these are mistakes, or that there is something wrong with these characters, but you assumed I did.

My post said that the characters only have minor flaws, which are quickly forgotten, and then they become messiahs. If you put the time you've spent splitting hairs into actually reading the post, you'd see that the point of my suggestion is that there are bigger flaws built into the gameplay: you're a mass-murdering thief who is aware that he can achieve legendary status. My post finds a way to turn that into a coherent story.

TrueAssassin77
12-05-2012, 11:17 PM
Jesus wept.

Mario thinks they're flaws. Shouts at him. Trains him out of them.

See, this is the problem with people wanting to get patted on the back by the forum knights for squawking, "I stopped reading when he said...". I wasn't saying what you think I said. I did not say these are mistakes, or that there is something wrong with these characters, but you assumed I did.

My post said that the characters only have minor flaws, which are quickly forgotten, and then they become messiahs. If you put the time you've spent splitting hairs into actually reading the post, you'd see that the point of my suggestion is that there are bigger flaws built into the gameplay: you're a mass-murdering thief who is aware that he can achieve legendary status. My post finds a way to turn that into a coherent story.

mario trained nothing out of him. Ezio just grew more mature. anger, womanizing, brashness, are not character flaws. period. adults for the most part grow out of brattiness. anger is an emotion. womanizing is a personality trait, that is for the most part harmless. everyones impatient, to a certain extent, no matter what they tell you.

you have no idea what a CHARACTER FLAW is. it's a personality. example of a character flaw: "a guy who never sees anything as his own fault, and constantly/irrationally tries to put the blame on others"

thats just one example. impatience in no situation is a character flaw. Ezio has no CHARACTER flaws. that is why I personally do not see him as well written as Connor.

Farlander1991
12-06-2012, 12:12 AM
I think that's a nice concept you have there that can tie neatly into the core AC game mechanics.

However, the biggest difference between Niko and Ezio (or any other Assassin) and why Altair/Ezio/Connor stories work while Niko's (at least in my opinion) doesn't is because of the Animus. All what Niko does he does in real life. So it can be staggering to see him contemplate about something when he already killed thousands as a player. Most of the killings that we do as Altair/Ezio/Connor didn't happen. You can literally kill thousands of people when you play the game, but that doesn't mean that the ancestor has actually done the same. Which is kind of the beauty of the Animus.

D.I.D.
12-06-2012, 12:49 AM
mario trained nothing out of him. Ezio just grew more mature. anger, womanizing, brashness, are not character flaws. period. adults for the most part grow out of brattiness. anger is an emotion. womanizing is a personality trait, that is for the most part harmless. everyones impatient, to a certain extent, no matter what they tell you.

you have no idea what a CHARACTER FLAW is. it's a personality. example of a character flaw: "a guy who never sees anything as his own fault, and constantly/irrationally tries to put the blame on others"

thats just one example. impatience in no situation is a character flaw. Ezio has no CHARACTER flaws. that is why I personally do not see him as well written as Connor.

I'm not saying anger etc. are automatically character flaws for anyone and everyone, I'm saying these are his character flaws. These are the aspects of his personality that he personally has to overcome in order to achieve his aims. The idea that Ezio doesn't change isn't up for discussion – he ends up with a more (but not perfectly) sage-like personality, and ponders the meanings of conceptual matters. That's why a lot of people scratched their heads at the first assassination in ACR when he was suddenly spitting "bastardo" at his dying enemy; it was completely against the way the audience had seen his character change, and that raised eyebrows.

Altair's impatience (or perhaps 'arrogance' would be a better word) almost cost his compatriots their lives, and was a danger to his organisation. He was demoted and had to earn his position again. That was his character flaw.

They are part of the writing because these things motivate the plot and shape the characters' personalities. They're not necessarily the definition of their personalities, and it's a bit weird to be told I have no idea what I'm talking about by someone who would say that a flaw is a personality. Can't help but feel you're just trying to score a point here because you mistook my intentions.

D.I.D.
12-06-2012, 12:50 AM
I think that's a nice concept you have there that can tie neatly into the core AC game mechanics.

However, the biggest difference between Niko and Ezio (or any other Assassin) and why Altair/Ezio/Connor stories work while Niko's (at least in my opinion) doesn't is because of the Animus. All what Niko does he does in real life. So it can be staggering to see him contemplate about something when he already killed thousands as a player. Most of the killings that we do as Altair/Ezio/Connor didn't happen. You can literally kill thousands of people when you play the game, but that doesn't mean that the ancestor has actually done the same. Which is kind of the beauty of the Animus.

That's a good point, true enough. Thanks for reading anyway!

Farlander1991
12-06-2012, 01:25 AM
That's a good point, true enough. Thanks for reading anyway!

Don't get me wrong, I think that's a cool character arc concept and a lot can be done with it, and I like how it ties in with the mechanics of the game (even acts as a deconstruction, sort of how Spec Ops have done their narrative), I just think that comparison to GTAIV's connection between gameplay/narrative (or lack thereof?) isn't fair in case with Assassin's Creed, that's it.

I personally want to explore an Assassin vs. Assassin conflict. Maybe it's because I'm Moldovan, but I really want to get to Wallachia and Moldova of the late 1400s, when Vlad Dracula and Stefan cel Mare were ruling Wallachia/Moldova and fighting the Ottomans to have their homeland be independent. And the way Vali felt betrayed in ACR makes me think about all the different possibilities of how an Assassin vs. Assassin conflict could arise.

I also had thoughts about arcs with Assassins put in a position of power, where the Assassin would be able to affect the people in a very direct way, to further their goals... almost like a Templar, one might say. It could act as a deconstruction of what it means to be an Assassin (if it means anything) and at which point do you betray your ideals?

But, unlike you, I have just general ideas in my head, nothing specific. But I enjoyed reading your post! :)

D.I.D.
12-06-2012, 07:21 AM
Yeah, that would be good! I expect they'll want to do that too, since we just saw a lot of Templar infighting.

We've seen a lot of talking between Templars and Assassins over five games now where the Templars question how good the Assassins really are, but there are only so many times you can see that white room conversation before the power goes out of it. It'll be good when they go beyond conversations into the larger implications of that.