View Full Version : Thoughts about Unity and it's Historical Context

10-15-2014, 10:23 PM
I loved the historical settings for Assassins Creed 1 and 2. Let me reword that. I loved how the historical settings worked with the stories of the first two games. The games' story lines and missions had historical context without being controlled by the historical context itself. The context contributed to the contrasting philosophies of the Templars and Assassins, but it didn't control or reshape the contrasting philosophies.

For example, Assassin's Creed 1's story was dominated by the original struggle of the Assassins and Templars. It was a battle of free-will versus the notion that people cannot be trusted with free will, so they must be controlled. There was the struggle of the second crusade in the backdrop, but it didn't guide the story and rightfully so. The crusade was being controlled by Templars on both sides of the struggle as a means to create a new society instead. The game included real historical people in key parts of the story without letting events from the time period define the story. And also because historical events didn't control actual missions/ assassinations, the creators were able to make something interesting and fun. The mission that takes place at the Battle of Arsuf was great. You could see tons of trips on the side going into battle while you are doing your own mission. To me it felt immersive for its time. AC2 had even more freedom about how it created the missions because the Renaissance was just a backdrop. AC2 in general carved its own path when it came to the story and missions.

AC2 did have dlc though, and they covered specific events such as the Battle of Forli and the Bonfire of the Vanities. However, the events portrayed seemed silly in the game. The battle of forli was awkward because you're simply fighting a few enemies at a time. Of course the game wouldn't be able to hold a lot of npc's in the first place, which is the point. The dlc could have had the backdrop like the Battle of Arsuf and have Ezio on his own mission that affects the battle of forli instead of the goofy reenactment of the battle

I won't discuss ACB and ACR as much because lets face it, they were simply glorified DLC's of AC2. While they didn't let historical events mess with their missions and stories like I described, the stories still felt sporadic and rushed, which is to be expected when you're pushing out games quickly like that. However, ACR and ACB did stray away from the ideological struggle of the Assassins and Templars.

In AC3 we see that the ideological struggle between the two is almost nonexistent. The story didn't really delve into the secret war, but rather it was basically about the American Revolution, Connor fighting for his village, and that stupid necklace/key. It stated that the templars were the puppeteers behind the revolution, but it didn't show them really puppeteering anything. Combine that with the fact that nearly all of the missions revolved around major events, and the final result is an awkward story with no focus. The missions never really focused on assassinations, which was a problem developing from ACB and on. Think about the slaughtering tons of troops at the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's goofy ride, randomly going to Bunker Hill to kill Pitcairn, Riding a horse to whole time at Lexington and Concord, and blasting mindless british troops with basically a full auto cannon at Monmonth. There was little or no reason for Connor to embark on these missions. It makes me feel like he just wanted to chop heads for no reason. It was because these missions were controlled directly by the historical events that they took place in that they were not so good. The events should've been there still, but Connor's mission should have been more defined in the story by setting himself apart from the events a little more.

In AC4 the missions weren't controlled by the story, but they still sucked. The story had hardly any focus, and what parts of the story that did have focus were corny to begin with. The whole pirates versus the government struggle and Edward's personal journey did not hardly feel like it was part of the struggle between the Assassins and Templars.

So what about Unity? I'm hoping the story can bring back to life the ideological struggle between the Assassins and the Templars and that it shows the French Revolution being controlled or resulting from the secret war. If that's not the case I hope it is simply a backdrop for the story like AC2 did. While I do hope that the missions involve real historical events, I don't want the missions taint those events. The reason I personally want things to be that way is so the story and missions can be more immersive. This whole thing may have been a little vague, but for me to elaborate more would mean that this post would be way longer than what it already is. Anyways, what are your hopes for the game?

10-15-2014, 11:39 PM
I do agree with you on many points.

10-16-2014, 04:34 AM
My hopes would be a gray conflict worthy of the Revolution where even today nobody can really say who was really good or bad. As a recent French proverb goes, "The most terrible thing in the world is that everyone has their reasons" and I also hope that they show characters in the proper dimension.

I think the main thing that's interesting from what we hear in promotions is the factionalism in the Assassins and Templars which previous games, unrealistically, did not go to. There has never been a single ideology or institution with short-term, leave alone permanent, consistency which didn't splinter over time. We saw this briefly with Altair and Abbas and in the backstory we have Haytham and Reginald but the Revolution is a great setting. Ideally they should have done this in the Renaissance since the pro-Medici Ezio doesn't square well with the reality that Machiavelli was eventually tortured by the same family and kicked out of Florence.

So we have conservative Aristocratic Templars of which Elise and her father is a member and conservative Aristocratic Assassins(Mirabeau, Dumas, Arno) clashing with more radical middle-to-working class Assassins and Templars. That's actually a smarter approach and closer to history as well.

10-16-2014, 07:07 AM
I hope they go with what we are hearing from the promotions. I remember AC3's promotions were very misleading, at least to me, about the conflict in the story. Also, is Mirabeau confirmed to be in the game?

10-16-2014, 08:21 AM
well its better to keep the real history at a backdrop instead of involving each and every important event of the history forced in the game, ac3 was the major flop in that context, I totally agree with all you said but I am not agreed with the ac4 development, it was poetic and surprising, not best but still it had some steel in its making ..

and for unity we can only speculate at the moment ...

10-16-2014, 03:37 PM
To me the story in AC4 seemed a little sporadic. Maybe it wasn't exactly the story, but the missions used to tell the story. I had a hard time understanding the motivations for why Edward had to do certain missions. And when I did understand the motivations, they seemed a little too trivial for Edward to consider risking his life, even as a pirate.