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Pr0metheus 1962
11-06-2014, 03:09 PM
Since Robespierre is such a controversial character, I'm wondering how AC: Unity will portray him. he's had his detractors and he's had his supporters (maybe some call them "apologists"). So I wonder how other players think the game will treat him.

I'm also wondering how those who know the history view Robespierre. Was he simply a bad guy, simply a good guy, a mixture of good and bad, or was he caught up in events beyond his control?

I tend to think the game will portray him as a bad guy - it seems like the safe choice, and Ubisoft seems to like to take the safe choice.

As for me, I tend towards the notion that he was a complex character, but overall a good guy caught up in events that forced him to make some very poor choices.

What do other members think?

Megas_Doux
11-06-2014, 03:23 PM
Well:




Robespierre is confirmed to be a templar. With that being said, he is one of the most controversial figures in history. There are some pretty heated debates around him.



Letīs see how Ubi handles him.

Hans684
11-06-2014, 04:16 PM
Would you call the Reign Of Terror good? No, so I'd say bad. In term of character I have no idea.

Namikaze_17
11-06-2014, 04:16 PM
Depends on how he's written...

Pr0metheus 1962
11-06-2014, 04:34 PM
Would you call the Reign Of Terror good? No, so I'd say bad. In term of character I have no idea.

The Terror was a response to very determined forces trying to undermine the revolution. So it's not as simple as all that. Besides, some say he tried to moderate the Terror and that it got out of his control.

VestigialLlama4
11-06-2014, 04:57 PM
Since Robespierre is such a controversial character, I'm wondering how AC: Unity will portray him. he's had his detractors and he's had his supporters (maybe some call them "apologists"). So I wonder how other players think the game will treat him.

I'm also wondering how those who know the history view Robespierre. Was he simply a bad guy, simply a good guy, a mixture of good and bad, or was he caught up in events beyond his control?

I tend to think the game will portray him as a bad guy - it seems like the safe choice, and Ubisoft seems to like to take the safe choice.

As for me, I tend towards the notion that he was a complex character, but overall a good guy caught up in events that forced him to make some very poor choices.

What do other members think?

The thing is there are two views of Robespierre.

There is the Anglophone view, made up by the English which equates the Terror with Robespierre and the Terror with the Revolution and uses Robespierre as a cudgel to write off the entire event as a bloodbath from start to finish. This Anglophone view has been swallowed wholesale by the American media, who because of language or other reasons have never much considered to look at the Revolution from the perspective of the French people who lived in 1792-1794those years. Only through evocations of famous victims or the persecuted.

The French are more divided on Robespierre. The non-ideological view is to see him as a mediocrity who by luck and circumstances got into a historical role as a tyrant/radical leftist that either way, is too flattering of the level of influence that he actually held. Even people who defend the Terror have stated that even without Robespierre it would have happened anyway, only there would be fewer speeches about "Virtue and Terror" but in terms of violence there would be little difference, except for the 75 Girondins and many other figures who survived the guillotine on account of his personal intevention. As a policymaker, Robespierre passed very little legislation, he was never a popular leader unlike Mirabeau, Marat or Danton. Nor was he a brilliant theorist and military organizer like Saint-Just. He was too intellectual for the masses, and too populist for the intellectual elite. The Terror was something everyone in France supported at the time, and they didn't need Robespierre to tell them what to do. The National Convention supported it, the supposed moderates on the Commitee of Public Safety supported it, and nobody bothered a great deal about the violence until France's borders were secure and people were wondering how to end the Revolution, and in comes Robespierre with his appetite for self-destruction.

Robespierre's real importance in history is as the mouthpiece of the Revolution at its purest and most tragic form. As the conservative British historian, Alfred Cobban wrote, "No one at the time of the Revolution, went as far as Robespierre in stating what were later to be recognized as the essential conditions of the democratic state... Universal franchise, equality of rights regardless of race or religion, pay for public service to enable rich and poor alike to hold office, publicity for legislative debates, a national system of education, the use of taxation to smooth out economic inequalities, recognition of the economic responsibilities of society to the individual...religious liberty, local self-government - such were the some of the principles for which he stood, and which are now taken for granted in democratic societies."

As for how the game will portray him, I don't think there will be a great deal since they want to relegate the historical element to the co-op missions and side missions. i don't think the game will deal a great deal with the French Revolution's political struggle, social transformation and actual issues. If they wanted to do that, they wouldn't make Mirabeau the Mentor of the Assassins or have Arno as a former nobleman's ward. To deal with Robespierre in the game, Pierre Bellec would have to be the hero. And besides Arno is fighting next to Napoleon and he's always been a bigger crowd-pleaser. Though Napoleon himself had a great deal of respect for Robespierre seeing the Committee of Public Safety as the only real government of the Revolution(besides it gave him his first real job).

DumbGamerTag94
11-06-2014, 05:05 PM
The Terror was a response to very determined forces trying to undermine the revolution. So it's not as simple as all that. Besides, some say he tried to moderate the Terror and that it got out of his control.

Well that's what some say. However there's little to support that he wanted to stop the terror.

On the other hand there is the fact that those who opposed the terror and wanted it moderated at the very least. Like Danton and his supporters. Were all executed by Robespierre's order. He called them "counter revolutionaries" for opposing him and the terror. So there's that.

So I don't think there's a whole lot of support for the Robespierre trying to stop the terror theory. Perhaps a personal letter from him was upheld by his supporters/apologists as proving intent to stop the terror. But his actions speak louder than words.

I don't think it's fair to base historical views of politicians based on their words. I prefer to base solely on actions. As politicians are chronic liars.

But as for Robespierre's character. I don't think he was an evil man at all. In fact I think he was so well intentioned that he was blinded to all of the horrible choices he was making because he saw them as justifiable. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". Or the quote from the dark night "you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villan."

cawatrooper9
11-06-2014, 05:54 PM
I think Ubisoft is capable of writing complex characters that transcend the typical "goodguy/badguy" dichotomy. I think they did a pretty good job of that with Haytham, and even Edward in his roguish ways wasn't necessarily your typical "good guy."

There are others too, of course. Many of the white room confessions in AC1 and AC3 (and perhaps others) reveal men who did evil, but for good (albeit misguided) purposes- but I'd much prefer if we see this complex side of Robby long before he ends up dead.

DumbGamerTag94
11-06-2014, 06:05 PM
Chances are Robespierre will be a fairly prominent character in both the main campaign and side content. Because:

He was one of the featured characters in the Unity Cast/VA trailer. And that was meant for the prominent main characters. Also he has been shown to be in a few side missions. And cutscenes. In the story trailer we see him being threatened by Arno and Elise at gunpoint. And it appers we will also be witnessing his death. Because in the Unity 101 trailer we see Robespierre's head being held up after being guillotined and if you pause the trailer you can clearly see it's him. And if there's any doubts. You can see the bullet wound through his jaw.

VestigialLlama4
11-06-2014, 06:06 PM
I think Ubisoft is capable of writing complex characters that transcend the typical "goodguy/badguy" dichotomy. I think they did a pretty good job of that with Haytham, and even Edward in his roguish ways wasn't necessarily your typical "good guy."

There are others too, of course. Many of the white room confessions in AC1 and AC3 (and perhaps others) reveal men who did evil, but for good (albeit misguided) purposes- but I'd much prefer if we see this complex side of Robby long before he ends up dead.

Well Robespierre the real-life guy was far more complex than all these, indeed too complex for a video game with Assassin's Creed framework tackle, unless they can radically alter their narrative. The ideal scenario for Robespierre in this kind of game, is to serve either as an Assassin/Templar, unite with the other faction against the Royalists and Moderates, and on coming to power, he and his friends decide to hunt the Assassins and Templars to extinction. That is definitely not the story in Unity. Neither secret society would have a place in a "Republic of Virtue" since Robespierre in real history was supremely paranoid about conspiracies and insisted on absolute transparency of intent and action (one reason why we know so much about the Terror is the mountains of paperwork that Robespierre insisted on and threatened subordinates for neglecting). The fact that Ubisoft are making him a Templar already shows a woeful misreading. The ultimate anti-Conspiracy watchdog a member of a totalitarian secret society?

Pr0metheus 1962
11-06-2014, 06:14 PM
...in the Unity 101 trailer we see Robespierre's head being held up after being guillotined and if you pause the trailer you can clearly see it's him. And if there's any doubts. You can see the bullet wound through his jaw

I did notice that - actually the main thing that led me to post this thread was a kind of disappointment that they gave that away - and I can't really figure out why it disappoints me, because I knew full well that it happened. I think perhaps it's because I realize that for some players it is a spoiler, so I'm disappointed that they gave the game away to some extent by showing that.

cawatrooper9
11-06-2014, 06:14 PM
Well Robespierre the real-life guy was far more complex than all these, indeed too complex for a video game with Assassin's Creed framework tackle, unless they can radically alter their narrative. The ideal scenario for Robespierre in this kind of game, is to serve either as an Assassin/Templar, unite with the other faction against the Royalists and Moderates, and on coming to power, he and his friends decide to hunt the Assassins and Templars to extinction. That is definitely not the story in Unity. Neither secret society would have a place in a "Republic of Virtue" since Robespierre in real history was supremely paranoid about conspiracies and insisted on absolute transparency of intent and action (one reason why we know so much about the Terror is the mountains of paperwork that Robespierre insisted on and threatened subordinates for neglecting). The fact that Ubisoft are making him a Templar already shows a woeful misreading. The ultimate anti-Conspiracy watchdog a member of a totalitarian secret society?

Possibly, but we don't know these late 18th century French Templars yet. In each era, the Templars and Assassins have been different to some degree- perhaps they aren't quite as totalitarian as they've been in past games.

Then again, you know the saying: "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." Perhaps the reason that he was such a conspiracy watchdog was to protect his own secret tyrannical interests.

VestigialLlama4
11-06-2014, 06:34 PM
Possibly, but we don't know these late 18th century French Templars yet. In each era, the Templars and Assassins have been different to some degree- perhaps they aren't quite as totalitarian as they've been in past games.

No, every game has the Templars behaving in a totalitarian fashion.

The game keeps promising a difference but there's no real change, like Haytham wanted Charles Lee, a man of no political skills, to be a military dictator of America under his supposedly benign rule. Torres is a bleeding heart liberal version who cries against slavery but does nothing concrete to stop it, and later slaughters Taino people on the way to a magical device that will allow him to blackmail the leaders of the world. The games are bent on keeping the Assassins and Templars in opposition and presenting the Templars as a single unified group, and sustaining the Assassins and Templars as a duality. In this game, the fact that Arno's girlfriend is a Templar who is opposing middle-class arriviste Templars doesn't mean anything, its just a variation of the same story but not a new story.


Then again, you know the saying: "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." Perhaps the reason that he was such a conspiracy watchdog was to protect his own secret tyrannical interests.

Robespierre had no tyrannical interests. The problem was, quite aside from whether or not he really wanted to be a dictator(opinions vary on this), he lacked the skill, talent, charisma and money to be one. This is shown in the very fact of his downfall. He lived poor, had zilch capital, was on bad terms with merchants/emerging businessmen (Danton was their pal), had no military record or prowess (if you look at history, there has never really been a civilian dictator). Why the Templars would think this guy is of importance to them to control the world, is beyond me. It took exceptional circumstances for him to even have the influence and importance he did.

cawatrooper9
11-06-2014, 06:42 PM
I mean, I really don't see a point debating this any further. The game comes out in less than a week (excitement!) so we'll find out soon enough.

DumbGamerTag94
11-06-2014, 06:53 PM
had no military record or prowess (if you look at history, there has never really been a civilian dictator).

Vladimir Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Nero(and pretty much all of the Roman Emperors aside from Caesar), Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, Louis XVI all come to mind.

And even Adolf Hitler was hardly an example of "military prowess". He only ever reached the rank of corporal and by all accounts was not a very good soldier.

Then there's also the ones with Nominal Military ranks(often given to themselves) or "service" as political commissars(which really isn't actual fighting or tactics in any way pretty much meaning they hunted defectors and killed deserters). These include people like Joeseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, and I believe Saddam Huessain falls in that category as well although I'm not sure on that one.

So yeah there's a ton of civilian dictators. And ones with hardly any real military prowess to speak of(they certainly couldn't command an army themselves).

VestigialLlama4
11-06-2014, 07:34 PM
Vladimir Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Nero(and pretty much all of the Roman Emperors aside from Caesar), Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, Louis XVI all come to mind.

Emperors and Kings are not really the same as dictators (and why does poor, stupid, Louis XVI in this list anyway, that guy was a real softy). Both the Kims inherited their power from the first one who was in the army.

What I said is, "there has never really been a civilian dictator", I made a mistake in restricting it to military examples, but the word civilian naturally discredits inherited political power and wealth.

Lenin does qualify to some extent, but at the time of October he was a former exile and political prisoner - not entirely military, yes he didn't have inherited power but he's not exactly civilian either.

And Lenin wasn't really a dictator the way Stalin or Mussolini or Hitler was. By the way Ho Chi Minh fought as a guerilla during World War II against Vichy France and Japan, he served alongside...heh heh...the OSS.




And even Adolf Hitler was hardly an example of "military prowess". He only ever reached the rank of corporal and by all accounts was not a very good soldier.

Then there's also the ones with Nominal Military ranks(often given to themselves) or "service" as political commissars(which really isn't actual fighting or tactics in any way pretty much meaning they hunted defectors and killed deserters). These include people like Joeseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, and I believe Saddam Huessain falls in that category as well although I'm not sure on that one.

So yeah there's a ton of civilian dictators. And ones with hardly any real military prowess to speak of(they certainly couldn't command an army themselves).

Maybe "prowess" is the wrong word, at this point its splitting hairs. When I say civilian, I mean people with no real connections to the army (which Hitler more than had), no former connections to an established political underground (like Lenin) or a formerly established state bureaucracy.

Someone like Robespierre was a total nobody, middle-class family, no political leanings and before the Revolution he never so much as stirred at his shadow, unlike Mirabeau who was a dissenter and constantly persecuted by the injustices of the system (the real Lenin of the French Revolution). He also had no connections to the Army whatsoever nor did he show any skill or inkling in climbing out of his society or becoming a successful lawyer (like Danton and Desmoulins who prefered wealthy clients in their law practice). Madame de Stael, the daughter of Jacques Necker, herself questioned the reputation Robespierre accrued after his downfall in her book, her observation about how civilians are never dictators is what I have been quoting. She stated that he was a mediocrity who had no real skills to be a national leader of any sorts, nor any real ambition.

I mean mediocre in a careerist and social sense, people like Adolf Hitler and Stalin(and most dictators, politicians and presidents) are mediocre as personalities and people (which Robespierre isn't) but they did cultivate power, and had some social skills to attract support and influence. In other words, they had skills as political social climbers whereas someone like Robespierre didn't have any such attributes.

dandins
11-06-2014, 10:58 PM
depends on when unity actually takes place: before, while or after the actual revolution.

I would say a guy with good intentions went horribly bad. Fact is he was some sort of crazy which makes it hard to tell.

is acu while the revolution or while his reign of terror?

GreatBeyonder
11-07-2014, 02:07 AM
No, every game has the Templars behaving in a totalitarian fashion.

The game keeps promising a difference but there's no real change, like Haytham wanted Charles Lee, a man of no political skills, to be a military dictator of America under his supposedly benign rule. Torres is a bleeding heart liberal version who cries against slavery but does nothing concrete to stop it, and later slaughters Taino people on the way to a magical device that will allow him to blackmail the leaders of the world. The games are bent on keeping the Assassins and Templars in opposition and presenting the Templars as a single unified group, and sustaining the Assassins and Templars as a duality. In this game, the fact that Arno's girlfriend is a Templar who is opposing middle-class arriviste Templars doesn't mean anything, its just a variation of the same story but not a new story.



Robespierre had no tyrannical interests. The problem was, quite aside from whether or not he really wanted to be a dictator(opinions vary on this), he lacked the skill, talent, charisma and money to be one. This is shown in the very fact of his downfall. He lived poor, had zilch capital, was on bad terms with merchants/emerging businessmen (Danton was their pal), had no military record or prowess (if you look at history, there has never really been a civilian dictator). Why the Templars would think this guy is of importance to them to control the world, is beyond me. It took exceptional circumstances for him to even have the influence and importance he did.

I actually agree with you for the most part, but I have the point out that the Taino slaughtered anyone who came to that island who wasn't a Sage. Edward can kill them too, so I'm not sure why Torres is criticised for the same act of self-defense.

Anywho, I've of the opinion Robespierre is a fall guy for the real Grandmaster. I have no idea who it might be, (Napoleon?) but it just seems... wrong.

VestigialLlama4
11-07-2014, 04:37 AM
I actually agree with you for the most part, but I have the point out that the Taino slaughtered anyone who came to that island who wasn't a Sage. Edward can kill them too, so I'm not sure why Torres is criticised for the same act of self-defense.

Anywho, I've of the opinion Robespierre is a fall guy for the real Grandmaster. I have no idea who it might be, (Napoleon?) but it just seems... wrong.

I've discussed this before, the Taino only slaughter pirates and other interlopers who come into the Observatory as Bartholomew Roberts states clearly. Bear in mind, that the Observatory can only be activated by the Sage, the Observatory is a death-trap to any other idiot that marches in without knowing what he's doing(Torres) and that the Observatory provides a dangerous amount of power for most people to handle. In other words, they are good guys. Thom Kavanagh's letters also bears this in full, where they are shown to be quite kind and friendly to Kavanagh and where they are on terms with the Assassins, which means that they are friendly and civilized. The fact that they appear briefly in the game is no reason to see them as "savages" especially when the game goes out of its way to create a contrast between hero and villain in the story.

Edward's full-synchronization objectives (which is the Canon) states that he only subdues them non-violently, now that was probably a late game addition where people on the team realized that having a white-guy invade a tribal land and kill people to get their artefacts is colonialist fantasy. So they contrast him with Torres, who as per metaphor and form is an exemplar of Imperialism - outwardly benign and positive Enlightenment goals, but in truth he profits of the slave trade just the same only living in comfort and denial of the reality. Torres' attack on the Guardians has imagery that serve as metaphors of the Spanish conquest - burned huts and settlements, the unarmed people about to be executed by firing squad, the jungles strewn with bodies(must be at least a hundred or more dead).

And within the game, Pirates are seen as rebels/antidotes/annoyances to imperialism, the people who the Pirates fight profit off the backs of slavery(which is entirely legal and way more profiable than piracy), all the soldiers on those ships you attack are enforcers of the slave trade and defenders of that economy. That's how the game presents it, especially with Adewale. The game establishes this so that you can indulge in the romantic fantasy of being a pirate and so prove why the Assassins would be forgiving of a pirate.

Pr0metheus 1962
11-07-2014, 12:06 PM
No, every game has the Templars behaving in a totalitarian fashion.

I don't see this. In many cases they behave in the same fashion that any powerful political group does, and we know their goals are benevolent. But even if the Templars' means are totalitarian, the Assassins are no more ethical in terms of the means they use to forward the freedom they claim to support. I think it's ironic that the Assassins' goal is to bring freedom to the world through killing (and thus denying all freedom to) anyone who gets in their way. The Assassins don't allow the Templars any freedom whatsoever. If everyone in the world except the Assassins supported the Templars, the Assassins would kill everyone who wasn't an Assassin. Where's the "freedom" in that?

The fact is, actions speak louder than words, and in practice the Assassins grant freedom only to those who think the same way the Assassins do. That is not true freedom. It's freedom at the point of a blade, which is no freedom at all.

And, except perhaps in the case of Cesare Borgia, the Templars have never had killing of Assassins as a goal. In fact they appear to try to ignore the Assassins or merely defend against them (at least until Shay comes on the scene).

To be honest, I'm beginning to think the Templars achieve their ends in a more ethical way than the Assassins do. And I'm sure the Assassins have brought more suffering to the world (in the form of brutally murdering anyone who gets in their way) than have the Templars. The Templars may not have the best possible philosophy, but at least their methods are a bit more thoughtful than just murder.

VestigialLlama4
11-12-2014, 07:37 PM
Well now that the game is out, I think we can say that the Assassin-Templar Theory of History has reached absurdity. In the past, the series liberties with history was questionable. Here its outright SLANDER.

Robespierre is downplayed in the story as being this marginal nobody which in the schema of the game is dubious but not unfair, but in the co-op he is this kind of baby-eating monkey who does cruel things for no reason and almost every action he's shown doing is a demonstrable falsehood.

1) Robespierre removes Mirabeau's body - Mirabeau's body was removed from the Pantheon, for his corruption, AFTER Robespierre's death.

2) Robespierre killed Danton because the latter published a cartoon making fun of the Dictator - Huh. No. He executed Danton, after stalling and keeping him alive from the Committee for several months, when Danton got involved in a corruption scandal. Here he comes to the jail and gloats and rubs it in to Danton about just how much of a jerk he is.

3) Robespierre is a Templar and when one of his spies reports that the Templars have government spies, Robespierre sends him to the guillotine, because why not - Templars, I take everyone knows never existed except in the Middle Ages and they got killed because the King of France was strapped for cash. Robespierre was extremely nice and generous to his agents and commanded great loyalty from them. All this is there in the record.

Pr0metheus 1962
11-13-2014, 05:37 AM
Yeah, well Ubisoft likes an easy mark for a bad guy, and Robespierre has had mostly bad press, especially outside of France. Working class revolutions aren't very popular these days, unfortunately, so Robespierre gets to be a baddie because Ubisoft know they're selling their game to people who are mostly capitalists.

What seems kinda ridiculous to me is that the Assassins are mainly shown helping freaking aristocrats. It's crazy. At least Arno tells them how stupid that is, but I think it would have made a better story if the Templars had been plotting to get royalty back in charge, while the Assassins took the people's side.

It's just ludicrous that the Templars, who claim they want order, are siding with a chaotic revolution, while the Assassins, who claim to want freedom, are siding with a fricken monarchy.

VestigialLlama4
11-13-2014, 06:07 AM
Yeah, well Ubisoft likes an easy mark for a bad guy, and Robespierre has had mostly bad press, especially outside of France. Working class revolutions aren't very popular these days, unfortunately, so Robespierre gets to be a baddie because Ubisoft know they're selling their game to people who are mostly capitalists.

What seems kinda ridiculous to me is that the Assassins are mainly shown helping freaking aristocrats. It's crazy. At least Arno tells them how stupid that is, but I think it would have made a better story if the Templars had been plotting to get royalty back in charge, while the Assassins took the people's side.

It's just ludicrous that the Templars, who claim they want order, are siding with a chaotic revolution, while the Assassins, who claim to want freedom, are siding with a fricken monarchy.

The game does get a few things right, the Revolution of France wasn't led by the working class but by the rising middle-class mercantile capitalists, that much is true. Robespierre was not a wealthy guy but he certainly wasn't a Communist, politically he's closer to Fiorello La Guardia than Vladimir Lenin and maybe more conservative than New York's greatest mayor. Basically, what its saying is that the French Revolution was fake and false. This is needless to say, outright SLANDER.

Ideally, the game should have had the Assassins and Templars team up against the Aristocracy and together participating in the Terror, to create the right moral ambiguity. The game shows the Templars breaking into a faction, ideally the Assassins should have had that, and these two factions should have teamed up. We only see that with Pierre Bellec but aside from that the Assassins are coherent and indivisible.

I have a sneaky feeling why they went this way. They are trying to build up a way to show Napoleon being the Assassin's Friend and Ally. By slandering and writing off the Revolution as an astro-turf event they can say that Napoleon didn't really clamp down on democracy since that didn't really exist anyway. It's an uncomplicated way of getting the audiences root for someone who is highly controversial and ambiguous today. It's funny, in INITIATES, Eseosa's letters they stated that Robespierre abolished slavery while Napoleon brought it back. I wonder how this even works out in their fake-logic.