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    Revolution setting good move for ‘Assassin’s Creed’

    Revolution setting good move for ‘Assassins Creed’

    Come Oct. 30, Paul Revere will be shouting, “The Assassin is coming! The Assassin is coming!” now that video game publisher Ubisoft has confirmed the setting of “Assassin’s Creed III” — the American Revolution.

    It’s sad to see the days of Ezio Auditore and his predecessor Altaïr ibn La-Ahad go, but replacing the European and Middle Eastern locales of Italy and Constantinople with 18th-century America is an exciting notion. Because America wasn’t even officially a nation at that time, the setting has much more historical impact than the places in previous games. And there’s a sort of charm to the open frontiers.

    Many don’t seem pleased with the announcement, taking to the Internet with cries of “‘MERICA!’” in mocking tones. They appear to feel like this is just an American-dominated market asserting itself over the rest of the gaming community. It makes the United States look bad. Americans are so arrogant. But oh, what’s that? The studio developing the game is based in Montreal, Canada? Well, that settles that argument.

    People are going to think “Assassin’s Creed III” is just America shoving its metaphorical fist down the throats of foreigners, but that’s because they fail to look at the series as a whole. Everyone should have been prepared for a game set in America because that’s where the characters are in the present. Desmond Miles, the game’s protagonist, lives in New York City in 2012. If the game ever wanted to catch up to the present — and God help Ubisoft if it doesn’t — it would need to come to the land of the free.

    Moving past the closed minds of loud-mouthed gamers, let’s look at why this idea is awesome:

    The Revolution was a big deal for everyone

    Just look at the role America plays in today’s society. If the Revolution had never occurred, history would be radically different. Being present for such a crucial event, and probably playing a large role in it, hasn’t happened in the “Assassin’s Creed” series to date. The next closest contender would be the Third Crusade from the first game, but because the American Revolution was less than 230 years ago compared to the Third Crusade’s almost 900-year distance from today, the game series just got far more relevant.

    There are a lot of political parties involved

    “Assassin’s Creed” has always done a good job displaying the various sides of each conflict, but everyone had a part during the war. Obviously the British and the American revolutionists will be involved, but the French are certain to make an appearance, and who’s to say the Spanish won’t show up, or the German mercenaries? Native Americans should also play a huge role, considering the main character is half-English, half-Mohawk — and that’s a tribe, not a hairstyle. This brings us to my next point.

    Ratohnhaké:ton

    What a name. Try and say it — I dare you. For those who don’t want their tongue twisted into an unbreakable knot, I’ll save you the trouble. It’s pronounced RA-DOON-HA-GAY-DOO’. Don’t ask why, but that’s straight from Ubisoft. Of course, gamers will more commonly call him Connor, which is his much less cool English name.

    Still, having Connor come from a Native American background will be an entirely new experience for gamers. Not only will players get to explore a culture they likely know little about, they’ll get to see the plight of the Native Americans in a war which stripped them of their home. That is assuming developers get things right — which they need to if they want to avoid pissing off a lot of people.

    Connor’s background is also worth looking at from a combat standpoint. Native Americans were notorious for their ambush tactics all throughout early American history, and that is right up the alley of “Assassin” ideology. The only trailer currently out also shows Connor using a tomahawk, which is an exciting new addition. There have also been whispers of the possibility of scalping, but I doubt it will be at the hands of the protagonist — it doesn’t seem to fit. Still, the fighting is going to feel quite similar but likely look quite different in “Assassin’s Creed III.”

    Open world means potential

    America is a big open place during the Revolution. There are big cities, but there is also a lot of extensive wilderness. Ubisoft will surely utilize this fact, letting players leap from towering trees into the patrolling British armies or scale snow-capped peaks to survey the landscape. The game isn’t limited to America either, and there is a good chance there will be segments in England or France — two places also worth exploring.

    On the other hand, I also mean open world in the sense of present historical figures. The founding fathers are likely to make an appearance, and their Free Mason backgrounds might make an interesting tie to the Templar-Assassin conflict. Regardless of that, just being able to interact with such prominent figures will be a blast. The moment I predict will be most fun? Poisoning the nefarious American traitor, Benedict Arnold. He wasn’t thought to have been assassinated, but writers have always played fast and loose with history for “Assassin’s Creed” games.

    The right tone

    In the past, “Assassin’s Creed” games have been about overthrowing tyranny. The overarching, present-day enemy corporation, Abstergo Industries, wants to subjugate the whole world, and the player is obviously trying to stop them. But gamers have also overthrown the Pope and killed the likes of Templar Robert de Sablé.

    But now it’s being kicked up a whole other level. Past struggles have been much more secret and subdued, but the American Revolution is as vocal a stand against tyranny as any in history. Being a part of that will help set the perfect tone for bringing it back to the present for the player to take down Abstergo and save the world. Players will be well primed with righteous fury and a sense of justice, chomping at the bit to overthrow the ultimate underhanded manipulators.

    — Jason Krell is the assistant copy chief. He can be reached at arts@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatArts .

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