Assassin’s Creed III: A questionable setting?

by manylaughs on October 1, 2012

Is the American Revolution a questionable setting for Assassin’s Creed III?

Generally, it’s not a good idea to change the setting of video game, not too drastically anyway. Bioshock Infinite will be set in the clouds, not underwater, for instance. Instead of underwater cities and submersibles, there will be a city in the sky and dirigibles. Will it work? It’s such a huge departure from the Bioshock formula, it’s a big risk for Irrational Games, the developer. But it’s a bit of a brave move, too: If they’d played it safe and stayed on the ocean floor, the franchise ran the risk of getting stale.

It can be argued that the setting for Assassin’s Creed is history, itself, and any time and setting in history is fair game. While this is essentially true, certain settings might seem out of place for the assassin: Would he feel at home in Mao’s China or Sparta during the Greco-Persian wars or maybe even colonial America?

Of course, a good storyteller can make an audience accept almost anything, but why run the risk? Usually it’s better to go with what you’ll know works. However, if you go with what works, too much, you always run the risk of boring your audience. (Really, how many Transformer movies are they going to make?)

Assassin’s Creed III is taking a bit of a risk with the franchise. The settings of the crusades and the Renaissance were historically distant and mysterious; perfect settings for an assassin and conspiracy stories. Assassin’s Creed III takes place during the American Revolution, though, a setting that is closer in history and will feel more familiar to many gamers. It’s a risk, but it’s really not a big one, not if it’s handled right.

The conflict between the assassins and Templars has always gone on in the shadows, a dark conspiracy that has been fought through the ages. While the American Revolution is possibly at first glance a seemingly odd place for the assassin, war and conflict at any time in history is fair game for Assassin’s Creed.

Assassin’s Creed III is due to release on October 30.

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