Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Patriotic Assassin

Yesterday marked the Independence Day holiday here in the US, celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, freeing the colonies from the yoke of British control. It is a national holiday here, which means everyone gets the day off to barbecue hot dogs and blow things up - living the American dream. Accordingly, PopMatters took the week off, so no longer article from me this week.

However, in spirit of the holiday, I do want to share some of my thoughts on the patriotic themes of Assassin's Creed 3. Check it out the latest "Independence Day trailer" below.

I am very much excited for this game, partially because I love navigating my way fluidly through Assassin's Creed's environments and stealthily dispatching my enemies. I am also eager to delve into the political machinations of the game. This is a series that delves into some surprisingly deep and controversial material, albeit not always with tact. At one point in the series, you kill the Pope. The Pope!

The war between the Templars and the Assassin's has consistently transcended national boundaries in the series, so it is interesting to see marketing campaigns that so intimately tie Connor and the assassins to America's struggle for independence. There is a sense of culmination in this battle, as though the Templar and Assassin war was defined in many ways by the revolutionary war, and in turn, America was founded during this battle between tyrannical forces and freedom fighters.

What, then, might the game have to say about modern day America? Considering we know Desmond faces the Templars again the modern era, we may find interesting commentary on the current political system and some of its "shadier" foundations. At numerous times during the series, the Templars have been shown as representatives of oppressive capitalism. They seemingly count within their numbers political despots and robber barons alike. Considering the economy and political climate this game is entering, we might correctly assume that while the British were thrown out of their colonies, the Templar still won in many regards. My hope is that stage for Assassin's Creed 3 is as much an environmental choice as a political one.

Of course all of this is optimistic conjecture. Assassin's Creed 3 could be a strangely patriotic mess with more historical action than historical relevancy. When I get a chance to repel the red coats myself, I'll undoubtedly return to this subject. In the mean time, let me know how you feel about the current marketing campaign for the game. Does it turn you off?


  1. I need to look into the story more, but the fact that Connor (the protagonist's name I think) is half Native American and may be fighting off the red coats is silly. Yeah, I know there is a historical basis of Natives fighting on either side, but one as powerful as Connor should have a greater destiny of reclaiming the continent back for the natives. I'm pretty sure we're not going to see this kind of alternate reality and I'm afraid we to see that "patriotic mess" you mentioned. I have little hope for a project this ambitious but it sure would be nice to be pleasantly surprised by the finished product.

  2. Connor's actually half-british. What that sigifies, who knows.