In this piece I will discuss the setting for Assassin’s Creed III and why it is a great setting for the franchise to move in a new direction. There are multiple factors that go into a choice like this and I am sure the developers really thought this out as to not make a rash decision.
First off, let’s examine the main character to give some context to the setting. Connor Kenway is his name, being an Assassin is obviously his game, which will still be controlled via the animus by Desmond. Connor is half Native American and half English. He is placed right in the center of the controversy as his village is attacked, presumably early on in the game.
Secondly, let us take a look at what the setting is and how it pertains to the AC3 universe. The upcoming game will place us in Colonial America in and around the cities of Boston and New York. As in the past games, historical figures of the time will be present and certainly interacted with. Surely a few will even have to be taken out. A few worth mentioning are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and King George III. There are plenty more people involved and our new assassin will be tasked with doing his work in the middle of the American Revolution. The developers have said that Connor is a neutral party in this war, with his intentions being to take out the Templar and not necessarily fighting for either side. This hasn’t stopped people (aka: the internets) from suggesting that only the British will be killed in an attempt to capture the American audience.
Although the setting has a fixed ending in history; a medium such as games has the ability to allow slight changes that aren’t exactly true. This gives the developers a framework to base the story, but they are in no way locked into the way particular events unfolded. While there are plenty of accounts as to what happens in the events taking place, there are still many holes in the stories as well, lending itself perfectly to a story such as this. Who doesn’t like a conspiracy theory? That is what the storylines of Assassin’s Creed have been about; sticking to historical events and times, but adding in things to make for a unique storyline that’s almost semi-fiction. I mean, some of it’s true.
This new setting also lends itself well to some new mechanics. We will see more advanced guns, different building styles and the first naval battles for the series. Seeing as how Connor is Native American he will carry a bow and tomahawk, also firsts. There will also be snow and a wilderness environment to explore. They’ve also said that you can hunt and collect things to sell from the animals you have slain, presumably similar to how Read Dead Redemption did it. You can scale trees and hang your target from them using a noose.
The choice of Colonial America and the Revolution seems at least a little controversial. Realistically American’s wouldn’t have any issues, but the rest of the world might; especially the British. Understandably so; it could be a little off-putting to be playing a game so wrapped in patriotism only to have your homeland be the obvious loser in a war you are tasked with taking place in. AC3 takes us outside the normal box of what is generally conceived as the enemy in games. Most game go with the usual suspects of Nazi’s, Communists, etc….you get the idea. So choosing a setting that puts Colonial American’s and the British as targets is a little out of the norm. It is well known that, in any medium, controversy breeds sales. People can’t help but be intrigued when they hear or see something thought to be controversial, they want to investigate the controversy and make their own judgment.
All in all, AC3 seems to really be on the right track. There have been a lot of people saying they are milking the franchise and things about it have gotten old in the last few. It seems the developers have heard this and have made some bold choices to help move the franchise into the next generation. So give it a go when it releases later this year and make up your own mind. It’s sure to be a blast with new mechanics and a new setting. AC3 is looking to be the best in the series so far.
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