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View Full Version : So ... why "Gangs of London" ?



killzab
06-20-2015, 08:11 PM
My biggest disappointment when it comes to this game is they chose to go in this weird direction.

When I think of Victorian London, I don't think of gangs.

But maybe more knowledgeable people can help me...

Is this gritty, dark image of Victorian London that we get from popular culture and shows like Penny Dreadful a misconception ? Is it all made-up ?

Is it actually VICTORIAN London ? It doesn't really look like the Victory leak ...

And were Gangs really a thing back then ? Does Syndicate look like a faithful taste of London back then ?

IDK ... it's not what I expected but I'm willing to be proven wrong as I really don't know much about this place and time period outside of movies, shows etc...

Xstantin
06-20-2015, 08:44 PM
When I think of Victorian London, I don't think of gangs.



That's probably why :) different take on the era etc,etc.

Maybe cause they had all the Borgia towers-Forts-enemy bases thing worked out so it was easy to get going.
Also the Assassin and ba crew makes a striking image for covers and such :rolleyes:

Consus_E
06-20-2015, 08:51 PM
They went more derivative than the usual Victorian setting. Everyone expected Jack the Ripper, fog, night, gentlemen, bolly, tea, Sherlock Holmes, Templar Queen Victoria, ect. I for one am enjoying the new direction they are taking it.

Altair1789
06-20-2015, 09:29 PM
They went more derivative than the usual Victorian setting. Everyone expected Jack the Ripper, fog, night, gentlemen, bolly, tea, Sherlock Holmes, Templar Queen Victoria, ect. I for one am enjoying the new direction they are taking it.

They should still try to keep some of the usual Victorian views, that's the stuff that fans of the Victorian Era like

Mr.Black24
06-20-2015, 09:34 PM
They should still try to keep some of the usual Victorian views, that's the stuff that fans of the Victorian Era likeYou know what pisses me off on what is listed on that post? Is that many people for some reason wants to play as Jack the Ripper in that game. Why? That man was a cruel murder. He'd kill his victims, torture them, and likes to rip out their organs and drag them around. I have no idea why would anyone want to play as the guy, even making some kind of spin on him is rather not only distasteful, but damm right wrong.

Plus he'd appear 20 years later during the events of Syndicate, so I have no idea why people still want him in...

JamesFaith007
06-20-2015, 10:26 PM
And were Gangs really a thing back then ? Does Syndicate look like a faithful taste of London back then ?

IDK ... it's not what I expected but I'm willing to be proven wrong as I really don't know much about this place and time period outside of movies, shows etc...

Yes, they were.

Here is article about gangs from Victorian era - 10 deadly street gangs (http://listverse.com/2015/02/19/10-deadly-street-gangs-of-the-victorian-era/)

Only one mentioned here is from London but this article nicely shows that street gangs were common problems in big cities around whole western world.

EDIT: My bad, no London one here. Famous Forty Elephant gang was called Forty thieves too, but these in article are Americans with same name.


It was side-effect of industrial revolution. In cities like London were built many new huge factories and they were looking for workers. This caused huge migration from countryside to cities but influx of people was much bigger than number of free working position. As result there were suddenly many unemployed or very badly payed people in London - and other cities like Glasgow or Liverpool - and this formed ideal substrate for forming of street and criminal gangs.

D.I.D.
06-20-2015, 10:58 PM
Gangs were a HUGE thing back then. Read some Victorian newspapers on the subject. The gangs were a regular part of news reportage. It'll look strange to you, because the gangs have names and those gang names are used in the reports. It feels like fiction, but it's not.

Gangs ran districts in London, and there wasn't a lot the police could do about it at that time. They policed the areas that could be policed, but in many areas (especially low-income areas) the primary security was the local gang - at least insofar as it limited the local criminal element to one faction, and hopefully kept the others out.

Penny Dreadful is set decades later in a very different era. Even then, many things are underplayed in Penny Dreadful. They don't depict the gun violence on the streets, or the battles between gangs and police, because these things aren't relevant to their story. Also, it's mainly set in high-income areas of the city.

D.I.D.
06-20-2015, 11:04 PM
They should still try to keep some of the usual Victorian views, that's the stuff that fans of the Victorian Era like

I wonder how many fans of the Victorian Era actually study the Victorian Era? It's one thing to devour novels and films about Victorian London, but it seems that few people actually pick up a good history book. There are lots of good ones: Judith Flanders has a whole series (especially "The Victorian City" and "The Invention of Murder", and Gareth Stedman Jones's "Outcast London" is a great study of relationships between the social classes.

killzab
06-20-2015, 11:28 PM
Gangs were a HUGE thing back then. Read some Victorian newspapers on the subject. The gangs were a regular part of news reportage. It'll look strange to you, because the gangs have names and those gang names are used in the reports. It feels like fiction, but it's not.

Gangs ran districts in London, and there wasn't a lot the police could do about it at that time. They policed the areas that could be policed, but in many areas (especially low-income areas) the primary security was the local gang - at least insofar as it limited the local criminal element to one faction, and hopefully kept the others out.

Penny Dreadful is set decades later in a very different era. Even then, many things are underplayed in Penny Dreadful. They don't depict the gun violence on the streets, or the battles between gangs and police, because these things aren't relevant to their story. Also, it's mainly set in high-income areas of the city.

Hmm alright then, some people here like Vestigiallama have said the contrary and that gangs were pretty much non-existent in London so I wanted to be sure...

But is Penny Dreadful set in the era people commonly think of when they mention Victorian London ?

And is Syndicate really set in Victorian London or is it considered a different era actually ?

JamesFaith007
06-20-2015, 11:58 PM
But is Penny Dreadful set in the era people commonly think of when they mention Victorian London ?

And is Syndicate really set in Victorian London or is it considered a different era actually ?

First of all you have to take in account that Victorian era is 64 years long so there can be different, yet correct descriptions.

When Syndicate is situated in nearly perfect middle of Victorian era, Penny Dreadful would be probably late one. It is hard to guess because authors focused more on atmosphere then historical descriptions and cherry-picked only things they considered relevant for story. Also I don't remember any date mentioned in this series and source material is scattered around whole century - Frankenstein (1818), Dracula (1897)...

EmbodyingSeven5
06-21-2015, 01:03 AM
My biggest disappointment when it comes to this game is they chose to go in this weird direction.

When I think of Victorian London, I don't think of gangs.

But maybe more knowledgeable people can help me...

Is this gritty, dark image of Victorian London that we get from popular culture and shows like Penny Dreadful a misconception ? Is it all made-up ?

Is it actually VICTORIAN London ? It doesn't really look like the Victory leak ...

And were Gangs really a thing back then ? Does Syndicate look like a faithful taste of London back then ?

IDK ... it's not what I expected but I'm willing to be proven wrong as I really don't know much about this place and time period outside of movies, shows etc...

Im not looking for accuracy. just a good story. the Rooks just remind me of Edwards crew, but without a ship..........

itsamea-mario
06-21-2015, 04:20 AM
Mate, like, when AC2 was announced to be set in Renaissance Italy there were people who thought that would never work, but it turned out to be one of the best moves they made, Victorian london does seem a decent choice a sprawling messy city full of street urchins, top hats and the occasional sing song.

And yeah, there were some hella vicious gangs in old vicky's london, probably more fierce than there are now.

VestigialLlama4
06-21-2015, 04:59 AM
I wonder how many fans of the Victorian Era actually study the Victorian Era? It's one thing to devour novels and films about Victorian London, but it seems that few people actually pick up a good history book. There are lots of good ones: Judith Flanders has a whole series (especially "The Victorian City" and "The Invention of Murder", and Gareth Stedman Jones's "Outcast London" is a great study of relationships between the social classes.

Yeah and absolutely none of them talk of GONY style level of street unrest and violence in Victorian London because there's no way that can happen and London be the center of the 19th Century.


Gangs were a HUGE thing back then. Read some Victorian newspapers on the subject. The gangs were a regular part of news reportage. It'll look strange to you, because the gangs have names and those gang names are used in the reports. It feels like fiction, but it's not.

Gangs ran districts in London, and there wasn't a lot the police could do about it at that time. They policed the areas that could be policed, but in many areas (especially low-income areas) the primary security was the local gang - at least insofar as it limited the local criminal element to one faction, and hopefully kept the others out

Victorian Newspapers are NOT known for their objectivity you know. Most of the gangs are proto-union busters (i.e. in pay of industrialists to keep the poor working in factories). They absolutely are not the manner in which they are shown in the game trailers, as these bizarre GONY-types transplanted to London.

Crime in England was never as big a problem as it was in America or Italy.


My biggest disappointment when it comes to this game is they chose to go in this weird direction.

When I think of Victorian London, I don't think of gangs.

But maybe more knowledgeable people can help me...

Is this gritty, dark image of Victorian London that we get from popular culture and shows like Penny Dreadful a misconception ? Is it all made-up ?

Is it actually VICTORIAN London ? It doesn't really look like the Victory leak ...

There is "Late Victorian" (the 1880-1890 -- The Jack the Ripper era) that does typify the popular stereotype but the game is set in 1868 (one year after Karl Marx published Das Kapital Part 1), so its not quite the same era at all.

What we see in the game is more inspired by the near-contemporaneous Gangs of New York era (Inspired by Martin Scorsese's film) than anything else. By the way Charles D-ckens visited New York and London and he came back and said as bad as London was, New York was much, much worse than anything he ever saw in his life.

Hans684
06-21-2015, 07:45 AM
My biggest disappointment when it comes to this game is they chose to go in this weird direction.

When I think of Victorian London, I don't think of gangs.

But maybe more knowledgeable people can help me...

Is this gritty, dark image of Victorian London that we get from popular culture and shows like Penny Dreadful a misconception ? Is it all made-up ?

Is it actually VICTORIAN London ? It doesn't really look like the Victory leak ...

And were Gangs really a thing back then ? Does Syndicate look like a faithful taste of London back then ?

IDK ... it's not what I expected but I'm willing to be proven wrong as I really don't know much about this place and time period outside of movies, shows etc...

I got disappointed. expected more social stealth focus then the rest.


You know what pisses me off on what is listed on that post? Is that many people for some reason wants to play as Jack the Ripper in that game. Why? That man was a cruel murder. He'd kill his victims, torture them, and likes to rip out their organs and drag them around. I have no idea why would anyone want to play as the guy, even making some kind of spin on him is rather not only distasteful, but damm right wrong.

Plus he'd appear 20 years later during the events of Syndicate, so I have no idea why people still want him in...

We already glorify killers, he wouldn't be any different. We do play cruel killers, while there is no torture part, the kills they do it's clean either(sword in the face, twist head and take out sword). And Jack has less of a kill count than our protagonists. He's a nothing in comparison, we kill countless people.

D.I.D.
06-21-2015, 10:51 AM
Yeah and absolutely none of them talk of GONY style level of street unrest and violence in Victorian London because there's no way that can happen and London be the center of the 19th Century.

**** me, the hubris. Yes they do.

But if you're going to make a videogame, you're going to systematise that violence into a game form. This is absolutely a fair way of doing it. These gangs fought each other, not to this extent, but nothing in games happens the way it does in life.



Victorian Newspapers are NOT known for their objectivity you know. Most of the gangs are proto-union busters (i.e. in pay of industrialists to keep the poor working in factories). They absolutely are not the manner in which they are shown in the game trailers, as these bizarre GONY-types transplanted to London.

Not true. The majority of these mentions are not lurid tabloid pieces exaggerating the problems. They're short, matter-of-fact articles listing incidents and events: simple factual details, not dressed-up at all.

There are some union gangs, but those weren't recognised like other criminal gangs (which is what these crews are based on). If there's a major inaccuracy here, it's the age and size of the active "soldiers". These gangs ought to feature a higher number of youths, but I guess that wouldn't fly in a game where your late-20s hero has to beat seven bells out of a bunch of 18-year olds: much better to make him/her fight a big 40-year old musclebound ogre with a scarred, shaved head.


Crime in England was never as big a problem as it was in America or Italy.

That's not true either, or relevant. It's a myth based on the late 20th century results of a victory in gun control. The end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th had immense crime problems. Gangs fought in gun battles with police in the street, and something had to be done about it.

What is true is that crime was not yet as big a problem as it was going to be. Murder rates, and crime in general, escalated massively from its levels at the beginning of Victoria's reign towards the end. You have to remember this is not a modern world where you look at arrests and crime reporting and get a pretty accurate picture of crime incidence -- to understand gang culture you have to look to people's accounts of daily life, because people didn't have a police service worth approaching with the complaints they'd make in today's world. They've conflated late 19th century problems into a mid-19th century setting, in inflated the incidence, but okay. The same would be true if they'd set this game in a NY gangland of the period - a game would multiply the problem into something big enough for a game.


What we see in the game is more inspired by the near-contemporaneous Gangs of New York era (Inspired by Martin Scorsese's film) than anything else. By the way Charles D-ckens visited New York and London and he came back and said as bad as London was, New York was much, much worse than anything he ever saw in his life.

****ens went there in 1842, then in the 1860s. I'm sure it was worse in that period. I don't know what your point is here. It's not a weighing scale where you say, "This problem was worse in New York at this exact time" and thereby dismiss the London one entirely. London has a serious problem that became extremely serious afterwards, and it's in this game for a reason. It would be weirder if they set a game in 1868 and didn't have violence in organised crime.

D.I.D.
06-21-2015, 11:14 AM
Hmm alright then, some people here like Vestigiallama have said the contrary and that gangs were pretty much non-existent in London so I wanted to be sure...

But is Penny Dreadful set in the era people commonly think of when they mention Victorian London ?

And is Syndicate really set in Victorian London or is it considered a different era actually ?

That is certainly Victorian London in Syndicate, as is any year from 1837 to the turn of the century. I guess you'd say there are two Victorian periods that come up in people's imaginations most strongly, and I'd argue that both are prominent because of popular fiction: Charles ****ens's early Victorian era and then the late period because of Sherlock Holmes, Dracula and various fictionalised versions of the Jack the Ripper murders. Syndicate's world is kind of falling between the two, and it's a surprising era to pick for that reason. I expected them to go later in order to have more systems in place to play with, but then again maybe they went a little earlier in order to keep a sensible limit on the things they'd have to create for the game.

Penny Dreadful is set in the 1890s, and things changed a lot and very quickly between the 1860s and then, much as you might say society changed a lot between, say, the 1960s and the 1990s. Life hadn't changed that much for the middle and upper classes in the time period of Syndicate by comparison with the lives of the same classes a generation before, at least not with the leap it was about to take. So, in Penny Dreadful you're looking at a world with some improvements to social mobility, where the expansion of the Empire had provided a wealth of new consumer goods, housing and travel opportunities to enjoy if you had the money to afford them, while the poor still struggled to provide that success. They've played around with dates a fair bit in order to line up their characters from fiction in the show: Dorian Gray is bang on target, the Dracula-esque vampires are right too, and Malcolm Murray's position as an analogue for Professor Challenger and/or Allan Quartermain is about right, but Victor Frankenstein has been transplanted forward in times some 80 years (and into a different country).

nan_alin
06-21-2015, 12:34 PM
My biggest disappointment when it comes to this game is they chose to go in this weird direction.

When I think of Victorian London, I don't think of gangs.

But maybe more knowledgeable people can help me...

Is this gritty, dark image of Victorian London that we get from popular culture and shows like Penny Dreadful a misconception ? Is it all made-up ?

Is it actually VICTORIAN London ? It doesn't really look like the Victory leak ...

And were Gangs really a thing back then ? Does Syndicate look like a faithful taste of London back then ?

IDK ... it's not what I expected but I'm willing to be proven wrong as I really don't know much about this place and time period outside of movies, shows etc...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hetQrocFFg

I was also disappointed at first, especially seeing things like different clothes colour wich looks cartoonish in a way but it seems pretty acuratte after all... This video is about Manchester gangs during Victorian era but still, seems like we have to give more credit to the developers.