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terroAssassin
10-13-2015, 06:01 PM
Now mind you not every game has a sympathetic portrayal of the Templars
to the side that seeks to control humanity and keep them ignorant and including in its ranks some of the more unlikable people in history you usually have to do a whammy on the other side to make them seem like the better or more nuanced option.

AC3 kinda started the sympathetic Templar plot making you play as Haytham Kenway in a swerve not a bad dude by any means while you play as him very likable. He becomes the Grand Master of the Colonial rite.
Connor comes along and tries to redeem/makeup with his dad but that doesn't work
You feel bad because things didn't work out because Connor didn't try harder to redeem him

Pre AC3 you kill a Templar he tries to justify what he was doing weekly altair and ezio give it no mind since their actions are clearly wrong.

Post AC3 most games you kill a Templar he justifies why he did what he did and gives the assassin and earful about being stupid and says the bad he did was misconstrued.

AC Rogue is a bit of a turning point for the franchise as the devs wanted to focus on why the colonial brotherhood was decimated. Obviously this means you have to play as a Templar or ex assassin. To sort of justify the role the Assassins were placed in within the game their ideology was flipped to make it work. Now the colonial brotherhood cares nothing about humanity its more important to hold their agenda above humanity. Now the Templars who want to control humanity suddenly care about the people.

After Rogue we got a few more overly evil templars in Unity and seemingly Syndicate but the people below them almost always seem more reasonable and not crazy as their grandmasters.

VestigialLlama4
10-13-2015, 06:14 PM
Now mind you not every game has a sympathetic portrayal of the Templars
to the side that seeks to control humanity and keep them ignorant and including in its ranks some of the more unlikable people in history you usually have to do a whammy on the other side to make them seem like the better or more nuanced option.

AC3 kinda started the sympathetic Templar plot making you play as Haytham Kenway in a swerve not a bad dude by any means while you play as him very likable. He becomes the Grand Master of the Colonial rite.

AC1 started sympathetic Templars. Many of them were genuinely complex and compelling figures who had good points and decent motivations for the stuff they did, some better than Haytham even. The exception was Majd Addin and Jubair but everyone else had that element of humanity to them. As for ROGUE, the less said the better, it's a lousy game.

Anyway, as far as Gray Templars go, that's kind of illogical to bring in considering all that's gone. Let me repost something I wrote a long back.

When we say Gray Area do we mean Gray in the comicbook sense (where a single decent speech by a bad guy is enough to make it gray) or Gray in the sense of The Godfather films(actual work of art intended for adults)? Let's not get into the real world or historical stuff here. Let's look at the AC games as they are, not as we want it to be. Are the AC games really gray?

The real reason why AC games can never really be gray, and actually why most video games (even the ones people think are good) aren't really gray, is that you are never really playing a character who makes moral compromises or does something that challenges the gamer's identification. In a movie like Taxi Driver, you have the hero who is a racist vigilante and psychopath and you are challenged throughout, you are asked to consider how someone like that would feel and see the world, how close and far it is from normal behavior. The Godfather likewise, the gangster asks and gets your sympathy even when he does evil stuff its for his family and you wonder if "family values" is a good thing. In games you are asked to play fantasies and never have to consider consequences. There are some games that challenge that like in Shadow of the Colossus(which does it best), but other games its more expressed and spoken on screen than something that bothers you in gameplay. in Spec Ops: The Line you have White Phosphorus and in Bioshock you have Would You Kindly. Then you have games with Choice Mechanic where if you don't like the Bad Ending, you go by another route and get a Good Ending, (which needless to say is absent from life, sadly enough). So when we are calling AC gray, we have to consider it in relative terms and not actual terms.

The way I rank the series, in the most-to-least gray ratio is:
AC1 > AC3 > Black Flag > Revelations > AC2 > Rogue > Brotherhood > Unity

AC1 is still the grayest of all the games (partially because it wasn't made with long-term lore and future MD concerns in mind). Altair gives you a very bad first impression and doesn't ask for your sympathy via tragic backstory or witty quips and posturing. For most of the game, he is the least sympathetic and likable of Assassins. The Targets you meet are shown as evil in their first impression but the deathbed conversations show that they are likable and human. And by the end of the game (without considering future games in mind), you actually don't know if Altair has become evil with the Apple (that awesome line "Destroy the Apple like you said you would" "I can't" "Yes you can...Altair...but you won't") or any different from Al Mualim and Robert. There's a real ambiguity there. And in the case of some targets like Abul Nuqood you actually wonder why you are Assassinating them or that you see those lunatics walking around disrupting your social stealth and think ("Ah Garnier was right, these lunatics should have their legs broken and off the streets!").

So already that's slightly gray. But then you know the main schema of the MD ruins it since Warren Vidic is a total a--hole and the Assassins are the "good guys", the ones who are trying to free Desmond, the hero. So we know that in the long-run the Templars are the bad guys. There's no narrative ambiguity there. It's not like you meet Desmond as a runaway asked to choose between nice Templars and nice Assassins, or that the Jerk Templar Warren is actually good all along. There's also that unspoken assumption that these Templars and Assassins are the "real Templars/Assassins" when it could simply be some cult or mind control thing, then they bring in the First Civ and Solar Flare. You know its a very clear franchise concept and based on Desmond's MD perspective, you have to choose the Assassins. Ergo, the Assassins versus Templar conflict is not a gray conflict. Between two choices of Assassins and Templars, the game presents you zero reasons to side with the Templars since there isn't a single likable or more than 1-dimensional MD Templar. What the game does at its best is show that Templars have sound reasons for being Templars but there's no agree-to-disagree and both are right there. But so long as the games, like most games, work on the premise of never getting the player's hands truly compromised and challenged, its not an actual gray thing.

I-Like-Pie45
10-13-2015, 06:16 PM
its to tie-in with the resurgence of popular far right wing borderline fascistic politics in Euro-American-Asian nations, in order to brainwash the youth who play these games into acceptance of the templar-esque policies that these politicians will enact upon election without a single question.

cawatrooper9
10-13-2015, 07:27 PM
Terro, are you against painting these characters in a sympathetic light?

I don't think Ubisoft ever goes out and says that the Templars are "right" (with the exception of Rogue). Rather, this is only to foster a more complex view of the series' villains.

VestigialLlama4
10-13-2015, 07:47 PM
The Templars in Rogue weren't really "right" either. I am saying this in general, not arguing against Cawatrooper specifically.

The Templars in Rogue had a slaveowner and an ethnic cleanser in their ranks. Lawrence Washington and James Wardrop who Christopher Gist calls "good men", even if the first is part of the supposedly enlightened Templar vision and the latter is responsible for "countless massacres".

It's just that the game simply "forgets" that these are issues that need following up, clarification and explanation. Just like it forgot the implications of Shay killing civilians. It's just caught up in the glow of its monumentally stupid earthquake machine plot, a situation so outlandish that it's absolutely impossible to judge the characters actions in light of that. I mean the only reason Achilles is a "villain" is his bad luck, if the Templars got ahead in time they would have unleashed earthquakes and nothing will have changed.

It's not a competently developed product on the whole, but then I guess that's about what it takes for you to have good Templars in the schema that exists in the series. Just toss balls in the air, ignore the evidence and context actually given to us and do what we tell...which is actually the Templar principle really. So ROGUE is a Templar game, in that it runs on Templar storytelling principles, much like the style of those videos in Black Flag.

Journey93
10-13-2015, 08:29 PM
I'm all for more gray templars and less cartoony villians (like in AC2 and Brotherhood, even though I love those games) but I feel like AC3 didn't do it right

I hated how after almost every kill (exception being Hickey and Haytham) would whine and preach about how he just wanted to save people and do the right thing (and basically make you feel guilty in a forced way). And it all seemed reasonable (even though their previous actions didn't match up) and Connor as silly as he is just looked at them like a dork who couldn't argue at all.

Its been so long since I played AC1 but I never got this impression of the Templars there, so they are the best in my opinion.Black Flag's were pretty good too.

cawatrooper9
10-13-2015, 10:04 PM
The Templars in Rogue weren't really "right" either. I am saying this in general, not arguing against Cawatrooper specifically.

The Templars in Rogue had a slaveowner and an ethnic cleanser in their ranks. Lawrence Washington and James Wardrop who Christopher Gist calls "good men", even if the first is part of the supposedly enlightened Templar vision and the latter is responsible for "countless massacres".

It's just that the game simply "forgets" that these are issues that need following up, clarification and explanation. Just like it forgot the implications of Shay killing civilians. It's just caught up in the glow of its monumentally stupid earthquake machine plot, a situation so outlandish that it's absolutely impossible to judge the characters actions in light of that. I mean the only reason Achilles is a "villain" is his bad luck, if the Templars got ahead in time they would have unleashed earthquakes and nothing will have changed.

It's not a competently developed product on the whole, but then I guess that's about what it takes for you to have good Templars in the schema that exists in the series. Just toss balls in the air, ignore the evidence and context actually given to us and do what we tell...which is actually the Templar principle really. So ROGUE is a Templar game, in that it runs on Templar storytelling principles, much like the style of those videos in Black Flag.
True, thus the quotation marks. "Right" is highly subjective in these games (as in life). Perhaps that's why the most sympathetic Templars come from a game with a Templar POV.