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View Full Version : What is AC's unique selling point for you?



briangade
12-18-2015, 05:41 AM
For me it's a combination of historical tourism in different and interesting time periods,and how the whole precursor plot ties into the different games and the present day plot.

Game mechanics as long as they work is not that important to me,neither is sandbox activities.

I would like to know how other people look at this,and what they prioritise.

D.I.D.
12-18-2015, 05:48 AM
The unique point is the historical tourism for me too, but unlike you I don't like it when the game eschews being a game (ACR and ACIII). So, the USP might be the history but I need the gameplay most of all in order to enjoy it.

VestigialLlama4
12-18-2015, 06:26 AM
The historical sandbox is the most exciting thing about AC, its what drives the gameplay and story. Without it it's just a Deus-Ex or any conspiracy theory rip-off and Juno is Shodan and the ilk.

Derp43
12-18-2015, 06:31 AM
As many others here have said, the historical settings.

cawatrooper9
12-18-2015, 03:40 PM
For me, it's all about potential. I'm invested enough in the Assassin/Templar conflict, and the fact that we can theoretically see that play out now in any time or place is so exciting! It's not like a series such as, let's say Fallout (otherwise a good series, by the way, so don't take offense at this) that only really fits in a certain era and setting.

SixKeys
12-18-2015, 07:29 PM
Honestly, I think it's the parkour mostly. I find it difficult to play other games that don't allow as much freedom of movement as AC. I feel safe on the rooftops where I can survey the situation from above and plan my strategy. And if I'm detected, I can escape by simply climbing up a wall. Other games, while perhaps more realistic in their approach, just feel too restrictive. One big reason why I liked Tomb Raider (2012) was because Lara was able to climb a lot of structures. I'm even willing to give Shadow of Mordor a try at some point just because it has the same parkour as AC.

The historical tourism is nice, but I would be just as impressed if they put the same level of detail into creating a modern day city. Watch Dogs was a great template for that, but it suffered from other problems.

cawatrooper9
12-18-2015, 07:39 PM
I'm even willing to give Shadow of Mordor a try at some point just because it has the same parkour as AC.


I'd highly recommend it. You'll probably find the parkour to be a little lacking- think how Connor can clime some cliffs but not all cliffs- but it;s still pretty solid. And the nemesis system, if you're familiar at all with it, is fantastic. Almost a year and a half later and I still have multi-hour long orc hunting sessions just for fun.

GunnerGalactico
12-18-2015, 07:50 PM
For me it's actually both things. The historical aspects and parkour are two of the biggest reasons that enticed me about AC in the first place. It also helps if it has a fairly interesting plot.

VestigialLlama4
12-18-2015, 07:52 PM
Honestly, I think it's the parkour mostly. I find it difficult to play other games that don't allow as much freedom of movement as AC. I feel safe on the rooftops where I can survey the situation from above and plan my strategy. And if I'm detected, I can escape by simply climbing up a wall. Other games, while perhaps more realistic in their approach, just feel too restrictive. One big reason why I liked Tomb Raider (2012) was because Lara was able to climb a lot of structures. I'm even willing to give Shadow of Mordor a try at some point just because it has the same parkour as AC.

The historical tourism is nice, but I would be just as impressed if they put the same level of detail into creating a modern day city. Watch Dogs was a great template for that, but it suffered from other problems.

Shadow of Mordor is a pretty decent game...parkour wise you might be disappointed because it doesn't have the tall structures to accomodate the same level of traversal. It's mostly rural and full of plains and you can't run and climb trees...not that you need to because there aren't many trees. For some reason it borrows the AC Tower/Viewpoint system and tall leap. The combat is a steal from Arkham games. The Nemesis system though is tons of fun and something like that could be adapted into AC pretty well. I don't care too much about Lord of the Rings so the story didn't do much for me but the game isn't about the story and setting, it's just an excuse for the Nemesis.

The main reason Parkour doesn't work there is that you are basically in enemy territory among an opposing army camp. So no social stealth, no society, no people to interact with aside from people you rescue and some NPC here and there. So it's basically one giant Batman Arkham stealth and combat room stitched together.

The parkour of AC is a thing of beauty. You can move anywhere, climb anywhere and no building is too tall or ledge out of reach. And that is pretty unique. You had climbing in games before, in Zelda and Shadow of Colossus (which had a grip meter that lent success) but none of that made you feel like you mastered terrain like AC.

BananaBlighter
12-18-2015, 11:02 PM
The parkour of AC is a thing of beauty. You can move anywhere, climb anywhere and no building is too tall or ledge out of reach. And that is pretty unique. You had climbing in games before, in Zelda and Shadow of Colossus (which had a grip meter that lent success) but none of that made you feel like you mastered terrain like AC.

This. IMO games are about doing things you could never do in reality. AC achieves this for me in 2 big ways.

Firstly there's the parkour, there is no denying that parkour is an art form as well as one of movement, and AC parkour has a beautifully unique style. Especially with the newer games, Unity and Syndicate, I can spend hours, climbing around the city, always trying to create fluidity and beauty out of my movement. Transitioning between controlled descent and running and jumping added complexity which was especially rewarding when executed successfully. It gives you a sense of freedom and mastery found nowhere else, and it was this which initially attracted me to the franchise. There are all these little touches which other games like SoM can't hope to match. It's parkour feels awkward, merely there to create more approaches to stealth. In contrast, every little jump and stumble in Syndicate feels great. There's the odd jolty drop or two, but then so much of the satisfaction comes from knowing how to avoid those and then working around it.

Secondly, there's the historical tourism. It feels great wandering about Victorian London. Despite already living there (like, in the present day, not 1868), it's a whole different experience when exploring it through Syndicate. Partly because of the unique perspective that the parkour gives - hopping along the Thames is something I could never really do - but there is a great sense of admiration and awe for the level of detail and care put in to AC worlds. It is art. It is like the difference between admiring landscapes, people and flowers in the painting in our galleries, and staring at these in real life. Then there's the unique atmosphere that is created from the different time periods, where back in the day, the world was not as it is now, and capturing a glimpse of what it may have been, despite it being through a videogame, is incredible nonetheless.

These two really make AC special for me, there is no other franchise that is so beautiful and so free. I can spend hours in the open world without a mission to do thanks to a the combination of these two aspects. AC is art, more than most people realise, and certainly than most other games. I would even go as far as to say that the combat system is a form of art, traditionally known for it's satisfyingly fluid animations. Stealth is all well and good too. It's very rewarding when you are presented with an obstacle and can problem solve your way through. Most things I've had a passion for have eventually faded out of my life, I very much hope this will be an exception.

ImaginaryRuins
12-19-2015, 04:46 AM
Like others have said, the historical accuracy is a huge selling point for me. It is like travelling through a time machine back to the past where I can experience history first hand.

Secondly, and this is specific to AC II and Brotherhood, the conspiracies of Assassins and Templars. Those glyph puzzles reveal that turns out so many events in the past involved Assassins, Templars, and the Pieces of Edens. And they all seem to make sense even though I perfectly know they are not true!

briangade
12-19-2015, 05:14 AM
Those glyph puzzles reveal that turns out so many events in the past involved Assassins, Templars, and the Pieces of Edens. And they all seem to make sense even though I perfectly know they are not true!

Yeah I loved them as well,would be really cool if something like that would come back.

Speaking of historical accuracy.That really killed AC III for me.While right for the period the British uniforms was used totally wrong.
I could not get over patrols with a light dragoon officer 1-2 pioneers from the royal highland regiment and the rest made up of whatever line infantry.

Civona
12-19-2015, 05:48 AM
the potential to become immersed in historical societies and cities. all of the sneaking and stabbing and present day stuff is only interesting when it's in service of that: when you overhear conversations about politics while stealthing, when you kill for interesting reasons and the people you kill have an impact on history through their deaths, when the present day characters talk about the larger historical context of what you're doing.

actual historical accuracy, series spanning plotlines, all of this isn't as important as simply showing off why this places in history were interesting, and giving you the general sense of what was going on and what the narrative of the era was.

dxsxhxcx
12-19-2015, 12:18 PM
the attention to detail the devs used to have, trying to give an explanation about everything we'd see in the screen, making them make sense without relying too much on our suspension of disbelief to achieve that, also avoiding going overboard with gamey mechanics or clichés to make the whole experience and the story more believable. Things that are pretty much gone now..

Megas_Doux
12-19-2015, 03:01 PM
the attention to detail the devs used to have, trying to give an explanation about everything we'd see in the screen, making them make sense without relying too much on our suspension of disbelief to achieve that, also avoiding going overboard with gamey mechanics or clichés to make the whole experience and the story more believable. Things that are pretty much gone now..

London is one of the most alive locations ever, probably the most these days. The thing is that historical tourism shocking value faded away due to annualization. Back in the day the core mechanics aside parkour/navigation were incredibly sub-par if you think about it and the ol stories whereas more engaing, never felt like AAA quality in the likes of GTA, Metal Gear, Red Dead and other products.

TO_M
12-19-2015, 03:52 PM
Thi

Firstly there's the parkour, there is no denying that parkour is an art form as well as one of movement, and AC parkour has a beautifully unique style. Especially with the newer games, Unity and Syndicate, I can spend hours, climbing around the city, always trying to create fluidity and beauty out of my movement. Transitioning between controlled descent and running and jumping added complexity which was especially rewarding when executed successfully. It gives you a sense of freedom and mastery found nowhere else, and it was this which initially attracted me to the franchise. There are all these little touches which other games like SoM can't hope to match. It's parkour feels awkward, merely there to create more approaches to stealth. In contrast, every little jump and stumble in Syndicate feels great. There's the odd jolty drop or two, but then so much of the satisfaction comes from knowing how to avoid those and then working around it.


I disagree with you that the parkour in Unity (I haven't played Syndicate so I cannot comment on it's parkour system but I think it's similar to Unity's) is beautifully unique. Compared to previous games (AC1 or 2 come to mind) the parkour feels really restrictive and automatic to me. There is little room for precise movements. This becomes very noticable when you're climbing something and you want to make a very small movement in a direction, so you nudge the control stick very slightly but instead Arno takes a giant leap instead of the small hand movement I had intended. I have had multiple times when the character wouldn't do what I wanted him to do when it should have been possible to perform that specific action related to parkour.
In my opinion the newer parkour system felt a little too pre-programmed, it didn;t give me the feeling of total movement freedom. It felt more like Ubi programmed it so you can do the jumps/climbs/movements that they intended and that's it.

whatr_those
12-19-2015, 05:11 PM
I seriously am infatuated with the art of killing people. I just *love* killing people, and I'm not being insincere either. I *LOVE* killing people, and with AC, I can kill quite literally as many people as I like.

... And there's such a varied array of ways to kill people in these games. As such, I can kill people so much more efficiently; unlike when I kill people in real life, the people I murder don't have to be dealt with post-mortem for me to avoid arrest and incarceration in AC, because I'm killing people in time periods where the authorities weren't nearly as much trouble to deal with as they are now.

Sesheenku
12-19-2015, 05:33 PM
Anyone report.that guy to the FBI for kindergarden IQ tier trolling yet?

BananaBlighter
12-19-2015, 09:33 PM
I disagree with you that the parkour in Unity (I haven't played Syndicate so I cannot comment on it's parkour system but I think it's similar to Unity's) is beautifully unique. Compared to previous games (AC1 or 2 come to mind) the parkour feels really restrictive and automatic to me. There is little room for precise movements. This becomes very noticable when you're climbing something and you want to make a very small movement in a direction, so you nudge the control stick very slightly but instead Arno takes a giant leap instead of the small hand movement I had intended. I have had multiple times when the character wouldn't do what I wanted him to do when it should have been possible to perform that specific action related to parkour.
In my opinion the newer parkour system felt a little too pre-programmed, it didn;t give me the feeling of total movement freedom. It felt more like Ubi programmed it so you can do the jumps/climbs/movements that they intended and that's it.

I have to agree with this. I think this is due to the nature of the system, having the whole controlled descent thing and all. I mean. In the previous games, you chosse the direction to jump and either you get lucky and land on a ledge, or you correct yourself by grappling with 'circle'/'B'. With the more recent games, the game checks where you are jumping before hand and the pre-made animation initiates. As a result, the previous games never needed to correct your movements as much. However I stand by what I said, that the parkour in the more recent games is more beautiful. Actually it's exactly because of what you have pointed out. Pre-made animations go a long way in this regard. The old games' parkour wasn't fluid simply because you were constantly manually correcting yourself.

I have to say that in Syndicate, accuracy has been improved, though it is still a slight problem. In the end though, you get used to it and you start learning a few tricks to avoid everything messing up, so yeah, overall I very much prefer the parkour of the recent games, though with the control of the first games it would be incredible.

Sesheenku
12-19-2015, 10:07 PM
It does need a little more control like the old ones, I found wall ejecting was for some reason ridiculously hard in these last two games.

wickywoowoo
12-19-2015, 10:20 PM
The Modern Day storyline is what has drawn me in since AC1 first loaded on my PS3 about 8 years ago.

I have to say though, with PlayStation VR coming soon - the "historical tourism" selling point can make Ubisoft money hand over fist. Assassins Creed as a franchise has insane potential in the VR era.

TO_M
12-19-2015, 10:32 PM
I have to agree with this. I think this is due to the nature of the system, having the whole controlled descent thing and all. I mean. In the previous games, you chosse the direction to jump and either you get lucky and land on a ledge, or you correct yourself by grappling with 'circle'/'B'. With the more recent games, the game checks where you are jumping before hand and the pre-made animation initiates. As a result, the previous games never needed to correct your movements as much. However I stand by what I said, that the parkour in the more recent games is more beautiful. Actually it's exactly because of what you have pointed out. Pre-made animations go a long way in this regard. The old games' parkour wasn't fluid simply because you were constantly manually correcting yourself.

I have to say that in Syndicate, accuracy has been improved, though it is still a slight problem. In the end though, you get used to it and you start learning a few tricks to avoid everything messing up, so yeah, overall I very much prefer the parkour of the recent games, though with the control of the first games it would be incredible.

You're right that the newer parkour system looks somewhat better. But I personally don't think it's a good thing to sacrifice precision/freedom to perform every action/jump in order to make the parkour easier or have it look better/more fluid. Especially in a series that prides itself (or at least used to) on freedom of gameplay. The parkour in the more recent games hardly require any sort of "skill".
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted" apparently doesn't apply to Ubi's own parkour, the wall ejecting is a very good example of this.

BananaBlighter
12-19-2015, 10:49 PM
You're right that the newer parkour system looks somewhat better. But I personally don't think it's a good thing to sacrifice precision/freedom to perform every action/jump in order to make the parkour easier or have it look better/more fluid. Especially in a series that prides itself (or at least used to) on freedom of gameplay. The parkour in the more recent games hardly require any sort of "skill".
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted" apparently doesn't apply to Ubi's own parkour, the wall ejecting is a very good example of this.

I think that I'd prioritise fluidity and aesthetics during freeroam, however in a stealth or chase sequences precision and control is more important IMO.

In terms of skill, I would disagree that it is lacking in more recent games. For maximum fluidity, whether it be for the purpose of beauty or for speed, you need to know when to press what, constantly switching between parkour up and down.

Syndicate's system, with improved accuracy, would be perfect were it not for that fact that you can no longer jump willingly when the game thinks it is unsafe. In Unity there was no such restriction, and what you say about "Nothing is true, everything is permitted," holds even more for this example. Sacrificing some health for speed is very important at times.

It is possible that we would've gotten a more precise system in Syndicate, though I recall that in the gameplay testing video before launch, one tester commented that he wanted greater automation.

Adryn Bliss
12-20-2015, 03:49 AM
HIstory and database and the reliving memory concept itself, i'm also part of the small tribe that freaking loves any modern day aspect, since ac1 i've been fascinated with it and was deeply disappointed it's been stripped to the degree it has.

jellejackhammer
12-20-2015, 01:03 PM
MD and first civ . If the "fans" get what they want and ubi takes it away then ac won't be ac anymore. I can't stand people who claim to be hardcore fans and want MD to be gone . They are not real fans in my eyes. Without that concept the feel and CORE of ac Will be gone.what Will be left is a shadow of mordor wannabe. Part of the Reason MD is so lackluster now is because of the complaints of the "fans" about it before desmonds death. Mix in first civ with the historical part and a good MD that is playable and you have the real assassins creed that it should be. Also without forced multiplayer/coop ofcource.

Sesheenku
12-20-2015, 04:34 PM
Painstakingly created historical cities, being a badass and wrecking things without detection... sometimes, sometimes going ham and wrecking things brute style.

I do kinda miss the that we haven't had a balanced assassins again. Altair and Ezio were well rounded, interested in the creed, its history, it's future, good at combat, good at stealth, just masterful.

Connor was better at combat, Edward leaned a bit toward stealth and thievery, Arno seemed more stealthy, and Jacob is all combat while Evie's all stealth, and only Evie had any interest in the Assassin organization as a whole imo.

Connor used it as a means to save his people, Edward just kinda ended up in it, Arno wanted revenge (although unlike Ezio the change in attitude is after the main 12 sequences) Jacob seems more interested in doing his own thing really, yeah he wants to kill Templars but if his motive is for the organization as a whole it sure doesn't take much spot light.

Sesheenku
12-20-2015, 04:38 PM
MD and first civ . If the "fans" get what they want and ubi takes it away then ac won't be ac anymore. I can't stand people who claim to be hardcore fans and want MD to be gone . They are not real fans in my eyes. Without that concept the feel and CORE of ac Will be gone.what Will be left is a shadow of mordor wannabe. Part of the Reason MD is so lackluster now is because of the complaints of the "fans" about it before desmonds death. Mix in first civ with the historical part and a good MD that is playable and you have the real assassins creed that it should be. Also without forced multiplayer/coop ofcource.

Don't act like a 12 year old and call people fake or real fans cause they don't conform to your standards.

I used to hate it before too, except for AC3 that was okay MD. Then they went and killed him off and they made the MD even worse.

I don't recall ever being forced to do MP or Coop really. Not that it's hard I play on PC and I can always find someone to run Coop with.

I don't think you get to say what the "real" assassins creed is.

I puked in my mouth a little, your post is just oozing with pretentious crap.

D.I.D.
12-20-2015, 08:34 PM
MD and first civ . If the "fans" get what they want and ubi takes it away then ac won't be ac anymore. I can't stand people who claim to be hardcore fans and want MD to be gone . They are not real fans in my eyes. Without that concept the feel and CORE of ac Will be gone.what Will be left is a shadow of mordor wannabe. Part of the Reason MD is so lackluster now is because of the complaints of the "fans" about it before desmonds death. Mix in first civ with the historical part and a good MD that is playable and you have the real assassins creed that it should be. Also without forced multiplayer/coop ofcource.

If people like me got what we wanted, fans of MD would have got their reward too: a timely conclusion to the MD story and satisfactory closure. Annual cliffhangers were already losing their sting by the third one. You really want to be here, years on, still being fed DUN-DUN-DUUUUUNNN with no pay-off? That's not a story, that's a soap opera. The stakes were too high (the fate of the world!) and there was nowhere bigger to go, so they did it again. AC3 needed the First Civ to finally play their cards, so they did, and now were stuck with dragging that out.

I think it was a huge mistake. Juno's continuing presence is actually hurting MD. I think AC4's blood cubes and the Observatory had something major to say about DNA databases and mass surveillance in our real modern world, and an unencumbered plot could have tied the present and past together in a really compelling way. But there was no way for Darby McDevitt to do that because that would have been weird when Juno's allegedly threatening the world. So we get a Juno MD thing instead (with the silver lining of the clever new Sages thread). The Shroud could have connected indirectly with the real world's obsession with youth and attempted immortality, but we're still talking about the First Civ directly instead. I'm not as annoyed by that one: the Consus thing is really interesting to me but unfortunately most players won't know about it since it was hidden in Helix clues, and that makes me wonder if it's ever going to have meant anything. The special features of various PoEs can be made to do the same thing, allowing a commentary on today's social and technological issues, since Abstergo and the MD Templar order is a stand-in for any government/NGO/tech giant/pharmaceutical company/whatever. It doesn't have to be PoEs every time either - examining the past for secret information could be the key to solving a problem in the present. To say the game is nothing without continuous First Civ is to have the problem upside-down, in my view. The game's story can't thrive because of them.

All those centuries of Assassins struggling against Templars over political dominance affecting millions of people? That can't have been dull for the participants. Perhaps the story isn't being told well enough to convey the height of passion, but it doesn't follow that this needs more First Civ in the MD. Remember how intriguing it was to hear in the early games that the First Civ had been making posthumous appearances throughout our history? That's interesting to me - I'd like to know why they appeared, and what they needed to say. First Civ don't necessarily need to be gone forever once the Juno story is wrapped up in the MD, but it would be nice if they became an occasional treat rather than constant background noise. Remember that the original fans all came to this series at the beginning thinking, "Historical assassinations, nice!" before we ever heard there were First Civ.

As a fake fan, I've put a huge amount of money and time into every game in this franchise, and I've done it purely to annoy you. The least you could do is respect my dedication to fraud.

Farlander1991
12-20-2015, 09:14 PM
Don't you love it when supposed fans of a series the main motto of which is 'Nothing is true and everything is permitted' start to strictly define what is being a true ac fan and what is not?

STDlyMcStudpants
12-20-2015, 11:47 PM
I liked how its been a history of religious conflict until recently...
The games used to always give me a take away and something to think about...
Doesnt anymore :(

Farlander1991
12-20-2015, 11:58 PM
I liked how its been a history of religious conflict until recently...


By recently you mean 2009?

AC1 is the only game that deals with religious conflict, and the one that deals with religion the most. The role of religion is greatly decreased in ACII and is practically non-existant starting with ACB (unless you count general presence of the Church as a 'role').

STDlyMcStudpants
12-21-2015, 01:31 AM
By recently you mean 2009?

AC1 is the only game that deals with religious conflict, and the one that deals with religion the most. The role of religion is greatly decreased in ACII and is practically non-existant starting with ACB (unless you count general presence of the Church as a 'role').

ACB and ACR both had strong religious conflict....
I was sad it was missing in AC3... but i liked connor and the setting enough to over look it...
AC4, ACRo, ACU and ACS have all been lame to me... and the lack if philosophy is likely the reason

D.I.D.
12-21-2015, 01:43 AM
ACB and ACR both had strong religious conflict....
I was sad it was missing in AC3... but i liked connor and the setting enough to over look it...
AC4, ACRo, ACU and ACS have all been lame to me... and the lack if philosophy is likely the reason

I can't think of the religious conflict in ACR - seemed more like an internal ruction in the monarchy to me?

AC2/ACB didn't really have religious conflict, but they had a lot of religious controversy. I found that very refreshing at the time but it only had a point as long as they could make the First Civ interesting as a substitute for gods, and I don't think they pulled that off. It's a pity because all of that took some guts for a game that wants the biggest audience.

Farlander1991
12-21-2015, 01:45 AM
ACB and ACR both had strong religious conflict....

So what is the religious conflict of ACB and ACR then?

Farlander1991
12-21-2015, 02:28 AM
I can't think of the religious conflict in ACR - seemed more like an internal ruction in the monarchy to me?

AC2/ACB didn't really have religious conflict, but they had a lot of religious controversy. I found that very refreshing at the time but it only had a point as long as they could make the First Civ interesting as a substitute for gods, and I don't think they pulled that off. It's a pity because all of that took some guts for a game that wants the biggest audience.

I wouldn't really say AC2/ACB had a lot of religious controversy.

AC1 dissects the questions of those who believe faith, of those who promote faith, what faith can be capable of. And then straight up says that everything religions are based on are illussions. There's a reason for the disclaimer at the beginning there, cause AC1 was very ballsy in this regard and it tackles religion and faith from a bunch of different sides (both positive and negative towards it).

AC2, on the other hand, has a fist-fight with a Pope who's an unbeliever. I mean, there's a certain amount of controversy to that, sure, but religion and faith don't really play any kind of role in the game and questions of religions and faith aren't discussed pretty much with the exception of the link to AC1 - that being Altair in his codex. And partly the Bonfire DLC I guess, but there it's more about questions of free will, power, control, desire to follow.

And ACB... well, it has the Church making a cult to make people go under its roof. Only, it's not the Church who's doing that, it's the Templars, who just benefit from it, so Church is more like a victim, and even then just in the side story - and it's a plot about Templars trying to gain more control. The game doesn't explore religion or faith.

SixKeys
12-21-2015, 03:05 AM
In a world where people get offended by Starbucks coffee cups, AC2 and ACB's jabs at religion were still ballsy, even if they weren't the main focus.

VestigialLlama4
12-21-2015, 06:16 AM
In a world where people get offended by Starbucks coffee cups, AC2 and ACB's jabs at religion were still ballsy, even if they weren't the main focus.

I think the main point of AC1 and AC2 is not to deal with religion directly. If you notice, the real anti-religious statements always come from wacky Templars. In AC1, you have Templars like Sibrand saying how he lost his faith when he saw the Apple, Abul Nuqood criticizes his faith for persecuting him for his sexuality, Jubair burns books because he sees Holy Texts as being responsible for conflict, Al Mualim wants to use the Apple to end the conflict by replacing a new illusion for the old ones. AC2 had Pope-Punching but Ezio never definitively says something against the Church and Christianity. Indirectly, you can sense that he's an atheist but it's not overt.

One writer noted this when Assassin's Creed 1 came out:



There's some progressive anti-book burning hoo-ha near the end, but for the most part, Assassin's Creed carefully tiptoes around the religious issues of the Crusades in specific, and the Middle East in general. Jesus, Mohammed, and Jews are scarcely mentioned, with inoffensive historical factions like Templar and Saracen standing in for the real players, the one who might have had some contemporary relevance. It's worth noting that your assassin's disguise is clearly that of a monk, but you're called a "scholar". How very secular.

In fact, it's a bit odd that the main character espouses some strange progressive thinking early on in the game. Under the Temple of Solomon, an Ark is sighted. "The Ark of the Covenant?" one character asks. Our progressive assassin points out that there is no such thing, and that it's just a story.

And in the end, the big reveal is slightly less silly than The Da Vinci Code's "Jesus had kids! Oh noes!" reveal. From the cauldron of the Crusades and the Middle East, all Ubisoft can produce is a world-weary existentialism as bland and inoffensive as vanilla ice cream, with a quote from Ecclesiastes like a cherry on top.

Where are your balls, Ubisoft? Talk more about the Prophet, peace be upon Him. Put a Jewish character in the game and let him be reviled. Show the Crusaders as something other than the dudes playing the role of the cops from GTA. Because you know everyone's thinking about it when they see your game. It's a potentially powerful subject, and it's on all our minds, and your pussyfooting around the weak safe choices is a disappointment, particularly when you insist on wrapping your game in a modern-day shell. Assassin's Creed is as aware of today as it is of the 12th Century. Act like it, for God's sake. Because if your love of the setting were expressed in the writing with one tenth of the passion you show for your love of the architecture, Assassin's Creed could have been an experience as memorable as BioShock or Portal.
http://www.quartertothree.com/inhouse/news/375/

D.I.D.
12-21-2015, 07:39 AM
And ACB... well, it has the Church making a cult to make people go under its roof. Only, it's not the Church who's doing that, it's the Templars, who just benefit from it, so Church is more like a victim, and even then just in the side story - and it's a plot about Templars trying to gain more control. The game doesn't explore religion or faith.

I sometimes get mixed up with what's AC2 and ACB in the database/glyphs/clusters area. It's certainly true AC2 is the biggest one for religious controversy; in essence, AC2's hidden fiction butts heads with religion, and ACB's does the same for capitalism and right wing politics.

But still, Brotherhood was the one that revealed The Truth video, and that probably felt pretty strange to any fundamentalist Christians. Also, while the game generally makes enemies of the Borgia rather than the Catholic Church, they cast that net pretty wide. The conspiracy involves all kinds of church figures, from monks to cardinals. Yes, they're shown to be evil, but it's still pretty extreme to be sent to kill them. Also one monk is mocked by Ezio for hiring him to go and kill another monk, after he says he can't do it himself because he's a "man of God" (i.e. the man is not a hypocrite because he's a Templar - he isn't one - but because he's a Christian). And of course, in the real history the Borgias defended their position as occupants of the Vatican fiercely because most the rest of the Catholic Church was fighting to unseat them. That's not the case in ACB and no such balance is shown, so one might conclude that the entire ruling Christian hierarchy is in on this scam.

I'm sure millions of Christians played this and loved it regardless, and maybe found value in the examination and challenges of the story.

VestigialLlama4
12-21-2015, 08:29 AM
I sometimes get mixed up with what's AC2 and ACB in the database/glyphs/clusters area. It's certainly true AC2 is the biggest one for religious controversy; in essence, AC2's hidden fiction butts heads with religion, and ACB's does the same for capitalism and right wing politics.

But still, Brotherhood was the one that revealed The Truth video, and that probably felt pretty strange to any fundamentalist Christians. Also, while the game generally makes enemies of the Borgia rather than the Catholic Church, they cast that net pretty wide. The conspiracy involves all kinds of church figures, from monks to cardinals. Yes, they're shown to be evil, but it's still pretty extreme to be sent to kill them. Also one monk is mocked by Ezio for hiring him to go and kill another monk, after he says he can't do it himself because he's a "man of God" (i.e. the man is not a hypocrite because he's a Templar - he isn't one - but because he's a Christian). And of course, in the real history the Borgias defended their position as occupants of the Vatican fiercely because most the rest of the Catholic Church was fighting to unseat them. That's not the case in ACB and no such balance is shown, so one might conclude that the entire ruling Christian hierarchy is in on this scam.

I'm sure millions of Christians played this and loved it regardless, and maybe found value in the examination and challenges of the story.

You want a game that is actually controversial religiously, look no further than Bioshock Infinite, which is a deconstruction of the entire concept of Christian redemption and baptism. That's a game that attacks and challenges a core Christian idea. You know washing away sins and everything. Saying that the Borgia are corrupt and the Pope is bad is not religiously controversial, it's the semi-official Church position anyway. The Renaissance Pope people like is Julius II, the guy who came after Rodrigo (and who in Brotherhood Ezio co-opts as his Puppet). It would have been more controversial to portray the Borgia as morally ambiguous neutral types. If you make a case that the most shallow and least christian Pope was also the most religiously tolerant than you are directly criticizing the Church and mainstream Christianity in political terms. Especially since Julius II was a nasty anti-semite. Okay, Julius II was also the patron of Michelangelo and probably his boyfriend but we don't see the game tackling that now do we.

Assassin's Creed has never entirely committed itself to political and religious critique, it's generally played things close to the vest and avoided stepping on toes. The most challenging critique is in AC3 and especially Black Flag. The latter game says that it's more honorable and moral to be a pirate than serve in the navy of a slaveowning empire. That is still in the realm of GTA-ethics ("Sure I kill people but at least I admit it unlike those corporations and politicians!") but it does tackle real-world issues and Freedom's Cry is as close as games have come to tackling really disturbing aspects of history. AC3 presents a bleaker and darker take on the American Revolution and that's pretty gutsy. It's a game that puts you in the shoes of people who won't benefit from the rise of America.

On the whole, I think Assassin's Creed is excessively Eurocentric. For Ubisoft, America and the New World is all about native american genocide and slavery (hence why you see that in AC3 and Black Flag) while Europe is about culture and architecture which those silly revolutionaries ruined, never mind that they introduced ideas of religious tolerance and abolition of slavery which "we obviously will not mention since it only matters to people who are not Europeans". It's appalling that it took until Syndicate for us to have Jewish characters (Marx and Disraeli) in the franchise when anti-semitism was a big part of the Crusades, the Renaissance while the French Revolution marked the birth of Jewish liberation from ghettoes (which naturally gets no mention in the game).

D.I.D.
12-21-2015, 11:38 AM
You want a game that is actually controversial religiously, look no further than Bioshock Infinite, which is a deconstruction of the entire concept of Christian redemption and baptism. That's a game that attacks and challenges a core Christian idea. You know washing away sins and everything.

Played it, love it, but that's not what it's doing at all. There was some controversy over the game putting a bottleneck in Booker's path that forces the player to go through a baptism, but aside from that it's not controversial on the topic of religion. There's criticism of white American Christianity as it relates to Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism, and Levine was obviously sounding strong alarm bells around Comstock's use of those themes as further signs of his fascism. Comstock, like Hitler and Mussolini, is shown to paint his enemies as unclean and by contrast himself as shining, pure, special.

I don't see how it's a deconstruction of redemption on a religious level, however (while on a personal level, one that sees redemption as independent of religious components, sure it does). I guess it could be argued that his baptism didn't work, but I can't see how that's important unless you take a very magical/ritualistic bent on Christianity where the act is guaranteed regardless of the motivations or beliefs of the participants.


Saying that the Borgia are corrupt and the Pope is bad is not religiously controversial, it's the semi-official Church position anyway.

Right, and my post was taking the story about the Borgias being corrupt as read. I think you've maybe got a different message from my post than the one I wrote. I wasn't saying this was a controversial position, but the degree to which it places the power of the Church in support of the Borgias (or at least fails to demonstrate a single peep of the real turmoil among the cardinals over the Borgias' power) is controversial.


The Renaissance Pope people like is Julius II, the guy who came after Rodrigo (and who in Brotherhood Ezio co-opts as his Puppet). It would have been more controversial to portray the Borgia as morally ambiguous neutral types.

Might have been interesting if they had, given the opinions of many historians that at least a proportion of the litany of allegations against the Borgias are trumped-up smears, so powerful that they've transcended their original purpose and become the accepted truth for half a millennium. In a way, the AC writers did soften the Borgia legend; they didn't make use in the missions of either Cesare's or the Pope's alleged involvement with prostitutes, and don't touch on the infamous Banquet of Chestnuts at all. They seemed to have offloaded the pair's more lurid reputations onto Juan Borgia instead, including perhaps Rodrigo's real physical appearance (his face and body, not the diaper and the hat!). It's pretty suspicious that the stories of the Borgias being enthusiastic poisoners are largely the result of confessions extracted under torture from the Borgias' servants by Julius II.

However, I'm glad they kept it as they did. I think it would have been a real shame if they'd passed on one of history's most infamous villainous families without making use of the tales of poison, incest, and sex parties at all. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but it would have been a risk without much obvious reward. If they'd made something smart but dull instead of that juicy potboiler, I'd say they ****ed up. As it was, we got a nice campy pantomime. It's not the classiest AC story, but in terms of hitting its marks I think it's possibly the most successful one of the lot, still. There's rarely a dull moment in Brotherhood, and it's remarkable for how well it upholds its momentum across the main story and the side missions at once.

VestigialLlama4
12-21-2015, 12:32 PM
I don't see how it's a deconstruction of redemption on a religious level, however...I guess it could be argued that his baptism didn't work, but I can't see how that's important unless you take a very magical/ritualistic bent on Christianity where the act is guaranteed regardless of the motivations or beliefs of the participants.

For a vast portion of humanity and a good number of religious believers, the ritualistic side of Christianity absolutely does matter. It's an attack on the positive side of Christianity, that if you did something bad, you can become a better person by religious belief. Simply convert, baptize and you can start over again. It's a side of Christianity that is most appealling and positive, and undoubtedly what made it so attractive, the promise of being a better person, a new life, and pardon and forgiveness. Bioshock Infinite subjects that to a critique, saying that it can be a cover to not really change, not take responsibility and so on. You can only make a real critique of religion by taking on even the most positive sides of it.


I wasn't saying this was a controversial position, but the degree to which it places the power of the Church in support of the Borgias (or at least fails to demonstrate a single peep of the real turmoil among the cardinals over the Borgias' power) is controversial.

Well if AC was a game more sympathetic to the Borgia, they might well have shown that internal power struggle. This actually brings me to something that has always bothered me about the games from AC2 downwards.

In AC1, the thing about the Assassins, was that they weren't on anybody's side. They weren't really on the side of the Crusaders or the Saracens. Altair was against every faction, and the idea was that the Templars create the illusion of factional strife while making everyone their puppets. The idea of AC1 was that Altair and the Assassins pierce the illusion and show us what happens behind the doors of religious and political and national conflict. This was an awesome idea, and it was true to the original Assassins (who were basically not on anybody's side during the Crusades and were equally hated by both Crusaders and Saracens). This was basically like Dashiell Hammett's RED HARVEST, you know the Continental Op who marches in and plays different groups against each other.

Among the many things that get diluted from AC1 to AC2, this was the biggest. Because in AC1, Ezio and the Assassins are allied with the Medici and later with Caterina Sforza. They are basically nobility fighting fellow nobility and the Assassin-Templar conflict becomes a Renaissance feud between the Auditore and the Borgia. Ideally, Ezio and Co. should have been whacking members of various feuding families, church and other factions rather than siding with one against the other. As much as I like AC2, this was a huge betrayal of concept. It would have been equally bad if say, the Assassins allied with the Borgia against everyone I suppose. Later games you have Ezio and the Assassins supporting the Ottoman Empire and palling around with Prince Suleiman, now I am okay with that (and the Ottomans get a worse rap than most empires for some reason). Then you have Connor supporting the Patriots, Arno supporting the Royalists and Napoleon, Jacob and Evie supporting Benjamin Disraeli and Queen Victoria and it starts to get nonsensical. For all the flaws that are there in ROGUE, it was the only game that addressed this issue. Achilles' Assassins fight the French in Haiti, but fight for the French against the English.

Black Flag is probably the only game after AC1, that has that whole anarchic, not on anybody's side attitude. Since Edward assassinates and opposes fellow pirates, English and Spanish governors. I wish they went back to that. Because to me that creates a lot more story problems than otherwise.

CourtlyShelf2
12-21-2015, 07:44 PM
the historic settings even though they bend it to fit there native

Derp43
12-21-2015, 08:56 PM
Jacob and Evie supporting Benjamin Disraeli and Queen Victoria and it starts to get nonsensical.

If by "supporting Queen Victoria"(If that's even possible) you mean "stopping Templars from blowing up Parliament" then yes. As for Disraeli, they saved his life and used the debt he owed them to further their own goals, I would hardly call that "supporting".

SixKeys
12-22-2015, 03:46 AM
I think the main point of AC1 and AC2 is not to deal with religion directly. If you notice, the real anti-religious statements always come from wacky Templars. In AC1, you have Templars like Sibrand saying how he lost his faith when he saw the Apple, Abul Nuqood criticizes his faith for persecuting him for his sexuality, Jubair burns books because he sees Holy Texts as being responsible for conflict, Al Mualim wants to use the Apple to end the conflict by replacing a new illusion for the old ones. AC2 had Pope-Punching but Ezio never definitively says something against the Church and Christianity. Indirectly, you can sense that he's an atheist but it's not overt.


Altaïr's criticism of religion is the most scathing, more so than the Templars'. In his Codex he says that he hopes that one day mankind will "turn away from these invisible monsters". He criticizes the idea of eternal punishment which is so central to the three Abrahamic religions:

"But these new religions are so convenient - and promise such terrible punishment should one reject them - I worry that fear shall keep us stuck to what is surely the greatest lie ever told."

Note that he says "new religions", clearly referring to the ones waging war during the Crusades. He thinks those new religions are more harmful than old ones which didn't place such strong emphasis on punishment for not believing. He calls religion the greatest lie ever told. That's way more condemning than anything the Templars said.

VestigialLlama4
12-22-2015, 05:25 AM
Altaïr's criticism of religion is the most scathing, more so than the Templars'. In his Codex he says that he hopes that one day mankind will "turn away from these invisible monsters". He criticizes the idea of eternal punishment which is so central to the three Abrahamic religions:

"But these new religions are so convenient - and promise such terrible punishment should one reject them - I worry that fear shall keep us stuck to what is surely the greatest lie ever told."

Note that he says "new religions", clearly referring to the ones waging war during the Crusades. He thinks those new religions are more harmful than old ones which didn't place such strong emphasis on punishment for not believing. He calls religion the greatest lie ever told. That's way more condemning than anything the Templars said.



Well that's a Codex page in the second game, not something you will come across on the surface. It's something that most readers generally skim. Altair never directly and verbally criticizes religion in AC1 or ACR. In fact in that final boss fight with Al Mualim, his mentor says that using the Apple is superior to the fanatical reasons the Crusaders use and Altair instead says, "At least they chose their illusions." That line doesn't actually make a great deal of sense but basically Altair is saying that the Crusaders are better or less dangerous than Al Mualim.

It does make sense for Altair to refer to Christianity and Islam as "new religions" though. Remember, Altair is a man of the 1200s, at that point Islam is a young religion, and organized Christianity is older than that by just 200 years.

KingL0c4l
12-30-2015, 06:44 AM
Secrets, it's all about the secrets.