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View Full Version : The "problem" with Connor



SixKeys
06-22-2013, 11:52 PM
Note: THIS IS NOT A BASHING THREAD. Read before commenting.


I've been thinking about Connor and all the other assassins we've played so far (apart from Aveline as I haven't played Liberation and don't know much about her character). Right now I have a more optimistic feel about AC4 and Edward than I expected to while I never was able to get excited about Connor. As much as I want to hate the idea of a pirate assassin, I feel like AC4 may in fact be a step in the right direction.

Here's the thing: the devs' main concern is obviously to create an interesting open world where the player has a lot of freedom to do whatever they want. They give them a ton of tools and encourage the player to go forth and cause mayhem. Steal, kill, explore, freerun across rooftops, go crazy. At the same time, they have to keep justifying these gameplay mechanics with the assassin character. And that's where problems arise.

An assassin needs to be flawed for this kind of world to work. The character needs to be somewhat selfish and reckless for the world to work. The player should have a reason to go crazy and therefore the character we're roleplaying as should have an excuse to sometimes go a little crazy too. Alta´r was flawed; he started out as arrogant and selfish, so it made sense for him to sometimes kill tons of guards even if they didn't deserve it. Ezio started off as a spoiled youngster; it made sense for him to get into fistfights and steal from people he didn't know personally. Now we have Edward, who starts off only caring about fame and fortune. It makes sense for him to be reckless and get into trouble all across the Caribbean, because that's what pirates do.

The problem with Connor was that the character and the world didn't quite seem to gel. Connor was simply too nice, and he stayed nice throughout the whole story. Whereas the other assassins sometimes did things for selfish reasons (Alta´r to regain his rank, Ezio for revenge, Edward for riches), Connor was all about justice and peace. So the devs created a world where you were encouraged to hunt harmless animals even when your stockpile was full, to steal from poor people and cause riots where innocents could easily get hurt. The combat animations were the most elaborate and brutal so far, while Connor supposedly abhored violence. Playing as Connor, I simply couldn't justify doing these things because it clashed with what we were told about the character.

I feel like AC4 may be a step in the right direction simply because Edward seems to fit into the world of Black Flag. In a pirate world, it makes perfect sense for the player to do all the immoral things that are possible in the game (killing, fighting, stealing, gambling). In Connor's world, you had all these tools and gameplay mechanics that might have worked for a different character, but simply felt out-of-character for a goody-two-shoes like Connor.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree that the main assassin needs to be a flawed character in order for the world to work?

Rugterwyper32
06-22-2013, 11:59 PM
I can actually agree with this. Connor is my favorite assassin in the series, yes, and I personally would like to see another game with Connor after the events of AC3 (during the last sequence, Connor seemed a lot more willing to do whatever it took to do what needed to be done and his ruthlessness in combat felt better), but during AC3, he was just too good of a guy. Things also felt better in TokW as he progressively became more ruthless and cold because of the spirit world missions.
I think Edward will work better to not cause a disconnect between the overall feeling of the game and the personality of the character.

Assassin_M
06-23-2013, 12:00 AM
I agree to an extent...some of the secondary objectives seemed to clash with his character as well, but...I believe Connor`s naive idealism both worked and didn't work so well...the contrast in the world and Connor can be looked at as interesting, but some of the clashes can greatly overshadow it...

Overall I thought the whole thing was a risk and I applaud them for it...it clicked in some areas, while it seemed odd in others...Edward sounds the most interesting Assassin so far and sooner or later, his character will clash with the world, true both will most likely be in harmony at the start, but as he evolves, i`m sure there`ll be clashes...

Jexx21
06-23-2013, 12:01 AM
First of all, Connor wasn't a goody two shoes (sorry that term annoys me so much).

As for the points you made.. in the other games I actually try to avoid killing guards unless they are Templars, Borgias, or Byzantines, because I didn't see it as something the characters would do.

I didn't have a problem hunting animals, and I thought it made sense, but then again if my stockpile was full I generally wouldn't hunt anyway because I don't need to. I actually never started a riot because I never understood what they were and I didn't really feel a need to. As for stealing, I never really stole as Connor, except when I bribed people to get my notoriety down. I stole that cash back because that's my cash bro. I could see Connor doing that as well, because he thought paying for it in the first place was unfair.

silvermercy
06-23-2013, 12:27 AM
I can somewhat agree... (even though he's still my fave assassin). I think it was a difficult story to tell. To put everything together must have been a very demanding task as they had to additionally take into account so many sensitive cultural elements. You could say Connor was flawed. He had a naivetÚ that brought him in conflict with his surrounding world. I think this flaw could have been explored a little further (or made more obvious). For example, they could have scenes in which Connor is struggling to eat the food the way the colonists do. Or be oblivious to their customs in general. He could even scandalize people by his own manners. He could have scenes where he is not accepted so readily by almost everyone around him. Scenes where he is mocked. That would have given an extra layer of sympathy potential for those who didn't like him as much as we did.

ProletariatPleb
06-23-2013, 12:32 AM
First of all, Connor wasn't a goody two shoes (sorry that term annoys me so much).
Goody goody two shoes you mean.

SixKeys
06-23-2013, 01:34 AM
Things also felt better in TokW as he progressively became more ruthless and cold because of the spirit world missions.
I think Edward will work better to not cause a disconnect between the overall feeling of the game and the personality of the character.

I agree, Connor was more interesting and meshed better with the world in ToKW. He started out as the same Connor we know from AC3, but his powers gave him a newfound arrogance and recklessness. It made sense for him to use the Bear Power to kill tons of soldiers because he was more ruthless and vengeful in this universe. So the world and character meshed better, because they gave you new tools and then gave a justification for the character to use them.



I didn't have a problem hunting animals, and I thought it made sense, but then again if my stockpile was full I generally wouldn't hunt anyway because I don't need to. I actually never started a riot because I never understood what they were and I didn't really feel a need to. As for stealing, I never really stole as Connor, except when I bribed people to get my notoriety down. I stole that cash back because that's my cash bro. I could see Connor doing that as well, because he thought paying for it in the first place was unfair.

It doesn't matter what you, personally, did within the game. What matters is that these aspects were put there for the player to use and experiment with, but it made no sense character-wise for Connor to start situations where there was a great risk for hurting innocents. I never even attempted stealing in the game unless I had to, because I could not justify in my mind Connor's character doing something like that. Then I found out there are actually club challenges involved for stealing which annoyed me. Why would Connor ever steal from civilians that he's trying to protect, let alone steal so much that he gets invited to a thieves' club? It's like they just put some things in the game without considering how it fit the narrative.


I can somewhat agree... (even though he's still my fave assassin). I think it was a difficult story to tell. To put everything together must have been a very demanding task as they had to additionally take into account so many sensitive cultural elements. You could say Connor was flawed. He had a naivetÚ that brought him in conflict with his surrounding world. I think this flaw could have been explored a little further (or made more obvious). For example, they could have scenes in which Connor is struggling to eat the food the way the colonists do. Or be oblivious to their customs in general. He could even scandalize people by his own manners. He could have scenes where he is not accepted so readily by almost everyone around him. Scenes where he is mocked. That would have given an extra layer of sympathy potential for those who didn't like him as much as we did.

I'm not saying all this makes Connor a bad character, just that the devs may not have quite thought things through. They wanted to be respectful to native Americans and thus portray Connor not as a bloodthirsty savage, but a kind person with a strong sense of justice. Then they went ahead and created a world where this character supposedly steals from poor people and uses unnecessary violence. A character like Connor is simply too nice for that stuff. It doesn't make him a bad character, but it does make me believe he would have been a better protagonist for a different game. Assassin's Creed seems to work best when players are given an excuse for doing reckless things, and that excuse can be as simple as "this character is reckless by nature". Connor may be na´ve and impatient sometimes, but these things alone aren't enough to justify him doing some of the things the player is expected to do in the game.

LintonMildone
06-23-2013, 02:26 AM
Apparently the only people who know Connor's characteristic best are those at TvTropes:http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/AssassinsCreedIII

Megas_Doux
06-23-2013, 02:35 AM
I certainly agree to an extent, even though Connor is my favorite Assassin!

His background was, and by far, the most complicated one in the series, the risk of an stereotyped portrayal and its consequences were large, however I thank Ubi for their effort.

LoyalACFan
06-23-2013, 02:54 AM
I totally agree. I thought his naivete clashed not only with the violent actions of the game, but also with his horrific past. Somehow, he went from a jaded teen ("the colonists are encroaching on us, we need to push back") to Mr. Nice Guy ("what would you have me do?") I still liked him, but he came across as too much of a yes man.

Jexx21
06-23-2013, 03:35 AM
Erm, just wondering, where does the game have you steal from poor people?

I can't see any of the assassins stealing from poor people.

SixKeys
06-23-2013, 04:09 AM
Erm, just wondering, where does the game have you steal from poor people?

I can't see any of the assassins stealing from poor people.

I'm talking about regular NPCs that you see on the streets. Although technically the game doesn't force you to steal, it's odd that there's a club challenge involved with it, indicating that stealing is actually encouraged (to an extent). I just don't see why the devs included a Thieves' Club in the game when Connor doesn't seem like the type who would want to be branded as a thief anyway.

In the Ezio games I could somewhat justify stealing from NPCs with the fact that Ezio was a more selfish character who enjoyed being a bit of a rascal. He liked showing off his skills to the thieves and courtesans. Some missions even required you to steal for good reasons, like in ACB when you needed to quickly scrape up ransom money to save a hostage.

Assassin_M
06-23-2013, 04:11 AM
In the Ezio games I could somewhat justify stealing from NPCs with the fact that Ezio was a more selfish character who enjoyed being a bit of a rascal. He liked showing off his skills to the thieves and courtesans. Some missions even required you to steal for good reasons, like in ACB when you needed to quickly scrape up ransom money to save a hostage.
"Where`s Madonna Solari?"
"She`s dead.."
"Meeerda"

had to pause the game, because I was laughing so hard

Dosenwabe
06-23-2013, 10:28 AM
Come on, people just didn't like Connor because he didn't have a love interest with boobs. That's why Edward is popular right now. You don't have to search for complicated and deep reasons, it's simple and banal.

avk111
06-23-2013, 01:35 PM
Come on, people just didn't like Connor because he didn't have a love interest with boobs. That's why Edward is popular right now. You don't have to search for complicated and deep reasons, it's simple and banal.

Well to a certain extent thats true, however if you look at the PS3 official main face/character, Nathan Drake, he didnt have romatic experiences thus its more of the feel of the story and gameplay , I think the current generation of gamers are expecting a full total package character with ups and downs, sort of like a movie ... with AC3 we didnt really have that experience which is fine for some but not for all, Connor is going to be a Cult character if the current comments on him stay as they are now.

Silhouelle
06-23-2013, 02:01 PM
The problem with Connor was that the character and the world didn't quite seem to gel. Connor was simply too nice, and he stayed nice throughout the whole story. In Connor's world, you had all these tools and gameplay mechanics that might have worked for a different character, but simply felt out-of-character for a goody-two-shoes like Connor.
I think it have worked better if the sequences length was altered. For instance when we play teen Connor he is telling his friend that he should embrace the pain for it will make him strong (referring to physical fitness there). That gave me as a player a valid, in-game reason to be tree-running everywhere, to be climbing anything and everything, because for Connor from an in-character perspective, its training. Its growth.

Then when we play him outside of the village, free to go to Achille's, I was able to go and explore as Connor and fight Red coats and unleash Connor's brutality as Connor himself says to his friend that every year there are more and more people encroaching nearer to their land. Given that Connor already is pretty beastly in combat before meeting Achilles, to me those two things tell he was preparing to go to war against the foreigners. So it gave me an in-game and in-character excuse to go hunting redcoats in the forests, to sneak into their forts and kill their leaders, to steal from the townspeople in the various small towns.

All that reasoning goes out of the window however once you meet up with Achille's I feel, thats why I spend so much time in that sequence before going to Achilles as I think it makes the most sense character wise for Connor to do those things then. I would generally kill redcoats as teen Connor, but once he starts training he will only kill when he has to, prefering to avoid conflict if possible and if not then taking enemies out bare-handed.

So I think all the stuff you talk about in the OP is appropiate for Connor at certain points in the story, its just those points are so quickly moved by that most will never wait around to do the gameplay there where it makes more sense, from a character perspective. I would agree however with you overall question that the assassin needs to be flawed for the gameplay to work without breaking immersion and character.

Farlander1991
06-23-2013, 02:32 PM
I do agree there is some gameplay-narrative dissonance when it concerns Connor.

Partially it can be justified by the Animus - just because we're doing something in the world, doesn't mean Connor actually did it (which also justifies the fact that we can be entirely reckless and whatnot as Altair and Ezio even during time periods where they weren't like that).

However, full synch requirements (such as some of the challenges, including thief ones, and a number of optional objectives) go against what Connor's character is and can't be justified by the Animus (because they're full synch stuff).

Although, I don't agree that Connor's brutal combat goes against what he is, in fact, I think it really fits his character - in a sense that, while he does try to kill only when really necessary, if he gets into a battle he lets out all his pain and anger he accumulated via the years.

However, I do not agree that such a character as Connor can't work in an Assassin's Creed game. There just had to be some additional systems put in to accentuate who he is, and, yes, a bit more thought put into it than with Altair/Ezio games. Like, for example, ability to go give away food to the poor that you grow on the homestead, let's say. Or... well, ideas could be thrown around. Thanks to the nature of the Animus, a character doesn't have to be reckless and really flowed to work in an AC game, but at the same time, the systems put in place have to accentuate who the character is.

SixKeys
06-23-2013, 04:54 PM
However, I do not agree that such a character as Connor can't work in an Assassin's Creed game. There just had to be some additional systems put in to accentuate who he is, and, yes, a bit more thought put into it than with Altair/Ezio games. Like, for example, ability to go give away food to the poor that you grow on the homestead, let's say. Or... well, ideas could be thrown around. Thanks to the nature of the Animus, a character doesn't have to be reckless and really flowed to work in an AC game, but at the same time, the systems put in place have to accentuate who the character is.

I totally agree with this. AC games have always been based largely on violence and death (for obvious reasons). For a character like Connor, however, they should have done more to implement new types of missions and challenges that would better suit his character. The Frontiersmen missions were fine, since they were about exploration and looking for the truth behind myths, something that totally fits Connor's character. Homestead missions were good in concept, if not execution, because they were about Connor helping people. In my opinion some of the violence and kill animations could have been changed to be more fitting for the character. The rope dart could have been a non-lethal weapon, for example. I know the devs said Connor is so brutal in combat because that's where he lets all his anger and frustration out, but I still can't quite see him like that. I see Connor more as someone like Batman: very brutal when he has to be, but prefers to knock people unconscious rather than killing them.

AssassinHMS
06-23-2013, 06:07 PM
I agree, however I think the problem isn't Connor himself but the actual game. In terms of gameplay, AC3 encourages the player to fight wave after wave of enemies. Stealth is a joke and assassination missions are pathetic. So, besides naval battles the only thing to do in AC3 is to pick fights for no reason. Not only that, but there is too much violence and too much blood, unnecessary blood. This has nothing to do with Connor and it has nothing to do with assassin's creed. So I actually think Connor is an ok protagonist for a real assassin's creed game where the player is encouraged to think and act like an assassin instead of a psychopath mass murderer.

Megas_Doux
06-23-2013, 07:55 PM
I agree, however I think the problem isn't Connor himself but the actual game. In terms of gameplay, AC3 encourages the player to fight wave after wave of enemies. Stealth is a joke .

And yet. AC3 is the first one in the series that includes true stealth mechanics.....