Tag Archives: Assassin’s Creed III

People Are Upset About Aveline de Grandpré [What Else Is New?]

So this news came out while I was still at camp, so I’m definitely a little behind the times. Ubisoft revealed at E3 in early June that another game in the Assassin’s Creed series would be joining Assassin’s Creed III when it launched this October 30th. The following is a trailer for that game:


The AC franchise has always been ahead of its time in terms of racial representation. Altaïr ibn La’Ahad, a Syrian assassin, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an Italian, and Ratohnhaké:ton [Conor Kenway], English/Mohawk are the stars of the first, second, and third games respectively. Each game has given slavish devotion to historical accuracy, but each has also starred a male protagonist. Until now.

Aveline de Grandpré is an African/French assassin, the only black female video game character I can think of besides Rochelle of Left 4 Dead 2, and from what I can tell a complete and total badass. This is a huge step on Ubisoft’s part, and I’m both impressed and proud that they’ve made this choice. Especially when the reception was so expected.

Clicking on the image to the left will bring up comments on the video I posted. Choice comments are:

Yup, [I know] AC isnt so realistic, but a women? :/

okay a female is reasonable but seriously y does she have to be black! wtf

looks like i’m not alone on this lol. so many people think i’m racist or something lol

It may seem like this is only to be expected from the video game community, often [and accurately] thought to be both extremely racist and sexist.  It was only earlier this year that fans of the book series The Hunger Games took to the internet to express their disgust that Rue, a character in the novel, was portrayed by a black actress in the film.

The image on the right is one of many incredibly offensive tweets about the casting. Jezebel reported on the phenomenon early this year, but it seems that it’s not the only Hunger Games related news that the site has to write about this year.

While the role of Panem-ian heartthrob Finick Odair has already been  given to Sam Claflin, months earlier a campaign was started to give it to biracial actor Jesse Williams. This was, again, met with some pretty intense criticism. From racists. Unfortunately a lot of the negative/ignorant comments on this messageboard have been deleted, though Jezebel’s write-up on the situation can be read hereThe campaign tumblr is still out there, though it now also discusses racial casting, which I definitely don’t have a problem with.

Suffice to say, the world still has a ways to go before we, in North America, anyway, can simply start accepting that not everyone out there is white, and therefore not everyone who appears in art, either electronic or literary, is either. These comments I posted may just be an example of the “loud minority,” but if female or nonwhite protagonists are really a big deal, maybe we should be loud as well.

I think Aveline de Grandpré is an amazing addition to an already stellar video game series. I think it is fantastic that she’s black and that she is a woman, and I think that you should too.

A Response to Kotaku’s “Why a Colonial Assassin’s Creed Makes Complete Sense (and Sounds Awesome)”

At least one spoiler present.
                                                                                                                                                                      

No matter the medium, there have always been dominant themes in literature.

I realize that today is Elisa’s day to post, but I just had to get on this Assassin’s Creed bandwagon before it was too late. To get this out of the way, I have played Assassin’s Creed II on the Xbox 360, and enjoyed it immensely. I have not yet had the chance to play its two sequels, Brotherhood or Revelations.

Kotaku and other gaming news sites have released the cover of the game, seen on the right. It’s pretty evident from this that the game will take place during the American Revolution, a far cry from the Holy Land of 1911 and Renaissance Italy. Kotaku’s article, mentioned in the title of the post, is “Why a Colonial Assassin’s Creed Makes Complete Sense (and Sounds Awesome),” and this is a point by point response to what its author, Luke Plunkett, feels about the new setting for the latest in the franchise.

THE REVOLUTION DESERVES BETTER

Plunkett’s point here is that this is an era in American history that’s taken on a “mythical status in the hearts and minds of many Americans.” He then goes on to say that there’s “very little mythical about it.”

What I think he’s trying to say is that the game will help reveal the realism behind the American Revolution, but for some reason I think that using a franchise all about how aliens are working through a group named Assassins to save the world may not be the best way of doing so.

THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE TREES

Here arises the argument that Colonial American will not have the vast cityscapes, et cetera, that the older European settings have. Plunkett reminds readers that cities like Philadelphia were actually quite large.


I question, I suppose, the very title of this particular point. Yes, there will be trees that are scalable, as seen above, but will all of them be this way? I imagine that having an entire forest of interactable objects would be difficult to pull off, but I guess that’s technology these days.

That’s all I really have to say about this. There will be, as he mentioned, churches and ship masts and things to provide those look-out points, so that really shouldn’t be a huge issue.

NATIVE AMERICANA

Yes, I entirely agree. It’s definitely very, very cool that the protagonist of this game is speculated to be, at least, half Native American. It’s a large, incredibly popular series, and it’s fantastic to see a little bit of diversity to mix up the “athletic white male protagonist” that dominates the industry.

GUNS & STEEL

Again, not a point I can argue against. There are those who say that this is a time period in which the presence of gunpowder is too large, but it’s highly debatable. Plunkett is entirely  correct when he says that smaller skirmishes were highly dependent on bayonets and swords. Native Americans, of course, often used tomahawks and bows, both of which are present in the images above.

PLENTY OF TARGETS

Another good point. A block quote will wrap up pretty well what his point is:

You’ve got established colonials. European immigrants from all corners of the continent. Local militias. The Continental Army. The British Army. Tens of thousands of Germans fighting for the British Army. The Royal Navy. The French Army. The French Navy. The Spanish Army. Slaves. Not to mention Native Americans on both sides (and stuck in the middle).

Basically, there are lots of people to kill. You are, after all, an Assassin.

SUPPORTING CAST

Leonard da Vinci appeared [as a gay man, actually] in Assassin’s Creed II, among many other historical figures. That being said, it’s entirely expected that characters such as Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, et cetera, might be making appearances.

An issue that has been brought up a good number of times is that many of America’s Founding Fathers were thought to be Freemasons. Freemasonry has often been connected to the Templars, who are the sworn enemies of the Assassins.

That being said, will this game’s protagonist be trying to assassinate well-known figures in American history? See: the following point-

AMERICA F-CK YEAH?

Look at the cover of the game. Now without bothering to make overly lengthy references to Old Spice commercials, look at it again. It’s the protagonist of an extremely popular video game franchise taking the tomahawk to a British soldier’s face. In the background flies Betsy Ross’ 13-star variant of the American flag. That seems like a loaded image, to say the least.

This is the point I’ve been waiting to get to. Allow me to, again, use a block quote to present where Plunkett is coming from:

I’ve already seen a few people complaining that this is yet another game about America, that it’s a shame to see a series that had been so un-American end up so, well, American. That to me sounds ridiculous. The America you’re sick of seeing wouldn’t be the America represented in a Colonial video game. This is that nation’s origin story, and as such will sound and feel much more European (particularly British) than anything you normally associate with electric guitars and square jaws.

Do I agree? Somewhat. Yes, to follow the story Desmond’s ancestors would have had to make it to America at some point, so I suppose this was inevitable, but did there have to be an entire game about it? Just staring at the cover makes me uncomfortable; it practically bleeds nationalism.

That being said, at the very least it’s no Homefront, the 2011 FPS that’s premise is that North Korea has invaded the US and you’re fighting to win it back. No one with any sense of international relations could see this as being possible, and the very concept is unnervingly jingoistic.

Plunkett ends his article by saying that “the guys making the game [. . .] aren’t American either.” This is true, as the game is being produced by Ubisoft Montreal. Why this studio has decided to go with this concept as well as this kind of approach to marketing the game is questionable, and one I’m interested in finding out. From a general observation I can see this as being a game that appeals to gamers in general [it’s a good series], but Americans in particular.