In the last few days, the Assassin’s Creed speculation has been swirling around the internet. Starting with a then unconfirmed, leaked image of the Assassin’s Creed III protagonist, it all culminated this morning over at GameInformer when they confirmed the premise of the upcoming title. There aren’t many details regarding the plot, characters or storyline at this point — but the released images may be more telling than you might think.
– Warning: Here be history –
On the cover of the latest Game Informer, we see an image of the newest descendant, confirming the setting of Assassin’s Creed 3 will take place during the American Revolution. The figure itself is dressed in period attire, but the most interesting aspect of the design is the Native American elements that adorn the character. Historically speaking, the Native American presence in the War of Independence was split three ways, depending on their motives and desire for involvement. While most tribes chose to remain neutral, if only at first, those that took up arms did so for varying reasons.
Some tribes opted to assist the British forces, in the hopes that a victory over the Colonists would stem the tide of increasingly aggressive colonial expansion. Others found themselves allying with British and Loyalist forces after the anti-Indian sentiment of some colonists boiled over into violence and bloodshed against the Native American peoples.
Others found themselves joining the cause of the settlers, volunteering as minutemen in local militias and serving as guides through the rugged, untamed wilderness. This was primarily based in areas where trade between the Native American presence and the settlers was prosperous, though these instances were fewer in number.
Given that the protagonist is both positioned in front of the Colonial Flag (and poised to hatchet the face of a British Redcoat on the box art,) it’s a safe bet he is an agent for the Patriots, in some capacity. If we look at his positioning of the image, we can see he is ahead of a Patriot army, indicating he is acting as some sort of guide or scout – a role Native Americans regularly played during the war. Hopefully we see some layers of motivation surrounding his Native American heritage and how that plays into his involvement in the war. I would be disappointed if this were a cut-and-dry “Us versus Them” story – demonizing British forces as simple “bad guys”. Let’s face it, early American settlers weren’t exactly friendly with the indigenous peoples when it came to standing between them and westward expansion.
On the surface, we get a sneak peek of at least some of the weaponry that will be employable by our newest historical assassin. He’s got a traditional Native American bow with a quiver full of arrows and a tomahawk decorated with feathers. Also, notice the blade on the tomahawk looks suspiciously like the Assassin’s Creed logo (I love symbolism!)
In addition, he’s got two pistols, though they seem to take a backseat when it comes to the combat, based solely on the box art. This would indicate that Assassin’s Creed III will stay similar to the combat mechanics we’ve come to know in the previous iterations. While ranged weapons have always had a place in the franchise, given the time periods explored thus far, they’ve been largely inefficient. That seems to be the case here as well, given the muskets of the time were slow to reload – meaning after the first shot, combat drifted towards melee when facing an incoming enemy. This plays well with the franchise because while the muskets of the period were certainly more effective than the crossbows of Renaissance Italy, they won’t be the game changing force that requires the developers to redefine the combat mechanics.
All said and done, there is a decent amount of information to take away from the images regarding how the game will play and our role in the American Revolution. Assassin’s Creed loves to blend their signature style of fictional historical drama with actual events from history, so I’m looking forward to running into the prolific characters of the period — and scalping them. My expectation is we’ll see a healthy dose of conspiracy theory regarding the secret society of the Free Masons and their role in the (Templar / Assassin) Revolutionary War.
I, for one, am SO glad to be out of Italy.
All images courtesy of GameInformer.