History is being told through a variety of different media. Books and literature are just a few of the many possibilities storytellers have in our society. The largest interactive franchise based on historical events is without any doubt the Assassin’s Creed franchise, but what is the impact of these games on our contemporary society?
An interactive medium holds the power to showcase historical time periods in a more appealing and engaging manner. The Assassin’s Creed franchise uses historical settings to tell immersive stories and adventures. The games take players back in time and offer new insights on the events that altered the course of history.
Thanks to the Assassin’s Creed series, a whole generation of gamers relives the memories of our ancestors and experienced the French Revolution and American Revolution from a different point of view.
Third Crusade, French Revolution and Colonial Era
In the first instalments of the series, you fight side by side with historical figures such as King Richard Lionheart, Napoleon Bonaparte and George Washington during the Third Crusade, French Revolution and Colonial Era.
Of course, the centuries long battle between the Assassins and the Templars is a work of fiction.
Research, research and research
Recreating an historical time period in a realistic manner required months of research. A team of developers had to determine the circumstances and the succession of the historical events. The dedication of the team determined the credibility of the historical setting.
The integration of a fictional conflict, makes the Assassin’s Creed series even more interesting. The different games are connected and your character plays only a small role in a much larger conflict that covers centuries.
Nothing is true, everything is permitted
The Assassin’s Creed franchise focuses largely on the Assassin Order, a group of individuals who consider political assassinations and the death of the corrupt as a means to bring peace and security to the common people. A seemingly simple creed represents their beliefs and actions: “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”
At the end of Assassin’s Creed – Unity, the main character Arno Dorian explains the misinterpretation of this creed. In the beginning, he thought this sentence meant the Assassins were free to pursue their ideals, no matter the cost.
In the story of Assassin’s Creed – Unity, the French Revolution demonstrated the blind pursuit of ideals of political factions that tore the entire nation apart, leaving thet society in chaos. There is also a direct link to religious beliefs and political movements in our contemporary society.
Mythical creatures and monsters
The latest instalments Assassin’s Creed – Origins and Assassin’s Creed – Odyssey took a different approach and went further back in time to tell stories about Ancient Egypt near the end of the Ptolemaic period and Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta.
Previous Assassin’s Creed titles steered clear of mythical creatures, but the latest iterations include Egypt and Greek mythology. This is most noticeable in Assassin’s Creed – Odyssey through the inclusion of mythical monsters from the Ancient Greek era, such as Medusa and the Minotaur, who can be encountered and fought in side quests.
Historical locations to discover
In Assassin’s Creed – Origins, you are offered the chance to explore Ancient Egypt without being interrupted by enemies or quests in the Discovery Tour mode. This educational mode turns the game world into a virtual museum with guided tours and interesting historical sites to discover.
In recent years, more museums around the world use digital recreations of monuments to offer new insights to visitors. Books and films tell both historical and fictional stories, but an interactive medium goes even further and offers players the chance to explore a detailed open world at their own pace.
Monuments and relics of the past
In Assassin’s Creed – Unity, you explore Paris during the French Revolution. While running through the city, you will encounter The Notre-Dame de Paris, the iconic cathedral in the heart of Paris. It is a relic of the past that players can visit and explore.
The monument is a detailed recreation and designed by a single person who spent more than two years translating every little detail of this iconic monument to a digital canvas. By adding an additional layer of information, this architectural structure becomes an immersive learning experience no other medium can offer.
A step in the right direction
The Assassin’s Creed franchise tells interesting stories in a realistic and historical setting with attention to detail. As a gamer, you become a pawn in a much larger historical conflict and experience the events that laid the foundation of our own society.
Assassin’s Creed – Origins and Assassin’s Creed – Odyssey prove that an interactive medium can be used to tell meaningful stories with realistic consequences and weight. These experiences learn players more about our contemporary society and the ones of our ancestors.
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Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from Assassin’s Creed – Origins, a video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.