The Assassins and Templars are Idiots

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The Assassins and Templars are Idiots

Yahtzee doesn't think that the two warring factions of the Assassin's Creed series have really thought out their master plans all that well.

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Good column, it's a sentiment I've had for a while, especially the one about American History being boring.

The US Civil War could have been a decent setting, thinking about it, isn't slaving a good way for the Templars to get their whole domination over man thing going? If you ignore the history of a lot of religious southern Americans thinking that slavery is cruel, but not bothering to do anything about it because God would sort it all out eventually.

Mind you, if anyone ever wants a good laugh, read the Assassin's Creed background on World War 2. Ubisoft could really do with making the whole story of the franchise a little less ridiculous.

Heh while I agree the "secret war" in assassin creed is really poorly written especially when it tries to tell us stuff off screen(for exemple how they pretty much have templar motivation change in every game) this article seem to boil down to trying to tell us "The american revolutionnary war sucks as a setting" .

Although it would probably seem weird to introduce another secret society into the mix at this point, I don't see any reason why these societies wouldn't exist. They sort of had something going on with the Sons of Romulus, until it turned out the Templars controlled them. It would be interesting to if, at some point, the society died out completely and now there isn't anything to set a balance should things tip in a group's favor.

I like this idea. Focussing on a possible third ancient order who's job it is to keep the scales balanced between the two extremes of the Assassins and The Templars. They'd be be a lot better than the convoluted (and ultimately pointless) 'Ones Who Came Before'.

Also, now the series is done with Desmond's arc, there's nothing to stop them going backward in History again, so we may still see the French Revolution yet. Personally, I hope they go all the way back to a pre-AC1 date. Ancient Egypt perhaps?

I remember really feeling this vibe during AC: Brotherhood when Desmond was describing his upbringing. It's like his family/the Assassins were making absolutely no effort at all not to look like some sort of mad cult. It was always 'Live in the woods, learn weapons, constant exercise,' and with a healthy dose of 'Don't tell Desmond why we do this.'

It sort of cast a nasty light on everything else, too. The Assassin's basically gallivant around decapitating governments and organizations and fully expecting it to accomplish their goals. I mean, Ezio concludes AC2 by beating the shit out of the Pope. I don't care if he was evil or not: the predominantly-Catholic Europe isn't going to be pleased that you swooped down during a public mass and beat the daylights out of God's representative on Earth.

It certainly doesn't help how many guards Ezio/Altair/Connor murder along the way. It doesn't help your image as bomb-throwing anarchists when you're lobbing nail bombs and poison gas grenades at the honest, hardworking sentries of oppressive authority figures. And I'm sure it won't endear yourself to their friends and family when they die writhing on the ground as their lungs melt.

One of the reasons I think Ezio's interactions with historical figures worked so well is because of how little impact on actual history he had. As well as the way he interacted with them. Ezio's one factual historical intervention was stoping the assassination of Lorenzo di Medici. Most other times it was just Leonardo helping Ezio with his own personal struggle against the Templars/Borgias. His historical interference was minimal and was in a manor befitting him as an assassin (and his family's service to the Medici).

In the Revolution, Connor 'steers' Paul Revere's horse for him. I mean really? Could you be a little more patronizing please? i'm still not quite convinced I owe my country's existence to this guy yet.

I always saw the Assassins more as just a counterbalance to the Templar's oppression rather than outright anarchists. I mean in the first game it turned out

Even though the sides in the Civil War would have been a lot more clearly defined, I can't help but think he would have ended up the same way: going a grand tour of all the historically significant events. And of course, short of having third act face turn on his part, it would have been hard to justify the Assassins allowing Lincoln's murder. The French Revolution would have had a lot more fun architecture and more chance to take place around historical events instead of through them.

Would that third group be the A.·.A.·.?

The Illuminatus!, the big tome of conspiracy nonsense, pegs the Assassins as the predecessors of the Illuminati and they're obsessed with Order even where it's destructive, prompting the counterreaction of the Discordians who try to add the Chaos that's missing from the balance because in addition to Chaos and Order there's Creation and Destruction and the overarching goal is to reject Destruction and accept Creation, whether by Chaos or Order. And that was a lie.

The historical assassins were suicide attackers, they acted as plants and spies in all kinds of power structures and, when contacted, performed the one attack their life was aimed at. They'd kill their target and then allow themselves to be caught and executed so they could go to heaven where their 72 virgins await. Yep, they're the ancestors of modern suicide bombers and terrorists of the kind we are actually fighting against.

Ya know, I'm glad that Yahtzee mentions the French Revolution. I really think THAT would have been a far more appropriate setting for AC3. Colonial America is piss-boring to look at and the American Revolution is as boring as this article says. Maybe it's because I'm American and this is all stuff I know. I get the appeal of learning what 'really happened' and not seeing things through rose-colored glasses, but it's still boring.

The appeal for Assassin's Creed, to me anyway, has always been exploring new civilizations, learning about their history, and taking a virtual guided tour of a country I'm not likely to ever see. Sure, there are tons of inaccuracies in the AssCreed series, but that's part of what makes it fun. The Animus Database does a good job of restoring said accuracy, and I always open the file as soon as I find a new landmark or person of interest.

I suppose the 'Magic School Bus' comparison is fair, but it interests me at the same time.

So the Assassins are Democrats and Templars are Republicans? Gotcha.

Char-Nobyl:
I remember really feeling this vibe during AC: Brotherhood when Desmond was describing his upbringing. It's like his family/the Assassins were making absolutely no effort at all not to look like some sort of mad cult. It was always 'Live in the woods, learn weapons, constant exercise,' and with a healthy dose of 'Don't tell Desmond why we do this.'

It sort of cast a nasty light on everything else, too. The Assassin's basically gallivant around decapitating governments and organizations and fully expecting it to accomplish their goals. I mean, Ezio concludes AC2 by beating the shit out of the Pope. I don't care if he was evil or not: the predominantly-Catholic Europe isn't going to be pleased that you swooped down during a public mass and beat the daylights out of God's representative on Earth.

It certainly doesn't help how many guards Ezio/Altair/Connor murder along the way. It doesn't help your image as bomb-throwing anarchists when you're lobbing nail bombs and poison gas grenades at the honest, hardworking sentries of oppressive authority figures. And I'm sure it won't endear yourself to their friends and family when they die writhing on the ground as their lungs melt.

Well in the renaissance era, the papacy was a rather different thing than now, it was closer to being the ruler of rome and put you around the same rank as most other crowned head and they would of course compete for influence.

The fact Ezio couldn't go all the way with killing Rodrigo Borgia (and the little justification given to it) kinda pissed me off, because Ezio been killing load of peoples who probably did less horrible than him and keeping him alive probably help the templar a whole lot even if he goes into hiding.

I think Yahtzee neglected to mention the obvious plot twist that he was barreling towards at the start of his article to go off on the secret war tangent.

The next of future Desmond's descendants will be Forrest Gump.

I feel as an international company, Ubisoft should have realized that no-one besides Americans cares about American history (pre-WW1, maybe), because it's boring. Alright, perhaps that's unfair. People were killed and I'm sure it was all jolly exciting for the people directly involved in it, but was it really the most interesting thing going on at this point in time?

Dammit, Yahtzee, we've had this quasi-mythologized national history drilled into our heads throughout twelve years of public schooling, and by God, you will feel our pain!

CaspianRoach:
So the Assassins are Democrats and Templars are Republicans? Gotcha.

...Not saying I disagree, but, you do recognize the Republicans are going to feel exactly the opposite is true, right?

Pardon me while I step aside; flames approacheth.

Sheo_Dagana:
Ya know, I'm glad that Yahtzee mentions the French Revolution. I really think THAT would have been a far more appropriate setting for AC3. Colonial America is piss-boring to look at and the American Revolution is as boring as this article says. Maybe it's because I'm American and this is all stuff I know. I get the appeal of learning what 'really happened' and not seeing things through rose-colored glasses, but it's still boring.

The appeal for Assassin's Creed, to me anyway, has always been exploring new civilizations, learning about their history, and taking a virtual guided tour of a country I'm not likely to ever see. Sure, there are tons of inaccuracies in the AssCreed series, but that's part of what makes it fun. The Animus Database does a good job of restoring said accuracy, and I always open the file as soon as I find a new landmark or person of interest.

I suppose the 'Magic School Bus' comparison is fair, but it interests me at the same time.

Same, as an American, I know American History almost like the back of my hand, and AC2, Brotherhood, and Revelations were cool to learn somethings about history I didn't know, but I still thing the American revolution is the better choice.

The conflict was diverse, people representing many nationalities and backgrounds, and was the direct catalyst for the French Revolution. Which you all may get your wish and play in future AC3 titles.

It also explains why Desmond is an American and how his lineage got there.

I'm wondering why we don't get a game with a Templar protagonist. There are any number of ways to explain it away, and it would give perspective to the whole conflict. Personally, I'd rather have the Templars be in power than the Assassins. At least in AC1, the Templars were shown to be trying to work towards the good of everyone, but the Assassin's felt they were misguided so obviously the thing to do was stab them in the throat.

Then in AC2 and beyond, the Templars are cartoonishly evil, sitting atop their castles while twirling their mustaches as they exploit the unwashed masses for power and profit, which is...boring.

US history is boring pre-WW1? MADNESS, I tell you. Seeing how the US came to be in the form it is today - very interesting indeed.

CaspianRoach:
So the Assassins are Democrats and Templars are Republicans? Gotcha.

Just saying, but Democrats would be considered a right wing fringe group by pretty much anyone but Americans. Assassins are a few miles to the left and bottom on the spectrum.

OT: I couldn't agree more on the French Revolution being much more suitable for an AC game - if only because politically it was a clusterfuck, ideologically it was musical chairs, and its historical relevance decidedly outstrips a colony declaring independence - regardless of whether said colony gets more important later on.

Yatzee, I swear to mod, if I ever end up running a game studio while also being the main writer, I am hiring you as a freaking consultant.

You always have the simplest, and yet most witty ideas. *thumbs up*

A third, even more secret faction that keeps balance between the others? I swear I've seen that before - are you a thief, yahtzee?

The aforementioned third group could easily be the Freemasons. Everyone seems to think they're this powerful entity that secretly controls things, but no one actually has a clue what, specifically, they do. Having them be the one behind the scenes working very hard to prevent interesting things from happening seems like a perfect fit. As an added bonus, a lot of historical figures from the American Revolution either were or are suspected to have been associated with them, so this game would have been a perfect opportunity to introduce them ... and introducing them would have been a decent excuse to set the game during the American Revolution.

I mean, really, National Treasure was a cheap attempt to cash in on The Da Vinci Code's popularity, and even it had a better excuse to be about the Founding Fathers because of the connection to a real secret society that was around back then. (Hell, there was probably more historical fact in that movie than The Da Vinci Code itself, not that that's saying much.) The Knights Templar got a mention in the movie, but unless I'm mistaken, they were assumed to have been long gone by that point.

Baldr:
The conflict was diverse, people representing many nationalities and backgrounds, and was the direct catalyst for the French Revolution. Which you all may get your wish and play in future AC3 titles.

This doesn't change the fact that the French Revolution is still more interesting and much more indicative of the kind of conflicts which were going on in Europe at the time rather than "is it okay to tax colonies for their own defence?"

Also, the most important causes of the French revolution was Louis XVI's failure to reform the incredibly regressive French taxation system, the incredible unpopularity of his decision to ally with the "old enemy" Austria and most of all his failure to fix the mounting economic problems caused by a century of costly wars. One of which, incidentally, was itself the direct catalysis for the American revolution.

I mean, America was somewhat important, particularly the fact that the (autocratic, monarchical) French government invested huge amounts of money in supporting the revolutionaries only to receive no trade benefits in return, but that was just one among many bad decisions.

Also, the French revolution already has intrigue, betrayal, secret societies, warring factions, the first serious debates about secularization and countless examples of seemingly noble principles being tested to the limit and often broken. Heck, as a setting it actually gave us the first real example of the "superspy" genre (The Scarlet Pimpernel). Compared to the American revolution, it would be an amazing setting to play around with.

And best of all, French people are generally pretty relaxed about it. You can present it in actual shades of grey or real historical context without someone squeaking about how that's not how it happened in The Patriot.

Kopikatsu:
I'm wondering why we don't get a game with a Templar protagonist. There are any number of ways to explain it away, and it would give perspective to the whole conflict. Personally, I'd rather have the Templars be in power than the Assassins. At least in AC1, the Templars were shown to be trying to work towards the good of everyone, but the Assassin's felt they were misguided so obviously the thing to do was stab them in the throat.

Then in AC2 and beyond, the Templars are cartoonishly evil, sitting atop their castles while twirling their mustaches as they exploit the unwashed masses for power and profit, which is...boring.

Have you played AC3? Have you killed one of the big targets in AC3? If there's one thing that bothers me about Connor, he lacks the ideals of the Assassins. "BWAR THEY WANT CONTROL" . The Templars were right in AC3.

I quit the series after AC2, so maybe they pick it up again later on, but it seemed Ubisoft had already completely ditched the freedom versus order element by that point. The reason the Assassins were fighting the Templars in that game wasn't anything to do with ideological differences, it was because they had always fought the Templars. And the Templars only wanted power for power's sake, it had nothing to do with ensuring peace and stability.

Callate:

CaspianRoach:
So the Assassins are Democrats and Templars are Republicans? Gotcha.

...Not saying I disagree, but, you do recognize the Republicans are going to feel exactly the opposite is true, right?

Nothing is true, everything is permitted. ;)

evilthecat:

Baldr:
The conflict was diverse, people representing many nationalities and backgrounds, and was the direct catalyst for the French Revolution. Which you all may get your wish and play in future AC3 titles.

This doesn't change the fact that the French Revolution is still more interesting

Sounds like a pretty subjective fact there, buddy.

I laughed when Yahtzee makes fun of Connor for being unsure about the Assassins Order plans after they win.

yeah, i feel you.
i also would had liked to run around in france stabbing people.

and considering that ubisoft is french i would had thought they would like to show the important side france contributed to the american revolution and how ultimately this lead to misery and the french revolution.

but f'n'merica! yehhaw!

image

imageimage

who in their right mind would like to learn and see something interesting or different?i do.

Historical America, even around the time of the Revolution, works as a setting for certain games. I'd play the hell out of a game that is centered on the Lewis & Clark expidition. Or a game about survival, like Oregon Trail. But I don't think it works for an AC game until the 1890s, when American cities really started to take their modern form. Part of what I loved in AC 2 was the fact that many of the buildings I was jumping around on still existed. My brain was literally planning out a vacation to Italy while I played.

In the U.S. there are relatively very few buildings that were around during the War of Independence or even the Civil War that are still around today. If you ask me, the ideal time period for an American AC game would be a combination of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, but then you'd have to account for the fact that a focus on stabbing people can be a drawback when everyone has Tommy guns.

Random Argument Man:

Kopikatsu:
I'm wondering why we don't get a game with a Templar protagonist. There are any number of ways to explain it away, and it would give perspective to the whole conflict. Personally, I'd rather have the Templars be in power than the Assassins. At least in AC1, the Templars were shown to be trying to work towards the good of everyone, but the Assassin's felt they were misguided so obviously the thing to do was stab them in the throat.

Then in AC2 and beyond, the Templars are cartoonishly evil, sitting atop their castles while twirling their mustaches as they exploit the unwashed masses for power and profit, which is...boring.

Have you played AC3? Have you killed one of the big targets in AC3? If there's one thing that bothers me about Connor, he lacks the ideals of the Assassins. "BWAR THEY WANT CONTROL" . The Templars were right in AC3.

I've not played 3, since the ancestors just stopped being interesting for me. I didn't like Ezio (despite playing all three games of his), and I didn't like Conner.

What do you mean by Conner lacks the ideals of the Assassins and the Templars were right, though?

On the Altair front:
The assassination of William of Montferrat was apparently ordered by Rashid Ad-Din Sinan (aka Al Mualim) and carried out by the hashashin order for reals. Who did in fact inhabit Masyaf castle at the time.
See, I can be a douchebag too!

First off:

@CaspianRoach:"So the Assassins are Democrats and Templars are Republicans? Gotcha." As presented in the article, Assassins are the no-governance and that has always been the conservative (as in less government) line. People who want a liberal amount of government would be the Templar. Equating everyone you don't like to every other bad guy ever is how you get things like the occupied territories of Israel (because Jews couldn't possibly run a concentration camp, that would be ludicrous!), and siding with Chechnyans that bombed civilians and held schools hostage (because they're fighting Russsians and commies are bad like in the Bond movies).

That being said, secondly:

I feel that the point of this article is well examined in Del the Funky Homosapien's "Delton in the year 3030". It's a concept album that starts with the typical music culture vs. corporate domination. The thing is, when he gets the anarchy he wanted it's chaos and destruction and victimization. So he ends up being forced by circumstance to become the very enemy he was fighting.

Definitely agreed about the order vs. chaos argument. However, I'm not so certain that he'd enjoy Assassin's Creed in the Civil War as much as he thinks he would. My main argument is his misconception about the supposed antagonists of the civil war, the south. We all agree that slavery was wrong, but if Connor were to fight for the North, we'd have the same problem that Yahtzee always complains about in Modern Military Shooters (Spunkgargleweewees?), which is that the enemies are the underdogs. Sure, it's not like mowing down stone-throwers with a battle mech, but the North had a government-funded, well-equipped military, while the South had a local militia. Then there's the fact that throughout the war, they were the ones getting their homes and farms sacked and burned, due to General Grant's total war tactics. Even if they did support slavery, I'm pretty certain Yahtzee would feel the same discomfort cutting up armies of southern peasants that he felt mowing down middle-eastern peasants with machinegun fire in various Spunkgargleweewees.

Of course, it's an honest mistake. The Civil War had even less relevance to the rest of the world than the American Revolution.

David Chadwell:
First off:

@CaspianRoach:"So the Assassins are Democrats and Templars are Republicans? Gotcha." As presented in the article, Assassins are the no-governance and that has always been the conservative (as in less government) line. People who want a liberal amount of government would be the Templar. Equating everyone you don't like to every other bad guy ever is how you get things like the occupied territories of Israel (because Jews couldn't possibly run a concentration camp, that would be ludicrous!), and siding with Chechnyans that bombed civilians and held schools hostage (because they're fighting Russsians and commies are bad like in the Bond movies).

That being said, secondly:

I feel that the point of this article is well examined in Del the Funky Homosapien's "Delton in the year 3030". It's a concept album that starts with the typical music culture vs. corporate domination. The thing is, when he gets the anarchy he wanted it's chaos and destruction and victimization. So he ends up being forced by circumstance to become the very enemy he was fighting.

Agreed. Personally, I think the roles switch every time a new president gets elected.

I actually quite like that idea of a third secret society keeping the war going because it's the only state man can really thrive in. Would be quite happy with that going forward as a twist.

Although wasn't it implied that was what was going on anyway? That Juno had been manipulating things from the start so that everything would happen in a way that would allow her to escape? That was the impression I got.

Also (despite being very left wing) I've always found more sense in the Templars ideology. Humanity is bunch of selfish, horrible creatures that must be kept on a leash. And no, tyranny can't be sustained but the point was they had the Apple satellite that would guarantee humanity would be kept under control. You wouldn't miss freedom if you didn't know what it was so if the satellite was full-proof, I would be on board with that.

Ah, Team Sensible. They're usually called "Balance", seeing as we're just looking at a classic Chaos vs. Order fight here. Moorcock's Eternal Champion, certain D&D druids and others who are big into True Neutrality... hell, the entirety of Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle took place in a land where Balance had dropped the ball and everything went to hell.

Kopikatsu:
SNIP SNIP SNIP

What do you mean by Conner lacks the ideals of the Assassins and the Templars were right, though?

Connor's views and *raison d'être* is to defend his village and the people that he cares about. Yet, before questionning and understanding the situation where his village and people are threathened, he acts. In otherwords, he's the "shoot first, talk later" guy. When it came to the moment where he had to defend his ideals and those of the Assassins Order, he comes up short.

In AC3, The Templars are like the ones in AC1. They were bastards who wanted to work for the good of everyone. At least, in AC1, the Assassins defended their ideals and why they killed their targets with reasoning. In AC3, we just have Connor who doesn't seem to grasp the ideals of his order completly. He doesn't prove that the Templars are against freedom. He beleives they just want control despite their reasonnings behind their acts. He isn't a strong advocate for "everyone deserves a fair chance and the end shouldn't justify the means".

Oh sure, Ubisoft tried, but the Assassin ordeals didn't seem to be strongly reflected in Connor unlike Ezio and Altaïr.

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