Thoughts on the story for AC3

#1FetulovesACPosted 1/23/2013 2:54:14 PM
I'm a novel writer, among other things, and one of the things that has always attracted me to the AC franchise has been the high quality of story telling (specifically historical story-telling) I saw. I honestly had never wanted to play video games until seeing AC1 played.

I got to talking with other novel-writing friends to figure out why this game fell so flat and I think I've hit on it. It's two very basic things in storytelling and consistency.

First off, AC has NEVER been afraid to name bad guys for our hero to face off again. Various historical characters have been stretched to historical limits, but they became villains for this series (not that the Borgias were that much of a stretch, I know). This is a game of Good Guys vs Bad Guys.

In AC3, Ubisoft would not plainly state Bad Guys. They tried to paint historical characters in shades of grey, as they never have before. Thus, this game doesn't feel like part of the same series, even though the mechanics are essentially the same. I don't know if they were afraid of offending people with such statements in American history or what, but they failed in this basic story telling necessity. (As a writer, if I couldn't do it, I would've opted for another historical time period where I was comfortable. Consistency is mandatory in a series.)

Secondly, and this ties into the first, Connor is not the HERO of AC3 the same way that Altair and Ezio was. It has nothing to do with personality. You get the feeling after playing Ezio that he is noted at least in local history and definitely in Assassin history. That his presence made a big difference in anything he had his hands on. Altair is legendary in Ezio's time. Ezio is noted in Connor's. Yet there is no sense that what Connor is doing makes a whit of difference in the scheme of anyone's history or memory.

People complain that Connor's a wuss, that he's boring, whatever. But he's as much a BAMF as Ezio or Altair. But he's just everyone's gofer in this game. He's not allowed to make big decisions, to carry those decisions out, to actually have a place in this spot in history. Thus, he is a much smaller hero than Ezio was--and back is the wrong direction to take. Each hero has to be as big or bigger than the one before him, as Ezio was to Altair.

I think this because Ubisoft wimped out. Whether they were overwhelmed by their history choice or what, they dropped the ball with this one and we noticed. Even more, we're dissatisfied. If they intend to keep the franchise going (and I hope they do), they'd better step up and not wimp out on us again. I don't think the series will survive another misstep like this one.
#2JSCaspianPosted 1/23/2013 3:23:36 PM
I liked that they chose to paint the "heroes" and "villains" in shades of gray. It shows that this series is maturing. A lot of movies and TV series are doing it nowadays. There's no such thing as a "bad guy" anymore only complicated individuals. The Assassins and Templars are working towards the same goal after all. I hope they continue this trend in later installments.

And I like what they chose to do with Connor. He was working behind the scenes in true Assassin fashion rather leading the action like Ezio or Altair. If you watch the Boston Tea Party trailer for AC3, the narrator refers to the whole Assassin-Templar conflict as the part that history left out. I think it's implied that the Assassins and Templars were moving towards the same level of secrecy that they have in modern times beginning in the late 18th century. For example, the only people who are familiar with the Assassins and Templars in Colonial America are the actual Assassins and Templars; regular guards don't run after you shouting "Assassini!" like in the Ezio trilogy. Fewer and fewer people are becoming aware that these two factions exist.
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#3PootbirdPosted 1/23/2013 3:42:47 PM
Meh the whole good guys vs bad guys is getting old, when I play a game or watch a movie the good guys always win in the end no matter what.

Take the transformer movies for example, the Decepticons always have the upper hand but some thumb of luck just comes to the autobots in the end and they win.
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#4Sol4688Posted 1/23/2013 5:33:57 PM
Pootbird posted...
Meh the whole good guys vs bad guys is getting old, when I play a game or watch a movie the good guys always win in the end no matter what.

Take the transformer movies for example, the Decepticons always have the upper hand but some thumb of luck just comes to the autobots in the end and they win.


The Decepticons are all jerks who are mostly united under fear from Megatron.

The Autobots unite under hope and friendship. Of course they'll win.
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#5bobbyrkPosted 1/23/2013 7:34:54 PM
First off, AC has NEVER been afraid to name bad guys for our hero to face off again.


Revelations. They deliberately left who the bad guys were vague in all of their previews.

In AC3, Ubisoft would not plainly state Bad Guys. They tried to paint historical characters in shades of grey, as they never have before


Somebody hasn't played AC1... it's only Ezio's games that have the bad guys be Saturday Morning Cartoon Villains. AC3 has a lot of call-backs to the style and tone of AC1, really, even if it's not perfectly executed.

Each hero has to be as big or bigger than the one before him


Not even remotely true. They deliberately wrote Connor how they did as a counterpoint to Ezio's flamboyance, which was in and of itself an overcompensation on the supposed dull, emotionless characterization of Altair in AC1. Ezio is a stereotype, Connor is a human.
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#6VenomSnakePosted 1/23/2013 8:10:30 PM
Ezio is awesome. Connon is a whiny boring punk.
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#7JSCaspianPosted 1/23/2013 8:34:13 PM(edited)
VenomSnake posted...
Ezio is awesome. Connon is a whiny boring punk.


Care to elaborate, mate? How is Ezio so much more "awesome" than Connor? Connor is a multifaceted, conflicted individual with a realistic range of emotions. There are times when he's calm under pressure like during the Biddle missions and at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay, there are times when his temper gets the best of him like when he's chastised by Achilles or learns he's been deceived by both Washington and Haytham, and there are times when he shows genuine care for the people around him as seen during the Homestead missions. He fights for his tribe, but that means being forced to ally himself with either the Patriots or the British, whose true intentions remain vague and unclear. All the while, his tribe, his mentor, his Commander-in-Chief, AND his father are putting pressure on him to make the right choices. "Whiny?" It's perfectly realistic for him to feel stressed out. This level of internal conflict, accentuated by the dying words of Haytham's comrades, make for a very dynamic story.

Other than Ezio's womanizing (which he only did a few times throughout the series mind you), what else does Ezio have going on for him? Because that seems to be all you Ezio fanboys say when pressed for elaboration. "He's a deep and well-developed character because he fights for vengeance and vagina!"
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"I love criticism just so long as it's unqualified praise." Noel Coward
#8zenandiPosted 1/23/2013 8:34:58 PM
1> Connor is the type of protagonist that would've benefitted greatly from a sidekick or even better - a love interest. Humorless and stoic works, but not ALL the way. Even Batman had to write in a Joker to fill that particular void.


2> Charles Lee is not convincing as the Final Boss. He was still subservient to Haytham to the very end, and in any case, all you were given was a vague notion that this man must NOT control the army.

If it is true that heroes all judged by their antagonists, then Charles Lee is clearly no Joker, or Darth Vader. In the words of a certain Mr. Kennedy, he's 'small time".


3> What IS inconsistent as far as the series is concerned is the amputation of any First Civ artefacts or interactions (apart from the flying simulator bit at the start) from Connor's story.

Altair and Ezio regularly came across and interacted with TOWCB or their artifacts. Connor has a moment with the woman, and does not have anything to do with them again. In fact, Sanctuary should have been a major part of the storyline, since this is the task he is explicitly charged with, but for most of the story, it is forgotten in the background.
#9Rogue_MercurialPosted 1/24/2013 1:45:26 AM
Connor actually got quite interesting to me towards the very end. His mindless determination was quite interesting...

If you ask me, the Assassins were massively nerfed in this game. They weren't spoken of much...hell, the Templars talked about them more often then Achilles did.

As for Desmond's bit? I pretend that the whole crappy sci-if story doesn't even exist.
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