Friday, 4 May 2012

My 'Assassin's Creed' Essay for English Class

The Assassin Ancestors

            The Assassin’s Creed series is a chain of video games developed and published by Ubisoft. It is a sandbox style action-adventure-stealth video game released near the end of 2007. The first of the series, Assassin’s Creed, won many awards for ‘Best Game’ and ‘Best Graphics’ and at the same time instigated a solid fan base across the globe. After releasing four main series, 7 spin-off games, and another main series called Assassin’s Creed III coming soon in October, it seems that the wave is still going strong. Multiple numbers of graphic novels, fiction novels, and video shorts have been produced regarding the game’s storyline, further perpetuating the craze of enthusiasm. This essay will examine some of the factors that make this video game such a successful franchise including, the storyline, the gameplay, and the message behind the passion.

            The background story features a central character called Desmond Miles, who is a descendant of a long line of Assassins. He was brought up to become one of the Assassins and was required to undergo rigorous training routines since his childhood years. Unable to understand the purpose, he abandoned the life to search for a normal one. He was later kidnapped by Abstergo Industries which was run by the modern-day Knights Templar, the age-old arch nemesis of the Assassins. He was experimented upon by the Templars using a device called the Animus which enables Desmond to experience the memories of his Assassin ancestors. The first ancestor featured on the first series was the Syrian, Alta├»r Ibn La’Ahad, a disgraced member of the Assassin’s Brotherhood trying to redeem himself in 1191 during the 3rd Crusade in the Holy Land. Assassin’s Creed II featured an ancestor of Italian origins called Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a young assassin who had just discovered his assassin family roots during the late 15th and early 16th centuries of the Renaissance. The reason Abstergo was sending Desmond to experience these memories was to search for the missing artefacts called Pieces of Eden or The Apple, which holds within them great knowledge and consequent power to control humankind and change its fate. The rich background story was influenced by real people and events from different eras and geography but tweaked by the writers to be related to one another. They also incorporate into the game partial traces of general knowledge about the history of the world.

            The gameplay is a non-linear action adventure game played mainly through Desmond as he experiences the memory of his ancestors and is controlled as the third-person in an open world that is only limited by the assassin’s own experience. There will be a storyline to follow and goals to accomplish in order to move on in the development of the narrative but the speciality of this game is that the character has a wider level of interaction than most where the character may move around by ground or preferably by climbing onto the roofs to become more discreet as it concentrates on parkour and stealth movements. Other than the main assassination missions there will be side tasks of collecting certain items or records to unlock special weapons or features. The Assassin’s main weapon for his stealthy execution is the hidden blade which undergoes numerous upgrades throughout the game series. There are also features that allow the gamers to customize their own characters, choosing their own choice of weapon combinations for the best kill action and colour scheme of his attire.

The gaming experience of following in the footsteps of the enigmatic ancestors’ itself is enough to absorb the gamers’ attention and passion to commit but combined with the fascinating layers of storytelling, it shoots the imagination out into a world of its own. The story contains relatable subject matters to the real world which may provoke thoughts of rebelliousness against the real Templars of the real world. The back-story of the Pieces of Eden also contains a message about how the human race has continually degraded itself through greed in gathering resources on Earth and declaring wars over power struggles, self-inflicting the atmosphere of apocalypse upon ourselves. Through a personal experience after completing all four available main series, the passion for ‘the fight’ burns through and haunts the mind for days as it does have a ring of truth to it. As a fan of this franchise, the Assassin’s Creed motto of “Nothing is true, everything is permitted,” becomes a new personal goal to live by. “Nothing is true” means we live in a world full of lies and uncertainties whereby committing to any would lead us into a blinding doom. “Everything is permitted” means we should do anything that is necessary and not let anything bind us from accomplishing our rightful mission of guarding the sanctity of human souls.

As a conclusion, the Assassin’s Creed is more than just a video game requiring the execution of targets in bloodshed. The profound historic backgrounds it present relates to the Pieces of Eden that holds the fate of the future. The lesson to be taken here is that our future depends on our ability to learn from the past. It could be that the developers of this video game is trying to invoke and influence within its gamers to have a more open outlook at the state of the world than merely corresponding to plain and simple assassination missions. This gave birth to a large group of people who now secretly calls themselves Assassins and lives by the code of ‘serving the light in the dark’. The battle will continue in Assassin’s Creed III with the ancestor Connor Kenway, a half Mohawk, half British Assassin during the American Evolution.