As stated in my previous post, there was a particular piece of info recovered from a terminal at Abstergo during the course of your hacking escapades that I took particular interest in. This piece, in a form and style all too familiar to those who work in an office environment, is an email thread that got a little to personal and emphatic to the point where it had to be taken “offline” and focused on possible locations for future Assassin Creed games. Being the clue and conspiracy monger that I am, I had often wondered this myself.
In AC: Revelations, it was made pretty clear that we were coming state side for AC3. This excited me immensely since I personally was living IN the Mohawk Valley at the time and instantly recognized all the clues that were briefly shown in the closing cinematic. However, in AC3 there were no hints, to my knowledge, that we were headed to the West Indies. What was even more surprising was the fact that we actually took a step BACK in time, rather than a step FORWARD. As I work my way through AC4, I remain on the lookout for clues. Not too long ago after it’s release, the major gaming news outlets started spouting headlines claiming “We found some clues as to where the next AC will be!” This got me quite excited to start playing, but unfortunately I had the game preordered for the Xbox One, and had to wait a bit longer.
Which brings me to my current day. As stated, I have recently achieved 50% Sync in my game. Just before doing so, I had recovered the above stated Email thread from one of the Abstergo computers. This email thread, my dear readers, is what everyone has been referring to. The email thread contains less “clues” or “hints”, but quite literally a LIST OF LOCATIONS AND TIME PERIODS which they are open to exploring. Seriously, about halfway down one of the email thread participants lists a series of possible time periods and separates them by Paternal Lineage and Maternal Lineage. So much for deciphering a hidden context or piecing together seemingly innocuous coincidences!
Still, it is something that we can work with for predictive purposes, and trying to read between the lines of information that may or may not actually be there is always fun.
I won’t give out the full list since that would be cheating, and I definitely will not be recreating the full email thread. I do, however, want to take a few moments to discuss it’s contents.
The Obvious Video Game Trends
There are two very distinct formats that many video games eventually wander over to: WWII and Zombies. There are plenty of good reasons why these trends exist, and why I believe they will persist in to future generations of games to come.
Zombies (I’ll make this quick)
- They’re freaky! Nothing like trying to out run a relentless supernatural force what feels no pain, no guilt, and no desire other than to consume your braaaaaiiinnnsss….
- No one feels “bad” about (re)killing a zombie. They’re already dead! They’re the regurgitated unholy variant of nameless strangers.
- They’re commonly seen in hordes. This makes for perfect high intensity combat situations with plenty of gore and, at times, a sense of helplessness. WE MUST PERSIST!!
- They’re a cheap and easy cop-out. There’s no need to reinvent them, for the most part. They have decaying flesh, tattered clothes, and don’t require any intellectually stimulating dialogue. Hell, half the time they don’t even require a backstory!
WWII / Nazis (This section is going to be a bit longer!)
World War II and the Nazis in general make for a great gaming premise for a few reasons:
- Absolute Pinnacle of Modern Conflict. I mean come on, they’re called the WORLD WARS for a reason!
- Well Documented. Being that the wars are in the not-to-distant past, we still have plenty of existing documents to reference. This allows us to recreate highly detailed events and places.
- No one feels bad about killing Nazis. The Nazis were essentially the physical world’s incarnation of pure evil. The committed the most horrific crimes against humanity. There is no question about that. With this negative association, we are then given the permission to kill them over and over again in as many different scenarios as we please. This may not be possible with other cultures, especially coming from the American perspective! Let’s face it, we’ve gone to war with just about everyone. And in every conflict, there must be a winner and a loser, an “Us” and a “Them”. The “Us” will always be considered the “good guys” and the “Them” will always be the enemies, deserving of death. But what if there is a game that is released globally, where the “Bad Guys” are your own people? No matter how good the game is, you’ll never be able to enjoy it if your personal society is consistently in your crosshairs. Enter Nazis. This sense of guilt is no longer an issue. Fire away!
- Great Technological Advances. During the World Wars, massive leaps forward were made in Technology and Science. Although I just got done bashing the Nazis, many of these advancements were made by them. (Sarcasm: It’s amazing what kind of technological progress can be made when your scientists aren’t hindered by pesky little things like “Ethics”!)
- Hitler’s Obsessions. So ya, we all know this guy was insane. However, insanity makes for good story fodder as well! And if Crazier is Better, then who better than this guy? Included in his lunacy are three main points: The Occult, The Master Race, and World Domination. A trifecta of excellent plotline source material! How can you go wrong with this much drama and wrapped up in one person? Especially if this person ACTUALLY EXISTED!?!
Not Gonna Happen
Unfortunately, later in the email thread it was outlined why WWII will NOT be a setting for an AC title. Mainly because they want to avoid time periods with vehicles. There’s actually quite a bit of content explaining why certain ideas won’t work for an AC title, quite possibly included as a response from people like me who think they have all sorts of great ideas. One such concept was periods of more intellectual development. Sounds interesting to a nerd like me, but how would that work as a game, especially one that is reliant on action sequences? Exactly. Not well at all.
A major reason for these settings to get shot down is the harsh reality of the world we live in. Ubisoft is a business. A business that makes some damn awesome games, if you ask me! Still, they are a business, and all businesses are in the same business: Making Money. The only difference is how they go about accomplishing that goal. Be it selling cheap foreign made goods, fermenting over priced wines, designing webpages, or convincing your to buy a new insurance policy, they are all in the business of taking your money. Furthermore, they are out to take in as much money as possible, which also includes maximizing return on their investments. So in the context of video games, what do YOU think will bring in more money for the company: A game about high conspiracy in a conflict ridden war zone, or a simulator of being Edison’s bookkeeper?
But What If…
Still, I’m not ready to give up on WWII! Here are a few reasons howI think the setting could work:
- Small Scale. First, start off with making this either a Stand Alone expansion or as a Mobile game, and drop the price point appropriately. This will help with the ROI issues previously stated.
- Stealth Heavy. Make it so that the Assassin gets in limited combat. Rather than assassinations, have the Assassin sneaking through enemy headquarters to recover or intercept transmissions or other intel. We could take a page out of Deus Ex’s playbook of sneaking around offices and picking off guards one by one. This would bypass the issues presented by automatic weapon fire and vehicles.
- Eagle Vision. With Eagle Vision, the Assassin could be able to instantly decode the most complex ciphers the Nazis (obviously) could deliver! Akin to Ezio finding the glyphs on the paintings, the new Assassin could just “see” the text reforming itself in to the proper message.
Yes, Aliens. In a live Twitter Q&A recently, one fan’s question was answered as follows:
“Always look at the Stars”? Ok, I have to admit, my first gut reaction was going back to Kung Pow: Enter The Fist when MuShu-Fasa told Chosen One that “The Answer you seek resides in the Stars Above…” Later in the movie’s final fight climax, it turns out that the Evil Council is run by….French Aliens. (Stinky pits and all, baby!)
Joking aside, here’s where we may be able to go with this:
- Ancestor Space Station. We already know that the Ancestor race are aliens that came to earth thousands of years ago to cultivate a new species. History Channel must be SO proud! What Minerva somehow teleports us up to a long dormant space station that’s been orbiting the earth and we lurk around there for a bit? What about even MARS?
- Alien Planet. We don’t actually know how far back the Animus can “see” in to our ancestral memories. Suppose we go way back, like WAAAYYYY back, and find out that we are somehow descended from the Ancestor race themselves? Suppose we go back to the failing Utopia of Adam and Eve from The Truth video? After all, according to established Catholicism, aren’t we all descendents of Adam and Eve to begin with? Thus, both Adam and Eve would be the point of origin for everyone’s, including the Assassin’s, DNA path?
Worth noting in this video is how well Adam and Eve were able to Free Run and Wall Climb around the environment, both skills that are central to the AC game play. Are these skill passed down to their offspring through Ancestral Memories? Also, in the final cinematic of AC:Revelations, Desmond begins to get a glowing pattern on his harm similar to that which was on Adam and Eve’s body in The Truth video. It is not clear as to which planet the scene is from. Yes, it looks like earth, but I’m not so ego-centric as to assume that just because it looks like something I am familiar with, then it must be it. Yesterday, it was suggested that MARS may still, to this day, have FREE FLOWING WATER on its surface! Suppose we take a trip there? Also, the date listed is “Classified: B.C.E.”, with B.C.E. being the abbreviation for “Before Common Era”, the secular version of “Before Christ”.
So…Onward to Eden in AC5?