The America of Assassin’s Creed III is a very different nation from the one you might have expected to see. For one thing, it’s England.
As part of its dedication to historical accuracy, Ubisoft Montreal is going to keep its distance from the stars-and-stripes patriotism which is often found in media focused on the country’s history.
“The truth of the matter is that America didn’t exist until 1783 and that’s when our game ends,” lead writer Matt Turner told OPM UK.
Prior to this date, the old world viewed America as a colony, and the battles fought there were part of a “civil war on foreign soil”. Protagonist Connor belongs to neither faction of the revolution, instead tackling the Templars, sworn enemies of the assassins, which draws some interesting parallels with the historical role of Native Americans in the war.
“At that point it’s not about American or English; it’s about English and English and that’s something we want to be very clear on,” Turner noted.
“It’s not about America ra ra, it’s about freedom and community and about how people are treated in that kind of a situation. And how they want to find their own identity. I think that’s something that’s universal to anybody.”
Explicitly detailing America’s colonist history may not be the most popular move, at home or elsewhere, but Ubisoft Montreal isn’t afraid to tackle uncomfortable issues – like slavery.
“It’s something we’ve been very aware of. Everybody had slaves at that point; the first groups who rallied around emancipation didn’t come around until 1787,” Turner said.
“That was very much after our game and slavery was maintained in culture. We feel that kind of a subject deserves a certain amount attention because it’s so serious and it needs to be treated with utmost respect. We’re definitely not going to shy away from it in terms of not showing it.”
That said, it’s not the central focus of the game’s narrative.
“We’re going to show what was there and what people did in that time but we want to be careful with how that’s covered and how much of it is there. It’s an important topic. We won’t be afraid to show that it’s there but we’re not going make it the focus of our game,” Turner concluded.
Assassin’s Creed III is due on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in late October, with a Wii U version undated.