Assassin's Creed is a franchise where secret societies and a secret war have always been the pivotal point of engagement. At the same time, it's a game that ties itself pretty closely to real world history, and impeccably so I must add. As a forewarning, this article will include spoilers. If you haven't finished any of the Assassin's Creed titles yet, you may want to turn back.
The first Assassin's Creed casted players as Altair, introducing the war between the Knights Templar and the Assassin Order during the Third Crusade. Assassin's Creed II continued that battle, jumping ahead to the glorious Renaissance period, following through with Brotherhood and Revelations.
What these games shared in common were that, while the Templars were obviously the antagonistic group of the game, it wasn't entirely black and white as to who was right or wrong. Both the Templar and Assassin Order seek the same thing, they simply go about it a different way. There is that grey area that remains prominent throughout the series.
Altair's mentor sought to bring peace by controlling everyone with the power of the Piece of Eden. Altair himself was wrought with revenge over the execution of his son. Ezio was caught up into the Assassin Order and sought vengence for the murder of his father and brothers. Cesare's lust for power in Brotherhood was so strong that even his father Rodrigo, the antagonist of ACII, attempted to poison him in order to maintain balance. And that's a key element that I hope Ubisoft don't lose with the upcoming Assassin's Creed III. Balance.
Of course, Assassin's Creed III already looks quite promising. Once again dabbling between that dichotomy of forces, Assassin's Creed III is set against the backdrop of the American Revolution. Two sides, but no real enemy: the British and the would-be free Americans, Patriots and Loyalists, even the new hero is torn between his English heritage, and the Native blood coursing through his veins. How will Ubisoft balance these elements? Only time will tell, hopefully they do as good a job as they have with the series thus far.
It's worth mentioning how exciting it is that key historical persons like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin will be included, just as how Leonardo Da Vinci, the Borgia, and even Selim and Ahmet of the Ottoman Empire were tied into the game's fiction. However, it's just as concerning that the latest Assassin's game might end up a little too one sided. Seeing as how George Washington is said to be good friends with Connor, our new hero, does that mean that he'll be off killing more Red Coats rather than doing what Assassins do best? That is, maintaining balance.
Screenshots of the game so far do give me some hope, as Connor is seen not only targeting the English, but stalking Americans as well. It'll be interesting to see how his Native heritage comes into play. They don't exactly have the best of friendships with either party, siding only with the British in order prevent further colonization. Ironically, that alliance meant little as the British eventually betrayed them.
Assassin's Creed III does indeed look promising, and certainly much more exciting than the last spin-off. Expectations are undoubtedly high, so let's hope that Ubisoft doesn't drop the ball when it comes to the game's narrative, especially pertaining to that sense of balance. After all, its intriguing plot is one of the franchise's selling points. Glorifying the Revolution would seem a bit cheap.