Assassin’s Creed Unity, the first AC title for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, is about a month from release, and the hype surrounding the title is steadily increasing. With a majority of that hype being around graphics, huge on-screen crowds, new interior environments, and improved mechanics, it seems as though very little attention has been paid to the plot of the new game. Our Assassin is named Arno, and he is out for revenge amidst the dark and threatening French Revolution. That is a great tag line, but very little is really being emphasized about the details behind the revenge story even as they are slowly trickling out with each new trailer.
The modern day portion of Unity is even less defined, as it has practically been kept entirely secret so far. These modern day portions dispersed between the larger sections of gameplay set in the past have been polarizing for AC fans ever since the first game, as some would rather just have the game set entirely in the past. For many this boils down to a matter of not being pulled out of the gameplay for something they don’t see as worth it. In spite of this, the overarching story of Assassin’s Creed has hinged on this modern day setting in many cases, and has had varying degrees of success in heightening the importance of what is taking place. With all this in mind, there are 5 questions regarding both the past and the modern day sections that absolutely need to be answered in Assassin’s Creed Unity.
1. What makes Arno particularly interesting?
Each ancestor that we have seen in Assassin’s Creed has been fairly unique in terms of personality and motivation. Altair was driven by a need for redemption in the first AC game. Ezio and Connor were driven by a need for vengeance in AC II and III respectively (though Ezio’s motivations evolved as he had multiple titles to grow as a character). Edward Kenway was seemingly driven mostly by selfish greed until incredibly late in Black Flag. With all this in mind, what is Arno’s main motivation going to be? It seems as though we’ll be going on another quest driven by vengeance, which worries me because of how frequently we’ve seen this as a main motivator in our main character’s actions. There are some apparent wrinkles in terms of the muddying of the line between assassin and Templar allegiance, but even this was toyed with in Assassin’s Creed III with the big reveal of Connor’s father, Haytham, being a high ranking Templar.
What is going to make Arno stand out from the rest as a character if it isn’t his basic motivation? Hopefully we will see a darker Assassin to go along with the markedly darker setting the French Revolution seems set to be. Perhaps he will end up taking more questionable actions, making it harder for the player to root for him? Or maybe Arno’s back-story will provide some twists that make him seem more unique. Either way, something needs to happen that makes me think of Arno in the same way as I think of Ezio. He needs to stand on his own as a character, and not drown in the weight of the AC cannon. I believe this is possible, not just through giving him multiple games like what happened with Ezio, but with really good, different writing.