Five years, four games, and two ancestral assassins gone by, Desmond Miles has served as the transcendent protagonist in Assassin’s Creed from the very beginning. The New York City bartender, kidnapped at first by Abstergo, traveling back in time to discover his true history – and destiny within the Assassin Order.
Assassin’s Creed III is the culmination of that story. Ubisoft stated last year that Desmond make his final appearance amid a narrative tied to the 2012 apocalypse – an endpoint many of the AC story threads have been inching forward to, if ever so slowly. But why now? Why send the modern day embodiment of Altair, Ezio, and Connor on his way when the franchise, in Ubisoft’s eyes, is still in its infancy? According to Assassin’s Creed III creative lead Alex Hutchinson, it’s crucial for moving forward.
Hutchinson spoke at a Ubisoft press event yesterday, according to The Verge, and described Desmond Miles as a “wrapper.” Think of candy bar: he frames the overarching assassin storyline, but each narrative beyond the initial unfolding contains its own unique experience. At some point, there’s no longer a need for it:
“It’s more like The Twilight Zone. There’s always a guy introducing it and he’s there every episode, but each game completes its own story. Assassin’s Creed 1 was Altair’s story. Ezio has been and gone. You can engage with these historical stories individually without having to necessarily understand Desmond’s story. But yes, we eventually do have to wrap it up.”
If the pace of each game so far can be compared to The Twilight Zone, Hutchinson thinks the entire, massive property that is Assassin’s Creed is analogous to Star Trek. And the future lies within The Next Generation:
“I always pitched it to the guys on this game to think of it almost like Star Trek. Each game is a season [...] each big number is a sub-title. We’re not changing the universe, but we’re being given the reins to the equivalent of [Star Trek:] The Next Generation. Yes, it’s the Star Trek universe, and that has certain immutable laws and there’s a base kind of tone to it, but within that you can do whatever you want.”
Hutchinson also believes that this philosophy – essentially turning new iterations of Assassin’s Creed into brand new IPs – is already reflected greatly in Assassin’s Creed III. Without Desmond, everything from the American Revolution setting to the revamped gameplay mechanics to the new protagonist, Connor, comprises something that’s “90% a new game.”
So at some point Desmond becomes a liability, a roadblock to that ultimate goal of 100 percent. When asked if this warrants the outright death of Desmond, Hutchinson would only use the word “end,” but reiterated that seven, real-life years of story will be enough for a franchise bigger than any one character.
That Ubisoft has begun discussing Desmond Miles now is no surprise; the last four months have already painted an enticing picture of the game’s American Revolution backdrop. And yet while we now know why his story ends, a lot remains to be answered on how. Previous Assassin’s Creeds have been fairly content with keeping Desmond’s journey under wraps until actually releasing, and it’s quite possible Ubisoft doesn’t want to spoil his coup de grace.
Ranters, where do you think Assassin’s Creed will go after Desmond Miles? Could a game like Assassin’s Creed: Liberation – releasing for the PlayStation Vita alongside AC III – provide a good template for a post-Desmond world?
Assassin’s Creed III releases on October 30, 2012 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. A Wii U release is slated for a later date.
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Source: The Verge