The 5 Most Underused 'Assassin's Creed' Series Characters
It's no secret that the characters of the Assassin's Creed series are one of the major aspects that set it apart from other third-person action titles. With heroes, villains and colorful characters strong enough to bring award-winning actors into a film version, Ubisoft is clearly doing something right.
With Assassin's Creed 3, the Renaissance has been left behind for a brand new setting, and a hero worthy of a series all his own. So while the developers may feel that the previous settings and cast has seen all the attention they deserve, we politely disagree.
Looking back on the series to date, there are a few characters in particular that we can't help but feel didn't get enough attention.
Prince Suleiman I
It's a bit of a shame that the political battle for power within the Ottoman Empire woven through Assassin's Creed: Revelations was a bit difficult to follow. The more nuanced and... less straightforward plot was one of the only issues we had with the game, but one thing was clear: this Prince Suleiman was an interesting guy.
Sure, we know that Revelations brought Ezio neck-deep in Suleiman's rise to power as the tenth Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. A rule that would last fifty years, with such a passion for knowledge and progress that he would come to be known simply as 'Suleiman the Magnificent.' But with a historical figure that fascinating, it's a shame we saw so little.
With some of the most intriguing discussions of education, cultural tolerance, the ethics of ruling and more, we would have loved to see Ezio and Suleiman face off in more battles of personal philosophy. Ezio's story soon took over, so any hopes we had for further insight was dashed sooner than Leonardo's flying machine.
Juan Borgia (the Elder)
How many nude, hedonistic aristocrats appear in triple-A games? Exactly. Juan Borgia, banker to Brotherhood's antagonist Cesare Borgia is the only one we know of, and frankly, confining the man to a single mission is downright insulting.
It's unlikely that missions other than a clothing-optional pagan festival atop the Pantheon will be so vividly remembered by players. The festival was hosted by the laissez-faire Borgia, shedding all clothes - aside from a ram's head codpiece. In other words: the accepted uniform of absurdly wealthy who still know how to throw one hell of a party.
We had expected that Ezio would, upon seeing the party animal, consider the possibility that the ruling family wasn't all bad. That's certainly not how things played out, with Ezio instead bringing the high-class orgy to a grinding halt. Our hopes were dashed, and Assassin social events were forever doomed to be nothing more than underground caves filled with shoulder-checking stiffs.
This one is a no-brainer. Once a thief, the charismatic Yusuf rose to the rank of Master Assassin, and leader of the Ottoman Assassins working out of the capitol Constantinople. Taking a fight to both Ottomans and Templars without the help of as 'exceptional' a fighter as Ezio Auditore is one thing, but doing it all with a smile and wise-crack takes guts.
Yusuf brought a much-needed dose of humor to the Assassin's Creed franchise from his first appearance, but never failed to show just how devout and lethal an Assassin he truly was. In many ways, Yusuf is the only real foil Ezio ever had in his three adventures. Bringing out a lighter side in the stoic Italian was a pleasant side-effect, but was sadly cut too short.
We won't go into specific spoilers, but fans know just how much honor Yusuf was given before his role was concluded. True to his word, and Ezio's friend to the end, Yusuf will be remembered as one of the better characters players got to know, now that Constantinople has been left behind. But seriously, the chance to turn the series into a buddy-Assassin adventure was foolish to pass up.
The mysterious Claudia Auditore, younger sister to series hero Ezio Auditore was most recently featured only as the addressee of Ezio's many letters during the events of Revelations. But the only surviving Auditore child besides the future leader of the Italian Assassins was far more than meets the eye.
The entrepreneurial spirit of Claudia was immediately evident, running the finances of Monteriggioni, turning the 'Rosa' brothel into an information network of Roman Assassin spies, eventually being inducted into the Order and overseeing its operations in the absence of Ezio.
Those points make Claudia Auditore one of the more accomplished female video game characters we know of - arguably ever - yet her role in the games was always secondary. Taking down four armored Roman soldiers herself, and the Assassin's hot iron brand with barely a wince, Claudia is just as talented and resolved as her older brother. Given our lack of time with the character, it's hard to feel like her character was done justice.
Call us sentimental, but the brief scene between Ezio Auditore and his brother Federico at the opening of Assassin's Creed 2 seems to hint at a story that was simply untold. We're not going to say that the Auditore boys could take on the Mario Bros. in terms of series longevity, but the quick removal of all male Auditores (aside from Ezio) passed up some interesting story points.
Federico's only purpose in the game was to walk Ezio through some gameplay tutorials, and fuel the hero's eventual quest for vengeance. Seeing Ezio put in his place by the teasing of an older brother seemed trivial at the time, but the man Ezio would go on to become has us desperate to know more about the man he was before the game started.
Obviously the way the story played out makes a surprise appearance of Federico unlikely, but that doesn't mean a prequel is out of the realm of possibility. If Federico is anything like his brother, then seeing the two written as well as Ezio's final chapter could be something more than special for fans. If nothing else, seeing the all-knowing, all-powerful future Mentor of the Assassin Order having his hair tousled would be too good to resist.
Well, there you have it. The universe is full of fantastic characters that promised more than they could ever deliver in a story that was, above all else, belonging to Ezio Auditore. With Assassin's Creed 3 sure to introduce enough new cast members - not to mention wrap up Desmond's story for good - the odds of Ubisoft giving past personalities a second take aren't very high.
But that certainly won't keep us from wondering what could've been. Have any characters that you thought were under-served, underused, or just overlooked? We're sure to have missed a few, so leave your own picks in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.