Assassin’s Creed 3: Our ‘Charles Lee Theory’

By | 4 years ago 

With four games published to date, all exploring the same global conspiracy and threat of humanity’s annihilation, the developers of Assassin’s Creed 3 have a lot of threads to draw back together come November. Now selecting a backdrop of the American Revolution to tell the next chapter in their story, Ubisoft is also exploring some incredibly rich source material – source material that is still emotionally resonant with an entire world superpower.

Assassin’s Creed 3‘s Creative Director has recently claimed that while the team hasn’t kept quiet about the new Native American protagonist Connor, or his origins, the game’s opening storyline and introduction to the character will come as a surprise. With that in mind, we feel fairly confident that our theory on the game’s plot might prove to be accurate. And it all centers around a man that history sees as a bit of a mixed bag: General Charles Lee.

No, not that General Lee. General Charles Lee is the subject of our predictions, ever since his appearance in AC3 concept artwork alongside other famous founding fathers set to appear in the game’s story. While not carrying the same name recognition as, say, Benjamin Franklin or George Washington, Lee is just as familiar in the minds of historians. Although, for reasons that are not so noble or unblemished.

As one of the two highest-ranking generals in the Continental Army, it wouldn’t have taken much to change history back in the 1750s and put British traitor Charles Lee at the head of the Colonial forces in Washington’s place. As history remembers both, though, it seems that things worked out for the best. With Lee casting off his British ties, only to be captured by forces under King George III’s command and formulating attack plans for the British while imprisoned, it is easy to characterize Lee as an opportunist and less morally rigid figure by today’s standards.

Assassins Creed 3 Charles Lee Young Connor

Whether that is fair or a result of historical fiction is not our concern, but Lee seems like the kind of character that would do well as a villain in a standard Assassin’s Creed title. If for no other reason than his shady personal history, and the seemingly untouchable legacy of the other confirmed founding fathers in the game, the black mark seems a perfect fit. From the first details, including an image of what appears to be a younger Lee threatening a young Connor Kenway, we previously hypothesized – by expanded on the man’s personal life – that the general would act as the leader of American Templars.

But since then, new information has come to light. Specifically, the AC3 trailer detailing the naval battles that will be bringing new gameplay and more of an open-world feel to the basic campaign. Aside from wowing fans and newcomers alike with ship battles set alongside the battlefield of the American Revolution, the trailer gave one particular hint that sent us reeling.

While manning the helm in the heat of combat, a seaborne Connor apparently trusts only one man as his First Mate: an aged gentleman bearing more than a passing resemblance to Charles Lee.

Assassins Creed 3 Charles Lee Trailer

Since Connor would likely not trust a man as treacherous or villainous as a Templar to stand at his side, things are obviously not as they seem. Or, as historians might have players believe. If Charles Lee is a man that Connor trusts, and given the length of the game’s campaign and gameplay footage from E3 placing the battle within the Caribbean Sea in Spring 1778, a different connection might be implied. Suddenly, the image of a younger Lee restraining a young Connor takes on a very different light. Could that seemingly violent scene actually be the beginning of a lifelong friendship?

Given what we know of Charles Lee’s personal life, his political leanings, and his history with the Continental Army under Washington, the bond between the two may not seem as unlikely as one might assume. Connor is, after all, a child of two distinct worlds and cultures, and a man with Lee’s history would certainly have some experience with that kind of personal and social struggle.

The intervention of Lee into the life of a young boy forced to choose his allegiance among a people starting to demand freedom would be a pivotal event. What better place to introduce players to both Connor and Lee than their first childhood encounter?

Given the supplied evidence, the fact that Lee encounters Connor as a child and later serves at his side seems irrefutable. And while American history paints a condemning picture of Lee – a gruff, less refined and less restrained military leader than Washington – there is more than enough room in his personal life and political alignments to make him into an imperfect hero. The developers at Ubisoft have reiterated time and again that the story of AC3 is not one of freedom-loving Americans against evil Brits, but as Director of IP Development Tommy Francois put it, a hero driven by “a sense of justice.”

And without a doubt, Charles Lee can fill that role.

Continue to Page 2 for Lee’s own ‘colorful’ history with the Mohawk, and his distrust of Tyrants…