Experiencing some kind of tragic loss appears to be a prerequisite for the historical protagonists of the Assassin's Creed franchise. From Ezio Auditore watching his family being horribly killed, to Connor Kenway watching his mother being horribly killed, it's amazing that these heroes can manage to scale such tall buildings with all the emotional baggage that's weighing them down.
Assassin's Creed: Unity, the upcoming title set in revolutionary Paris, will introduce a new protagonist in Arno Dorian: a member of the Assassin brotherhood who loses his father at a young age and is raised by a high-ranking member of the Templar Order. We already know that a significant portion of Assassin's Creed: Unity's plot will be based around a love story between Arno and his childhood friend, Elise, who joins the Templar ranks in her adulthood. In a new interview, Arno's voice and mo-cap actor Dan Jeanotte gives a little more insight into what drives his character.
As might be expected of someone who would willingly take up killing people as a cause, Arno doesn't sound like a pure champion of goodness and morality, but he does at least have a character arc that develops over the course of the story, according to Jeanotte.
"He's kind of selfish, kind of a brat, but then there's sort of this tragic incident that spurs him to action, and he has to man up, he has to fight. At the beginning he's not an Assassin, but then he comes into the Assassin brotherhood thinking of it as a means to an end. It's going to help him achieve what he wants, selfishly. But then being part of the brotherhood, he realizes that he's part of something much bigger.
"And on top of all that he's really quite clever. He has a lot of those little one-liners before or after he does some badass move."
This description of Arno's character might make some gamers a little wary. After all, the anti-hero with a tragic past who cracks one-liners while killing bad guys sounds like an incredibly generic video game protagonist. Jeanotte does give assurances that the story of Assassin's Creed: Unity is "not black and white," but is rather "complex" and "emotional." Ultimately, however, it will be up to gamers to decide how complex and emotional the story and the characters in it really are.
Jeanotte finishes the interview by quoting an intriguing line from the game: "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted. It's not a permission, but a warning." - as good an interpretation of the brotherhood's ambiguous motto as any.
As is usual for Assassin's Creed marketing campaigns, there have been almost no details regarding the modern storyline for Assassin's Creed: Unity. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag largely stalled the ramifications of Assassin's Creed III's ending, so it will be interesting to see what happens with the high-stakes modern story arc as the series continues in two new titles this year.
Assassin's Creed: Unity releases October 28, 2014 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.