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"To administer is to govern: to govern is to reign. That is the essence of the problem."
— Comte de Mirabeau
Assassin's Creed: Unity is the seventh major title in the Assassin's Creed series. It was released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 11, 2014, being released concurrently with Assassin's Creed: Rogue. Unity is the first non-numbered title to feature a new Assassin hero, Arno Victor Dorian. It will take place during the The French Revolution, and chart out the course of that epoch defining historical event, from the fall of the Ancien Régime to the Reign of Terror.Born in Versailles, the young orphan Arno Dorian is raised in the household of François de la Serre, where he grows up alongside his lifelong friend and secret paramour, Élise de la Serre. On the outbreak of the French Revolution, Arno and Élise find themselves on the opposite sides of the Assassin-Templar conflict. Both of them seek to steer the French Revolution and the Forever War of the Assassins and Templars towards a "unity" and bring peace and stability to a nation that is tearing itself apart.The game is set in Paris in the most detailed recreation of a historical period ever attempted. It introduces for the first time, drop-in/drop-out co-op gameplay that can feature up to four players. Special Brotherhood Missions are created to accommodate co-op gameplay charting out events in the history of the French Revolution. In addition to this, a post-game DLC set in 1794 has been announced. Dead Kings takes place in Saint-Denis, a suburb of Paris which hosted the Royal Necropolis of French Kings across history until the destruction of its ossuary during the Revolution. While Dead Kings was originally going to be priced DLC as part of the Season Pass, due to a poor launch, Ubisoft has said it will make the DLC free for all players and gift a free game out of six titles to all who bought the Season Pass, which includes the previous title Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
The developers deemed it unnecessary to voice the various characters depicted in the game with French accents, as they felt that the player would be fully aware that the characters are French due to the game's setting. Everyone appearing in the game is therefore voiced with an Englishaccent, which vary so as to correspond to the character's social status. So for example, the aristocrats are voiced with typically plummy RP accents, whereas the rioting rabble are voiced with stereotypically working-class Cockney accents.
One issue of this simplification is that it removes several vital aspects of famous historical figures, widely documented ones. Napoleon is shown speaking in an upper-class English accent when in real-life he spoke French with a thick Corsican accent, since it was far from being his first language note It sounded like an Italian speaking French and Tsar Alexander famously stated that he spoke better French than him. One reason why his rise to power was so shocking was that he was an outsider to French society, indeed subject to racist mockery for his accent as a student and only got the opportunity for advancement thanks to the Revolution. This is lampshaded in the Side Story "A Romantic Stroll" where Josephine comments on Napoleon's exotic accent which to our ears sounds no different than hers or anybody else's.
Anachronic Order: The Brotherhood missions as a whole cover incidents relating to historical incidents and they can be played in any order at any time, for instance you can play a mission set in 1793 while the story missions is set in 1791. As such it often contains spoilers for events you would access later in the story.
And Now for Someone Completely Different: In keeping with recent tradition, the game begins in 1307 and later 1314 with a glimpse of a Templar Knight during the time of the historical purge of the Templars by King Philip IV, we get a front row seat of the death and martyrdom of Jacques de Molay.
Animal Motifs: Arno Dorian's first name, his prenom if you will, means "The Eagle's Strength" in German, which mixes both his French and Austrian descent.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Normally the Assassins are the ones who invoke this, but this time the Templars have jumped on the soapbox:
Both the Assassins and the older Templars are quite aristocratic. With the exception of Pierre Bellec, all of them are upper-middle class or in the case of Mirabeau, an Impoverished Patrician whose range of experiences allows him to be the voice of a wide franchise. The game provides a lot of sympathy to the Consitutional Monarchy of 89-92 and practically none at all to the popular movement that drove the major events from the ground-up.
The Revolutionary Templars on the other hand have crime bosses, disaffected honest bureaucrats, sans-cullotes and artisans. Their leader, following Jacques de Molay sees the Revolution and its excesses as a complicated Batman Gambit to usher in violent revolution to destroy the old order in place of a new one, and events such as the September Massacres and the Reign of Terror was to give people such an impression that Democracy Is Bad that people think twice about revolting in the future and overturn the Templar order in turn.
Arno gets sent into the Bastille after he's framed for the murder of an artistocrat Sieur de la Serre at the Palais de Versailles. In reality, the Bastille was a prison for political prisoners, lunatics and general miscreants. For such a serious accusation as Arno's he would have been sent into one of the tougher prisons and certainly not among harmless and political prisoners.
The game repeats the famous apocryphal story that Louis XVI's death was Decided By One Vote. It comes down to an even split between clemency and execution with Templar puppet and patriot, Louis Michel Le Peletier casting the deciding vote. In actual fact, of the 721 available and eligible voters, 321 voted for imprisonment and/or banishment but a decent majority agreed on the execution. Off the 394 who voted for death, 34 voted for death with delaying conditions, while the majority wanted immediate summary execution. It also rehashes, for more understandable reasons, the apocryphal quote of "Jacques de Molay, vous êtes vengé!". Likewise the Templars make the trial a Frame-Up by having Marie Levesque artificially create starvation and pinning it on the Royal Family, neither of which were the reasons for his trial and execution in real-life, giving the general impression that Louis XVI was "innocent" when even the people who called for clemency admitted that he was guilty for conspiring with foreign powers and fomenting civil war against the Revolution.
The Reign of Terror and the Revolution as a whole is presented without the political context of the 1792 Revolutionary Wars. Namely the fact that the chaotic situation created by early defeats led to the September Massacres, a paranoid over-reaction that political prisoners would betray soldiers on the frontlines, whereas here its presented as a Templar plot to sow chaos. The Terror, far from being the work of a few individuals, had wide public support and political bi-partistan agreement about its status as emergency laws to meet the challenges of civil war, invasion and deprivations. The game presents it as an excess of ideology or fanaticism and the work of Templars. Likewise, the game shows a bloodbath on the part of Robespierre's faction in the streets on the night of his downfall, when there was no violence at all that day from his side. Indeed, Robespierre was reluctant to order attacks on the National Convention and fatally delayed taking action.
The game's Brotherhood Missions and the Side Missions severely falsifies the lives and personalities of the likes of Jean-Paul Marat, Saint-Just, the Jacobin Club and the Enrages. The Jacobins are depicted as a bunch of crypto-Nazis who whip radical women like Theroigne de Mericourt for daring to ask for their rights, when in real life she was attacked by a radical faction of Revolutionary Women and was rescued by Marat. Likewise, Saint-Just and Jacques Roux are described to be psychopaths, with the overall negative depiction being informed by 19th Century royalist Malicious Slander rather than actual historical research.
A lot of the Paris Side Stories, Social Club Missions and the DLC exclusives "Chemical Revolution" and "American Prisoner" are filled with numerous basic errors in facts, including several anachronistic events and characters. Champollion, the famous Egyptologist, appears as an adult when he was born in 1790. Likewise Josephine describes herself as a divorcee when her husband was guillotined History The man who signed his execution order was none other than the painter Jacques-Louis David, future friend and collaborator of Napoleon, who quite obviously was grateful for the assist and she was herself imprisoned during the Terror. Arno is tasked by Thomas Paine to rescue The Rights of Man from the Warden's custody, a book that was already widely published before he arrived in Paris (indeed the reason why he was invited in the first place), while the book Paine was working on was The Age of Reason, his Deist critique of Christianity.
Badass Crew: Arno and his fellow Assassins are a deadly four-man squad.
Back-to-Back Badasses: Assassin Arno and Templar Elise in many missions. Arno and Pierre Bellec in early missions, Arno and Napoleon during the Storming of the Tuilleries.
Been There, Shaped History: A stated intention of the developers is to avoid or curtail this factor that was prevalent in the previous games. Arno rarely plays an active role in shaping the great incidents of the French Revolution the way his predecessors did in their timeline. Rather some of his adventures makes him an observant of certian incidents:
Arno and Pierre Bellec are one of the two additional prisoners of the Bastille that escaped on 14 juillet. Arno later infiltrates the Tuilleries on 10th August, 1792, the Fall of the Monarchy where he tries, and fails, to burn the armoire de fer documents that discredits Mirabeau's reputation. Later, two of his assassination missions takes place during notorious events such as the September Massacres and the Public Execution of Louis XVI. He also observes Robespierre's Festival of the Supreme Being at the Champs du Mars (complete with Cardboard Mountain) and works with Elise to bring about his downfall.
The Brotherhood Missions has him observe incidents such as the Woman's March on Versailles, the downfall of Danton and Jacques Roux. In a Time Skip, Arno also acts as Napoleon's bodyguard protecting his carriage and finding the conspirators behind the famous Rue-Saint-Nicaise Machine Infernale assassination attempt.
Big Bad: François-Thomas Germain, the Grandmaster of the Revolutionary Templars.
Bigger Bad: The long dead Jacques de Molay, the new Templar Grandmaster wants to revive his vision during 18th Century France by shifting power from the aristocracy to the rising middle class.
Bittersweet Ending: Elise dies. Arno avenges her but Germain essentially gloats how The Bad Guy Wins since he has entirely achieved his goals. But Arno has embraced his destiny as an Assassin and rebuilds the Order. The Terror ends in France even if Napoleon looms on the horizon.
Bloodier and Gorier: Next-Gen allows for more red to paint on the wall, and your clothes. Wounds on Arno stain his clothes red for a considerable time, and fights against characters splatters the walls and floors. It's overall more violent and intense.
Bodyguarding a Badass: In one of the Brotherhood Missions, you stand guard over Napoleon's parade during the real-life assassination attempt by royalist assassins during the Machine Infernale plot.
The first trailer's execution scene is evocative of the one in the original Assassin's Creed trailer. The launch trailer for the Co-Op mode is evocative of the trailer for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood with the different Assassins getting the jump on guards.
The second trailer has Arno taking out an officer the same way Altaïr did in the original Assassin's Creed trailer.
Cassandra Truth: Project Phoenix is based on one. As it turns out, Rosalind Franklin's initial findings about Triple Helix DNA, which was quickly dismissed once Crick and Watson found the Double Helix, are actually remnants of Precursor DNA left in the human genome.
City of Adventure: Paris would get its much beloved reputation as this from the years during the Revolution. A series of side-missions is dedicated to its history and folklore. The Paris Side Stories has you performing many missions for prominent historical figures who lived during the Revolution, the Nostradamus Engimas are Riddles spread across Parisian monuments, murder mysteries and Club Missions also provide you a lot of action around famous buildings and incidents. The Time Anomalies likewise shows glimpses of other major incidents that happened across the past and future of Paris.
Conspicuously Public Assassination: You have more range of options in this, notably jumping off the top of a guillotine in broad daylight in front of a large crowd and a pack of soldiers. When discussing the assassination of Sivert, Pierre Bellec describes this as the "Levantine Approach", a Suicide Mission of charging at your target in an action that will doom both.
Cool Sword: The Precursor artifact in this game is the Sword of Eden, making its debut in the intro. It shoots lightning, is patterned with cool Tron Lines, and functions as a short-range teleporter when Germain uses it in the end.
Corrupt Church: One of the main causes of the French Revolution, and one of your targets is Charles-Gabriel Sivert, a "Templar Thug" who is actually quite open about the Church "leeching off the people for centuries" while engaging in the selfsame corruption himself, hoping that his activities will get a nod from the Grand Master.
Cute Kitten: One of the more funny moments in the Notre Dame demo is when Arno hides in a haystack, which has a tiny, mewing kitten in front of it. One of the guards comes forth to take the standard position for the haystack assassination, only he comes forward to pet the kitten instead, right before being killed. Arno hates Cat Lovers.
Unity is not nearly as intense and bitter a story as III or Freedom Cry, but it ranks among the darkest stories in the Franchise, being Bloodier and Gorier above with the Templars essentially continuing their plans unopposed with the Assassins being thoroughly ineffectual, Arno being even more of a Failure Hero than Connor, and Elise, the older aristocratic Templar and Arno's lover and ally, shown to be self-destructive.
The Unity DLC Dead Kings is described as being the darkest story told in the franchise yet, and St. Denis has a much darker feel compared to Paris.
Deadpan Snarker Arno, oh so very much. Elise has her moments too, as does Bellec.
Democracy Is Bad / Democracy Is Flawed: For once its the Templars who want to radically bring in democracy and chaos while the Assassins want to progress on rational, moderate constitutional lines. At the end, Germain stated that the excesses of the Terror was partly intended to make people afraid of Revolutions and democracy so that people will crave order.
Destination Defenestration: At the end of the multiplayer trailer, the player characters throw a corrupt marquise out of the window of his palace, to the hands of a raging mob.
Enemy Civil War: The French Revolution provides a backdrop to a change in leadership of and ideology of the Templar Order from the enlightened plutocratic aristocracy to the more interventionist commerce-minded businessmen. Both Élise and Arno are caught in the middle of this.
Et Tu, Brute?: The man who killed Mirabeau is none other than Arno's mentor Pierre Bellec.
Failure Hero: Arno feels this about himself after failing to halt François de la Serre's death. He also feels this even more when he never manages to prevent Elise from overcoming her vendetta against Germain, leading to her death. Unbeknownst to him, Napoleon stole the Apple literally under his very nose, creating a major headache for the Assassins.
Follow the Leader: The multiple-pathways approach to the mission design, with side-missions providing alternate methods of entry and exit, and different techniques of assassinations is quite similar to the level design of Dishonored, Batman: Arkham City and Hitman.
Foregone Conclusion: One of the Murder Mysteries side-missions is the death of Jean-Paul Marat, which is probably the least mysterious of all murders in human history.
The main game takes place during the French Revolution, including the Reign of Terror. Some of the co-op missions however will take a Time Skip and chronicle the early years of Napoleon.
The DLC Dead Kings covers the aftermath in Saint-Denis.
Genre Shift: "The Resistance" which transports you to Occupied France becomes a World-War II shooting game when you use a machine gun to fire at Nazi planes.
Genuine Human Hide: The Paris Story, "Coat of Arms" recreates a long-disproven and out-of-date piece of royalist Malicious Slander, that Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, after killing a woman who rejected his advances, had her body sent to a tanner to provide leather to make new breeches for him.History The story first arose in an 1820 book of anecdotes, deliberately ahistorical, written to provide readers with long out-of-date romantic horror stories of the Revolution, a popular sub-genre in the 19th Century among royalists. None of Saint-Just's enemies used this charge against him in the period of his downfall when it would have provided great fodder and no legitimate historian of the last two hundred years, even anti-revolutionaries, has given it the slightest credence
A God Am I: How observers regard Robespierre's attitude during his Festival of the Supreme Being. Among historians, the jury is still out.
Gory Discretion Shot: The E3 trailer cuts to black as a line of French soldiers fires into the charging mob. The next shot is of fallen bodies. Others are content to show the mob getting shot, however.
Grave Robbing: The Raiders, a faction in Dead Kings indulge in this by desecrating the historical tombs of the French Royal Dynasties.
The Assassin Council are a hotbed of indecisiveness too bogged down by rituals and hierarchy to adequately meet the Revolutionary Templars. Mirabeau favored Arno's bold approach and solution of an alliance with Elise, but fellow Assassin Pierre Bellec instead kills him and wants Arno to take a more radical Kill 'em All approach rather than advocate unity, believing this is how Altair, Ezio and Connor approached problems.
The Templars as whole want to usher in a radical democracy to destroy the vestiges of feudalism, which is corrupt, decadent and leeching the people dry. For them the excesses of the Revolution on the part of Agent Provocateur is intended to prevent future revolutions. Some of the Templars such as François Rouille, Louis Michel Le Pelettier and Maximilien Robespierre are sincere Revolutionaries while the likes of Germain is motivated by disinterested and unselfish dedicatation to progress at any cost. He doesn't want power, but control and sees the excesses he promotes as a means to make people fear further revolutions against the Templar Order they set up.
Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Assassin Council during the Revolution is perhaps the most ineffective branch yet, even moreso than the Colonial Assassins which was down to a single old man and a Naïve Newcomer. While Mirabeau sought to moderate the Revolution and contain the tensions, the Assassin Council as a whole played a reactive role to the Revolutionary Templar activities and play no part in the popular movement.
When August 10, the Storming of the Tuilleries and the birth of the Republic occurs, Arno tells the Council that they should go with the people but he gets sent on a mission to cover up damaging evidence of Mirabeau's corruption instead. The situation is so chaotic he fails that, and completely ignores Napoleon filching an Apple of Eden under his very nose.
Pierre Bellec rants against the Assassin's ineffectiveness, their adherence to hierarchy and rituals and their plodding involvement in politics. His solution, killing Mirabeau and asking Arno to support a coup of the Council so that We Can Rule Together and go Kill 'em All on all Templars including Elise, however, is not exactly a sane approach.
Mirabeau, Maximilien Robespierre, the doomed Royal Family, Marquis de Sade, and a certain young Corsican captain all have major appearances in the single player campaign. Among the Templars, there are Louis Michel Le Peletier, Charles Gabriel Sivert, Baron de l'Espérance, a real-life governor of French colonies Saint Pierre and Miquelon. In addition, the Templar Grand Master and Sage is the real-life François-Thomas Germain, a famous silversmith whose collections are highly prized. His character also takes inspiration from the Count Saint-Germain, the famous occultist and real-life charlatan who died in 1781.
The prologue opens at the Purge of the Templars in 1307, we get a glimpse of Jacques de Molay, Pope Clement and King Philip le Bel. The Brotherhood Missions features Georges Danton, Theroigne de Mericourt, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, Jacques Roux. Pre-order DLC — Chemical Revolution and American Prisoner — offers you the chance to meet legendary chemist Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier and Thomas Paine. Likewise, a series of side-missions involving detective work and crime solving revolves around plucky Street Urchin Eugène François Vidocq, future criminal turned crime-fighter and the inspiration for classic literary characters, Jean Valjean and Vautrin.
The Paris Side Stories and Murder Mysteries involves the dramatist Pierre Beaumarchais, the cartomancer Marie-Anne Lenormand, Madame Tussaud, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, Charles-Henri Sanson, Tobias Schmidt, the transgender dueling champion Chevalier d'Eon, Josephine de Beauharnais, the financial minister Jacques Necker, the painter Jacques-Louis David, Charlotte Corday, along with Young Future Famous People from the future Napoleonic Wars - Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte and Joachim Murat. There are also cameos by prominent philosophers and scientists such as Marquis de Condorcet, Laplace and Comte de Cassini.
Mirabeau and the moderate political revolution of 1789 under a Constitutional Monarchy of Louis XVI gets this via association with the Assassins and opposition by Templars. The corruption, the indecisive reforms, the Flight to Varennes (whereby the King escaped the Tuilleries in the hopes of unleashing a foreign army on France) and the sympathetic treatment to the King's execution gives them this on the whole. Some of it is addressed in the game's depiction of the Armoire de fer incident, but its still treated sympathetically as an effort to moderate and contain the violence. The game also has Marquis de Sade describing Louis XVI as "innocent" when almost everyone at the trial determined the King to be guilty of treason but differed only on punishment.
Georges Danton gets this in the Brotherhood Missions, he's described as the "Hero of the Revolution", shown as a Badass who joins Arno in a fight with sword in hand and presented as Robespierre's chief opponent in his desire to oust the Girondins. In actual fact, Danton was a highly pragmatic individual, quite well known for accepting bribes, living a lavish lifestyle at a time of starvation and wartime deprivation as well as involvement with stock-market fraud. He also served as Minister of Justice at the time of the September Massacres and let it happen unimpeded. Far from opposing the Terror, Danton installed the Revolutionary Tribunals and served on the Committee of Public Safety for two months before Robespierre's appointment.
Napoleon is shown as a charismatic Magnetic Hero and a Manipulative Bastard, which is faithful to the historical record. However, it also has Napoleon criticizing "bloody revolutionaries" and opposing the excesses of the time, while the Side Missions shows some of the Jacobins (such as Saint-Just in a letter) trying to sabotage his career. In the historical record, Napoleon was a Jacobin at the time of the RevolutionHistory He loyally sided with the beleaguered Republican against Corsican separatist and royalist Paoli, who chased him and his family out of the island(and sent people to burn and loot his house). His connection with Robespierre was well known that he was briefly under house arrest after his downfall and kept out of commission for a full year.. Napoleon's first major promotion came from Robespierre's brother and was made possible by the army's reforms during the year of the Terror. Napoleon justified the Terror in several private conversations right unto his exile in Saint Helena and described the Committee of Public Safety as the only real government of the revolution.
Somehow, the entire French Revolution gets this, since its presented as a Staged Populist Uprising by a Vocal Minority secretly controlled by the Templars to usher in the middle-class hegemony that displaced the aristocracy with the people being easily guided and led against their will. Much of this reflects the Conspiracy Theory put forth by Abbe Barruel in his book Histoire des Jacobins that was highly royalist in character (as well as highly anti-semitic).
It is true that most of France were still bound to feudal traditions and resented the incursions by the state to change their way of life. A significant portion of the people in the countryside weren't for the Revolution and during the Terror, their crops and grain was seized by authorities in Paris for the war effort on threat of execution. However, the mood in Paris was defiantly pro-revolutionary and it did enjoy wide support from several regions since it redistributed Church property(the largest landowner in France at the time) among new landholders. While the middle-class of stock-holders and bankers did more or less become a political and economic majority, there was sufficient redistribution of wealth and meritocracy as well as more avenues for social mobility, to provide several members of the lower classes, opportunities that they did not have before.
A major and grotesque simplification is the sans-cullotes who are presented as hired agents of Templars and willing enforcers of Jacobins with Jean-Paul Marat as their mob boss, being little better than Mooks. In actual fact the sans-culottes were highly informed and quite sophisticated. Almost every Parisian male was literate at the time of the Revolution and they discussed and developed ideas of their own. The sans-cullotes were opposed to all parties for most of the Revolution, with some being quasi-anarchist and in some sections beiing self-governing and it was only late in the Revolution that they allied with the Jacobins and almost immediately regarded them as sell-outs which prompted Danton and Robespierre to limit their assemblies and pass a law that allowed the government to appoint their leaders. Likewise, while Marat was often accused of being an underboss for the sans-cullotes there has never been evidence that this was anything more than Malicious Slander.
Historical Villain Downgrade: Robespierre gets this relatively, in the Single Player Campaign by virtue of being a puppet for Germain, and entirely in the background. He's even framed by Arno and Elise to appear more crazy and unbalanced than he is. He gets this more by virtue of being ignored altogether by the story than anything else. It's played straight in the Brotherhood missions however, where he's a major Jerk Ass.
Impromptu Tracheotomy: One of Arno's finishing moves has him stabbing his sword straight through his opponent's neck.
Inevitable Tournament: The Brotherhood Co-Op Mission "The Tournament" is about foiling an attempted military coup by the fictional General Marcourt. To get a chance to assassinate him, you have to infiltrate a tournament naturally and what better way than to win it.
Infinity+1 Sword: Arno can get a Sword of Eden. It keeps a sharp edge, despite losing its powers.
It's All About Me: When he's cornered by the Assassins near the end of the Co-Op trailer, one of the targets, Marquis de Buillon, actually tries to plead for his life by saying "They're only peasants!" Cue Destination Defenestration.
Napoleon doesn't care much about the French Revolution's ideologies except in so far as he can survive it with his life and career intact.
The Assassin Council feel this way about Arno, since he goes on his own and conducts missions without reporting to the Committee and feels his private grief and guilt is more important than his duty to the Creed.
Love Triangle: A few missions feature one involving Napoleon, Désirée Clary and Jean-Baptiste Bernadottenote Minor Artistic Licence History, given that Bernadotte (who actually spent most of the era depicted here on the front lines) didn't meet Désirée until after Napoleon broke up with her.
Mad Artist: We see Jacques-Louis David paint his famous painting of the Death of Marat, at the scene of the crime. History David did visit Marat the day before his assassination and did visit the scene of the crime but Marat's body was obviously moved away for his funeral. However, like any artist he obviously painted his portrait in a studio for better working conditions and accessibility of painting material.
Made of Iron: Averted with Arno. He can take a lot of damage in swordfights, but even with a full health bar, a single shot from a rifle and pistol can One-Hit Kill him, similar to the combat in the Arkham games.
A better example, along with Damage-Sponge Boss is Pierre Bellec, the renegade Assassin who takes a lot of punishment with his head fully covered in blood at one point but still coming for more punishment in the toughest boss fight of the game.
Mushroom Samba: The Assassin Initiation Rite involves drinking a goblet of strange liquid and being sent on a spirit quest that's closer to a Scarecrow Mission in the Arkham games than Connor's Juno-Inspired vision in Assassins Creed III.
Obvious Beta: The game is notorious for the sheer amount of bugs and glitches, some game-breaking, as well as connectivity issues to Uplay and Initiates, making some wonder if the game was rushed to production.
Off with His Head!: Madame Guillotine is slated to appear in this game, and the target in the E3 trailer ends up getting beheaded via sword by an angry mob. In first person.
Panty Shot: If a major commotion breaks out (such as an explosion or stun bomb), nearby skirted women will occasionally fall to the ground, exposing their (very brief for the time period) panties.
Power Walk: The box art depicts Arno and his fellow Assassins doing this.
The Queen's Latin: For some reason, everyone so far in the game speaks with an English accent, including Arno himself. According to Word of God, this was because since the player knows the characters in the game are French, accents were deemed unnecessary. Though, crowd chatter includes French phrases and the Church Mass is conducted in Latin, just like Pre-Vatican II.
Random Transportation: What the Time Anomalies entails. In order to dodge the network of Abstergo from seeking out the Assassin Initiate, Bishop sends you through various server portals that takes you to different points in the history of Paris. This causes a breakdown in the render leading to elements from different timelines piling on top, such as the in-construction Lady Liberty in 1898 Belle Epoque, when it had already been shipped and erected to France at the time. The final mission sends you to France during the Hundred Years War, dodging Trebuchet attacks from the Bastille.
By the time of the French Revolution, a lot of the Assassin traditions have bowed to practicality. The Assassin Council featuring Mirabeau, Dumas and Bellec wear the classic White Hoods for ceremonial reasons only in the style of Masonic initiation rites but otherwise wear practical 18th Century gear. Arno is the first Assassin who does not wear white robes as defaultnote Adewale in the Freedom Cry DLC, Aveline in the side-game Liberation and Ezio in Revelations already featured different default colours, but rather sports a dashing navy blue longcoat that were it lacking the hood would pass as totally normal 18th Century fashion. The only continuity is a white inner-vest and a red Classy Cravat.
As written below some of the more unrealistic elements such as the post-kill deathbed conversation with your victims will be replaced by more practical but equally surreal gimmicks, such as the ability of Arno's Eagle Sense to show him the final thoughts and visions of his victims, including snatches of memories that further the plot and backstory. This is later given Reconstruction when Arno's final victim, Germain, shrugs all the previous Memory Corridor sessions as private telepathies in the center of the mind.
The modern-day element has been redone so that there is no longer any Audience Surrogate. Players interact via the Helix, a Cloud Memory Database which is apparently a mass-market product that is hacked by the Assassins to surreptitously observe Arno's memories with brief missions known as Time Anomalies being the only suggestion of a Present Day Framing Story. There is no real deadline as such and Bishop periodically informs you in As You Know statements about your overall objective.
The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Delibertately so, according to Germain. To him, the Revolution is useful for furthering Templar power and eroding the monarchy and church as obvious symbols of power, but if it comes of as extra violent, than people will associate revolution with violence itself and fear further incursions of freedom.
Royal Rapier: It's only natural you'll be able to use this kind of sword.
Rule of Fun: Arno is often unable to leap far enough to reach the ground during his Leaps of Faith. Hence the conspicuous presence of the traditional wagons of hay, but inexplicably on rooftops.
Scenery Porn: The Next-Gen graphics and the architectural treasure trove of 18th Century Paris promises more than enough scenic beauty. Notre Dame Cathedral, supposedly a 1:1 representation with fully integrated interiors and exteriors is a thing of beauty with its gorgeous Gothic design and flying buttresses and gargoyles rendered in HD glory. This is especially apparent when one compares the previous-Gen render of Versailles in the epilogue of Rogue to the prologue of Unity. It looks excellent and servicable in the former game, but it sparkles in Unity.
Sequel Difficulty Spike: Unity has a different control scheme so as to privilege stealth over combat. The counter button has been removed and it's no longer easy or feasible for players to go One-Man Army. Some of the co-op missions even feature a difficulty rating.
Shaggy Dog Story: The modern day element asks the Helix User to review Arno's memories to find the Sage and how his body was disposed. At the end, the Sage's body was left to rot beneath the earth and Arno later arranges for his skull to be placed in the Catacombs, with all genetic material long since delayed. In other words, both Assassins and Templars are still on the look-out for genetic material to remap First-Civilization DNA.
The first gameplay trailer ends with a nobleman getting decapitated by a mob, who promptly place his head on a pike. We actually see this through the nobleman's perspective. Believe it or not, after a decapitation, since the brain is left intact, death is not instantaneous and the decapitated person in question remains conscious for a few agonizing moments.
From the gameplay trailer, the French nobles in the manor being stormed by rebelling peasants continue their little gala right up until the rebels smash their windows in. This also happened in real life during the French Revolution. Even as their doors were being broken down, the nobles refused to give up their extravagant lifestyles.
Haystacks in church? Actually very common during the revolution. Very convenient for feeding horses... and a leap of faith.
The Eiffel Tower with a vanity plate? During the 30s, the Tower was used as advertising space for brands like Citroen and it was quite common to see a giant logo from the Tower. When Vichy France took over, they put a giant V that we see there. Likewise, the Statue of Liberty was a gift by the French to the Americans to comemorate the centennial of two revolutionary nations. It was made in Paris, France, and shipped to New York, America though as Bishop notes it was done far earlier than the Belle Epoque server portal you fall into. Lady Liberty also appears in her original bronze coating, which has since faded to the now equally iconic Emerald Green colour.
Arno's initiation into the Assassin Order is a reworking of the Demon Trials mission in Batman: Arkham City.
The Time Anomalies section feel very much in the spirit of Inception.
Those Two Bad Guys who hound Arno in the Versailles Section are called Victor and Hugo, whose books chronicled the Cour des Miracles. Likewise when Arno tries to gatecrash Elise's debut he introduces himself as "Le chevalier du theleme" a reference to Francois Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel.
The game's plot echoes many classic novels. Rafael Sabatini's Scaramouche where an orphan is raised by a nobleman and seeks revenge and becomes involved in the French Revolution. Also, Alexandre Dumas' book Joseph Balsamo, where a secret society led by a Great Copt seeks to radically usher in the French Revolution by behind-the-scenes schenanigans. Dumas' father also appears in the game.
Staged Populist Uprising: The Templars work in the shadows to make the Revolution into this. Hoarding grain so that the starving people are forced to go on riots against hoarders or unfairly blame the King.
Stay in the Kitchen: What Theroigne de Mericourt rebels against throughout the Revolution, she is especially keen on forming an all-women batallion.History It is a fact that none of the major revolutionaries, with one or two exceptions, advocated the vote for women and it was an overall macho event, with even the pro-woman Marquis de Condorcet denying women the right to vote in his Constitutional proposal. That said, women did get No-Fault Divorce and the right to inherit property, advances greater than America at the time, and the right to education. When Napoleon came to power, even these concessions were taken away
Time Skip: The Revolution covered a lot of shocking events in a short period of time, but even within the constriction, the Time Skip can be jarring, especially since the fallout of certain aspects of the plot happen offscreen, such as the fallout of Bellec's killing of Mirabeau in 1791, we skip to a year later in 1792. After Arno kills La Touche, another year elapses between that and the final mission set in 1794(which is the year of the Terror), when Arno has already located Robespierre as Germain's final associate. Some of the Brotherhood co-op missions which can be accessed at any time does fill in the gaps, provided that one can play them in proper chronological order, which can't be done in the first attempt.
Translation Convention: Via Animus, some phrases, greetings and salutations are done in French, but its not like the semi-Italian and Italianate-English of the Ezio Trilogy. It's really jarring to hear Frenchmen speaking in Posh English accents and then occassionally slip in nicely accented French phrases.
Upper-Class Twit: Since it's the French Revolution, these will likely appear in spades. The E3 trailer has a group of them holding a party as an angry mob is breaking into the property. The illusion that everything is well is shattered by a volley of bricks through the window, one of which strikes a woman on the head just as she says that there's nothing to be worried about.
Vendor Trash: Same as in III and Black Flag, it's present but downplayed, since it seems that the items Arno loots from corpses are automatically turned into their respective cash value.
We Are Struggling Together: As was true of the Revolution, we see infighting and civil war among the Templars and the Assassins briefly.
White and Grey Morality: Arno himself believes in seeking peace, avoiding extremism and partisanship and the likes of Mirabeau and Master de la Serre are looked at with respect for their similar pragmatic approach. While the Revolutionary Templars, the renegade Assassin Bellec and the revenge obsessed Elise are seen as self-destructive.
Developers state that because of Arno's crude Eagle Vision, he will not be able to engage in the usual deathbed conversation with his targets, and instead he will, somehow, get a glimpse of their final thoughts or see flashes of their memories before they die. This involves the First person perspective of the decapitated Marquis de Buillon in the demo and snatches of memories of Charles Gabriel Sivert, after his death in the Confessional.
This is subverted at the end, where Arno looks at Germain's memories after stabbing him and interacts with his spirit. Germain lampshades the entire experience as a kind of telepathic confession that's not really taking place on the mortal plane, and it's justified, as Germain is a Sage, so he can bend the rules.
Wide Open Sandbox: Paris is the biggest map of the series, dwarfing the combined island landmasses of the Caribbean in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and providing far and away the biggest city in the series (with Rome in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood holding the previous record), very closely approximating the Paris of the late 18th Century, boasting of a 1:1 representation of Notre Dame de Paris. For the first time, the series features fully integrated interiors and exteriors, with no loading times between moving from one place to another, a major leap from the Quick-Time Event movement in the earlier titles.
The World Is Just Awesome: Both Arno and Elise reflect on this when they get away from Palais Luxembourg on a hot-air balloon.
Wretched Hive: 18th Century Paris gives off this vibe, with murder and thievery running rampant during the worst days of the Terror. Vidocq discusses this with Arno, when he tells him that the lazy and corrupt officer who is serving as his warden has zero interest and capacity in actually solving crimes. Arno asks why, he, a petty criminal himself, is interested in solving crimes:
Vidocq: Because that stinkin' stupid pig of a policeman doesn't have the stinkin' stupid sense to do anything that might give even a grifter like me, hope that someday...this city might not be a shitty place to live. [Beat]. And because I'M BORED OUT OF MY BLOODY MIND.
You All Meet in a Cell: Arno gets hurled into the Bastille after being framed for murder. In jail, he meets Master Assassin Pierre Bellec, who immediately starts training him in sword fighting before springing free on 14 July, 1789. While in Prison, Arno also meets the Marquis de Sade before the Prise de la Bastille note Sade was a real-life inmate until he was transferred two weeks before the Big Day.. The Marquis even takes a shine on him:
Marquis de Sade: I feel it my sovereign duty to aid all those who suffered in cruelest bondage with me at the Bastille.