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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 takes place during The French Revolution starting in 1789, and charts 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 one of the most detailed recreations of a historical period ever attempted. It introduced, for the first time, drop-in/drop-out co-op gameplay that can feature up to four players. Special Brotherhood Missions were created to accommodate co-op gameplay charting out events in the history of the French Revolution.

In addition to this, a post-game DLC, Dead Kings was released. While Dead Kings was originally going to be priced DLC as part of the Season Pass, due to a poor launch Ubisoft made the DLC free for all players and gifted a free game out of six titles to all who bought the Season Pass, which included the previous title Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. It was released on January 13th, 2015.

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  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The real-life Paris sewage system in all its cavernous glory can be accessed.
  • Accent Adaptation:
    • 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 English accent, 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 (and widely documented) aspects of famous historical figures. Napoleon, for instance, is shown speaking with 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 . 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.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Medicine is very expensive, and only becomes more so as the game goes on. By the endgame, a handful of medicine costs several thousand livres.
  • 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. The Helix Rifts emphasize this trope further, with missions set in medieval times, the Belle Époque, and World War II.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In keeping with recent tradition, the game begins in 1307 with a glimpse of a Templar Knight during the time of the historical purge of the Templars by King Philip IV, and we get a front row seat to 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: by ushering in violent revolution to destroy the old order in place of a new one, events such as the September Massacres and the Reign of Terror were meant to give people such an impression of Democracy Is Bad that they think twice about revolting in the future and thus overturn the Templar order.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • According to Ubisoft, each member of a crowd has its own AI and will react to how you play. Ingame they may think differently but act largely the same.
    • The guards are also a lot smarter, and more completely avert Mook Chivalry by mobbing Arno in combat.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Run up to a curtain or haystack, make sure your pursuers are within melee range. Drop a smoke bomb, wait for the 'last known position' ghost to appear. Hop behind the curtain or into the haystack, watch them all wonder where the hell you just went.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Unity introduces the idea that Those Who Came Before had triple-stranded DNA. While this is isn't actually impossible, this would make them so distant genetically from humans that the idea that they could produce viable Half-Human Hybrid offspring with them is laughable.
  • Artistic License – History: See the franchise's page.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Averted (the game uses accurate French alongside its English). That said, it's odd that the main character's name is spelled "Arno" rather than the much more typically French "Arnaud."
  • Aura Vision: A new mode called Eagle Pulse, which is like Eagle Vision but allows Arno to sense enemies through walls and also gives him limited telepathic abilities. In fact, it quite closely resembles a sonar-esque pulse that characters from certain other Ubisoft-published games might make use of...
  • Badass Crew: Arno and his fellow Assassins are a deadly four-man squad.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Assassin Arno and Templar Élise in many missions. Arno and Pierre Bellec in early missions, Arno and Napoleon during the Storming of the Tuilleries.
  • Baphomet: Arno must infiltrate the Cult of Baphomet to kill their leaders. You first have to steal a couple chalices from the Notre Dame to convince them to let you join.
  • 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 timeframe. Rather some of his adventures makes him an observant of certain incidents:
    • Arno and Pierre Bellec are 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 discredit 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 Élise to bring about his downfall.
    • The Brotherhood Missions has him observe incidents such as the Women'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 Grand Master of the Revolutionary Templars, and a Sage.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Élise 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.
  • Book Ends:
    • The first proper Assassination mission ends in the darkness of a Notre Dame confessional; the victim is Charles Gabriel Sivert, the man who landed most of the hits when François de la Serre died. Arno kills him with a very sudden Hidden Blade to the face, and being his first proper Assasination victim, we see that he doesn't get confessions, he gets memories. The final Assassination mission ends in the darkness of the tunnels beneath Paris; the victim is François Thomas Germain, the man who is ultimately responsible for M. de la Serre's death (and had just killed Élise, to boot). Arno kills him with a very deliberate Hidden Blade slowly punctured to the face, and Germain's Sage powers allow him a confession with Arno.
    • The game begins in the 14th century where Templar Grand Master and Sage, Jacques de Molay, tasked his advisor to hide a sword and a codex beneath the Temple. During the climax of the game, François-Thomas Germain, the current Grand Master and latest Sage, returns to the Temple to retrieve the sword, which is actually a Piece of Eden. In addition, the game begins and ends with the death of a Sage.
  • Broken Aesop: The idea of Arno criticizing people for thinking that killing people will make a change is strange since that is the sole motivation for what the Assassins do.
  • Call-Back:
    • 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.
    • "Ezio's Family" plays at the end of one mission, as Arno escapes the Cour des Miracles.
      • It also subtly features in the Legacy Room of Cafe Theatre, where the uniforms of previous Assassin protagonists (and Shay) are displayed.
    • When Bellec is met in the Bastille, he's carved out the same symbols Subject 16 hid in the Animus in II. They also later appear in Germain's memories of when he first had a vision of De Molay.
    • Some of the Helix Rift data pages deal with the Observatory. Since the 18th century, it's become largely unusable and inaccessible.
    • In III, William Miles mentions that the Templars and Assassins attempted to form an alliance on multiple occasions throughout history. This game shows one of them.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: François-Thomas Germain, the game's Big Bad, appears twice in small scenes before his reveal. At the beginning of the game, he comes out of the carriage that Arno mistake for M. de la Serre's, and a few missions later, he is the silversmith who made the pin that killed M. de la Serre.
  • The City Narrows: The real-life Parisian underworld, the Cour des Miracles, featured in Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Nod: The Helix menu at the start of the game implies that someone at Abstergo Entertainment decided Desmond's ancestors were good gameplay after all; listed levels include Murder in the Levant, Fear and Loathing in Florence, Washington and the Wolf, and Devils of the Caribbean.
  • 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, as well as possibly giving him his own Eagle Pulse.
  • 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.
  • Crow's Nest Cartography: Beginning with this game, climbing to high places and synchronizing reveals various opportunities and details and the environment that you can use to execute your mission (such as "you can steal the keys from that nurse" or "you can rescue these guys to create a distraction").
  • 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 apparently hates cat lovers.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: A minor example, but certain scenes assume that Arno has at least one Phantom Blade even if your stores are dry (which is likely on your first time through; Karl Marx Hates Your Guts). In addition, Arno leaps aside from a lightning blast that Germain fires at him with the Sword of Eden; during gameplay, the same lightning will zap you until you get behind cover or shoot the Sage to stun him.
  • Darker and Edgier: 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 Élise, the older aristocratic Templar and Arno's lover and ally, shown to be self-destructive.
  • Dated History: In general the game's portrayal of the French Revolution is very much derived from a 19th Century perspective, focusing on several Urban Legend concocted by royalist writers, all of which have been discredited in the early, middle and late 20th Century.
    • The main idea of Secret Societies unleashing the Revolution as a Staged Populist Uprising is derived from the book Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism by Abbé Augustin Barruel who blamed The Enlightenment as a malignant and foreign influence on France. In Barruel's belief, the people of France did not want democracy and were forced to be free against their will by evil secret societies. This book influenced several 19th Century accounts of the Revolution and was a Trope Codifier for The Illuminati trope which was also derived from the same era, as did the "Jacques de Molay, you are avenged" meme and the idea of the King's death being revenge for The Purge of The Knights Templar. Then again, the franchise is about the major Artistic License – History premise of two secret societies manipulating historical events or downright creating them.
    • The portrayal of the King's trial decided by a single vote which was invented during the French Restoration and totally debunked later on, as is the general sense that the King is "innocent" when he was guilty of treason (as even the ones who voted against his execution admitted). Other myths such as revolutionaries converting their opponents into Genuine Human Hide or book binding also derives from the Restoration. Likewise the game portrays Robespierre, in the brief time we see him, as the all-powerful leader of France and the Committee of Public Safety when, in the words of historian David A. Bell, "No serious historian of the French Revolution of the past century has accepted the idea that Robespierre ever exercised a true personal dictatorship."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Arno, oh so very much. Élise has her moments too, as does Bellec.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Several victims of the guillotine. We get a special glimpse of Louis XVI's execution.
  • Decomposite Character: In the case of Maximilien Robespierre. In addition to the historical version of the character who appears briefly, fictional characters Aloys la Touche and Pierre Bellec also share aspects with his personality.
    • La Touche who sports glasses has a greater visual resemblance than the game's version of Robespierre, his background as a simple, honest clerk driven to extremism by his opposition to corruption mirrors Robespierre's political trajectory. When Arno comes to assassinate La Touche, the latter quotes Robespierre's notorious speech describing terror as "nothing but justice: prompt, severe and inflexible".
    • Pierre Bellec's call for political engagement with the events and his willingness to murder and betray his own friends, also mirrors Robespierre sending his friends to the guillotine when the latter become political enemies. Arno's Broken Pedestal moment with Bellec mirrors the Fallen Hero status Robespierre was regarded with at the end of his life.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Arno is a clear deconstruction of not only Ezio, but also Connor, Edward and Shay due to one fact: Arno isn't an important and vital person to the Assassins or the Templars, which to varying degrees all the previous protagonists have been. He's not a promising new recruit who develops into one of the most respected people of all time like Ezio or Shay, he isn't the last hope of the Assassins like Connor, and he isn't a random person who stumbles into the Assassin-Templar conflict on his own while having his own goals like Edward. Like Altaïr, Arno is just an Assassin who isn't getting any special treatment from his superiors, who instead expect him to do what he's told, and therefore all the things previous characters would be applauded for are what get Arno repeatedly condemned and eventually exiled by the Brotherhood for a time since he's breaking the Brotherhood's rules. In fact, most of the things that the Brotherhood criticises him for, such as killing people without permission and joining the Brotherhood out of revenge instead of believing in their ideals, are the exact same things Ezio did during Assassin's Creed II.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The unnamed Knight Templar in the Action Prologue. As soon as you have recovered the sword and codex, they're dead, and the only character you play as is Arno.
  • Democracy Is Bad: For once, it's 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 foment such chaos as to make people afraid enough of revolutions and democracy that they will trade their freedom for security.
  • Destination Defenestration: At the end of the multiplayer trailer, the player characters throw a corrupt marquis out of the window of his palace, to the hands of a raging mob.
  • Detachable Blades: The Phantom Blade - a combination of the franchise's signature Hidden Blade weapon with a crossbow, allowing its blade to be fired at enemies as a ranged attack.
  • Distant Prologue: The game opens in 1307, during the destruction of the medieval Templar Order by King of France Philip IV. The player controls an unnamed Templar knight who's tasked by Jacques de Molay to hide the Templars' Codex and Sword of Eden while Templars are being killed or rounded up throughout the kingdom of France. Assassin Thomas de Carneillon is personally tasked to seek these out.
  • Do with Him as You Will: Some of the released footage shows the Assassins not finishing their main target. Instead, they let the public decide their fate — a fate far more painful than the end of a Hidden Blade. This does not happen anywhere in the game itself.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Zigzagged. The Eiffel Tower hasn't been built yet, so we get an establishing shot of Notre Dame instead, and of course Unity bends over backwards to include the actual Eiffel Tower in Time Anomalies.
  • 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.
  • Excuse Plot: The Helix anomalies that send Arno to different eras are just an excuse to put the Eiffel Tower in the game (since the game is set in Paris but the main action is set 100 years before it was built), as well as having a bit of action set during the much requested World War II. That Paris was also the site of the end of the medieval order of The Knights Templar in the early 14th century was also too good an occasion to miss.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The Helix interface looks like there's a dozen different characters you play as in the game. They're all fake or references to previous games, and even the one that you do get to play is non-indicative of the main narrative, and you can never access the interface again.
  • 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 Élise 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.
  • 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.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • No matter what weapon you actually have equipped in the fight with Bellec, the cutscenes and quicktime events will show you fighting with a sword.
    • When Arno is expelled from the Brotherhood in Sequence 11, Memory 1, it is never elaborated on why Arno is allowed to keep all of his Assassin equipment with him since logically, being expelled means that his equipment would have been confiscated by the high-ranking Assassins, since he wouldn't have any right to use their tools anymore due to no longer being a member of their ranks. Arno even uses the Hidden Blade to slowly assassinate Germain in the final mission, indicating that his retaining of the Hidden Blade is not handwaved as simply a simulation of the Animus.
    • After his exile in January 1793, but before his reinduction into the Brotherhood in October 1794 (which chronologically happens after the events of Dead Kings), it is seemingly never brought up storywise on why Arno is allowed to join his fellow Assassins without dispute during the Co-op missions that take place during this period of time.
  • Genre Shift: "The Resistance" which transports you to Occupied France has parts that are like shooting game where 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
  • 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.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality:
    • The Assassin Council is a hotbed of indecision too bogged down by rituals and hierarchy to adequately contend with the Revolutionary Templars. Mirabeau favored Arno's bold approach and solution of an alliance with Élise, but fellow Assassin Pierre Bellec instead kills him and wants Arno to take a more radical approach rather than advocate unity, believing this is how Altaïr, Ezio and Connor approached problems. The other elders of the Brotherhood seem relatively neutral on the matter, preferring to strip Arno of his title rather than give him a chance to change the status quo.
    • 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 dedication 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.
  • The Ground Is Lava: The second part of "The Escape" mission has the optional objective "Don't touch the ground" as Arno chases after Élise (who is in a hot air balloon) across Paris' rooftops.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management:
    • The Assassin Council during the Revolution is perhaps the most ineffective branch yet, even more so 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 nearly fails that, and is ignorant of 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 kill all Templars including Élise, however, is not exactly a sane approach.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • 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'Éon, 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.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade:
    • 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 it's 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. 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.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • Somehow, the entire French Revolution gets this, since it's 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 Abbé 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 were 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 (referred to in-game as "extremists") 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 being 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 Élise 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 Jerkass.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: One of Arno's finishing moves has him stabbing his sword straight through his opponent's neck. His final Assassination against Germain also has him doing this with his Hidden Blade, slowly.
  • 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.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Subverted Trope in Co-Op Multiplayer. Every player is technically Arno when going on joint missions, but the game engine applies a random Assassin face to each, giving the implication instead that the assassins really did have that level of differentiation in attire and skill sets.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Arno can get a Sword of Eden. It keeps a sharp edge, despite losing its electricity shooting powers.
  • Internal Retcon: Abstergo supplies the database entries for Helix, usually leaving out any mention of their activities, and utterly erasing any member of their order who falls out of favour. Shaun takes every opportunity to snark about this he can.
  • Internal Deconstruction: Since Assassin's Creed II, players have enjoyed games where they essentially have the freedom to do whatever they wanted while In-Universe there were explanations for why the Brotherhood (or in Shay's case, the Templars) allowed the main character so much freedom. In this game Arno does many things that previous protagonists would be applauded for, but because he's nothing more than an ordinary Assassin who isn't given special treatment by his superiors this gets him condemned by the Brotherhood since he's repeatedly flaunting and even breaking their creed, so it's not surprising that he's eventually exiled by the Brotherhood.
  • Ironic Echo: The mission A Dinner Engagement has Arno assassinating Le Peletier out of sight of his daughter, with the latter giving a Defiant to the End speech. This is more or less similar to how Arno's own father died at the end of Rogue.
  • 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.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The downside to a 1:1 HD recreation of Paris with fully integrated interiors and exteriors and entire crowds of people who each have their own AI is that, every time a mission begins, or the player Quick-Jumps, or the player desynchronizes or resets the mission, the game has to load... a 1:1 HD recreation of Paris with fully integrated interiors and exteriors and entire crowds of people who each have their own AI.
  • Love Triangle: A few missions feature one involving Napoleon, Désirée Clary and Jean-Baptiste Bernadottenote .
  • Mad Artist: We see Jacques-Louis David paint his famous painting of the Death of Marat, at the scene of the crime. History.
  • Made of Iron: Averted with Arno. He can take a lot of damage in sword fights, but even with a full health bar, a single shot from a rifle and pistol can One-Hit Kill him if it hits in the right place, 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.
    • Also, Germaine takes five assassination hits with the hidden blade before going down. This is likely because of the Sword of Eden granting him superhuman powers.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Napoleon essentially says as much to Arno during a meeting where he asks him to kill a rival whose connections to influential people make him practically untouchable. He even remarks that "few in France would suffer. My career certainly wouldn't."
  • Meaningful Echo: "Stay out of trouble." *incredulous look* "Don't get caught." First spoken by Arno to Élise, before she goes to find Marie Lévesque's stolen grain; later spoken by Élise to Arno, before he goes to assassinate la Touche.
  • Microtransactions: Assassin's Creed: Unity is the second game in the series (after Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag) to get into the Microtransaction game. Players may use the "Estore" to purchase "Helix Credits". A select few items are only obtainable with these credits (namely, several in-game maps that reveal the location of collectibles and missions that, by themselves, can be found by exploration), but everything else is equipment that is also obtainable with the various types of in-game currency (namely, Livres and/or Creed Points that are obtained by performing in-game assassin-like actions like using Fast Lifts or stealthy assassinations).
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Arno's first genetic memory is when he and Élise meet as children. It also reveals the assassination of Charles Dorian and how Arno came to be raised by the de la Serre family.
  • Mood Whiplash: Every so often, Abstergo wises up to what you're doing with Arno's memories, and Bishop sends you through a server bridge to throw them off your tail (leading to the Time Anomalies). The second server bridge comes immediately after Arno has killed Bellec for poisoning Mirabeau and trying to shoot Elise. Shaun even apologizes as he's opening the bridge.
    Deacon: Bloody hellfire. Sorry to interrupt, you know, what was quite a poignant moment, but we've got a more trouble.
  • Mundane Utility: Élise mentions in one of her letters that Assassin-trained Le Parkour would make Arno an excellent shepherd.
  • 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 hallucination in the Arkham games than Connor's Juno-Inspired vision in Assassin's Creed III.
  • Mythology Gag: The first assassination takes place in a confessional - even though Arno doesn't get proper confessions with his victims.
  • No Fair Cheating: While non-story missions allow Fast Travelling, using Fast Travel to leave an area when the mission is at the "escape the area" phase would result in progress being reset.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The world premier cinematic trailer is iconic with over 41 million views just on its original channel and a generally awesome version of the Storming of the Bastille. Basically nothing about it is accurate to the game from the character involvement (Arno is in jail in the Bastille at the time), the general plot (the Templars are trying to incite the Revolution, not the Assassins), or that it is supposed to be in-engine when the game's polish was nowhere near done.
  • Noodle Incident: Various are discussed between Élise and Arno, given their troublemaking history. There is also whatever caused Élise to be chased away in "The Escape".
  • Nun Too Holy: One of the culprits in one of the murder mysteries is a nun, who murdered a man for stealing from her convent.
  • Off with His Head!: Madame Guillotine appears in this game, the target in the E3 trailer ends up getting beheaded via sword by an angry mob in first person, and Arno has a front row seat to Louis XVI's execution.
  • Posthumous Character: John Standish (aka John from IT) from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag plays a major role in Abstergo's latest project, similar to Desmond in Black Flag.
  • 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.
    • There's actually an in-universe justification and a more meta one. In-universe, the Animus is translating the language for its user, meaning that French-accented English would imply a Frenchman speaking English.Not that this explanation makes much sense considering all but one previous game did use local accents.
  • Random Transportation: What the Time Anomalies entail. 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 timeframes piling on top, such as the in-construction Lady Liberty in 1898 Belle Époque, when it had already been shipped to and erected in New York at the time. The final mission sends you to France during the Hundred Years War, dodging trebuchet attacks from the Bastille.
  • Red Herring: The title of the game implies a unity and therefore peace between Assassins and Templars, and several characters are indeed attempting such a thing - Arno, Mirabeau, and the De La Serres, in particular. In fact, the story of the game is not about achieving unity, but being obstructed in attempting to do so: from those unwilling to make peace (Bellec, and to an extent the rest of Assassin Council), those who target those willing to make peace (Germain and his personal circle of Templars), and the conflict of interests in those who are trying to make peace (Élise's priority in killing Germain against Arno's desire to keep her safe).
  • Reimagining the Artifact: The stated intent of the game is to update and correct some of the aspects of the series which have become The Artifact:
    • 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 , 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 have been 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 a Reconstruction when Arno's final victim, Germain, shrugs all the previous Memory Corridor sessions as private telepathies in the center of the mind; given the differences in Arno's Eagle Pulse compared to Ezio and the Kenways' continuous Eagle Vision, the memory-reading and deathbed conversations are most likely borne of the same power.
    • 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 surreptitiously 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 off 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.
  • Running Gag: The databases have Shaun commenting on the Assassin's victories over the Templars as if it were a game of tennis.
  • 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 serviceable in Rogue, but it sparkles in Unity.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Searching the Helix data reveals Juno is rooting through Abstergo's servers, helped by Aita and the Instruments of the First Will, and they're looking for seventeen somethings to help whatever they're planning.
    • The Helix menu at the beginning of the game shows twelve scenarios, eight are based on previous games, one is based on upcoming game Assassin's Creed: Chronicles: China, and three are scenarios that do not have any basis: an Ancient Rome story, a Jazz Age story, and a story in Ireland. The Jazz Age one eventually did get an elaboration in the Assassin's Creed: Templars comic. The Ancient Rome story is touched on at the end of Assassin's Creed Origins and Ireland is the backdrop of the "Wrath of the Druids" DLC in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla.
  • "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 (and likely the rest of his body) to be placed in the Catacombs, with all usable genetic material (according to Black Flag, fluid samples) long since decayed. In other words, both Assassins and Templars are still on the look-out for genetic material to remap First-Civilization DNA, with Arno's story more or less just being a dead end. It is ultimately a downplayed trope because Bishop is relieved that this means the Templars won't get it at the very least.
  • Shown Their Work: Generally averted, as in Artistic License – History above, but there's just enough real history in this game to indicate that the producers' Artistic License – History is less out of ignorance and more because it tells a better story (or tries to).
    • The game's team did so great a work when recreating Notre-Dame de Paris that it proved useful in Real Life — for the committee in charge of rebuilding the cathedral's roof following its destruction by a fire on April 15, 2019. Ubisoft invokedlet players download the game for free for the occasion back then.
    • The first gameplay trailer, which we don't see in the final game, ends with a nobleman, Marquis de Buillon (also a trailer-only character), 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.
      • Also from the same 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 Time Anomalies missions generally give a true snapshot of the era. 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 commemorate 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 Époque 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 color.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the Helix mission select screen, several of the previous installments are hypothetical options for levels, though only The Tragedy of Jacques de Molay is actually usable (since Bishop hacks your Animus immediately after). One of the other options in the menu is Fear And Loathing In Florence.
    • Arno's initiation into the Assassin Brotherhood is a reworking of the Demon Trials mission in Batman: Arkham City.
    • Arno trains a young orphan named Leon to become an Assassin just like him. This is a reference to the 1994 French film The Professional where a character named Leon trains an orphaned child named Mathilda.
    • The 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 Élise's initiation he introduces himself as "Le Chevalier du Thélème" (the Knight of Thélème), 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's book Joseph Balsamo, where a secret society led by a Great Copt seeks to radically usher in the French Revolution by behind-the-scenes shenanigans. Dumas's father also appears in the game.
    • Related to the item above, one of the characters in the side missions, the Crimson Rose, is a nobleman who is rescuing other aristocrats from the guillotine, thus making him an Expy of The Scarlet Pimpernel. He even has his own league.
    • One of the murder missions has a poison which is colourless, odourless and tasteless, and kills within minutes, acquired from an Italian man.
  • Slow-Motion Drop: The pocketwatch when Arno discovers his father has been killed.
  • 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 battalion. 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.
  • Team Power Walk: The box art depicts Arno and his fellow Assassins walking shoulder-to-shoulder toward the screen.
  • 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 is borderline suicide on the first attempt.
    • The ending cutscene also skips explaining how Arno rejoined the Brotherhood and attained the rank of Master Assassin, to show Arno and Napoleon burying Germain's skull in the catacombs in 1808. Dead Kings does reveal that he kept an Apple of Eden out of Templar hands during the break, which at least explains how he got back in the Assassin Council's good graces.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The first gameplay trailers, especially the Co-Op mission of Marquis de Buillon and Captain Xavier, don't actually happen in the final game.
  • Translation Convention: Via the 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 occasionally 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.
  • Viewers Are Morons: The reason why the English-language version of the game and Liberation don't have French as their spoken languages even though more of them contain various languages? Word of God wrote in a tweet that was later deleted that they believed that foreign audiences wouldn't understand the different French dialects and what class they were for. In other words they believed foreign audiences to be too stupid to understand them. Way to insult your fans, Ubisoft.
  • Villainous Legacy: In homage to the long-dead Jacques de Molay, the new Templar Grand Master wants to revive his vision during 18th Century France by shifting power from the aristocracy to the rising middle class.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: As was true of the Revolution, we see infighting and civil war among the Templars and the Assassins briefly.
  • We Win, Because You Didn't: In the modern element, Bishop is relieved to find out that Germain's DNA has decayed in the catacombs long ago because it means that, at the very least, the Templars can't get their hands on it.
  • Weaponized Landmark: Time Anomalies gives you the chance to climb up the Eiffel Tower during the 40s(the Giant V of Vichy France emblazoned on it) and fire a machine gun at blimps and planes.
  • 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 Élise are seen as self-destructive.
  • White Void Room:
    • 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 which was actually used as a blueprint for repairing the real life cathedral when it caught on fire in 2019. 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 Élise reflect on this when they get away from Palais du 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 Look Familiar: To be expected of an open-world game, characters are made up of the same set of faces and models with some randomization. Where it gets weird is the factions; the mooks in red are meant to be 'radicals', for when Arno would be fighting someone other than the guards. This means they get used for radicals of entirely conflicting ideologies; you can see one radical kill someone for supposedly being a royalist, then five minutes later end up in a mission where the radicals are all royalists.
  • 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 . 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.
  • You Are Too Late: From the very start, the Big Bad was going to win. He even acknowledges this in the Final Boss.
    Germain: So come, kill me if you can! I've already won.

    Dead Kings 

Dead Kings

Set in 1794, Dead Kings takes place in Saint-Denis, a suburb of Paris which hosted the Royal Necropolis of French Kings across history until the desecration of its catacombs during the Revolution.


  • Allohistorical Allusion: Saint-Denis, patron saint of Paris, was famous for being beheaded in his martyrdom, giving rise to many legends of Headless Priests carrying their heads (known as cephalophores or "Head-Carriers"). In the climax, Arno finds the First-Civilization artifact, a Statue of Saint-Denis' head containing an Apple of Eden which functions like a Fantastic Light Source as Arno escapes the Temple.
  • Arc Villain: Capitaine Philippe Rose, Napoleon's subordinate (and leader of the Raiders faction) who he has no illusions about being a Psycho Party Member, with Napoleon being a Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Artistic License – History: At the end of the game, Napoleon is temporarily arrested for treason and desertion. After Robespierre's downfall, Napoleon was arrested because of his association with him on account of his friendship with Augustin, Robespierre's younger brother (who gave him his first major promotion). He was placed under house arrest for a few weeks but released afterwards but restrained from active service until the 1795 Vendemmiare Uprising.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Dead Kings' Guillotine Gun is, as Arno describes it, "a fine gun"; however, the bayonet fights like a Heavy-class weapon, the mortar is not as consistently lethal as a well-aimed bullet, and Arno can only carry two Mortar Bombs regardless of his equipment. If you're going to occupy the melee and ranged slots with the same weapon, you're probably better off with a rifle.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Arno spends the entire game doing an errand for Marquis de Sade so that he can find safe passage out of France. He is thoroughly bitter and disappointed after the Revolution and Élise's death. But through his friendship with Leon, he discovers his old idealism and ultimately returns de Sade's coin along with his manuscript with the Marquis giving a smile of happiness that his friend is back.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Unity DLC Dead Kings is described by Word of God as being the darkest story told in the franchise yet, and St. Denis has a much darker feel compared to Paris, being constantly covered under fog, with much of the action set in claustrophobic catacombs filled with rats. Then there's the general spookiness of the First Civilization Architecture. However, it is much more light-hearted than Assassin's Creed III or Freedom Cry and the story as a whole is about how Arno gets out of his funk after Élise's death.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Arno has once again become The Alcoholic to cope with emotional trauma, in this case losing Élise. Subverted in that this doesn't go much further than not refusing a (rather large) tankard that de Sade buys him.
  • Due to the Dead: Averted. Anti-royal sentiment during the Revolution extends to desecration of the tombs of several centuries old dead monarchs. Truth in Television.
  • Genuine Human Hide: Continuing with the main game's fascination with urban legends, the game uses a famous one of revolutions making royalists into human leather to bind into books. You even visit a Tanner's laboratory covered in blood.
  • Grave Robbing: The Raiders, a faction in Dead Kings indulge in this by desecrating the historical tombs of the French Royal Dynasties. Some of the Franciade Stories have Arno involve him in this as well, such as raiding Marie de Medicis tomb to get the "Rose Sceptre".
  • Heroic Neutral: Arno starts out as this, just going in to steal a manuscript for the Marquis de Sade so he can get a boat for a trip out of France for good. Eventually, however, he realizes he can't just do that, and actively destroys the attempts of the raiders to steal the artifact under Saint-Denis.
  • He's Back!: When Leon, after throwing Arno his lantern, asks what he's going to do with the Capitaine, Arno replies, "He will fall... for I am an Assassin." When you get out of the pit he's fallen into, and you see the next objective is "Assassinate Rose", you know Dorian is out of his funk.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Eagle of Sugar, which is just as powerful as the Sword of Eden, but comes with the additional power of blinding enemies with flashes of light.
  • Kid Sidekick: Leon, the orphan boy Arno rescues from the Raiders essentially becomes Robin to Arno's Batman.
  • Kirk Summation: Given by Marquis de Sade of all people.
    Marquis de Sade: "Ah, dear Arno. Our hopes to the future condition of the human species may be reduced to three points: The destruction of inequality between different nations, the progress of equality in one and the same nation, and, lastly, the real improvement of man."
  • Malevolent Masked Men: One of the Franciade Stories has you investigating a Cult of the Iron Mask, all of them looking like the famous Man in the Iron Mask (which the game posits was one of Louis XIV's bastards). After defeating them, Arno gets an outfit with a Iron Mask as well.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: The Guillotine Gun in the. It's a Grenade Launcher with an axe as a bayonet.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Arno's mentality following the main game is that he just wants to leave France for good. The events of the game are a last quest before he does so.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: The Marquis de Sade when we first glimpse him again. He's nattily dressed and sports a hat and enjoying his freedom from prison.
  • Shout-Out: Leon's name is a direct reference to The Professional, a movie which also involves an assassin taking care of a young child.
  • A Taste of Power: Although Arno takes the Sword of Eden in the main game, it only happens after it's been robbed of its First Civilization magic, and it's little more than an Infinity +1 Sword. Here, Arno briefly gets to use an Apple of Eden contained within the Head of Saint Denis, which drives men insane with swarms of bats, and promptly kills them. He keeps it through all of the last three minutes of the last mission, after which he takes the Apple out of the lantern and puts it in a box.
  • Temple of Doom: The catacombs underneath the Saint-Denis Basilica goes miles beneath the surface, containing first-civilization sites. It's full of death-traps, intricate puzzles, Dungeon Crawling and an Advanced Ancient Acropolis.
  • Thematic Sequel Logo Change: The Assassin sigil is sliced apart by a guillotine to represent it taking place during the French Revolution.
  • The Queen's Latin: Throughout the game, French characters speak with English accents, a conscious choice by the creators because everyone will know that the characters are French by default. However, this extends to Napoleon, despite the fact that the real-life Napoleon was Corsican and never shook off his Italian accent.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Arno takes some after the events of the main game, to the point of yelling at Leon for his idealistic thought process about the "freedom fighters" of the French Revolution and the aim to "save France". He ends up softening up when he realizes that for all of Leon's idealism, he's still just a kid and Arno sometimes is needed anyway.
    • Where Napoleon in the main game is all charm towards Arno, here we see Napoleon among his subordinates. He comes off as highly cold, calculating and ruthless, giving a speech as to his vision for France, showing his more megalomaniacal side (he even starts referring to himself in third person).
      Napoleon: "I know the human animal. What you fear, what you love? Is Rose a bad man? Undoubtedly. But I, Napoleon, can control him and turn him to what's best for France. The masses will gladly renounce their freedom if all can entertain the hope of rising to the top. With the artifact inside the temple, I will bring them the illusion of hope. And I will lead us to glory."
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Seriously, how many of us took pleasure in killing all Raiders, even when they surrender after you kill the bosses? It's just too tempting, especially since there's no penalty (and every little extra bit of loot counts, after all).

La justice est une rivière rouge. Je te cherche, où es-tu?


Video Example(s):


"Everybody Wants To Rule The W

The trailer to Assassin's Creed Unity comes with the Lorde cover to the Tears for Fears song "Everybody Wants To Rule The World".

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / RealSongThemeTune

Media sources: