Assassin’s Creed 3 Setting: Why The American Revolution Is Perfect

Dave Cook


Assassin’s Creed 3 looks likely to be set during the American Revolution, according to a supposed character leak. We delve deeper into the rumours to discuss why this setting makes perfect sense for Ubisoft's series.

Published on Mar 1, 2012

Assassin’s Creed 3 will exist in a time vacuum. In the present day you have Desmond and his buddies running around in search of Piece of Eden artefacts over the space of just a few months – although this short space of time has been dragged our across no less than four full games now.

But within the Animus, the Assassin’s Creed story has spanned generations, throwing an orgy of information at the player, including references to historical milestones and links to events that helped shape the world – and most importantly, America - as we know it today. 

One recurring milestone that has been brought up across the Assassin’s Creed series is the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, as well as nods to the founding fathers, U.S. presidents and shadowy groups rumoured to be active in the States such as the Illuminati and the Bilderberg Group. 

Following a Best Buy leak of what appears to be the star of Assassin’s Creed 3, it’s pretty clear that Ubisoft’s new game will be set during the American Revolution, a period in time that bears great significance on the rest of the series.

The first solid mention of the era came in Chapter 7 of Subject 16’s glyph trials in Assassin’s Creed 2. Solving the puzzles cause the Animus AI to say, "What is the purpose of all of this? 30. 476. 1337. 1431. 1520. 1776. 1861. 1914. 1929. 1939. 1945. 1950. 1955. 1962. 1990. 1994. 1995. 2001. It does not make sense. Emotion-centers activated. Now I understand."

1776 is, again, the year that the Declaration of Independence was signed. Assassin’s member Shaun also makes mention of the Declaration of Independence when explaining how to decode a cipher that Machiavelli hands Ezio in Assassin’s Creed 2. 

“It's a cipher with a unique, disposable key. Imagine if someone used the first letter of every word in the Declaration of Independence to encipher something. Well, without the Declaration, you couldn't decrypt it.”

Looks nice, but it's just more stuff to climb innit?

In danger of sounding like a bunch of insane conspiracy theorists, we’ll leave you to find the rest of these references yourself, and move on to explaining why the American Revolution setting would work well in Assassin’s Creed 3.

When you think of Assassin’s Creed, chances are you imagine some white-robed badass leaping off a massive clock tower into a cart of conveniently positioned hay.

This over-familiarity is exactly why Assassin’s Creed 3 should do away with a reliance on vertical feats. Looking at the Metacritic scores for the series, you can see that it has seen steadily diminishing returns since Assassin’s Creed 2. It’s still been getting good scores, but those scores are – broadly speaking – getting lower each time.

It makes sense that Ubisoft would want to keep the Assassin’s Creed IP warm by releasing yearly updates while working on the next true follow-up behind closed doors. Assassin’s Creed 3 is the result of that process, and it will likely shake up the formula in a big way - because it has to.

First, let’s look at the leaked image of Assassin’s Creed 3’s supposed protagonist.

Cheers, Kotaku!

He certainly looks like an assassin, but there are little clues as to how this character will act and use his surroundings. Note the native American necklace, his stereotypically native American leggings, his bow and arrows, and his massive tomahawk. 

Chances are this guy will be a born hunter, using his surroundings to get the drop on his enemies. Climbing typically wild west canyons, blending in and out of vegetation and using the lay of the land to his advantage would make for a superb premise. 

Imagine the world of Red Dead Redemption in Assassin’s Creed 3 and you can start to see how this would work. So suddenly this character isn’t just relying on buildings and structures that just happen to be right where he wants them, he’s adapting to survive, similar to how Snake does what he can to survive in Metal Gear Solid 3.

Apart from countryside areas, is would make sense to include Alamo-style forts and other heavily guarded structures that this new character must infiltrate. The real sweetener would be a visit to a fledgling New York, in the same vein as the Leonardo Di Caprio film Gangs of New York.

Or even the Mel Gibson vehicle The Patriot, in which Gibson and Heath Ledger form a rebel militia group to drive the British our of America in 1776. This led to insane war scenes, lots of stelthy scheming and conspiracies. The subject material is ripe for the Assassin's Creed 3 treatment.

The geography might be off on this one, but New York would give fans of Assassin’s Creed’s high-flying moments a real dose of the climbing and leaping they know and love. Plus, the setting would be downright awesome. 

This, but without the hammy acting please.

Looking closer, Assassin’s Creed 3’s new character also has a flintlock rifle, which could be a real step up from Ezio’s wrist cannon, throwing true gunplay elements into the mix. 

Now, you might be thinking, “But wait a minute, gunplay defeats the purpose of what Assassin’s Creed is all about you bearded fool!” Yes, we agree, it does, but since when did unloading bullets like a maniac get you anything other than dead very quickly in stealth games. 

Rather than relying on guns, this new character should only ever use them as a last ditch, final stand crutch. After all, he wouldn’t want swarms of American or British soldiers bearing down on him for the kill, would he? The option would be nice however, should you require it.

Finally, the American Revolution setting is relevant because while it covers a chain of events that lead to a birth of a nation, it also gives birth to the beginning of the end – or to put it another way, the seeds of Abstergo Industries. 

Although Abstergo as a company wouldn’t be established until 1937, the Templar group that would later go on to form the business had close ties with American presidents as far back as George Washington, and as you know, had been active long before that.

There are many questions as to where Assassin’s Creed 3 will take us – both in terms of story and gameplay – but the more we think about the American Revolution setting, and the themes and gameplay mechanics it could deliver, the more it makes perfect sense. 

We’ll have more on Assassin’s Creed 3 as it happens, stay tuned!


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