Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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Assassin's Creed is a Franchise Built on More Than Just Violence (But You'd Never Know it From This Trailer)

AC Unity Trailer
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Earlier today Chris Plante shared his thoughts on the latest trailers for Assassin's Creed Unity over on Polygon, and if you're an avid gamer his post should give you a lot to think about. Obviously AC fans aren't strangers to gorey gameplay, but it feels like Ubisoft's marketing material is trying to take it to a new level, and Plante's not interested. Frankly, neither am I. He writes:

Some people are okay with the level of violence in popular games. Ubisoft is aware that Assassin's Creed is a game about assassins, but the series is also beloved for its expansive worlds, apocalyptic meta-narrative and attention to historical detail. More so than possibly any other annual AAA game, the Assassin's Creed franchise is about something other than violence. And that's what disappoints me about this trailer, and perhaps the future of the series - and other franchises that have made traumatic violence the fulcrum on which everything else is balanced.

I've spent the last ten minutes or so watching this, a YouTubeDoubler mash up of the two separate trailers released yesterday for Assassin's Creed Unity. I put one trailer on mute and watch the other, then reverse and repeat. Obviously I'm not expecting two separate trailers to line up, but these two particular trailers are just... Worlds apart. They could almost be for two completely different games -- one a gory "stab 'em up" with barely a thread of a story behind it, the other a narrative-rich, even-keeled alternate history adventure. They're like night and day, and it's hard to reconcile the fact that they are for the exact same game. Like Plante I know I'll play Unity, but I won't be playing it for the slaughter.

Read Chris Plante's full piece over on Polygon.

Mixed reality iris 2013Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times, and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.


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I must admit I had the same reaction watching the first advert, pretty graphics and violence, the only thing that actually peeked my interest was the fact it's taking place during the french revolution. I don't why in the first advert the assassin's don't seem to come across as noble warriors fighting the good fight sacrificing their lives for a transcendent cause, but a load of marketers cashing in fight/flight responses and immature lusts for power.

I do hope they mix it up with the franchise, the pirate dynamic in the black flag was awesome and made up for the somewhat boring storyline, the fact you could go exploring around the caribbean, climb on famous buildings was it's biggest strength.

I don't really have issue with violence per se more the way it is expressed or betrayed. I had a similar thing with game of thrones where for me it felt really soulful and meaningful to begin with and and then slowly the more I watched it I got jaded with the gratuitous shock factor of the violence.

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