Let’s Complain About : Assassins Creed III

In the Assassins Creed III review, I didn’t outline the specific event, but going over my notes I found it again. While walking with Sam Adams, Connor asks why they should strive against the British. Sam stops him, and gestures across the street at an Event In Progress. There, you see where British soldiers demand to enter a property; the man inside swears at them and tells them to go away. They ask again. The man throws piss on them, and then the guards get angry and try to break into his home.

I don’t know, exactly, what was going on or what it was meant to represent, but I think it carried one of the great problems of that game with it. You had to have inherent sympathy for the people in question. I would have quite liked it if the game showed me why the people closer aligned to me than to the Americans were in the wrong. That might have been interesting. But that scene – a fine chance to show it – chose to assume inherent sympathy. Then it threw some piss on the bad guys, ha ha.

Try to avoid this. Don’t assume people are going to like what you already like in your creative work. Give people reasons to like things, don’t tell them they should like them. Make someone impressive, don’t people they’re impressive. If they can out fight anyone, show that. If they’re strong and independent, show them existing with strength and independence. If they’re odd in the head, make sure there are signs of that oddness in the text.

What I’m saying is Ubisoft failed storytelling 101. And they do that a lot.

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