Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lets Discuss: Assassin's Creed 3 Ending and Future of Series (MASSIVE SPOILERS)

Even though it’s up there in massive capital letters in the title, I feel inclined to warn you again that we will be discussing massive spoilers that will include the ending of Assassin’s Creed 3 (and possibly other games within the series). If you haven’t finished the game yet I highly suggest you do so before reading any further. 

Still with us? Alright, LETS DO THIS!

 Assassin’s Creed 3 is a massive turning point for the series as a whole. It’s the first numbered entry in as many years and it features a brand new assassin protagonist and undeniably wraps up the story arc that we’ve gone through in the last 5 games and ties it all together with a neat little bow (that perhaps is not such a neat little bow). Anyone still reading this article knows that one of the last descendants of the First Civilization and our erstwhile memory spelunker for every game thus far is shown clearly dead at the end of the game. That is correct, for those who did not heed my warning and now whose mind cannot be un-blown: Desmond has indeed been killed and Juno, one of the First Civilization and looks to be future baddy of the series is freed upon the Earth. All by Desmond Mile’s hand.

 There are several issues that one might have with the ending. For me it felt a little contrived and out of left field. It felt more than a little to me like this was written in there and pushed so we could have a new protagonist in the next game in the series and to wrap up Desmond’s story. We all can love and admire the sacrifice of a heroic figure, but this was just a really weird way to do it. In addition, while there were slight hints about how Juno could stop the world from being fried, it was really never expanded on and what it is exactly that you are touching in the end not truly explained. Why did it kill you? What was its purpose? Why did touching it free Juno and how can she now truly affect the world? These are questions we really don’t have the answers to.
Come on Juno. Where is our evil bad guy monologue giving us all your plans? Please? A tiny clue?
 Also, did anyone feel that the more interesting route would have been the one Minerva suggested? Again for those still reading that don’t know, Minerva details a future where you don’t save the Earth from the Sun and instead we see a post-apocalyptic scenario where most of the Earth’s population is wiped out by the Solar Flares. Desmond becomes a ray of hope and the leader of not only the assassin’s, but indeed a large portion of mankind throughout these trying times. Not only would this be a really cool and unexpected set up for future games, but we could continue the growth of the hero we’ve come to know over the series and that we finally just got to tear up some Templars with in this game. It would be a neat setting that would easily allow for free running through a ruined society that could take place 5 years or so after civilization fell.

 Not only would it have provided a cool setting to explore, it would also allow Desmond to continue to use the tools of the assassin. I’ve always wondered and fretted over the time when we come to an inevitable current period and guns are the main tool of our assassins, but this would be a perfect sidestep for that. Bullets and guns could still exist of course, but ammo would be rare and mostly inefficient over melee weapons. The militia or Templars that you found that did have automatic weapons or hand guns would be a real challenge that would further encourage stealth.

Dang it Desmond you just had to ruin everything! An apocalypse could have been so fun! What a stick in the mud.
 As the story lies now with Juno’s release and the world surviving with a couple of brownouts, it’s unclear the direction the series will head in now, or how appealing the setting might be. Sure we can easily jump to another assassin, there are many of them of course, but would they go back in their memories again to play ancestors in another time? On one hand it would be odd if the series didn’t follow its roots and let us play around in another time and place, but on the other they really wouldn’t have much reason to. Desmond spent his time in the animus to track down what the Templars were planning and find a way, through the pieces of Eden scattered throughout the world, to stop the end of our civilization as we know it. Now, with some ultimate super baddy released to enslave humanity wouldn’t it be more prudent to remain in the here and now and use assassins trained within compounds their whole lives to confront the threat?

Only options I can really see is a return to the Animus to visit the memories of a human during the First Civilization (which would be more like a trip to the future with the technology present), a race against time in a current time period to stop Juno using firearms and such in a modern themed environment, Desmond pulling some sort of super hero deal and is resurrected, or some protagonist going back into the Animus to find a way through ancestors memories to find a piece of Eden or some other way to stop Juno. The last option seems most likely, but seems too much like the plot of the last 5 games.

As for the immediate future I think everyone would be shocked if they didn’t follow Assassin’s Creed 3 with a couple un-numbered sequels as they did with Brotherhood and Revelations. Again it is unclear how they mean to do this. I always enjoy the opportunity to continue playing in a game I’ve beat, but even in Connor’s epilogue case it doesn’t make sense. If Desmond is truly dead, and everything indicates he is, than how are we still playing his ancestors memories?

Either way if they continue the series I would love to visit the past of another character in AC3: Achilles Davenport. Even unto his death Achilles was an interesting character with not a lot known about his exploits and seemingly intentionally so. Did Ubisoft leave his database and past somewhat a mystery and open so we can revisit him? Man I hope so. It could be something as simple as a long DLC or a full-fledged experience based around him as the first colonial assassin. I believe there is a lot of potential there and it would be a shame if they didn’t capitalize. On top of all the other reasons I would find it appealing it would give us a reason to use a new person peeking into their memories since Achilles wasn’t a Desmond ancestor.

Achilles would be the perfect assassin to head up the next game.
So time to do a little discussion. What did you think about the ending? Do you feel it was well explained and are you happy with the outcome? How do you think they will proceed going forward, both in a new numbered edition and in the almost inevitable AC3 follow ups? Hit us up with your ideas, comments and thoughts in the comments below.

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