It Was Inevitable: ACIII Spawns Trendy "American Guilt" Sentiments
There are two things I said to myself when I first saw the fully unveiled Assassin's Creed III:
1. This will be fantastic.
2. Somebody somewhere will find a way to bring the trendy, hip, surprisingly condescending, "we're superior because we question" mentality into this.
And so it has happened. It actually took a little longer than I thought, but here it is. Now, as a disclaimer, I can do nothing but agree that Ubisoft has shown only footage of the protagonist, Connor, killing the British. It's true that nobody has really seen the assassin taking out the rebels; i.e., in that case, the first Americans. And I also agree that it'd be perfectly fine - and obviously closer to equal - if the publisher showed Connor slicing into a few colonists. I'd have no issue with that whatsoever.
At the same time, the implications and arising reactions are predictable and annoying. Firstly, the headline, asking if we "can't handle" seeing Americans die, can easily be interpreted as, "Americans have gigantic egos and are too in love with themselves to watch an American die." Secondly, throughout the article, Ubisoft was clearly trying to clarify the situation by reminding everyone that Connor holds no real affiliation, that we really have to play the game to understand, and that indeed, we will be killing off both colonists and Redcoats throughout our adventure.
But obviously, that reality isn't enough.
No, it's not enough that the freedom exhibited in the game (as promised by Ubisoft, which is all we can go on right now) is the reality; this has to be expressed in the promotional media. Otherwise, we're not lecturing to the masses; we can't teach them something. It's not "Avatar," which was essentially one giant history lesson about how ignorant, conquest-minded Europeans came and wiped out the peaceful, nature-loving Natives. When we present something like ACIII, we need to make sure that the citizens of this country don't persist with their swelled heads.
We have to make absolutely certain that it's not a "Yay, rah rah Americans kick ass" story. That's the crux of the issue; let's admit it.
It's just getting tiresome. It really is. They haven't shown Connor killing anyone but the British. True. But not only has Ubisoft explained in great detail about how the game itself is not like that, they also explained the promotional/advertising reason: That the Redcoats were identifiable as enemies to most viewers; having Connor nail a bunch of Colonists (which didn't have uniforms and were mostly unrecognizable) would be confusing. But evidently, that explanation is either glossed over or simply not good enough. The only reason it isn't good enough, however, is because it didn't "remind us" that in fact, Americans aren't Gods.
Well damn, now my whole world is topsy-turvy. I always thought they were. How silly of me. Quick, remind me again so I don't forget.
P.S. The screenshot here is one of the very first that was released. ...hard to tell who Connor is in the midst of attacking, isn't it?
6/16/2012 10:00:29 AM Ben Dutka