Jonathan Ferguson, Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries and self-confessed gamer uncovers the true history of the war game and shares his opinions on Assassin’s Creed III.
This October sees the much-anticipated release of the epic Assassin’s Creed III, the second major sequel to the original game. From an arms and armour perspective, this has been an interesting series. The first game, set during the Third Crusade (1189 – 1292), featured some beautiful and quite authentic medieval weapons and armour, as well as some convincing swordplay. The second game made a jump into the Renaissance, and was the first to introduce firearms in the form of a wheellock pistol integrated into the iconic (if fictional) ‘hidden blade’. As with much of the architecture, history and politics authentically depicted in these games, this mechanism really did exist in this timeframe, and may even have been invented by famous historical inventor and artist Leonardo Da Vinci as shown in ACII. Even if not, Da Vinci’s sketches of the wheellock are the first known of this, the revolutionary ignition system that made possible the pistol as we know it today.
With its late 18th century setting, ACIII will move us fully into the gunpowder era, but for gameplay reasons (not to mention the Assassin’s numerical disadvantage!) the firearm is likely to remain a weapon of last resort for the player. However, as infantry by this time were universally equipped with flintlock arms, there will be plenty of bullets to dodge!
Assassin’s Creed has helped to get a new generation interested in historically-set games and in history itself, featuring events and people more relevant and colourful than those of the fantasy genre. Along with the ‘Total War’ series and independent efforts like ‘Mount & Blade’, the future looks bright for historical gaming.
Blogger: Jonathan Ferguson, Curator of Firearms, Royal Armouries
Assassin’s Creed III will preview at the Royal Armouries as part of Ubisoft’s UK wide tour. The previews will take place as part of the Weekend Warriors: War Games event on Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 August at 12pm & 1pm.
Please note: Assassin’s Creed III is 18+ and ID is required to attend the demonstration.
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