Assassin’s Creed III Comes to the Royal Armouries

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.

Assassin’s Creed III – Image courtesy of Ubisoft

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!

Royal Armouries’ collection – Pair of flintlock pistols. English, about 1777. Made by Barber. (XII.1333; XII.1334)

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.

For more information visit our website here.

Arcade Games

The Royal Armouries in Leeds is now home to four retro arcade games. The games have been selected for their links to our wide-ranging collection – from medieval armours, Japanese swords to the Second World War.

You can try your hand at piloting a Second World War plane in 1942, playing Arthur the medieval knight in Ghosts ‘N Goblins,  hand-to-hand combat in two-player game Street Fighter, and being a legendary samurai warrior in Samurai Shodown.

Arcade Games at the Royal Armouries, Leeds

Arcade Games at the Royal Armouries, Leeds

Arcade games became popular in the 1970s, spurred on by the smash hit ping-pong video game PONG released in 1972. Space Invaders, released in 1978, proved to be an even greater success. During the 1980s video gaming became a worldwide industry, with popular games including Pac-ManBattlezone and Donkey Kong and the advent of two-player fighting games, such as Street Fighter.

However, advances in home video game console technology followed on, and eventually overtook, arcades. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, networked gaming across the Internet had also appeared, replacing the need for a venue for head to head competition, once provided solely by arcades.

Video games grew from simple moving block graphics to a global industry of enormous proportions, now played by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Even today, there is still a keen interest and nostalgia for these earlier games.

Blogger: Angela Clare, Researcher