Assassin’s Creed has always had its own take on history. That’s sort of the draw, right? Well, not everyone is as pleased with this take on history as Ubisoft is.
French politician and former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon said in an interview that the game “presents an image of hatred of the Revolution, hatred of the people, hatred of the republic which is rampant in the far-right milieu.” Polygon notes that he’s most displeased with the game’s portrayal of Maxmilien Robespierre.
“The man was our liberator at a certain moment of the revolution, because the revolution lasted a long time, Robespierre is presented as a monster. It’s propaganda against the people,” he said, who are depicted as “barbarians, bloodthirsty savages.”
I know not too many politicians are gamers, so I’m not terribly surprised he’s speaking out on something he’s never played. For all Assassin’s Creed’s problems, its view of history typically hasn’t been one of them. No one is really portrayed favorably in Unity, and the negative view the game takes is of those who would exploit the revolution and the people involved for personal gain – not of the revolution itself. Robespierre in particular is depicted as a charismatic speaker, would-be cult leader, and the orchestrator of executions aimed at political gain. Reading about his role in the Reign of Terror suggests that that isn’t too far off.
Even if Mélenchon is a bit off the mark, the further examination shows just how much research goes into Assassin’s Creed games, and how the games can work as a starting point for learning about a time period you might not have otherwise looked into.
If you’re interested in seeing how Assassin’s Creed Unity portrays history, check out our review first.