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10 Times Assassin's Creed Got History Wrong

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
If you're looking for a historically accurate game, you might want to look outside of the Assassin's Creed franchise. For this video, we're not looking at times Ubisoft took a lot of artistic license for the sake of the story, but times where the games are directly contradicting historical fact. Our list includes The Medjay “Assassin's Creed Origins” (2017), Mohawk Allegiance “Assassin's Creed III” (2012), Leonardo's Missing Years “Assassin's Creed II” (2009), Pirate Code “Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag” (2013), Louis XVI's Trial “Assassin's Creed Unity” (2014) and more!
Transcript
Script written by Caitlin Johnson

10 Times Assassin’s Creed Got History Wrong


Welcome to MojoPlays! Today, we’re looking at 10 times “Assassin’s Creed” got history wrong; did you spot any of these anachronisms?

For this video, we’re not looking at times Ubisoft took a lot of artistic license for the sake of the story, but times where the games are directly contradicting historical fact.

Monteriggioni

“Assassin’s Creed II” (2009)


The Auditore noble family may be fictional, but the Tuscan town in which they own a large villa certainly isn’t. Monteriggioni is a walled commune deep in the heart of Tuscany and is a key tourist attraction in the region. But while adding in the second home of our favorite assassin and his uncle Mario definitely counts as artistic license, Ubisoft also removed many of Monterrigioni’s most famous sights, like its many piazzas and famous churches. It’s strange that they would choose to forgo the town’s landmarks and beautiful architecture, especially when it’s so small it wouldn’t be as hard to recreate it accurately. Cesare Borgia and his army also never visited – though plenty of “Assassin’s Creed” fans do today.

The Medjay

“Assassin’s Creed Origins” (2017)


Bayek is a Medjay, an elite and skilled warrior who protects the people of Egypt in the 1st century BC. But there are numerous problems with this premise, primarily that the Medjay no longer existed by the time 49 BC rolled around. References in historical texts to the Medjay, the Pharaoh’s private police force, end in the Twentieth Dynasty, which finished in the year 1077 BC. This is over 1000 years before “Assassin’s Creed Origins”, and there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that the Medjay persisted for this long. It’s not clear why Bayek needed to belong to the Medjay at all and couldn’t just have been a skilled warrior who suffers a great tragedy.

Fake Famine

“Assassin’s Creed Unity” (2014)


The Templars and Assassins are intimately involved with history’s biggest events, and true to form, much of “Unity’s” plot revolves around the Templars orchestrating the French Revolution. But the Templars this time are the Jacobins, the faction who ruled the First French Republic, and “Unity” says it was these revolutionaries who engineered the famines plaguing France to encourage the populace to rise up. It’s an incredibly blinkered way to portray history, blaming the revolutionaries for the very real grain shortages that partly caused the Revolution – and which happened because of poor harvests rather than a far-reaching conspiracy.

Mohawk Allegiance

“Assassin’s Creed III” (2012)


A Native American protagonist in a triple-A blockbuster is a great moment for representation, but Connor’s allegiances don’t make much sense to anyone with a cursory knowledge of the American Revolution. Connor spends the game fighting alongside the Patriots, rubbing shoulders with the founding fathers. He is eventually shocked to discover the Mohawk support the Loyalists, which was because the British promised that if they won the war, they wouldn’t steal land from the Natives. But it doesn’t make sense that Connor wouldn’t already know this since he frequently visits his tribe, or that he would align himself with the Patriots in the first place.

Leonardo’s Missing Years

“Assassin’s Creed II” (2009)


One of the most influential artists and inventors in history, it would have been a crime for Ubisoft to head to Renaissance Italy and not include Leonardo da Vinci. But there were plenty of things they chose to omit where he was concerned, specifically what he was doing between 1476 and 1478. Ezio first encounters da Vinci in Florence in 1476, but at the same time, da Vinci was facing down accusations of homosexuality. This goes completely unmentioned except in a footnote in the in-game codex, which could be easily missed. But a more direct error comes later on, when Leonardo moves to Venice in the 1480s, despite the fact that he lived in Milan at this time.

Pirate Code

“Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag” (2013)


While it’s certainly one of the best pirate video games ever made, “Black Flag” misses out on many key aspects of what a pirate’s life was actually like. One thing sadly missing is pirate codes, the rules set out by pirate captains for their crews that new crewmates would have to agree to. These codes of conduct were a major part of piracy, dictating how men would behave, how disputes would be resolved, and how many shares of treasure they were entitled to. We never learn what the Jackdaw’s code of conduct is or how Edward really leads his crew, though notorious pirates Blackbeard and Black Bart had detailed codes of their own.

The Borgias

“Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood” (2010)


The villainous and violent Cesare Borgia and his corrupt family – father Rodrigo and his sister Lucrezia – may be great video game antagonists, but their portrayal is far from reality. In fact, some scholars have accused Ubisoft of completely buying into the “anti-Borgia propaganda” that was spread at the time; for instance, the inappropriate relationship between Cesare and Lucrezia may well be complete slander, as there’s no historical evidence to back this up. In actuality, the Borgias weren’t any better or worse than other noble families, none of which were particularly moral – like the Medici and the Sforza whom Ezio actually aligns himself with.

Louis XVI’s Trial

“Assassin’s Creed Unity” (2014)


Upon release, there was a lot of controversy around how “Unity” handled the French Revolution, one of the most notoriously complex parts of history. But though the true nature of the Revolution and exactly what it accomplished is still debated by scholars, there are a lot of indisputable facts, too – like how many members of the National Convention voted in favor of executing the King. “Unity” tells us that there was only one vote in it, and a key Templar cast the deciding ballot; the result was 361-360 for the execution. However, in reality, it was 394-321 in favor, a decent majority for the Convention.

No Brothels

“Assassin’s Creed Syndicate” (2015)


A few people lauded “Syndicate” for choosing not to portray fallen women in London’s slums, but there’s a far less accurate city because of it. Though courtesans played an important role in earlier games, “Syndicate” doesn’t have them at all, despite the fact Victorian London wasn’t only full of “ladies of the night”, but the culture was very concerned about them. Charles Dickens even built Urania Cottage dedicated to rehabilitating these women. And though working girls did finally appear in the “Jack the Ripper” DLC, his famous victims were rewritten as undercover assassins. The DLC side content was too little too late, and their absence was still sorely felt in the base game.

No Jewish Characters

“Assassin’s Creed” series (2007-)


To date, the only game that has Jewish characters is “Syndicate”, and only because those characters are also important historical figures: Karl Marx and Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Every other game, and still “Syndicate” to a large extent, omits the Jewish populations of many major cities, like the complete absence of Rome and Venice’s Jewish Quarters in Ezio’s games and also no Jewish characters in Jerusalem. In “Origins”, Alexandria’s Jewish district does exist and contains the Great Synagogue, but Bayek still meets no Jewish characters. It’s a glaring omission that Ubisoft should hope to rectify in future games.
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