Despite the prerequisite freaking out from the fans about how Garrett is clearly a ninja now – because gymnast = hired killer, apparently[¹] – having him go out of his way to race around the guard and escape shows an emphasis on non-violent play.
Mind you, anyone who thinks the original games forcefully encouraged pure sneaking and pacifism either never played the originals, or is looking back through a rosy haze. Why do you think the first two gave you an armoury’s worth of broadheads at the start of every mission? It wasn’t for the bloody archery minigame.
The games were always flexible; accommodating both the arrow-happy angel of death and the shadow. Butcher or burglar. It was one of the series’ strengths and removing the option of playing as a murderer removes a long-running element of the game. No, I don’t personally want to play that way. My Garrett is practically a tree-hugging[²] pacifist, give or take the occasional friendly tap on the noggin, but that isn’t the developer-ordained Bestest Playing Method. My experience is not somehow degraded if other people do it ‘wrong’.
Of course, all those paragraphs are pointless because the cries of “Assassin’s Creed!” stem entirely from five seconds of acrobatics. Clearly at some point when I wasn’t looking, Ubisoft trademarked any movement more energetic than ‘leisurely stroll’ and had it linked to their blockbuster IP. Or, alternately, a bloke referred to as The Master Thief might just be capable of a few fancy dance steps. For God’s sake, shouldn’t we save our hissy fits for when he starts shanking dudes and taking money for it?
What actually we see in the new trailer is a sneaky Garrett who avoids killing the guard currently trying to slit his throat, who slinks backward into the shadows and moves delicately in his supple-soled shoes. The enemy is a roomful of birdcages, not a howling horde of guards.
Yes, I miss Stephen Russell too. It’ll take a while for the new guy to sound right in my ears. But let’s take the dream, the one where good ol’ Mr Russell voices it and sounds just like he did fifteen years ago, and bury it. Light a candle, hold a wake and give the mourners time to leave for the pub. It’s done. And you know what? I kinda like the new guy. Actually, after the dozen or so viewings I sat through to write this, I’m considering upgrading that to love. Dude really grew on me. Maybe like mould or Stockholm Syndrome, but I’m really looking forward to hearing him snark it up as my favourite light-fingered ne’er do well.
I don’t know what trailer the killfest conspiracy theorists watched, but I’m glad it’s not the one released here. Their universe sounds really fucking depressing.
¹ In fairness, this would have made the Olympics a lot more interesting.
² Number of ‘Victoria’ jokes removed from here: 17.