Comment: Digital Time Travel

Ubisoft builds the Doc’s DeLorean

With it being 21 October 2015 and Assassins Creed Syndicate (ACS) release on Friday, lets expand on the ability of video games to offer an experience that no other medium can offer – time travel.

You could drive down the M1, hits 88 miles per hour, and what’s the result – getting to Leeds an hour early. Exciting stuff but hardly the adventures of Marty McFly! Back in the summer, squareblind joined hundreds of other gamers in joining an excellently arranged beta by Ubisoft, we visited Bermondsey and was treated to an Assassin’s Creed (AC) experience culminating in playing an early build of ASC. The latest in a franchise which has had the player visiting 1100’s Jerusalem; 1500’s Venice; 1700s Boston; 1800s Carribean; 1800s Paris and 1900s London.

I’ve never been interested in the AC universe. Despite an excellent primer from Eurogamer’s Tom Phillips, the series is far too convoluted for me to get invested in the Precursors, Desmond and the Templar’s plans for world domination. However, the adventures of the miles family and cohorts do offer players the chance to visit some of the most pivotal locales and periods in history. I was struck by the attention to Victorian detail offered by ASC, and would love to hear the opinions of historian on how true the environment is to the big smoke back at the turn of the century.

Educating Teachers

AC is not the first to provide gameplay within an historical time frame. However, the series executes fantastically and through its 3rd person perspective provide a 3D open world to explore. If we remove the titular assassination; could Ubisoft turn the title to a fully interactive educational resource?

According to our own research the AC series has shipped 75m+ titles since its launch. Such numbers would mean it would be facical for the title to change tact to Education-ware. However, one wonders whether the assets created across the series X title’s could be repurposed for very little cost to bring history to life for the millions of students around the globe. Importantly, such a use would engage with pupils and offer a few of history books and films never could.

Either way, with the UK’s capital at the height of the industrial revolution and the British Empire on offer to parkour – as a Londoner, I will be picking up ACS, its just a pity all of this Assassin’s business gets in the way of digital time travel.


Featured image is sourced from the website of John Lund. Used without permission, please contact squareblind (at) email (dot) com if you are the copyright holder and wish this image to be removed.


One response to “Comment: Digital Time Travel

  1. Pingback: Big Blind: What to do with Assassin’s Creed – squareblind·

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