History Playing the Past
Assassin Creed Odyssey
Assassin Creed Odyssey recreates ancient Greece and puts the gamer front in center of the Peloponnesian war. Unfortunately, the period Ubisoft is trying to recreate is not entirely faithful to historical sources. Ubisoft stayed true to the characters, geography, politics, and attire to the period they tended to recreate. In contrast, to the truth is that Ubisoft starts to stretch the narratives for both historical and mythological in the intent to make the game more enjoyable. For example, they recreated Herodotus into a figure who is trying to stop the Peloponnesian war and teaming up with the protagonist (Alexios) to figure out clues through the Oracle. There is no historical information that Herodotus played any part in stopping the war, but Ubisoft may have thought that exposing “The Father of History” to their audience will highlight that Herodotus was pivotal to what history is currently.
In the side quest, Medusa and the Minotaur can be fought to achieve higher awards. Ubisoft steers away from the theological origins of these mythical characters by establishing them as corrupted entities that are left behind by the first civilization. Traditionally, Medusa was described by the Greeks as the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. Herodotus mentions that she was created by the Berbers as part of their religion. The traditional narrative of Medusa is known that she was an evil entity in classical Greek depiction, but Ubisoft decided to use her in a different approach. They recreated the mythological monster into a humongous figure that cannot turn you into stone, summon the undead and impair the protagonist vision. In addition, if Ubisoft decided to put the real mythological narrative about Medusa in the game most gamers would be deterred from being repeatedly turning into stone from the great boss. Those little things do matter to a degree, and it can be understandable why Ubisoft did not include that.
Ubisoft stayed true historically with attire, statues, building, and culture. For example, the “Cult of the Kasmos” who were a group that tried to influence the public and government sectors. Also, in the loading screen, they provide little historical information for the gamer such as, “The Drachma currency was used from ancient times all the way through to February 28, 2002.” But, the Drachma was not continually used throughout Greek history but reintroduced to Greece national currency after World War I as an experiment and after ended in the 21st century. Ubisoft purposely put that the Drachma was used continuously throughout their existence which was not true and that is a common dilemma that Ubisoft struggles with. How do they incorporate enough information for the gamer while maintaining not leaving any other information out? Assassin Creed Odyssey is rich in historical detail with little facts about landmarks or characters, or famous faces that the gamer will meet as an assassin (Herodotus). Unfortunately, the game fails in providing accurate historical information. In addition, that is the never ended question in how a game can provide accurate information while allowing players to have fun and appreciate it.
Furthermore, the creators of Assassin Creed Odyssey, Marc-Alexis Cote states that “One of the cool things about Assassin’s Creed is that I think our fans love that we can explain history a different way.” This makes sense why the franchise relied on conspiracies and mythological creatures to provide great gameplay. Assassin Creed franchise may have achieved in putting in historical landmarks and characters, but they mainly focused on given the gamer agency which is offered in role-playing games. Also, the franchise took a bold approach in given the player the option to plays as a female instead of being locked in playing as a male. Ubisoft has told their fans that sexism does not exist on their platform. To a degree, most will argue about how women were not knife slinging parkour experts, but the question still stands for men also. Ubisoft may have turned their games into a Disneyland where historical figures that would either help you or become your enemy, but overall Assassin Creed Odyssey gives hope that one day a game can be created that stays on task with historical events, and characters.