The lights are on
If you’re anything like us, the announcement of a new Assassin’s Creed setting has sent you spinning into thoughts about the potential excitement provided by that historical period. Assassin’s Creed III is set during the later days of the British colonies in America, and follows the subsequent story of those colonies as they coalesce into a nation. The story of a young Assassin hero named Connor takes center stage, but the momentous events of the period are always playing in the background. If you want a sneak peek at Assassin’s Creed III, you can certainly wait until additional previews about the game reveal characters and historical events the game will explore. But the real trick to figuring out what’s coming in an Assassin’s Creed game is to know your history. We’ve gathered together a collection of some of the most enjoyable films, TV shows, novels, and non-fiction works of the period that we could find, including some that may have inspired Ubisoft as they created the game. Check these out, and we guarantee you’ll find secrets about some of the things you’ll see in Assassin’s Creed III.
1776Book (2005)By David McCullough
One of the most approachable and readable histories of the period, 1776 focuses on the early part of the American Revolution. It offers some fascinating insight into the mindsets and decisions of the people who shaped those events, from King George III and General Howe to George Washington and Nathanael Greene. Multiple editions of the book each offer glimpses at art, diagrams, maps, letters, and other source documentation directly from the period, helping the reader get an immersive picture of the world in which Assassin’s Creed III will take place.
The Last of the MohicansFilm (1992)Directed by Michael MannWhen we first saw Connor in action in Assassin’s Creed III, the character drew immediate comparisons to the protagonist of this excellent early '90s drama/romance. Based on the 1826 James Fenimore Cooper novel of the same name, The Last of the Mohicans film tells the tale of a trio of Native American hunters, including an adopted white son in the family, who find themselves inadvertently drawn into the French and Indian War in 1757. Echoing themes on display in Assassin’s Creed III, the movie deals directly with the complex interaction between colonists, the British army, and the Native tribes in the northeastern United States.
My Brother Sam Is DeadBook (1974)By James Lincoln Collier and Christopher CollierIf you’re looking for historical fiction of the period that isn’t going to take you a year to read, strongly consider this Newbery Medal winning young adult novel, which offers a striking look at the challenges faced by American colonists as the Revolution began. Specifically, families like the one depicted in the book were torn apart by differing opinions over remaining loyal to the British crown or declaring independence and fighting for the Continental Army. Assassin’s Creed III promises to deal with similarly nuanced shades of gray regarding the conflict between the Americans and British.
John AdamsTV miniseriesDirected by Tom Hooper
Starring Paul Giamatti as the complicated and often misunderstood founding father, John Adams offers a riveting eight-hour epic stretching from the night of the Boston Massacre in 1770 to his death in 1826. For a comprehensive glimpse of the political roots of the Revolution, you’ll find few better sources outside of written histories. In addition, like the vision being concocted for Assassin’s Creed III, the John Adams miniseries presents America’s early leaders as flawed and very human characters.
Benjamin Franklin: An American LifeBook (2003)By Walter IsaacsonBenjamin Franklin is one of the few confirmed historical figures appearing in Assassin’s Creed III, and for good reason. Franklin was one of the most remarkable, humorous, and thoughtful contributors to the birth of America. Isaacson’s comprehensive biography delivers a potent picture of the inventor, politician, writer, and businessman. If you have a vision of the Founding Fathers as stuffy or hard to understand, this biography can help bring at least one of them down to a level we can all relate with.
Rise to Rebellion: A Novel of the American RevolutionBook (2001)By Jeff ShaaraIf historical non-fiction isn’t your thing, perhaps a fictionalized account of the Revolution is more your style. Shaara’s novel chronicles many of the important moments of the period, albeit from a dramatized angle rather than an eye towards strict authenticity. For a broad and enjoyable jaunt through the events that will be right in the middle of the story of Assassin’s Creed III, Rise to Rebellion should get you up to speed.
The CrossingFilm (2000)Directed by Robert HarmonWinner of a Peabody Award for excellence back in 2001, The Crossing stars Jeff Daniels as George Washington. The film is worth a watch because of its focused depictions of one of the most harrowing events of the Revolutionary War. Washington’s crossing of the Delaware and the subsequent Battle of Trenton are such exciting moments in history, it’d be a huge surprise if Assassin’s Creed III doesn’t end up touching on them in some way.
Next up: More movies and books to help you prepare for Assassin's Creed III
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.