The lights are on
Assassin’s Creed Unity takes place during the French Revolution, but that’s not the only battle new protagonist Arno Dorian has to face. The ideals and extremism of the time merely provide a compelling backdrop for Arno’s personal struggles. France is full of shades of gray, forcing Arno to question everything from his brotherhood to the woman he loves.
Arno is no stranger to tragedy. His Assassin father was killed when he was young, leading to his adoption by a family. The head of that family happens to be grandmaster of the Templars, but out of respect for Arno’s father’s memory, he never lets Arno know this. Arno grows close to his new kin, but has to face death once again when his father figure is killed. Arno blames himself for this tragedy and goes on a quest for redemption. His first order of business? Join the Assassins. “Arno joins the Assassins with a very clear intention: ‘I’m using you people as a means to an end,’” says creative director Alex Amancio.
Arno soon starts to believe in the Assassins’ cause and what they stand for, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to blindly follow their values. He questions a lot in the process, especially since his love interest Elise, the daughter of the man who raised him, is a Templar. She and Arno both have the same goal: Discover more about the death of her father, though they have different reasons. Elise is purely driven by revenge. Arno is striving for redemption, trying to find out why the murder occurred in the first place. “One is bound by the laws of the Assassins. The other is bound by the law of the Templars,” Amancio says. “It’s an exploration of those two different ways of approaching a situation and how the closer Arno gets to Elise and her methods, the more he’ll stray from the Assassins and their methods. Ultimately, their goal is to obtain something and it’s really what each of them willing to do to reach that goal.”
It’s clear something isn’t right with the murder and that there may be more going on in the Templar Order than meets the eye. But how far will Elise’s goal of vengeance take her, and how will it conflict with Arno’s quest? A big dilemma for Arno will be choosing between love and duty. “It’s an impossible choice,” Amancio says. After all, Arno cares deeply about Elise and her family and although he wants the same answers, he also has different methods to obtain them.
Regardless of his tactics, Arno is a likeable guy through and through; in fact, it’s the one comment that has surfaced most as more people at Ubisoft are playtesting the game. He’s a no-nonsense type with a sharp wit, but he doesn’t hesitate to be brutal. Arno will go for the kill when the situation demands it, and since he only uses a single blade, he gets creative, especially when facing multiple enemies. He executes targets smoothly, like swiftly running up to an enemy, kicking their legs out from underneath them, and puncturing their chest. Arno also has new tools at his disposal like the Phantom Blade. The Phantom Blade is akin to a crossbow and is great for stealthy or long-range kills, since it doesn’t draw a lot of attention due to its silent nature.
While Arno is fighting to find out the deeper mysteries surrounding Elise’s father’s death, the French Revolution is also in full swing. “Arno’s view on the revolution is really that he never really gets politically involved,” Amancio says. “What he and the Assassins are trying to do is prevent people from dying needlessly. They’re trying to prevent the power from exploding, but they’re trying to get the least involved as possible, because they also believe people have to go through their mistakes again. However, they are worried that somebody might be pulling the strings, so they’re trying to find out who that is and what they’re trying to accomplish.”
Looks like Arno has plenty to confront in Assassin’s Creed Unity and that he’s not going down without a fight. For more information on Arno and his relationship with Elise, be sure to check out the latest issue of Game Informer magazine. Also, keep an eye on our hub (click on the banner below) for more exclusive online content, such as character profiles, developer interviews, and hands-on impressions. Also, check our interview with Arno's voice actor, Dan Jeannotte.
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.