The Need for Greater Exposition

Not to get all polemic but the problem I find with some video games and this was sparked by my recent play-through of Assassin’s Creed 4, is that you get very little interaction with your fellow cast members for lack of a better term. You get the introduction mission and then you are supposed to have had a beautiful and memorable friendship with them that occurs for most of the cast largely off screen.

There are two instances of memorable characterization, Adéwalé your quarter master who in character model at least is with you for most of the game and Blackbeard who you only meet when engaging in missions. Adéwalé stands on the deck of your boat and shouts helpful but repetitive lines to provide context to your actions, stuff like ‘You’re going to run us ashore, Captain’ when dangerously close to land. This doesn’t necessarily engender feelings of the warm and fuzzy nature towards him as pointing out the obvious can get wearisome. Yet his constant presence allows you to infer a closer companionship and for the large part what he does in story missions bears this out. Blackbeard however only exists in the missions and the scenes he has with your character Kenway ensured that I wanted to see more of him. One good example is when he’s explaining his whole schitck of intimidation and he goes from being the scary dread pirate to an ordinary man at the flip of a switch.

Unfortunately a lot of characters aren’t Blackbeard or Adéwalé, so when you start the Templar hunts, largely an excuse for Kenway to murder a bunch of people for a nicer suit, you meet a large collection of Assassins who stick around for that particular quest line and then pop up once more in the story to give you some additional help. But it isn’t enough, these encounters are supposed to make a firm impression in your mind of years (the game takes place over I believe fifteen years all told) of if not friendship, then of familiarity. Kenway expresses as much in his dialogue but there is nothing for the player to know that. My proposed solution, although I am no one to really be proposing any sort of real solution, is that this issue could be solved by having even one junk mission with these figures. A mission where instead of assassinating your thousandth Templar while remaining undetected, you have a quiet drink with them, something rather banal with ‘Get a round of drinks in’, optional condition ‘Don’t pay’. With and I know this is a bold suggestion giving the proclivity towards violence, no sudden turn where the barman turns out to be actually a Templar in disguise, or the guards show up to arrest you. There is something close to this in a mission where you have to escort a drunk Assassin home, but that too devolves into keeping him safe by assassinating people.

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