Ubisoft has promised to tackle the touchy subject of slavery head-on in Assassin’s Creed III.
“It’s something we’ve been very aware of. Everybody had slaves at that point; the first groups who rallied around emancipation didn’t come around until 1787 – largely driven by Benjamin Franklin funnily enough. That was very much after our game and slavery was maintained in culture,” said Assassin’s Creed III writer Matt Rurnerhas.
Due to the nature of the series the writers could have easily brushed the topic under the carpet – making the publisher and PR people very happy – by focusing on the battle between the Templars and the Assassins. But they are choosing to tell it exactly how it was, and are not afraid to show the society in action.
“We feel that kind of a subject deserves a certain amount attention because it’s so serious and it needs to be treated with utmost respect. We’re definitely not going to shy away from it in terms of not showing it,” added Rurnerhas. “We’re going to focus on telling it like it was, we’re going to show what was there and what people did in that time but we want to be careful with how that’s covered and how much of it is there. It’s an important topic. We won’t be afraid to show that it’s there but we’re not going make it the focus of our game.”
This is a bold move by Ubisoft. The company will obviously encounter some backlash from a select set of fans, but at least it is not willing to ruin the integrity of the game by ignoring the subject. There’s no doubt that it will be approached tactfully and should give an accurate depiction of what life was like during the American Revolution.
Should developers avoid touchy subject areas like this one or embrace them?