AC3 Season Pass Includes Alt-History Evil George Washington
After 3 years flogging Ezio into minute dust particles, while simultaneously failing to advance the real story of Assassin’s Creed substantially1, I went into the Assassin’s Creed 3 cycle feeling that the series was approaching terminal creative moribundity. Sure, the assassinations would be satisfying, as always, and the climbing would be fun (except when it isn’t), but what could they possibly bring to the increasingly convoluted series mythos that wouldn’t overburden it, narratively speaking.
A hell of a lot, as it turns out. I hate saying this about a game made by one of the worst abusers of sequelitus, DLC, and DRM, but every single new reveal about the apparent2 conclusion to the Assassin’s Creed story indicates something kind of special. And the latest evidence is the news that the Assassin’s Creed 3 season pass will come with an inventive, highly exciting bit of DLC in which George Washington betrays the spirit of the American Revolution.
Hold on while I use all the exclamation points on earth to express how awesome that sounds.
The AC3 Season Pass, available at launch, will cost $30 and, like most season pass plans, will give players access to all of of the game’s DLC packets at a discount. It will also add a stand-alone single player campaign called “The Tyranny of King Washington”, set in an alternate history after the end of the revolution, in which George Washington succumbs to temptation and declares himself king of the newly formed United States. AC3 protagonist Connor Kenway must then work to dethrone Washington, despite having been close friends with him throughout the revolution.
This is an intriguing idea, particularly because it has a basis in real life. After the end of the American Revolutionary War, a considerable constituency wanted Washington to declare himself king, including some of his own officers. Instead, Washington used his personal credibility and immense popularity among both the citizenry and the men who wrote the constitution to promote elective government. Furthermore, had he decided to run for a third term it would have been his without argument, but he stunned nearly everyone by stepping down after his second. Compare similar figures like Simon Bolivar, whose refusal to establish a similar tradition in the wake of independence from Spain doomed Gran Columbia to dissolution. No doubt America would not exist in anything like its present form had Washington established a hereditary monarchy.
Here’s the official art in full:
Alas, the season pass isn’t quite as good a deal as it sounds. The majority of DLC will be for the game’s multiplayer, which is entwined with the main story, taking place in the present after Abstergo Industries has released a commercial version of the Animus. While I think that’s a cool frame for the multiplayer (and I’m glad it isn’t mandatory for full enjoyment of the single player campaign), multiplayer content is also much cheaper to make, raising the question of whether or not the player is being ripped off.
On the other hand, at least “The Tyranny of King Washington” isn’t just content that should have been in the main game. Like the excellent Saint’s Row The Third DLC, it will expand the game, but exist separate from the story, which has become the standard by which I think all DLC packets should be judged.
1. Or, at least, in a way that didn’t leave you WTFing more than Ohhhing.
2. I say apparent because I’m willing to bet we’ll see them build a trilogy around part 3 the way they did around part 2. Perhaps with Desmond as the main character for once.