Those That Hunt For New Hunters: Assassin’s CreedSeptember 21, 2018
It was like divine providence. And lo, a company announced a Kickstarter campaign for the tabletop version of a popular video game franchise. This time, Triton Noir seeks to bring Assassin’s Creed into the fray with a stealth-focused tactical miniatures game.
The Assassin’s Creed series is an action-adventure series developed by Ubisoft where rogues with distinctive hoods and an affinity for parkour explore iconic cities from history and stab people with wrist-mounted knives. There’s a lot of climbing beloved landmarks and jumping off them into hay bales or leaf piles in stunts that really should kill anyone who attempts them. Many installments follow different protagonists, from the hashashin Altaïr to Nikolai Orelov of the October Revolution, the originator of the brotherhood Bayek to the inheritors of Leonidas’s spear Alexios and Kassandra. These Assassins fight the Templars – as in the Knights Templar – in a shadow war to determine who controls the fate of humanity. The Templar seek peace through the elimination of free will, while the Assassins believe in freedom and self-determination.
Also, the modern day descendants of the Assassins and Templars are diving into simulations derived from their genetic memory to gather information about historical artifacts that are pieces of advanced technology from the precursor race of humanity that can give people seemingly magical powers as they drive them insane, much like the Animus devices they use in these simulations which also causes a bleeding effect where the users gain the skills of their ancestors.
Mostly it’s about semi-historical murder plots.
Assassin’s Creed has spawned nearly two dozen video games since 2007, along with several book and graphic novel series. The public at large may be familiar with the 2016 film of the same name, starring Michael Fassbender and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The latest iteration, set during the Peloponnesian War, launches this October, just in time to bolster a new project.
Triton Noir, the publisher of V-Commandos, announced an Assassin’s Creed tabletop game subtitled Brotherhood of Venice. The game includes a campaign of 20 linked missions wherein players establish and maintain an Assassin’s brotherhood, venturing into the city of Venice circa 1509 to perform their wetwork. While not implied by the publisher, fan favorite assassin Ezio Auditore might make an appearance during the campaign, as it takes place between Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. Triton Noir’s Kickstarter is set to launch November 13th.
Brotherhood of Venice maintains the tradition of adaptation through Kickstarter. Video games largely have retired from Kickstarter, as development costs can easily eclipse multi-million-dollar campaigns. Tabletop games, however, are relatively cheap to produce and have quicker turnaround times, and gameplay mechanics can translate well. Combine these factors with the established fanbase and ready-made assets that come with working within a brand, and it’s easy to see why we’re in the middle of a glut of these campaigns.
Not to somehow impugn the earnestness of Triton Noir’s campaign, nor Steamforged Games’, nor CMON’s. These are properties I enjoy and look forward to new takes on them. Yet with new hunters of men and beasts itching to take the field, the propagation of such campaigns leave me to wonder if they might be prey in some larger game.