The latest Assassin’s Creed III trailer has emerged, and in it we see Connor killing not just British troops, but also American Colonists. This comes as pleasant news to those who previously saw Connor only kill Brits, but it will obviously strike a chord with many other people (especially patriots). In that case, it’s important to know exactly what Connor is fighting for. He’s not tied to a single side in AC3, and this means we may see the series return to touching on themes of grey morality that we haven’t quite seen since the first game in the series.
The trailer already states that Connor is a “conflicted” protagonist, meaning he has inner conflict. He finds it difficult to pick a single side during the American Revolution, because both sides have information and assets that he can use in his quest. When he joins the Brotherhood, he will more than likely be versed in their philosophy; “Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.” That means the lies of morality are not to be followed, and killing anyone who is in conflict with a certain is goal is both necessary and permitted.
One should remember that Connor is not fighting so he can end the war. He’s fighting to avenge the slaughter of his villagers at the beginning of the game. That means he’s happy to cut through anyone who stands in his way until he finds the ones responsible, whom may very well be Colonists themselves. It was stated a while back Connor’s village was wiped out by Colonists, which wouldn’t be out the question. After all, as Iron Maiden once famously proclaimed “white man came, across the sea, he brought us pain, and misery”.
It’s important to remember that nobody is “the good guy” in real life. Conflict arises simply due to different ideologies clashing, and not because one side is inherently good or evil. Everyone has flaws and makes mistakes, as much as people don’t want to admit it, and it’s very true that American Colonists did very morally questionable things.
I really enjoyed the villains from the first Assassin’s Creed, largely due to the fact that they weren’t really ‘villains at all’. Many were sympathetic and had actual reasons for doing the things they did, which constantly made you question if you were in fact the ‘good guy.’ I for one really appreciate such moral complexity in my games, and it’s refreshing to see it return in this series. If anything, Connor killing an American is a good sign; one that signifies Assassin’s Creed III is brave enough to explore some deep and unsettling themes.