Élise de la Serre is a big deal in Assassin’s Creed franchise history. Announced after controversy over the inclusion of women player-characters, her reveal was accompanied by a cinematic trailer and a post to the Ubiblog. Tucked within that post were two additional announcements: there would be a novelization told from her point of view. The franchise’s first woman figurine would be modeled after her, and it would be part of a pair—a diorama consisting of the “fiery Templar” and the “fearless Assassin.”
This is distinguished treatment for any side-character within the series, regardless of their gender or role. I allowed myself to get my hopes up. I hoped that Unity itself would treat the duo as the diorama did: as part of a whole. As two equals within a core narrative.
While these hopes weren’t entirely misplaced, Élise’s story ultimately led me to noticing a pernicious and persistent narrative problem. Unfortunately, articulating this issue requires heavy spoilers for Unity and most of the other Assassin’s Creed games, so reader beware.
My first PAX is past. This means that I’m full-on in writing mode, attempting to do justice to the tons of games that I got my hands on. If I took anything away from my experience, it’s that PAX is a wonderfully unifying event. Developers, press, fans, and web personalities alike rub elbows to gleam over enthusiasms and collaborate on creative visions.
I was lucky enough to have this experience while on assignment for SideQuesting. Not only was it a chance for me to meet more of the SQ team in the flesh, but we were able to express our gratitude to our favorite games by handing out team choice awards at the event. Smiles abounded.
Rather than over-saturate social media with my coverage (or risk having people lose track of my tweets), I decided make this post a hub for all my articles. The links below consist of my writing for SideQuesting and for this blog, and it will be updated with each new publication.
I’ve had a recurring dream ever since I saw Jurassic Park at an impressionable young age. I enter the dream with the innate knowledge that a T-Rex is coming. It’s stressful, prophetic knowledge: not only must I find a place to hide, but I also must warn others to do the same and overcome their (reasonable) skepticism. I have moments to accomplish these things before I hear the tell-tale thunderous footsteps. While the premise is far-fetched, the encounter is vivid: the sound of hot breath exhaled through reptilian nostrils, the widening and narrowing of pupils set in golden eyes as it looks for me. I am never found or attacked by the T-Rex, and yet it horrifies me every time.
At PAX East, I came face-to-face with this recurring dream in the most unexpected place.
If you’re interested in my picks for Game of the Year , you can read my list over at SideQuesting.
Here, my intent is not to list my games of the year, but the games that, in an alternate reality, could’ve made my list. Regardless of whether I never got around to them due to concerns of time or money, these are games that I feel are nevertheless worthy of some recognition.
At last, a palate cleanser: Elegy for a Dead World is a marked departure from typical game formulas. As a game about writing, it is preoccupied with the arduous tasks of exploration and explanation. It puts you–the player–in the shoes of the sole survivor of a space exploration mission. Gameplay revolves solely around you observing scenic artwork and interpreting what you see, leaving the onus of memorializing dead civilizations on your shoulders. I had the pleasure of reviewing the game, and you can read my review in its entirety on Sidequesting. Below, you can read what I wrote for one of the worlds in the game.