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Anonymous asked: Am I the only one irked that the American flag seems to be on EVERYTHING AC3 related? Can’t buy one edition without the flag shoved in your face. It wasn’t like that for any of the other games, I don’t understand why it’s like this now. Ubi said that it wasn’t going to be all Americans = good guys but from where I’m standing it looks to be going in that direction. Thoughts? 

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I’m not bothered by it at all. Since this is the official third entry into the AC franchise, practically everything is new (settings, characters, etc.) It has to fill the void that Altair and Ezio left behind so I imagine Ubisoft wants to enforce the fact that this is the new direction they are taking the AC games in.

<} Bureau Leader

Hey, Rafiq here. While I agree with our Bureau Leader’s viewpoint on this to a certain extent, I felt passionately enough about this question to throw in my two florins.

Now, I understand where the fear of uber-jingoism comes into play in regards to Assassin’s Creed III; trends within media have set the precedent that anything dealing with the United States is to be presented in an “AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!” type fashion. Concerns have arisen that, although Ubisoft has assured us that Connor is a man without allegiance, the gameplay so far has been of our assassin brutally killing only British soldiers. And now the American flag has been emblazoned across every edition of the game. Is it time to point the favoritism finger?

Definitely not.

To address the issue with the flag: this isn’t the Stars and Stripes that you see detailed across rednecks’ pick-up trucks or tattooed with bald eagles on scary men’s biceps. This flag—thirteen red and white stripes, and thirteen white stars on a blue background, representing a new constellation—was representative of revolution.

Paul Revere didn’t ride through Boston and shove the flag in Royalists’ faces, shouting “If you don’t like it, you can giiitttt out!” Benjamin Franklin didn’t wave the flag while threatening to put a buckled shoe up King George’s ass. The Thirteen Star Flag was too new to have any negative connotations; in fact, the Second Continental Congress didn’t pass a law regarding what the American flag should look like until 1777, meaning that our flags looked like whatever the hell we wanted. And even with the law, it was vague on certain points, so flags still lacked uniformity for decades. It wasn’t something that the British saw and thought, “Oh shit, America!” More likely, they twittered, “Oh my, they think that they are a sovereign nation! These yokels who cannot be trusted crossing the Cumberland Gap in fear of being slaughtered by Indians? Typical.”

So why have the Thirteen Star Flag on everything? Especially if Connor is supposed to be assassinating targets on both sides of the conflict? Because of what it symbolizes. Not the America of the 21st Century, but America of the Revolutionary War. Trust me, show a panel of people that flag and over 75% of them will recognize the flag as the Flag of the Revolution. Why do you think that the promotional items for Ezio’s stories are filled with harlequins, Venetian masks, and plague doctors? The common man will see these items and be able to associate maybe not the exact country in Europe, but a time and a place. The same goes with the Thirteen Star Flag; it’s not about America. It’s about the Revolutionary War.

As for the concern that Connor will be killing primarily British soldiers, and that since his allies seem to be made up entirely of revolutionaries that AC3 will be leaning more towards the Colonists’ side of the conflict, I could easily say “Well, we haven’t played the game yet, so be patient!” But I won’t. What I will say is that history is a messy, messy place with many lies and misconceptions. Even American schoolchildren are taught a history riddled with mythology by a system more concerned with building a national identity than education.

—Benjamin Franklin was a staunch Royalist who supported the Stamp Act, which if you remember from school was the one act that the teachers bothered telling you about because it REALLY pissed off the Colonists. Like, “Let’s go to war over paying a minor tax because England is BROKE” pissed.

—The Boston Tea Party was less of an organized protest against “taxation without representation” and more of John Hancock being butthurt because the East India Company’s low, low prices were going to cut into his fat, tea-smuggling paycheck.

—George Washington, while being a lackluster general at best, was also a Freemason, and refused to willingly give orders to officers who were not inducted into the Craft (or, perhaps, the Templars?).

So why show Connor assassinating Redcoats? Because they have always been painted as the “boogeymen” in history. Ubisoft isn’t going to show its Colonial-Templar-laden hand right away; why spoil the twist right out the gate?

TL;DR: History has a way of surprising you. Expect the unexpected. The flag is only a flag.

<} Rafiq