The Pazzi, Medici, and Assassin’s Creed

30 Mar

By:  Andrew Schuster

Assassin’s Creed II follows a lot of real historical events in 15th century Florence that are shrouded in enough mystery that some of the occurrences are believably accurate.  Understanding the Pazzi family and their wish to overthrow the Medici also places a new dimension on the gameplay in that as the character you’ve been thrusted into a family debacle involving differences in power.

Most video games don’t play into real history seeing as historical inaccuracy can usually lead to some distaste from a more educated crowd, but having the setting in Florence around this era brings a very special instance to the developers, in that there is a set knowledge of what happened and yet a lot of the occurrences are up for interpretation.  Basically speaking, even though the Pazzi striking the Medici is a known event in history, witness accounts are the only thing that we have to go by, meaning there’s a lot that could have been happening.  This changes the dynamic of the gameplay in that instead of a fictional character, the player can be immersed in the feeling that he is part of an unrecorded piece of history.

Another aspect these historical perspectives present to the player is the opportunity to learn of real historical figures.  Normally, a player would be presented with completely fictitious characters and would play along a made up storyline and while this the storyline aspect is still slightly true (there are, in reality, no Assassin’s versus Templars), the characters are for the most part real and had some part in their contribution to the outcome of Pazzi Conspiracy.  These all play out as being actual problems of the higher class and reflect real concerns of those involved.

The final aspect I wish to touch upon is the social aspect of the game, namely the characters that are part of the crowd.  The main reason behind staging an assassination during high mass was to prove a point to the public and send a message.  The public as a whole is just as important a character as Lorenzo de’ Medici because they as a whole represent the stability of the city.  If the people are at a state of unrest, the whole city is, making things fairly difficult for the families in charge.

The historical perspectives add a new dimension to the gameplay that you can’t get in all games due to the fact that Assassin’s Creed II put a lot of time an effort into being as historically accurate as possible.  This concept brings a new experience to the table that allows for both an immersive experience that also offers the chance to better understand the world of 15th century Florence.

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