Assassin’s Creed: Unity has drawn ire from those who hail Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre as a hero of the Revolution and the people, as opposed to a bloodthirsty tyrant.
In Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Robespierre is depicted as the man responsible for bringing chaos and despair to Paris during the Terror of 1793-94, most of which time Arno spends in a drunken binge at Versailles. Nothing is said of Robespierre’s more admirable actions.
According to a report on Independent.ie, this has not gone down well with those who consider Robespierre a hero.
“This is propaganda against the people. The people are [shown as] barbarians, as bloody savages. A man who was our liberator at one stage of the Revolution is portrayed as a monster,” Euro MP and former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon said.
Describing Unity as part of a “capitalist conspiracy”, Melenchon said the game rewrites history to “glorify those who lost: and “discredit the Republic”.
Secretary general of La Partie de la Gauche Alexis Corbière said Unity “alleges wrongly that there were hundreds of thousands of deaths [in the Terror] and that whole streets were filled with blood”, and called for a debate on how games teach history to the young.
Ubisoft has responded by saying Assassin’s Creed: Unity is a work of fiction, not a textbook.
“Assassin’s Creed Unity is a game for the mass public. It is not a history lesson,” Unity producer Antoine Vimal du Monteil said.
The Assassin’s Creed series has never shied away from presenting new, fictional takes on historical characters, linking them to the Assassins and Templars and supplying them with new, often less admirable motivations for their actions. Unity is quite an interesting example as the French Revolution is already a hotbed of debate as to the underlying political motivations and goals of prominent figures. I really liked the way it portrayed Napoleon, actually.
This isn’t the first time a game has been called into question for its depiction of historical events; Company of Heroes is not popular with the Russian government.