Following up on the spitballing I did for a videogame in the style of Assassin’s Creed set during the Irish Rebellion of 1798, there are a few more details and revisions to make to the general outline. The historical setting offers so much, and I love the idea of playing a game embracing the genres of action adventure, RPG, open world exploration, stealth and combat. Given that the Ubisoft series is – finally – bringing its unique brand of parkour & murder to the French Revolution, it seems timely to look at what my proposed, doubtless never-to-be-realised, game might offer…
The timeline of the story has been expanded; though 1798 will still be the main focus, the various insurrections, rebellions and uprisings in 1803, 1848 and 1867 will also be covered. This will mean at least 2, and possibly 3, people will have to be playable – it is simply impossible that one person could have taken part in all of them. The 3 characters will be tied together by blood -of the womb, rather than of the covenant – rather like the connection between Haytham Kenway and Ratonhnhakéton aka Connor in Assassin’s Creed III. Incidentally, the phrase, “Blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb” will have to be included somewhere in the dialogue!
The pike became symbolic of the 1798 rebellion. This was because they were easy for local blacksmiths to make, and were a necessity as firearms were relatively scarce in Ireland at the time. Such a scenario would be perfect for the sort of hand-to-hand combat that suits the type of game we’re looking at. Apparently, a cropped haircut was also emblematic, as those wearing such a barnet were invariably supporters of the revolutionary cause and were therefore known as ‘Croppies’.
Divisions among the insurrectionists also make for the sort of intrigue which could fit the Assassin/Templar conflict upon which Ubisoft’s series is based: The Defenders wanted wholesale land confiscation and redistribution, while the more bourgeois rebels merely aimed for a government like that of the Directory in France with little in the way of social change. By contrast, the Presbyterians predominantly from east of the river Bann were outright republicans demanding popular representation, free speech, equality and justice for all – the ideals of the French Revolution, in other words. It would be easy to see Templar assistance for the bourgeois leadership and Assassin intervention on the side of the Presbyterians, with both sides struggling for influence over the Defenders.
After reading up on the Defenders, it seems highly unlikely that a Protestant individual like my Methodist protagonist Gabriel Hogan would have made it into their highly sectarian ranks. In addition, after witnessing – and wholeheartedly supporting – the disappointed reaction to Ubisoft’s inability to offer a female avatar in their forthcoming AC: Unity, I am opting for a female main character. I have yet to come up with a firm name or backstory, but she will be a composite character drawn from contemporary accounts whose experiences and actions will fit some of those descriptions. For example, in ‘A Popular History of the Insurrection of 1798’ P.F. Kavanagh describes, “An amazon named Doyle, who marched with the insurgent army and bore herself as gallantly as the most courageous man”.
The player will see through the eyes of Doyle during the tumultuous events between 1795 and 1805, before taking control of her grand-daughter from 1845 to the climax of 1870 – which, presumably, will be the establishment of the Home Government Association by Isaac Butt. Well…maybe not. It’ll be something suitably dramatic. The Manchester Martyrs were executed in 1867, so something drawn around that might have some resonance.
Anyway. That’s all the stream of consciousness erupting from my bonce has for now, it seems.
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…★