An Appeal to Ubisoft: Connor Kenway and Why He’s Not Done Yet

originally written for gamerhub.tv on 02.23.2013

When Ubisoft’s much-anticipated Assassin’s Creed 3 was first released, fans were a little more than underwhelmed. The came was glitchy, seemingly unfinished in plotline, with a hero that was so radically different from the extreme personalities of other characters past that he seemed too emotionally inaccesable to fans. Players didn’t like Connor: he was ‘boring’, ‘too stoic’, ‘too bland’. But I, personally, thought Connor was justified. At the end of the game, Connor is a mere 28 years old, as opposed to previous heroes having their legacies documented throughout the entirety of their lives. I sincerely do not think fans were given enough time for Connor, and I truly believe that Ubisoft rushed this one far too much.

How could you say no to that face?
How could you say no to that face?

The iconic heroes of Assassin’s Creed come with a lot of baggage — many lose their families, betray their societies, and generally live alone. I’m going to be honest and admit that it was not Connor Kenway, but Ezio Auditore da Firenze who first hooked me to the Assassin’s Creed series, but it has been Connor that has stolen my heart. Connor showed us a part of American history that so many people have come to deny or neglect: the part where, no matter whose side you were on, you could not win the American Revolution as a Native American.  Beyond that, Connor has shown us a character that is, perhaps, not as extroverted as Ezio (sorry Altair, we love you and all), but is someone who has gone through serious trauma and rose up to create his own courage, his own honor, his own legacy. He may not be outspoken, he may be young and naïve, he may not be a playboy or a scholar, but Connor is a genuinely good person, and that’s something we rarely see in both video games and real life.

The one thing people don’t seem to realize is that Connor should be quiet. He should be reserved. He deserves to be able to feel no need to to justify himself to an entire world that is completely against who and what he is. At the very start of his story, when he is just a boy, Connor is harassed by Charles Lee for simply being Native — and just minutes later, he is forced to watch and cope with the fact that his mother has been burned alive by the same people who just trashed his heritage.

speak softly and carry a small army's worth of weaponry.
speak softly and carry a small army’s worth of weaponry.

Connor only speaks when he feels as though it’s just. He speaks when Samuel Adams calls his cause (as a participant of the American Revolution) just, but still owns human slaves. He speaks when something wrong has gone on, and he speaks with power far beyond his years. He speaks when he feels it is right, and that’s okay. We are not stupid, gamers — we can understand in-depth characters in various settings — we just need to listen. Connor is caught up in a situation that pulls him in every direction: his people are being destroyed by the country he is trying to save from the oppression of a country that he’s never even heard of.

Ubisoft, there are Native Americans in my life who cried when you announced that Connor would be your new main character. Their mothers, older people who have never touched a video game, were excited to watch their kids play and learn about this new hero, this Mohawk Warrior that was at the core of their heritage. There were young Natives, kids who are still bullied in school for being who they are, who were so excited to see a hero that wasn’t dressed up in a mockery of their culture. Assassin’s Creed 3 was presented to them as an unfinished game chock full of glitches that any other AC game would never leave the table with. Even now, with The Tyranny of King Washington DLC, where the lore of their culture is being explored through Connor’s new mystical powers, storyline and functionality falls short — you lose your tomahawk if you so much as pick a lock to unlock a chest. The lack of attention to detail in this game makes every other aspect, including the respect to accuracy of culture, completely suffer. This can’t happen. I beg you to give Connor a chance, to give him the game he deserves, to give him a 3.1 and 3.2 that shows him growing up, or even suffering through the hardships that come with being both an Assassin and a Native American. I know that, with Desmond gone, writing more of these games may be challenging. But I also know that there are people out there, of all nationalities, who would love to see Connor again. Groups such as the Wolfkin Initiative have formed to call players to action and take to all social media outlets in an effort to support the conception of more Connor games. We can’t have more DLCs like Tyranny. We need a cohesive, complete game, and I believe that is not too much to ask for.

I truly hope that after all of these essays, messages, and this personal appeal, Ubisoft reconsiders Connor as a character and brings something new and amazing to show fans that Connor is more than just a reserved man with a dark past. He is a hero, he is a good friend, and he is an amazing character.

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