One of the great things about the Assassins Creed series is it allows us to visit historical events that occurred long before any of us were born (even if they are embellished with sci-fi). Though weve explored the Templar-infested streets of cities such as Jerusalem and Rome, weve never had the opportunity to check out a time period as recent as the Revolutionary War.
Sure, were pumped to see events we know are in Assassins Creed III--The Battle of Bunker Hill and naval engagements set during The Battle of the Chesapeake come to mind--and well surely meet the famous faces from history that are plastered on our dollar bills and beer bottles. But what about those characters and moments that didnt make it into the game? We spoke with Matt Turner, a scriptwriter for AC3, to discuss the Revolutions almost-game-worthy events. Some were axed due to conflicts between historical timing and the games setting while others just didnt fit, but all of the following events and figures existed and will enrich your Revolution-exploring experience.
Israel Putnams great underwear escape
Israel Putnam, a colonel in the Revolutionary War, had a few pretty amazing stories up his sleeve. "He was shipwrecked in the West Indies and was the only person to survive," Turner says. "He was stranded on a desert island where he survived on boot leather and palm leaves for three months, and then got rescued. He got captured by the Seneca Indians not long after that when he got home, and they tied him to a tree and were going to burn him at the stake. But he gnawed his rope loose, got free, and survived that, too."
Though Putnam is in the game, one of his last tales of near-death was considered--and then promptly excluded--from AC3. According to Turner, Putnam had retired from the ongoing war and was shaving in his house--clad only in underwear--when the Redcoats showed up to capture him. "He jumped out of a second story window in his underwear, ran to his horse, and ran from the Redcoats down a hill with just his pistols," Turner says, further explaining that the events inclusion wouldve felt forced.
"Bloody Ban," "The Butcher," "The Green Dragoon"--Banastre Tarleton was a British general and a man of many nicknames, which he gained through horrible actions. "Tarleton was this 22-year-old British dragoon commander," Turner says. "He would come across Patriots, they would surrender, and hed just kill them in their shoes. He was super feared." Tarletons image as a brutal leader was further reinforced by his troops actions during the Battle of Waxhaws--also known as Tarletons Quarter--where they mercilessly slaughtered more than 100 Continental troops after they had surrendered.
Connor wont cross paths with Tarleton, likely because a majority of his war effort took place in southern colonies--but what if the two had met? And what if Tarleton were a Templar? Its possible Connor would have encountered him during the Battle of Cowpens, where Tarletons army was defeated (though he managed to escape), but alas. Well never have the opportunity to bury a hatchet in Tarletons skull.
Benedict Arnolds traitorous deceit
A general for the American Continental Army, Benedict Arnold played a key role in some of the Revolutionary Wars major encounters, and was eventually given command of the fort in West Point, New York. Arnold plotted to surrender it to the British forces and defect to the British Army, but his plan was exposed before it came to fruition. He escaped before he could be captured, and died in London far, far away from the sharp end of Connors hidden blade.
"Certain battles we wouldve liked to have done, like the Battles of Saratoga, for example," Turner says. "It was a big turning point for the Patriots, and youd get to see Benedict Arnold in that battle before he turned into a traitor." Turner laments his team didnt have the bandwidth for many things they wouldve liked to have put in the game, including Arnolds defection. "It wasnt even a technical thing, it was just a matter of the gameplay and where the story was going, and there was no room for it," he says.
Nathanael Greenes strategic retreat
A series of substantial defeats for the Patriots in the South meant British general Charles Cornwallis was racking up victories while burning everything to the ground thanks to his scorched earth policy. Nathanael Greene, the newly appointed leader of the Continental Armys southern forces, knew his troops didnt stand a chance against Cornwallis, and attempted a daring tactic that ultimately paid off. "Greenes strategy for the last three years of the war was to keep retreating across the South," Turner says. Cornwallis continued to give chase and scorch earth, which inadvertently converted some Loyalists into Patriots. "Greene literally lost on purpose. As he was doing that, the grassroots support for the Patriots grew and grew and grew."
Again, its likely that the south-bound retreat didnt make it for geographical reasons, but this couldve been a great opportunity for Connor to recruit new assassins. Imagine running through a destroyed village in the wake of Cornwallis march, assisting those whove lost everything and convincing them to join you in your battle against the Templars.
The frontiers free agent
More minor figures, though not quite as pivotal as, say, George Washington, still played important (albeit minor) roles in the war. One such man was Simon Girty. "He was this really super obscure person," Turner says, describing him as a crazy cool frontiersman who lived in the woods and didnt give a darn about loyalty. (Obscure, indeed--we couldnt even find a suitable image of the guy for this article.) Girty and his brothers were captured by and integrated into a Seneca tribe as children, but he left the tribe around the age of 21 do his own thing.
"He was constantly switching sides in the fight and was living in the frontier," Turner says. "He would barter for prisoners, for Patriot and Redcoat alike, and just set them free because he had no allegiance. During the Revolution, he was the quintessential turncoat because he switched sides like seven times." Admittedly, watching a mountain man flip-flop loyalties probably wouldnt have been all that exciting, and Simon Girty was likely passed over as a result.
The foreign trainer
When the Continental Army was formed, it was a ragtag coalition of militiamen with no proper training. To remedy this, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was brought in. "He was this dude they brought over during Valley Forge to train the troops of Marquis de Lafayette," Turner says. "He didnt speak a word of English. He had this 17-year-old translator that would walk around wherever he went, and he was this really wild dude that drilled the American troops and made them into an army." It mightve been pretty amazing to watch a super-intense von Steuben scream at budding soldiers in German while his translator screamed in English, but Turner says witnessing this event wasnt so awesome in practice.
"We couldnt really have pointed scenes with [von Steuben] because youd always have to be filtering it through a translator. It just felt weird, and we already had Lafayette at Valley Forge, so we were like, you know what, hes awesome, but he doesnt fit in the way we wanted. We cant do him justice."
Grab those history books
These are but a fraction of the Revolutionary events that didnt make it into AC3s list of historic reenactments. What are you hoping to see in the game? Take a moment to tell us in the comments below, and be sure to check back for our full review of the game around its release date on October 30.
Need more Assassins Creed III in your life? Be sure to check out our list of 63 amazing things we saw and did in Colonial America, as well as alternate history DLC that needs to happen.