Assassin’s Creed Unity Has Four Prologues

Assassin’s Creed Unity being bad was a cold take in the Obama years, but I never did finish it all the way through and I’ve decided to do that, just to finally scratch the completionist itch.

Most Assassin’s Creed games have bad openings. The only one with an opening that didn’t suck at least a little was maybe the first one, and even that one’s tutorial section in Masyaf was pretty egregious. The rest throw at least one hour of story setup at you before they let you parkour around Florence/Havana/Paris/Wherever and assassinate people. Somehow it has never occurred to Ubisoft in like fifteen games that they should start in media res and explain how Ezio’s family was killed/Edward Kenway found a dead assassin and stole his pajamas/Arno met his Templar girlfriend/whatever after they’ve got you stuck in doing some assassinations.

Assassin’s Creed Unity is possibly the prologuiest Assassin’s Creed game yet made, though. It starts with a prologue about the Templars being persecuted in France and hiding a technomagical laser sword, then moves on to a prologue about Arno as a child that as far as I can tell exists exclusively so it can cross over with the epilogue of Assassin’s Creed Rogue where you get to play this section as a Templar and assassinate someone instead of a small child who steals an apple, then continues into a prologue where a young adult Arno is established as being a very tiresome sort of rapscallion who has an illicit(?) romance with a noblewoman named Elise and is framed for the murder of Elise’s father, which leads to a prologue where the wrongly imprisoned Arno must escape the Bastille whilst it is being stormed by revolutionaries, and at that point you are in the proper open world map of Paris that the main game takes place in, although you do still have to complete one more mission to join the assassins, getting you a proper assassin outfit instead of your Bastille rags and a hidden blade so you can assassinate people instead of having to sword fight every guard right in the face.

Depending on whether or not you count the last one, that’s either four or five prologues, one of which exists purely because the idea of Unity’s prologue being Rogue’s epilogue probably sounded cool in a pitch meeting. You could’ve started in the Bastille, established Arno’s relationship to Elise and that he was falsely accused of assassinating her father when he turns up at her house after his escape, and just cut the 14th century prologue establishing the laser sword entirely, leaving you with one and a half prologues, which is positively restrained by Assassin’s Creed standards.

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