About games and gaming thereof!

A Real Assassin Game

Anyone who follows my Twitter probably knows I’ve been playing D&D recently. D&D is not new to me at all; I’ve played the game as early as when I was 8 years old (rough guess). I’ve been wanting to make an assassin character for awhile (not assassin as in “dude who kills other dudes for money,” as in “dude who takes the special Assassin prestige class”) but whenever we start a new campaign either someone takes the skill expert place before I do or I’m not allowed to make an evil character.

Being an assassin requires you to be evil. At first I thought that was kind of weird, but it makes sense. I mean, you’re killing people for no reason but profit. That doesn’t exactly put you on any moral high ground.

Assassination is a pretty dark business, and this inevitably got me thinking: Why haven’t we had any video games about it?

The two games that come to mind are Assassin’s Creed and Velvet Assassin. But neither of those depict assassination for what it really is. In Assassin’s Creed the assassins are actually part of some sort of sacred ancestry devoted to saving the world from the evil totalitarian government. In Velvet Assassin you’re a British wartime spy who’s assassinating Nazis.

It’s weird, there’s this inherently interesting concept and whenever people make a game about it they have to change it into something else entirely. Why can’t we have an assassin game that embraces the dark, gritty, and downright evil tone that would presumably fit assassination like a glove?

I guess another reason I’ve been thinking this is because I’ve been playing Thief lately. Thief very closely resembles this assassination game I’m imagining; it’s just that instead of assassinating people, your job is to steal things. Oh, and there are a bunch of silly zombie and monster encounters, but that’s a whole different story. Point is, you could say that people want a protagonist they can relate with and wouldn’t want to play as the “bad guy,” but Thief begs to differ. Garrett is a very amoral and mischievous character, and Thief reportedly has a fourth installment along the way, so nobody can say it hasn’t been a success.

Sorry if this post doesn’t seem to have much insight. It’s just what’s been on my mind. I’d really like to see a true assassin game.

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11 responses

  1. This seems rather obvious, but have you looked at Hitman (http://goo.gl/Rm3BI)? Agent 47 is a great example of the true assassin for hire. While storylines due become personal to 47 rather than merely jobs, there is still a fair amount of doing an assassin’s work for money.

    Also – about the Thief series being successful, remember what happened to the companies who made them. The first two were made by Looking Glass Studio. Closed doors in 2000. The third was made by Ion Storm. Shut down in 2005. Not a great track record for Eidos Montreal to follow.

    Interesting side note: Ion Storm also made the two Deus Ex games. Eidos Montreal’s other current project? Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

    May 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    • JPH

      I got Hitman: Blood Money on Steam and tried it out. It really didn’t hook me. I didn’t like the interface, things constantly went wrong, and I thought it was really weird that they purposefully limited the number of times you could quicksave each level.

      Still, I guess I might try it again at some point.

      May 28, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    • JPH

      And yeah, it really does seem like Eidos Montreal is picking up on where Ion Storm left off in many ways. Hey, maybe they’ll make a Daikatana 2!

      May 30, 2011 at 9:03 PM

  2. Duncan

    What about the Hitman series? Never played it, but it sounds a lot like being an assassin.

    There was also the re-enact the JFK shooting game a few years back.

    May 28, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    • GiantRaven

      JFK: Reloaded? Easily the most hilariously bad tasteful game in existence.

      May 29, 2011 at 9:52 AM

  3. Falcon

    I think your assessment of assassins is a bit… lopsided. What you reference (amoral killer for hire) is certainly a type of assassin, there is certainly more to it than that. What about government sponsored hit squads? How many times have people been targeted by a government assassin throughout history? I’m guessing more than we know.

    What about groups like the IRA or the Red Revolution? They certainly use assassination type tactics. Are they not valid? There are most definitely groups in history that have used targeted killings for ideological reasons to advance a goal. Making the argument that the only true assassins were amoral fortune seekers, and games like AC don’t fit the assassin mold, ring untrue for me.

    That said they aren’t what you want, which is a completely different point.

    May 30, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    • JPH

      That’s essentially the point I was meaning to make. I don’t want to play as a government agent. I want to play as a killer for hire.

      And if you don’t like my definition of assassin, don’t blame me. Blame D&D. They’re the ones who said all assassins are evil, I was just going off of that.

      May 30, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      • Well the word assassin does come from Hashashiyyin(one of many possible ways to write the word in English) so maybe if assassin’s creed didn’t make the assassins good but actually made it more like how the group was in real life, it would have been something you liked better. Although the assassin’s did fight against the crusaders, which is arguably good, the original reason the order was founded was for one Muslim to dominate his rival Muslim groups in the region. Perhaps that would have been more to your liking.

        Unrelated: I was inspired by your playing of old games, so I played some Doom, or part of it at least. Much better than I expected. You may be interested in reading about it at my blog.

        May 30, 2011 at 4:10 PM

  4. It’s interesting that you say(or rather DnD says, but you seem to agree) that killing people for money is evil, so I’m wondering if you’ll have a little conversation about that.

    Lets say we have a guy named Cloud, and his employer Barret. Cloud kills people for money. The people his killing are arguably evil, but fighting evil is clearly not the motivation, as evidenced by Cloud refusing to continue working until Barret payed him even more money than he was already getting.

    You may notice this is based on FF7, but it only applies to the beginning of the game, cause Cloud’s motivation changed from money to getting revenge on Sephiroth, which is a whole different conversation. The question here is, is Cloud evil because he kills for money, and which is more important, the motivation for killing, or the people being killed.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    • JPH

      I would consider Cloud evil, or at least I’d consider him evil at the beginning when his motivation was money.

      It’s not about the actions; it’s about the intentions. The motivations. Even if you’re killing someone evil, if your only motivation is money then that means it could just as easily have been someone good that you were killing. That means you don’t hold any value in human life. I consider that evil.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:50 AM

  5. Pingback: Cloud: Hero or Heartless Killer « MaxFF's Blog

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