- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wars and video games seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. But those games usually involve tanks and machine guns and Tet offensives; not horses, bayonets and Bunker Hill.

Now, though, one of the biggest game releases of the upcoming holiday season is immersing players in the Revolutionary War, with key cameos from George Washington, Ben Franklin and other Founding Fathers.

“Assassin’s Creed III” is due for release Tuesday, immersing players in Colonial America and the Revolutionary War. (Video gamers in the Northeast angling to be among the first to play the highly anticipated game will have to wait a little longer — even if they have power. As Superstorm Sandy continued its disruptions, GameStop stores canceled their midnight launches of Ubisoft’s historical action sequel in affected areas.)

In some ways, the game is meticulous with historical accuracy. Great attention was paid to research to re-create the cities of New York and Boston on a one-third scale. History professors were brought in as consultants.

In other ways, the game takes liberties with history. It integrates the Revolutionary War into the overarching story of “Assassin’s Creed,” in which the secret society of the Knights Templar fills the role as the game’s overarching villain.

Game creators were reluctant to reveal too many details in advance of the game’s release. Review copies were not available in advance.

The game’s creative director, Alex Hutchinson, said the ability to explore a historical era that has been largely left untouched by the gaming world was one of the most exciting aspects of the project.

As for Washington himself, Mr. Hutchinson said he wanted the game to portray the fact that for the man who would become the nation’s first president, it was far from certain that America would win the war.

“He wasn’t sure he was going to win,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “When you read their letters, they were very uncertain for much of their time” how the war would turn out.

Francois Furstenberg, a history professor at the University of Montreal, who has written about the iconography that surrounds Washington, served as a consultant and said he was interested less in making sure names and dates were perfect, but more in the game’s overarching narrative. He said the game’s creators shared his desire to depict the war in a nuanced way that avoided portraying one side as the good guys and vice versa.

“Anything that complicates the narrative is a good thing,” he said. “If anything, I think they were more interested in sort of a muckraking account” of the Revolution, something that agreed with Mr. Furstenberg.

The game’s protagonist — Connor, half-American Indian, half-British and not aligned with either side — served as a good vehicle for exploring the era in a way that avoids patriotic cliches, Mr. Hutchinson said.

The game’s international fan base also demands an evenhanded approach to the Revolution, said Mr. Hutchinson, who is frequently questioned by skeptical fans who worry the game will be too pro-American.

Not to worry, said Mr. Hutchinson, who jokes that he’s an Australian living in Canada making a game about the American Revolution for a French software company.

Even where it sought to be realistic, the game’s creators took a few liberties. Washington, for instance, is first introduced as a young officer serving under Gen. Edward Braddock in the French and Indian war. The game makers took great care to show the youthful Washington accurately, as a redhead. Looking at the finished product, though, they felt they ought to add a touch of gray to Washington’s hair, to more closely match the iconic image of Washington held by the public.

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