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You know what a lot of people have been wondering about the latest Assassin's Creed title? If it's set during the French revolution, why are there no French accents from the cast of characters? Well that's a very good question, especially considering that in some previous Assassin's Creed titles the characters or locals did speak with an accent native to the region (even though they spoke English instead of their native language.)
Ubisoft has an answer for those of you asking the question, except it's an answer you may not entirely like.
Over on the Ubisoft blog, creative director Alex Amancio discusses the linguistic enunciation choice for Assassin's Creed Unity and it had everything to do with the Animus. Yes... the Animus.
According to Amancio...
The idea is that the Animus is translating everything into the language you’re playing in,” ... “That’s why, since you’re an Anglophone, you’re hearing all the dialogue and cinematics in English. It would really make no sense for there to be a French accent because that would mean that this French character is trying to address you in accented English. Everyone in the game is not trying to speak English for your benefit.”
I find that to be really, really odd. It's always kind of off-putting when that happens in movies. For instance, it was impossible for me to enjoy 47 Ronin with Keanu Reevese – and not just because of his acting... or lack thereof – due to the fact that everyone spoke broken English in the movie. It just seemed like it would have been better to have them speak... I don't know, Japanese? But then there's the whole subtitle debate.
Anyway, Amancio explains that not only are the characters speaking English but British-English. Weird, right? According to the blog, Ubisoft adopted the method from Hollywood who frequently uses British accents for “period pieces”... even in outer-space... like Star Wars.
Again, the logic is so twisted that it's hard for me to understand this move. If the Animus translated the natural lingo to English for the sake of Anglophiles, wouldn't it just mean that the natives from that location would still speak in English just with their natural accents? I mean, wouldn't that make the most sense? If the game is supposed to be depicting the period to (presumably) Americans, then the British accent makes even less sense.
Convoluted logic aside, the upside is that there will be an option to simply have the French language option available. I might actually be inclined to turn that on.
Additionally, all the NPC crowds will also speak French. According to Amancio...
“The only lines that are going to be translated into English are gameplay-related elements that we need to convey to the player,” ... “Those parts will be in English. Everything else is in French. You’ll really have the immersion of walking around in Paris and hearing everyone speaking French.”
That's a slightly more reasonable approach to the matter. Of course, Alex wanted to make it known that the decision to opt with going with British accents over French accents was entirely an artistic choice, stating...
“It’s a new generation and the story is a little bit more serious, and having everyone speak in a thick French accent would detract a lot from the experience.”
Assassin's Creed Unity is due for release on November 11th for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.