As I’ve mentioned many times before, I love the Assassin’s Creed series. Getting to run around historical time periods and interacting with people and events from history is nothing short of fantastic. We do know that the series is based on actual history but certainly takes a fair number of civil liberties to make the situations and events even more interesting. Can’t fault them for that at all. Look at the gameplay demo from Assassin’s Creed Revelations for example. Ezio uses a flamethrower to set an entire harbor ablaze while standing on a ship. If you were like me then you thought something like this, “Wow, they had a flamethrower turret back then?”
Ever wonder what’s real and what’s fictionalized? I’m going to try to set some truths apart from the fiction with this feature. What better series to kick things off than Assassin’s Creed? Lets take a closer look at that gameplay demo. So did Flamethrower Turrets really exist back then?
Details and other facts await you below the break.
Game Mechanic: Flamethrower Turret
Truth or Fiction:
Actually, this one is quite true. Though, not known as “flamethrowers” or “turrets” back then, the Byzantine’s actually did use devices like the one shown to decimate their enemies. Known in modern terms as “Greek Fire”, the Byzantine’s used this incendiary weapon very effectively and were feared by other nations for their use of it. The genius of the weapon was that it could continue burning even under water. Pretty crazy right? The Byzantines loved using this weapon during sieges or in Naval battles, so the game is actually using it correctly in the demo. It typically was delivered through a tube with a “projector” type device on the stern of a ship for example. I can’t comment on the hand crank method shown in the E3 demo, but I can confirm “flamethrowers” were definitely used during that time. Consider this one true.
Game Mechanic: Bombs
Truth or Fiction:
Revelations is introducing a bombcrafting system to the franchise. So far we’ve seen a smoke bomb and a normal explosive being used in the gameplay. Not sure how extensive bomb use is in the game so it’s hard to say how many liberties are going to be taken for sake of interesting gameplay in the game. However, this one is true to some degree as the Byzantines did make use of ceramic, glass, and stone jars for hand thrown explosives. A kind of precursor to grenades, the Byzantines were known to place their feared Greek Fire in a jar and use them in combat starting during the reign of Leo III in the 8th century. From what I’ve read and seen, this one looks pretty accurate with the size and shape of the explosive shown in the E3 demo. They really did look like jars and some even had a cloth hanging out of the top which they would light and then throw at the enemy. Petards were another type of explosive that was used primarily for siege warfare centuries before the time frame presented in this game by the French.
Game Mechanic: Guns/Janissary Unit
Truth of Fiction:
While not seen in the demo, the word Janissary is spoken by Yusif Tazim to Ezio during his arrival in Constantinople. The Byzantine and then Ottoman Empire employed a feared special unit to guard their high-ranking officials. Janissaries were Christian children taken at an early age and trained to be fighting specialists. This specialized fighting force was created by Murad I starting in the 14th century and lasted until well into the 19th century. Janissaries started out as expert archers, but quickly moved on to and mastered firearms like the musket in the 16th century. They were also great at siege warfare and engineering skills as well. These guys were well versed in using early hand grenades which ties neatly back into the discussion above. You can bet you’ll be seeing these guys in some form during your time as Ezio in Constantinople.
Need a refresher on the E3 demo? Here’s the video: