The What If Machine - Assassins
- Nov 5, 2012
Cam ditches Science in favour of History this week, as he investigates Assassins through the ages. Just how close does the archetypal hitman from video games compare with those from antiquity?
I like assassins creed and hitman but i didnt play dishonored.And about cezares death in rome he deserved it because he was one of the most notorious historical figures he did a genocide,abraham lincoln was a good man and historical figur.
The entire use of the term Assassin in relation to the AC games is bad. They are not assassins in any meaningful sense, but rather just soldiers on one side of a conflict that prefer a specific, stealthy approach to combat. While the killing of Yamamoto in WWII for example is considered an assassination, the specific targeting of officers on any battlefield is not. In AC, you simply go thru the game picking off the leadership of one specific faction. This isn't really assassination anymore than bombing military command centers to kill the leadership of an enemy is.
The simple fact is that assassin orders such as in the AC series didn't really exist as such. Even the Hashashins and Ninjas of old are far more legend than reality. Assassinations are generally carried out by loose cabals of conspirators, much like the Gunpowder Treason, or even the 9/11 attacks. Others by lone aggressors almost always fanatical (Wilkes-Booth) or mentally unstable (Hinkley Jr). But entire professional orders of hired killers is as much fantasy as dragons, and even the two or three groups of mercenary killers known to have existed. made no truly significant or lasting impact beyond a curious historical footnote.
The purpose of assassination is policy change, thus assassination is virtually always motivated by more than 'professional' interest such as money. Assassination is an act of desperation in the extreme, and not the cold, cunning form of employment that it's portrayed as in games and movies. Hence most assassins are not professional killers but rather motivated fanatics of some cause.
This episode came out at the beginning of November, and not a single mention of the Gunpowder Treason???
@TheLamaKnows I agree, but its not like they can change it know. Originally it was true, you were in fact and assassin. That is what Altair was. In terms of Ezio, Connor, and Desmond not so much but still, the name stuck.
@Jmaster211 You are of course correct. However the Assassin and Templar names seem to stem from the immediate times of the first game, but the game indicates that the struggle between the two organizations has been going on much longer. So what were they before the existence of the Templars during the Crusades? It's just a plot hole among several but stands out because neither organization has anything to do with it's title. The name Assassin's Creed implies murder for hire, but you are simply an agent with a singular enemy. By definition that ceases to be assassins and becomes nothing more than gang warfare. Crips, Bloods, Templars...even the side assassination missions had you target a low level Templar lackey.
A niggling issue sure, but one that would have been easier to overlook had the devs simply not tacked on all the Desmond/modern day bits to the game. His part of the series is what puts these plot holes under a spotlight.
The death of Thomas Becket was not an assassination, it was just wanton murder by a bunch of confused knights.
Worthless commentary.. your topic is about assassins not famous assassinations. The entire focus was off. The information provided is (should be) common knowledge. Your speakers gave no real insight; so why even feature them? Spend some actual time researching and find interesting assassins instead of covering some of the most famous events in history. I expect better from a professional website.
What about poison and venomous snakes and insects? They don't talk a lot about assassins as a profession, as Assassin's Creeds' plot lines follow. The three examples in the beginning are all political assassinations meant to be famous and theatrical. Those are some of the most high-profile assassinations in history. I think Assassin's Creed made it a point to show that their work was not about high profile killings.
BORRING!!!! I wanted to know about assassins creed stuff not about history. I already know those murders. This show is about games and logic, not history class.
There was an article on cracked.com about the most ridiculous successful assassinations. The one involving a man in a full bear costume during a carnival killing his target with a giant axe, but not before he defended himself with a giant candlestick is the one I will never forget.
How could they forget to mention poisonings. I mean, many notable assassinations, both ancient and modern have been committed with the use of poisons, It's no coincidence that royalty used to employ food tasters and such. Very disappointed they left this crucial part of the history of assassinations out. Sure, not very action-paced but very effective nonetheless.
@ 6:21 guys says Spencer Perceval (British Prime Minister) was killed by a sword, but I'm pretty sure he was shot by John Bellingham. But oh well I guess...
the third installment of assassin is an idiot idea.Nobody finds appealing playing in...America. It's boring. In fact it's so boring that not even a pirated copy to see what is about I won't take. That must say something about how much this game suckc as an idea
How did they forget about the assassination of bishop valentine? There's an assassination with far reaching implications. I feel this was a missed opportunity to bring up the Hashassins, from which our word assassin comes from. I for one am not anticipating next week's episode with any eagerness. All one need understand is the Drake equation, and that most of the values in the Drake equation are based on conjecture. Thusly, it can be made to suggest anything.
I think the most modern assassin today would have to refrain from using any kind of weapons and start using his brain and a hell lotta gadgets, like aranging a car accident or a plane crash while eating in a diner. Probably Ubisoft's Watch Dogs can make something out of this. Also Ubisofts is preparing the next Call of Juarez back to roots but with a headhunter character kind of...
Anyway, when's gonna be a what if machine about Fallout or Borderlands, you know, post-apocalyptic theme.
I think the ambiguity point made by the ACIII designer is a crucial point. Do you know who the most successful Assassin in history was (defining successful as having a long career)? Neither do I, because we've never heard of them as they've never been exposed. Of course we have outliers like Booth and Brutus who either got caught or wanted it known that they were involved, and that's why we're able to talk about them. Do we know who assassinated Bin Laden? No, and it'll likely stay that way for a long time, because their network keeps their cover intact. In all three of those games, getting caught equals failure, and illustrates the huge difference between one-offs like Booth, Brutus, and Oswald (who for all we know was framed successfully by the real Assassin) and Connor, Corvo, and Agent 47: if you get caught after you assassinate your mark, you're of no use to your handler/organization in the future, and therefore unable to assassinate any more targets. The Ninja of feudal Japan used disguises, obscure tools that were the high technology of the time, and blades/projectiles to complete hit after hit without revealing their identity. They are probably the closest historical precedent to the Assassins of today's games. Also, the political ramifications are an interesting consideration as well, something that is explored well in the AC franchise, especially in Liberation where (SPOILERS) killing the governor just leaves you with more problems from the next governor who you must then go after (END SPOILERS) Something that wasn't considered is the nature of the target. Killings by Mafia hit men and by privately contracted modern hit men are normally of people with no political importance, such as businessmen and cheating spouses with good life insurance. They are also performed by individuals who don't know the target well, and the hit men are often disguised in one way or another because they aren't trying to get recognition, they're doing it for cash or for personal gain within their organization.
The problem with the discussion is that there are a lot of killings and attempted killings that may not be labeled assassinations because they are conducted by people labeled instead as terrorists, or soldiers (for example during the Viet Nam conflict there were lots of assassinations on both sides). Furthermore, when assassinations are directed by government agencies, they usually do not want to take credit, so what you may end up with are 'accidental' deaths or, at best, rumors and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. When the killing is up close and personal and in public, generally speaking, it's usually easy enough to know a lot of the details. But when a car bomb goes off, or someone dies of a mysterious heart attack, and so on, unless someone comes forward, or a file becomes unclassified, you may never know the truth. It's happened so much that the killing of South American dictators by the CIA has become a cliche.
I didn't see this topic coming in the What-if Machine. However, this was a pretty enjoyable episode.
@SciFiCat but then they aren't recognized...that's the problem of assassins. To leave no trail, be perfect and no one will know or to identify yourself to be famous and be the one that murder someone important... Peronally i would leave a sign or a symbol that represents my murder, so then I would be known but not for m real name... lol...
@Danituga Will you use your XboxLive Gamertag/PSN ID/Stream as an identifier then?
@Vastano @avatarIVN lol why's that? I could have a signature kill like a shot to the eye or even I could rip his own eye... The post-it idea is nice..is going to the maybe box. I need something that could be done in close and long range. Something that could be nice while killing with a dagger or with a sniper rifle...hmmmm....
Normally i'd say Assassins Creed!!! But AC3 totally sucked. Way to much annoying bugs. Really bad story. Connor is just an ass. And not to even start about the ending....
It's like they only worked on the graphics...
Gamespot should have asked different questions. The way they (must've) presented the questions to those historians they all turned out talking about MAJOR events, such as Lincoln and Caesar. Hitman, for one, focuses on powerful, but but so public, figures, the targets are mafia bosses, evil company owners, not presidents and rulers mostly; also all the killings are done with no emotional sense at all, it's just a contract. Assassin's Creed killings are much bigger in scope, but still not that driven by emotion, it's still PROFESSIONAL. They should've focused on professional killing instead, like the "Chacal" (Jackal).
@Talisac Assassins's killings are completely driven by emotion. Hitmen and contract killers are not assassins. Assassinations were ALL major events, because Assassins only target political or ideological figures, thats what makes them assassins. Killing a CEO of a compnay does not make you an assassin, it makes you a hitman. There is a BIG difference. Assassins dont kill for money.
The 1st expert seems very happy about Lincoln's assassination, can't hide his glee, he's literally like "..assassination of Abraham Lincoln" :D :D
Thing is vast majority of past assassins werent our ideal assassins. Just a guy who sneaks close to their target, and kills them. Usually meaning they got caught. A one time event. Really not that much of a badass at all. Chances are a good assassin would eliminate their target, it gets pinned on someone else, and history would be none the wiser. Meaning these guys have no idea what they are talking about.
None of these cases cover our ideal assassin who takes out targets one after the other like the "heroes" found in the AC franchise. I mean that is the point of the video after all.
Im sure this video should of followed gov't conspiracies or cold war drama. Or maybe ninjas. But then the line between "soldiers", murderers, and what not gets blurred.
I think the only REAL way you can get to an glorified video game assassin is digging up history on organized crime hitmen. They had to track a specific target, kill them, hide evidence, and dodge authorities. And then do it again and again.
stupid pieace of shit gamespot, why would i have to RELOAD THE VIDEO AGAIN AFTER I JUST STREAMED THE WHOLE VIDEO, SAVE THE DAM MEMRORY!!!!!!!!
they have all forgotten two incredible assassinations,one, i do agree with Julius Ceasar,but for the medieval era i would posit the one of the imam ali (No i am not moslem) and three what about the Medici murder, where even the pope was know found to be involved.
How about assassination by limpet mine? i.e. the assassination of a greenpeace activist in the 1980s by 3 french government agents? They donned wetsuits, used an inflatable dinghy under cover of darkness to enter the harbour, attached a limpet mine to a greenpeace vessel, consequently sank it, murdering a crew-member, and were shortly afterwards captured by police...
@jamesnamorrison Not technically assassins. Its a slippery slope when talking about Assassinations carried out by government agencies, because an Agent is not technically an Assassin, although he may be required to carry out assassinations. Thats why you dont hear about the CIA or KGB, or the Shinobi at all in this video. Assassins generally don't answer to a government.
Sure, Lincoln, Caesar and JFK were assassinated, but by assassins per se? Those were all examples of people holding a specific grudge which they decided to deal with personally. I would have liked a look at the idea of professional assassins, which is more akin to those in games as opposed to the examples listed in the video. Although I guess that would have been much harder to do research for.
@ck10304 All Assassins have a grudge that they deal with personally. Being an Assassin is not a profession, per say, as no REAL assassin makes any money from it. Even in fiction, assassins stick to the true definition of the term: People who kill Political or ideological figures because of political or ideological reasons. The Movie Wanted: Assassins killed for ideological purposes, not for money. The whole plot was about how they became corrupt hitmen because the leader was taking bribes. Assassins Creed: None of those assassins made any money from killing targets, again The plot of the first game was how (SPOILER) the head assassin was taking bribes from the templars(/SPOILER).
Every Assassin in history: John Wilkes Booth, Brutus, Hanzo Hattori, Gavrilo Princip, von Staufenberg, etc. None of them assassinated for money. People who kill people for money are hitmen, not assassins.
Nice video. There was some good info in it, though the smiling Lincoln guy was annoying as hell! lol
None of these assassinations come to my mind when I think about assassinations haha. I would say JFK is the most known assassination?
@HitmanSquirrel Really? I would think plenty of people would know the Lincoln Assassination.
@MXVIII Didn't pop into my mind, only realised when they said! Really don't know why JFK wasn't used in this though!
@HitmanSquirrel He was. they talk about it a couple of times. but the kennedy assassination was at a distance. they wanted to talk about up close and personal assassinations. like in the game