A Load Of Bologna: Tower And Power

By Adam Smith on January 14th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

I enjoyed the first two Assassin’s Creed games despite being the worst assassin that history had ever been witness to. I spent my time exploring the cities rather than murdering the people who lived there, looking for vantage points, enjoying the views. Of course, every now and then I had to kill someone, just to open up the next area to explore. Assassination is the Olden Times equivalent of a ticket on the National Express. But if the past is another country, why must I be more than a tourist there? Tower and Power, currently on Kickstarter, understands that walking through history could be pleasurable without all the parkour and puncturing.

I bet nobody watched that from beginning to end, but even so, perhaps some of you are as intrigued as I am? If the recreation of medieval Bologna is as faithful as claimed, the project strikes me as being educationally and culturally valid, as well as being a toy that I’d like to play with.

There will be some missions available, mostly encouraging exploration, so possibly more like targets and objectives than fully fleshed out quests, but it’s the scale of the research and reproduction that impresses me. I’ll climb a tower whether there’s a feather at the top or not.

The Kickstarter campaign launched over a week ago and hasn’t received much attention yet and I’m willing to admit that I’m in a very small minority of people who would actually want to play with it. I enjoy messing about with Google Earth and reading about medieval history far more than anyone else I know so maybe I’m the precise target audience. Behold, Adam, the focus group that nobody ever asked for. But, hey, if the project raises enough money, there will be an actual proper gamey-game attached to it.

“Our ultimate dream is to create a game of true historical popularization, which may preserve all the features of an adventurous and fascinating experience. The concept will be based on an original set of rules to allow players to place themselves in Mediaeval daily lives, the events which take place in the game and the town map being historically faithful…”

I’ve seen so many discussions about where and when the Assassin’s Creed games should venture, but which city, in which period, would you like to see remade Tower and Power style? I’d go for Edinburgh, although I’m not sure when. Anytime when it’s not snowing, really, as both times I’ve visited in winter I’ve slipped and made a right fool of myself.

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21 Comments »

  1. Zanchito says:

    Sort of like Patrician, or The Guild, or something?

    • Chandos says:

      A first person, significantly less buggy The Guild with accurately depicted cities and adventure elements tossed in could be interesting indeed.

  2. RobinOttens says:

    Cool. I’d been trying my hand at doing something like this myself for a local fort that got ruined a couple of centuries back. But recreating an entire city to scale is impressive (if you’re not a 300 artists strong AAA mega-development team). I’ll think about giving them my money maybe.

    Reminds me a bit of those old Cryo adventure games that rebuilt old Egyptian cities and such. And how just exploring those settings in free-play mode without the murder-mystery plot to drive me got boring after a while.

  3. leQuack says:

    Besides the city being beautiful and all, I still don’t get what would be gamey about this ‘game’. Playing urban street games? The title sounds awesome, but I don’t think I would feel very powerful looking at a tower. Let alone floating down from one.

    The ‘personal family tree’ on the kickstarter page is a definite turn-off though

  4. Feferuco says:

    You know what’d be mighty fine, some world war II documentary game. You get to play the battles, but it is all very realistic and consequently not fun at all (maybe throw in a spectator mode). The point not being to win the battles but to “experience” them. Then on top of that throw the option to get commentary on things you see and do, throwing in some interviews and real footage and whatever. And the game wouldn’t be structured on levels to beat, instead you’d just get all the material open from the start and a helpful guide to take you through it, which could be ignored entirely.

    Also a MP mode that trivializes everything and lets you teabag other players.

    • frightlever says:

      If you want to experience a game about WW I (not II) style trench warfare that is a game but not a lot of fun then dig out a copy of Iron Storm.

      This KS seems well-intentioned, ambitious and of zero interest to me. Sure people like exploring new places, but new places that are “living” with things to do. Putting that amount of detail into the map is going to be beyond them. Disclaimer: I don’t actually like “outside”.

  5. jhng says:

    Sounds interesting. I have often thought that there is scope for more games that scratch the same itch as really good historical novels. There would also be the added bonus that the flexibility and non-linearity of gaming can allow for varying historical perspectives and interpretations. Imagine a game that took Witcher 2′s approach to narrative and applied it to the ambiguities surrounding the Cromwelliam revolution and subsequent restoration.

  6. Felixader says:

    They could start to make some money by selling the music. If it is of their own making that is.

  7. Berzee says:

    “I’ll climb a tower whether there’s a feather at the top or not.”

    Even if there’s not a pile of straw to jump into beneath it?
    (Or more recently…giant pine branches?)

  8. Dances to Podcasts says:

    “which city, in which period, would you like to see remade Tower and Power style?”

    Cold War Berlin? Paris during the commune era?

  9. identiti_crisis says:

    Don’t worry Adam, no-one can really say what is hip. Just be yourself.

    That taken care of, this does look interesting – but I’m probably part of that minority, too.
    I quite like the sound of Edinburgh, my vote for a time period would be during the Anglo-Saxon conquest of the area. I’d like to see how the weird mixture of cultures (and the languages that followed them around) could be conveyed in engaging ways.

  10. jeanjoan421 says:

    up to I saw the paycheck for $8479, I be certain that my brothers friend actualy bringing home money parttime at their computer.. there mums best friend has been doing this less than nineteen months and recently took care of the loans on there condo and purchased a new Mazda. read more at, http://www.bit90.com

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    phuzz says:

    That tower reminds me of a custom CouterStrike level, can anyone else remember which one it was?

  12. Shuck says:

    Assassin’s Creed: Kowloon.

  13. beetle says:

    If they were to open source the assets under some sort of permissive licence (e.g. cc-by ), then this could be of great benefit to gamers like me who are annoyed by super-unrealistic city plans that tend to be present in games. Game developers who need a medieval city could adapt a real city to their needs.

  14. Gwyddelig says:

    Suddenly, Yossarian….

  15. Tathaichte says:

    Someone should bring this to the attention of Mr Umberto Eco, I’m sure he would be interested.

  16. Agricola says:

    Completely with you on this Adam. The main draw for me of the Assassins Creed games is not the assassin’ing but simply the joy of exploring a historical city. I’d personally love a faithful recreation of ancient Rome or Athens.

  17. P.Funk says:

    I had wished that AC3 would have been French Revolution instead of American Revolution. Soon as we get to the more modern North American era things get harder to make… well unbiased. It becomes too personal. If its renaissance or some foreign revolution I find things can be more objective without people calling BS because it doesn’t agree with their political and social view of their own history.

    I think this “game” in particular could be good, because gaming used to have a lot more adventure and exploration in it without the implicit need for fighting or simplistic transparent puzzles in it. Myst in a breathing accurate medieval town? Might be good.