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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Assassin's Creed's Resident Historian Maxime Durand on Mixing Fact with Fiction

00:00 57:02
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Like it or not, far more millennials will learn about Renaissance and medieval history through Assassin's Creed than they ever will through a history book. That can be dispiriting on the one hand —the game, after all, seems like a completely ahistorical look on the Nizaris—or Assassin's as they are known in the West—and the knights Templar. Plenty of flipping and stabbing but little in the way of fact. But what if Ubisoft, the creators of Assassin's Creed, actually take their history very seriously? What if they are providing a truly mass-scale historical education? I figured if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So I talked to Maxime Durand, Ubisoft's in-house historian. Maxime helps to ensure the accuracy of the gameplay and story around the historical events and aspects of that time period. The games have taken in Renaissance Italy, Constantinople, Revolutionary America, Revolutionary France, the pirate-infested Caribbean, and Ancient Egypt. He tries to give cameos to real historical figures, such as the French Revolution's Babriel Riqueti, the comte de Birabeau (he was seen as the father of the revolution but at the end it was proven he was talking to the king and queen in secret). But the game also takes liberties with the past in order to tell a give story and give it license to include folk legends. An example is the The Scarlet Pimpernel or the Little Red Ghost—a paranormal inhabitant of a palace where Napoleon was based. It was said that the ghost told every king and monarch -- even Napoleon -- that they would die at a certain point. The ghost said to them he would protect them up until the point of their death. Find out how fact and fiction merge together in this interview with Maxime Durand.   RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE Assassin's Creed Maxime Durand   TO HELP OUT THE SHOW Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one. Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher  
October 30, 2017
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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