Assassin’s Creed Unity – Where’s Your Accent?

Assassin’s Creed Unity is set in revolutionary Paris, France. It stands to reason a good majority of the characters are French. So why don’t they have French accents? And can we still hear the game in French if we want to? These questions have been on quite a few people’s minds, so we chatted with Creative Director Alex Amancio to get the definitive answers.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

“The idea is that the Animus is translating everything into the language you’re playing in,” Amancio explains. “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.”

But that raises the question: Why a British accent? The answer is simple. When trying to figure out what accent would be best-suited to the time period and the location, the development team took a tip from Hollywood. British accents, they determined, just have more of a period feel than an American accent would. It gives the distinct feeling of being set in the past in a foreign place.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

Amancio tells us that players who want to feel fully immersed in the game can choose to play the French version with subtitles. So hardcore Francophiles can still get their authenticity fix simply by enabling French language. And in the final version of the game, players will hear all of the crowd NPCs speaking French. The English you may have heard from the crowds in recent videos has been placeholder dialogue. “The only lines that are going to be translated into English are gameplay-related elements that we need to convey to the player,” Amancio says. “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.”

The most important takeaway is that listening to everyone in the game speak to each other in French-accented English would be… bizarre. Even when Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed II, many players believed the Italian accents felt strange coming from players who primarily speak English. “It’s an artistic choice,” says Amancio. “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

For more on Assassin’s Creed Unity, take a look at these stories:

Assassin’s Creed Unity – Inside the French Revolution

Assassin’s Creed Unity – Meet Elise

Assassin’s Creed Unity – Rebuilt for Next-Gen

Assassin’s Creed Unity – Parkour Gets Real

Assassin's Creed Unity

Assassin's Creed Unity

Release date — November 11, 2014
Developer — Ubisoft Montreal
Paris, 1789. The French Revolution turns a once-magnificent city into a place of terror and chaos. Its cobblestoned streets run red with the blood of commoners who dare to rise up against an oppressive aristocracy. Yet as the nation tears itself apart, a young man named Arno will embark upon an extraordinary journey to expose the true powers behind the Revolution. His pursuit will throw him into the middle of a ruthless struggle for the fate of a nation, and transform him into a true Master Assassin.

ESRB Rating: MATURE with Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol
The Author

Anne Lewis began her career as an editor at PlayStation: The Official Magazine, where she worked under former UbiBlog editor Gary Steinman. Now she's a lone wolf, prowling around her corner of the office and slowly descending into madness. Alas. When Anne isn’t writing about games, she's alphabetizing her comic book collection or shooting at stuff with a bow. Follow her on Twitter: @BDRAnneLewis