Into London’s age of grit

Screen shot of Assassin's Creed I, which takes place in London circa 1850. (Ubisoft)

Screen shot from debut trailer of “Assassin’s Creed I,” set in London. (Ubisoft)

It suddenly occurred to me that, having done a post on the beautiful Renaissance digital imagery of the video game “Assassin’s Creed II” – it was called “Gaming the Renaissance” – I should check out “Assassin’s Creed I.” I just did. Get ready. It is hot. Here is London in the full glory and grit of the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

I am still ill, but this perked me up a bit, even though the story played in “Assassin’s Creed I” is dark. The action takes place in, my guess, 1850. Look at the video, linked below, and maybe you can make a better guess based on the buildings on the London skyline. (Looking again, it says “London: 1868.”) Here is the YouTube description of the original trailer, released last May 15:

“You play Jacob Frye, a gangster assassin fighting for justice on behalf of London’s enslaved working class. Watch as Jacob rallies his gang to break the corrupt stranglehold on London and bring the working class a brighter future.”

Well, maybe not so dark, but still gritty. I wonder whether Ubisoft, creator of the game, had to hire an architectural historian to get the details right, as it did for “Assassin’s Creed II” – a video of the game displaying some of the results of her work is the central feature of “Gaming the Renaissance.” The video here of “Assassin’s Creed I” introduces game fans to the concept. Very, very interesting!

Screenshot from Assassin's Creed I debut trailer. (Ubisoft)

Screenshot from “Assassin’s Creed I” debut trailer. (Ubisoft)

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Architecture History, Blast from past, Book/Film Reviews, Other countries, Urbanism and planning, Video and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Into London’s age of grit

  1. Pingback: Assassin’s Creed does Athens | Architecture Here and There

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