Well now, we can’t focus entirely on the physical all the time or we’d be just another quirky fitness blog, eh? Don’t worry, we’ll get back to other physical skills of Ezio soon enough, but today we’re going to try to get inside his head.
To understand Ezio, first you have to understand renaissance Italy. Italy at the time consisted of several city/states(similar to ancient Greece), vying for control of the region. Other big players were nearby countries(France, in particular), and the Vatican, which, unlike our squishy modern-day Vatican, actually fielded armies, waged war, and pillaged like any other country. They just had more of a claim to be doing it in the name of God.
First, a little recommended reading. The Prince, by Nicolo Machiavelli, is an excellent read on military, governing, and administrating strategies whose lessons are viable even in the modern era. You may remember Nicolo Machiavelli from the game. Hopefully you paid attention in history class so that when he came on screen for the first time you went “OH SHIT!” like I did. Anyway, Machiavelli and Ezio seem to be at odds with each other strategically in the game but you have to remember that in Ubisoft’s fantasy timeline, The Prince was written after the game. Ezio introduces the concept of “virtù” to Machiavelli, so, while you’re reading The Prince, any time he says a man of virtù, just translate it into “Ezio’s method” in your head.
Have you started reading The Prince yet? Seriously, click the link and read a bit. It’s free, it’s short, it’s good!
Ezio is the kind of person who is able to improvise, but at the same time is one step ahead if his opponents by observing, planning, and utilizing contacts well(we’ll touch more on leadership and people skills in another post). If you’ve played video games for a while, you’re probably already pretty good at this. Especially if you play real time strategy games. However, I’m going to suggest you introduce yourself to another game, and spend some serious time learning and working on it.
Seriously. And I mean going beyond what pieces move in what way. Learn strategies, counters, etc. The position of a single pawn at the start of one game indicates an entire strategy. Good chess players try to look at all possible moves an opponent can make for at least the next two/three turns, and plan accordingly. Great chess players can plan five to ten moves ahead. It’s possible to even play it in your head without a board. http://www.chess.com/ has lessons and allows you to play online, with public lobbies or private games(if you have someone to play with already).
Now, you need to start looking at your life as though it were a game of chess. You have a goal you want to work towards. Start cataloging all assets in your head on a regular basis. Just keep a general list in your head of all your resources, this includes people you know, money, methods of transportation, knowledge you have, knowledge other people have. Now you need to think of those resources as your “pieces.” Now think of your goal, and what is keeping you from it. Envision the idea of not reaching your goal as your “opponent,” and alllll of those obstacles as just pieces on their side of the board. You need to be several steps ahead of your opponent. Utilize what pieces you have, block and head-off obstacles without having to deal with them personally if you can, have backups plans involving the pieces you have in case something falls through. There will ALWAYS be surprise moves, have plans for that.
This is not easy, I wouldn’t claim it would be. But the more moves you can stay ahead of your “opponent,” the surer and easier it will be to attain your goals.
That’s it for today, hope I gave you something to work with. Tomorrow I think we’ll take a look at Ezio’s parkour and martial arts skills, and maybe the day after that we’ll touch on the ideas of leadership and people skills. I may throw in a grab-bag day or something at some point too.
Also! If you’re reading this and you’d like to give a suggestion for the next character to profile, please leave a suggestion in the comments section! Good guy, bad guy, whatever, doesn’t matter. We’ve already got one vote for Donkey Kong, if you want someone else, let me know =)
Danny “DaRatmastah” Wallace
Ezio Auditore, Assassin’s Creed, and all other property therein are © Copyright Ubisoft Entertainment