Briefly Noted: Control Yourself


The cinematic prologue that kicks off Ubisoft's new video game, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, informs you that you are participating in a centuries-long struggle between two shadowy sects. The sinister Templars, who favor "control"—of the economy, politics, and just about everything else—are up against the noble Assassins, self-appointed guardians of mankind's "free will."

Brotherhood splits its time between a nondescript present and a faithfully recreated historical locale—in this case, Renaissance-era Rome—where hooded warriors from both clans battle it out. The present-day battle is more political: Late in the game it is revealed that the Templars' modern-day incarnation is a global corporation with government ties.

In the game's conspiratorial mythology, that corporation is secretly behind the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision, which lifted some limitations on corporate political speech. Why the lovers of "control" favor freer political speech is left to confuse the player. —Peter Suderman