- someone: i cant believe after all these years and games Altair is still ur favorite assassin, whats so special about him anyway
- me internally: Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad from Assassin's Creed™ (2007) was actually a unique character not only because not white (in a time period, the Crusades, that has been novelized from a purely white/western point of view over and over again) but also for the particular treatment of his personality and development. There was absolutely 0 effort in trying to make him likeable or even understandable, he is basically a huge asshole at first and even after the dramatic change his character goes through, he remains a deeply flawed, aloof, unapproachable man. Which I think is actually a refreshing concept - a character that is allowed to exist on his unlikeable own, instead of trying so very hard to appeal to the mass of gamers as it's often done by the majority of developers, ubisoft usually leading the way on this. And yet he's also very far from the icy, unchanging piece of granite that many thought he was at the time (probably because they payed little attention to the dialogues). During only the course of the first game he undergoes a change which remains among the most impressive in the entire series to this day. In fact, other Assassins have much more time and cutscenes dedicated to them and they change very little in comparison. The fact that Altair goes from the selfish, arrogant piece of shit he is in in the first part of the game to someone apologizing and trying to make amends for his mistakes in the second part, reveals he is more reasonable and reflective than everyone (maybe even himself) thought he was at first. His path is built on questions: those he asks to his victims before they die, and those he starts asking himself, about the real meaning of the Creed and its contradictions. This path begins in the first Assassin's Creed game, but it continues, partially behind the scenes, until his death. And if the development of his character is already remarkable in that game, what comes next is even more impressive. Altair's codex is probably the most interesting document in the entire series and it reveals a life dedicated but to the study of the Apple and to the Order, its refinement, its phylosophy, and the possible solutions to its ancient problems. The fact that in the second part of his life he suffered from deep depression due to his losses - his son, his wife, his best friend - and the many troubles of the Order in an age of great changes, only adds a new layer of interest and sympathy for me personally. Being chronically depressed myself, I cherish every positive representation of depressed characters that still try, still fight, and can even save the day every now and then. I think many of the reasons why I like Altair so much were not even accurately planned ahead by his creators and they are actually the result of coincidences, different teams and different necessities from one game to the other; but nonetheless I still love the character that emerged in the end, I love that he is capable and talented and still fail hard; that he makes huge mistakes and apologizes and tries to do better; that he doesn't just run around killing people, but he also sits down and thinks about what he's doing and why he is doing it; I love that he doubts and falters, even on the Creed that dictated his whole life. While there are many other interesting and more easily likeable characters in the series, Altair is still the n.1 on my personal podium because there's a depth, a complexity and a subtlety to the character that, in my opinion, is still unsurpassed to this day.
- me externally: he's my piece of trash I personally took him out of the dumpster with my own two bare hands ten years ago and I'm keeping him
148. “Why do you only kiss me when I’m sleeping?”, AltMal