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Throughout the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the developers have always been searching for new, fun, and interesting angles to explore. At first, they wanted the player to observe the world through the eyes of an ancient master assassin, Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad. Through his story, the player not only got a feel for what life as a member of the Creed meant but also all of the cool stuff that came along with it.
After the success of this opening title, the franchise experienced an even more incredible explosion in popularity through their next player character, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, and his story arc through the next 3 Assassin’s Creed titles. Ezio and his story worked so well with fans for many reasons. However, I would suggest that what kept bringing fans back time and time again was the setting. Placing the player in the middle of Leonardo da Vinci’s Florence was a stroke of pure genius which captivated the minds of Assassin’s Creed fans around the globe.
It would, therefore, be silly to suggest that the developers and creators of the AC franchise were not aware of just how important their next location and theme for future installments of the franchise were. For this reason, they agonized over their selection criteria, knowing full well that the modern gamer was always on the look for something or someone different, a new world to explore. This is probably the moment somebody over at Ubisoft Montreal shouted, “Pirates!”
From there, the ball was well and truly moving, and it was not long until the pieces began falling into place, and our next main character was in the works, Edward Kenway. Not only was this character supposed to bring them, until this point, landbound AC universe out onto the high seas, he was also going to have to fill the shoes of Ezio, a character that by this point had three complete games of story arcs to compete with. A monumental task for old Edward, to say the least. So, with this all in mind, why don’t we look at Edward Kenway and decide for ourselves if he was ever fit to lace Ezio’s hidden blade?
Bottom Line Up Front
Edward Kenway turned from a life of piracy, becoming a master assassin dedicated to fighting the Templar threat across the West Indies and Britain.
As with every AC main character, the player gets to see a bit of their backstory before they actually move their way through the world and become the master assassins they were apparently born to be. In Edward’s case, this backstory would begin somewhere different for the AC franchise in Wales circa 1693.
Edward was born to two working-class parents in Swansea, Wales. His mother, Linette, and father, Bernard, decided to move their young family into the bustling town of Bristol whilst Edward was still very young. His parents were farmers, and therefore the expectation for Edward was always to take over the family land once his father got past a certain age.
All with peace and serine for most of Edward’s young life, a first in the backstory of many AC franchise main characters, with the young man only getting into mild bits of trouble here and there.
As mentioned, Edward got into hardly any trouble as a young boy. However, this all changed when he fell in love with a young lady named Caroline Scott. Not content with just any woman, Edward had managed to fall in love with someone well beyond his station, a dangerous thing indeed in this time period.
Edward’s love for Caroline grew and grew over time. However, she constantly refused his advances due to her father’s disapproval. This began a near-constant pursual of Caroline for Edward as he hoped against the odds that he would eventually win her over.
Eventually, Edward would hatch a plan to deliver the young lady some flowers, paying a young kid called Albert off of the street to deliver them on his behalf. However, it was not long after Edward departed with the money and flowers before he realized that the kid was nothing more than a thief who had just swindled him.
Realizing this, Edward gave chase after the young boy, eventually witnessing him stumbling into and pickpocketing Caroline in the process. However, this time Albert was not as lucky; Matthew, Caroline’s suitor at the time, was nearby and witnessed the theft. He instantly grabbed the young boy and began beating him mercilessly. After Edward eventually arrived on the scene, he moved toward the beating and subdued his rival before forcing the young boy to apologize to Caroline.
As Caroline saw it, this form of bravery was more than enough for her to give Edward the chance he had been dreaming of for so long. That night, the pair met for one of their many midnight strolls. During these walks, the pair often talked about marriage and how their relationship, if ever revealed to the general public or Caroline’s father, would cause massive upset and lead them both to an unfortunate position.
Nevertheless, it would seem that their affection for one another was simply too great as the pair decided to get married in secret after a couple more months of these secret rendezvous in 1712.
Edward the Provider
Now that he had finally won the hand of Caroline, the pressure was very much on for young Edward. You see, when news of their wedding reached the ears of Scott, he completely disowned his daughter, placing her in the same poverty Edward had grown up in.
Whilst we never actually see Caroline complain about her predicament, now living as a simple farmer’s wife, we do see how Edward feels guilty about not being able to provide the life he feels that she deserves. This provokes Edward to make a deal with her father, wherein he would leave their home and take his chances at becoming a successful privateer in the West Indies. Scott saw this opportunity for what it was, a chance to get rid of Edward, and gladly accepted, probably hoping that he would perish at sea.
Edward the Privateer
Soon after leaving home and becoming a privateer, Edward’s new captain, Alexander Dolzell, realized that soon there would be no money left on the high seas as a privateer with the Spanish war of Succession ending. Therefore, he decided that turning to piracy was the only way to stay afloat.
At first, Edward decided to make his way home instead of becoming a pirate; however, after witnessing what Dolzell did to crew members who refused his new business plan (throwing them overboard to their deaths), he decided that it would probably just be better to stay the course for a little while longer.
The following years saw Edward gain further exposure to the Templar order as he encountered random members throughout his journey. At this point, however, he did not know what the signet rings these members wore actually represented; he simply associated the men with some secret group.
Edward continued this life of piracy until June 1715, when his ship attacked a random vessel out on the high seas. Edward and his crew eventually sunk the secondary vessel but not without losing their own ship in the process. Eventually, Edward washed up on the shore of a nearby island and stumbled across the assassin, Duncan Walpole, whose ship Edward had just destroyed.
Seeing Edward, Walpole became defensive and attempted to fire his pistol at Edward, failing because of wet gunpowder. The assassin then fled until Edward eventually caught up with him and killed him, looting his body for his assassin attire and a letter addressed to Governor Laureano de Torres y Ayala of Havana.
Soon after dawning Walpole’s robes, Edward saved the merchant Stede Bonnet from harassment by British soldiers and was invited to accompany the merchant to Havana.
– Edward pursues and eventually marries an upper-class woman named Caroline. This marriage forces Edward to become a privateer in order to give his wife the life he believes she deserves.
– Shortly after becoming a privateer, Edward’s captain forces him to become a pirate. He assumed this role for many years.
– In 1715, Edward’s ship encounters another vessel transporting the assassin, Duncan Walpole. Edward kills this assassin and assumes his identity.
Journey to the Creed
Docking in Havana
When Edward and his new friend arrive in Havana, Edward goes through some minor scrapes with the locals. These missions essentially serve as some minor tutorials in order to familiarize the player with some of the basic mechanics of the game.
Soon after these missions, however, Edward, still masquerading as Duncan Walpole, eventually meets with Governor Torres and is inducted into a secret order called the Templars. During this same meeting, Edward is told about a Templar plot to locate and take over an ancient First Civilization site known only as the Observatory.
Working for the Templars?
Further through the main campaign, Edward finds that these men within the Templar organization have used their positions of power in order to find a man who goes by the name Sage. This man, whose actual name is Bartholomew Roberts, is said to be the only man alive who can lead the Templars to this Observatory.
At this point, the player will see that Edward is almost not listening to everything these Templars are saying. Instead, he simply sees them as old men that he can pickpocket, which he does. Later, however, he sees the opportunity in front of him for what it truly is, a way to make a great deal of money. Therefore, Edward immediately heads out and hunts down the Sage, not for the Templars but for his own master plan.
Betrayal, Imprisonment, and Freedom
Eventually, Edward manages to find Roberts, and together they journey to the Observatory. Once there, the pair find the item which gives the ancient structure power and steals it. However, not before Roberts shows the player what it can actually do.
The Templar Plot
After Roberts displays the actual power of the Observatory, Edward realizes the true reason for the Templar’s interest in the site. If they were somehow able to steal a small amount of blood from the ruling world governments, they would be able to spy on and, therefore, blackmail them all into submission. Effectively giving the Templars complete control over the global political structure. After this, the pair make their way out of the structure, and Edward is betrayed by Roberts and subsequently arrested by British soldiers.
Soon after Edward’s arrest, the player comes to a prison cell under the control of the British Navy. Here, Edward is met by Ah Tabai, one of the few master assassins throughout the West Indies at the time. Tabai was also the former mentor of Walpole and, at the point of meeting Edward, was solely concerned with saving the life of his student, Mary Read, who was also imprisoned alongside Kenway.
Soon after meeting Edward, Ah Tabai realized the part he played in the death of Walpole and how, even inadvertently, he had managed to take him down after he had made plans to defect to the Templars. As lucky as it was for Edward, this fact managed to save him from the hidden blade of the master assassin. The two then quickly allied to free Edward and Mary.
During their mission to save Mary, the pair came up against many obstacles but eventually, it seemed at least that Edward was going to pull off the deed without any issues. However, it soon transpired that Mary had been sick for a great deal of time while imprisoned without receiving appropriate medical care. This lack of care post-childbirth eventually killed Mary, forcing Edward to rescue only her body and bring it back to a devastated Ah Tabai.
When Edward managed to return to the master assassin with the deceased Mary, Tabai gave Edward back the assassin robes of Duncan Walpole, saying that whilst Edward did not earn them, he did suit them. In other words, whilst Edward did not go through the proper training necessary to become an assassin, his work and abilities made him more than ready to become one of their Order.
– When Edward landed in Havana, he passed as Walpole enough that he inadvertently became inducted into the Templar Order.
– Edward was betrayed by the Sage and captured by British soldiers after they retrieved the power source of the Observatory.
– In prison, he was saved by the master assassin Ah Tabai in exchange for helping him save his student Mary Read.
– Read’s final words to Edward were to make amends with the world and join the Creed.
Becoming an Assassin
Once Ah Tabai got over his grief from losing a student as close to him as Mary, he and Edward discussed Mary’s final wish for Edward to join the Creed and help protect the world from the Templars.
Ah Tabai, who the player can see, clearly does not overly wish to bring Edward into the Creed and seems to acquiesce to Mary’s dying wishes, trusting her judgment and subsequent high opinion she had for Edward.
Soon after this, Edward was made a full member of Creed after a brief discussion with the assassin mentor regarding the aims and principles of the ancient Order. During this conversation, the player not only gets to see the differences between how the pair see the world and their place in it, but we also get to see how Edward has changed over the years, no longer seeing the world and the people around him as playthings to be used for his own ends.
Working for the Good Guys
Eventually, the player gets to actually work as an assassin in this title. Even though we are a great deal of the ways through the main plot, Edward only begins working for the Creed now, eventually making his way through members of the Templar order and eventually Roberts in order to retrieve the artifact. With the artifact in hand, Edward proceeds to return it to the Observatory and seal it away.
Soon after the artifact is returned to safety, Edward receives a letter informing him that Caroline’s wife has passed away suddenly. Therefore, they have sent him his daughter, Jennifer Scott.
Up until this point, Edward was unaware of any daughter; however, realizing the position this young child found herself in and his duty towards his family, Edward asked Ah Tabai for permission to return to England in order to look after his young family properly.
Of course, Tabai gives him this permission but only with the understanding that he works to further the Creed’s cause when he arrives there. Edward accepts and returns quickly with his young daughter.
Some years later, we can see that Edward is no longer the young man whom we met at the start of the game and is now the father of two, his daughter, Jennifer, and a son named Haytham. Yes, the same Haytham who would eventually become a Templar grandmaster, be the main character of Assassins Creed Rogue, and sire Conner Kenway of AC 3 fame.
We are also made aware that Edward has risen through the ranks during his time at home, becoming a master assassin and the leader of the British Brotherhood of Assassins between 1723 and 1735.
Edward’s Final Years
As mentioned, Edward became a central figure in the British arm of the Order. He spent years researching and cataloging everything he could find about the First Civilization during this time. It would also seem that Edward married again to a woman named Tessa during his years at home. This would therefore be the mother of Haytham.
This journal, where Edward kept all of his research notes, became a target for the Templar order. Therefore, under the instruction of Reginald Birch, a Grand Master of the Templar Order, Edward was eventually killed by a gang of mercenaries in 1735. However, his bloodline continued through his son Haytham and eventually through Conner.
– Edward entered into the Order thanks to the high opinion that Mary Read held of him before her death.
– After the artifact was sealed away, Edward got word that his wife had passed away back home, and his hitherto unknown daughter was soon arriving to be with him.
– Edward moved back to England to raise his family; soon after, he met Tessa, who would give birth to Haytham.
– Edward was killed by mercenaries working on behalf of the Templars in 1735.
Weapons and Skills
There are a few pre-requisite skills that every assassin must have in order to be effective in the field. These skills include things such as free-running, eagle vision, proficiency in hand-to-hand combat, and general sneaking. For this reason, we are just going to focus here on traits particularly related to Edward.
In a first for the series, Edward had the ability to pilot something a bit bigger than a gondola. Throughout the game, the player is given the opportunity to helm massive ships and engage in ship combat featuring cannons and all that other good stuff. This ability would continue in some of the later titles, such as AC 3.
Due to the long reload times of firearms back in Edward’s day, he would routinely carry up to 4 pistols on him. This is another first for the main character in this franchise, as before, any firearm was located within the hidden blade itself.
We have already mentioned sailing, but I feel the Jackdaw is a piece of equipment in its own right. Not only is it the main ship of Edward during the game, but it is also equipped with a harpooning boat, capable of spearing marine life right out of the water.
During his time in the West Indies, Edward learned to incorporate the blow dart into his range of weaponry.
So, there you have it, a complete and comprehensive guide to one of the most important assassins to have ever lived. Not only did he prevent the Templars from gaining complete world domination throughout his lifetime, but he also gave the player two additional main characters through his paternal bloodline, that being Conner and Haytham.
For me, I really enjoyed playing Black Flag and getting to see the progression of Edward slowly over time. Not one great incident occurs throughout the game, forcing him into becoming a better person like Ezio and the death of his father and brother. Instead, the player can slowly see Edward become less selfish and more caring for those around him, which is something refreshing within this franchise, in my opinion. However, many have disagreed with me in the past, and I am sure they will continue to do so in the future, but hopefully, this guide has persuaded you a little over to my side of the argument. Either way, I hope you had a fun time reading and learning something. Happy sailing!
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is Edward related to Haytham
Answer: Yes, Edward is the father of Haytham and the grandfather of Conner. Haytham is his second child and only son, birthed by his second wife, Tessa.
Question: Is Edward Kenway based on a real pirate?
Answer: In an interview, the voice actor for Edward, Matt Ryan, spoke about how Edward was definitely a fictional character; however, there were elements of his personality and life that were inspired by real pirates.
Question: What age was Edward Kenway when he died?
Answer: Edward was born in 1693 and died in 1735. This made him 42 years old when he was killed by Templar mercenaries.
Question: Are the Kenways related to Ezio and Altair?
Answer: No, whilst they are related to Desmond through his other bloodlines, the Kenway family is not related to the Auditore family or Altair.
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