Twins in Media: Jacob and Evie Frye

Screenshot of Jacob and Evie Frye from ‘Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’. Copyright goes to Ubisoft.

Hey! Hallie here!

To close off this group of ‘Twins in Media’ posts, I’m going to talk about the most badass twins I’ve seen in a video game. ‘Assassin’s Creed’ isn’t exactly well known for it’s characters. It isn’t considered the best franchise when it comes to story writing in general. But some characters have left a lasting impression on fans. Jacob and Evie Frye are some of them. There are multiple reasons to admire these two. Evie’s the first female protagonist in a main Assassin’s Creed game. Meanwhile, Jacob has an entire portion of his storyline that implies his bisexuality, complete with a kiss between him and another male character, that the writers officially confirmed to be purposeful LGBTQ+ representation. I’m not going to go completely into the correct moves and missteps Ubisoft made with both these choices, because Ubisoft still has a long ways to go. The point is, both characters are well explored, interesting, and showed the games were taking a step in the right direction. But are they good twin representation?

The Good:

  • Different lives. These two are introduced as being in the same profession. The game wouldn’t be ‘Assassin’s Creed’ without the main characters being assassins, after all (Unless they’re Templars, of course). Evie and Jacob also make almost all of the same friends in this game. Which makes sense because the player needs to be able to switch between the characters with ease without losing resources or storylines the side characters provide. That being said, there is a very obvious difference with how Evie reacts to the things in her life as opposed to Jacob. For one, Evie lives much closer to the assassin’s code, and because of that, she spends most of her time looking for assassin’s relics like the Piece of Eden. Jacob, on the other hand, would rather beat up oppressors and form his own vigilante gang. Evie makes faster friends with characters that seem sensible and organized. Jacob prefers to spend time with people who are more spontaneous. The biggest example of the differences between the bonds they form with characters, comes in the form of Henry Green. Henry Green becomes the closest ally of both twins throughout the game. Jacob appreciates his kindness, but often teases him for his milder personality. Evie finds Henry easy to confide in because of his easy-going personality and constantly praises his intelligence. In the end, Evie develops romantic feelings for Henry while Jacob criticizes them from the sidelines. Evie and Jacob, much like many twins, have similar interests but very different priorities.
  • Best Friends. This entire game focuses on the sibling relationship between Evie and Jacob. They start out the game as inseparable and well-known amongst assassins for being so. The game follows the both of them as their different priorities start to drive a wedge between them and increase their arguments. But they still enjoy each others presence. They get frustrated with each other but they find it important to work together, and in some instances, they ignore their arguments to help each other. Evie helps Jacob form his gang despite her criticisms, and Jacob supports Evie no matter how stiff he finds the people she offers to help. Overall, they admire each other for their chivalry. By the end of the game, they realize that they like staying together too much to separate, and continue to work together regardless of their differences. Not all siblings are friends, but after growing up with someone who shares some of the same interests as you, you become pretty close. The game does a good job of showing a bond like that without putting a bunch of twin clichés on top of it.

The Bad:

  • Opposites. Evie and Jacob are written to be exact opposites. Evie is the intelligent one who looks before she leaps. Jacob is the over-excitable one who rushes into every situation with his brass knuckles ready. Even the game mechanics emphasize the fact that they’re opposites. Evie’s character is used more for stealth where as Jacob’s gameplay is more focused on combat. In fact, these opposite personalities are the entire reason the two are fighting throughout most of the game. Evie feels like she constantly needs to clean up Jacob’s mistakes because he’s too rash to realize the consequences of his actions. But Evie is too wrapped up in thinking things through that she doesn’t act as quickly as Jacob knows she should. While twins are very different, it would be extremely rare to find twins who are exact opposites. Twins are just different from each other. There’s no need for writers to make twin characters so different that they won’t feel like the same character. Because, if writers are approaching twins correctly, they shouldn’t need to do that to show that their characters are different. It’s tiring to see this trope everywhere, especially when it’s thrown in after the rest of the representation seems so promising.
  • Sibling rivalry. Many twin stories really like the moment where twins start fighting or competing against each other. It forces the twin characters, who are usually seen together, to stay away from each other and shock the audience with their temporary separation. This game uses that commonly used trope. I won’t say it’s badly used, though. It’s not like twins don’t have arguments, and despite the fact that this trope is used for twins too often, the game doesn’t take the worst turns with it. For one, the game separates the characters pretty early on, so the audience isn’t used to seeing them together. The game has a different storyline for each character, so the twins go off and do their own things even when they aren’t arguing. And when their stories come together, it proves that the sibling rivalry isn’t an absolute hatred for one another. It’s not one of those situations where the two twins ignore each other entirely. They can still get along even though they disagree. The point of their story is that their arguments make their friendship stronger. So it isn’t the worst thing in the game, but it’s still a trope that I’m tired of seeing being used for twins.

So are Jacob and Evie a good representation of twins in media? I’d say yes! They aren’t perfect, of course. I’ve found that a good chunk of the twins I like still suffer from the opposites trope, which shows just how common this trope is. But Jacob and Evie are pretty good overall. They have a relatable sibling relationship. They have many of the same interests without being the same character. The game points out that they’re twins without making their relationship all that different from a regular sibling relationship. Twins should be written as regular siblings. I just wish that we could get some more same-sex twins written like this. We’ve seen quite a few fraternal twins of two different genders get better treatment from writers because they don’t look the same. All twin characters should be written a bit more like this, even identical ones. Hopefully we can see a bit more of that in the future.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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