Hey! Hallie here!
We’re finally to this week’s Twins in Media post! For this week, I’m going to be comparing some of the most iconic representations of twins in video games. The ‘Bioshock’ and ‘Assassin’s Creed’ series are some of the biggest video game series of all time and each have a very different approach to twins. Jacob and Evie Frye are close siblings with very different personalities. Meanwhile, Robert and Rosalind have a lot in common, mostly because they’re the same person. Literally. Before we start, I do want to acknowledge that Robert and Rosalind aren’t technically twins. But they’re referred to as twins throughout the game and view themselves as siblings. They’re also effected by various twin tropes. With all those things in mind, I have decided that they are presented as twins to the audience and should be counted. With that out of the way, let’s see which pair is better twin representation.
Jacob and Evie: Jacob and Evie’s main problematic trope is the ‘Opposites’ trope. Evie is the thoughtful character who prefers to do everything smartly and stealthily. Meanwhile, Jacob looks before he leaps and doesn’t care what trouble it causes. Often this leads to Evie having to clean up his messes. But, similarly, Jacob takes care of urgent problems Evie is too slow to react to. Every major piece of their personalities seems to balance out the other twin’s traits. Even the game mechanics follow this trend. The skill trees for each character give them opposite fighting styles. Evie’s skill tree is focused on stealth and discretion while Jacob’s skill tree is all about brute force. The opposites approach is a very extreme attempt at making the audience sure of the differences between twins. But it isn’t necessary. Twins aren’t generally opposites of each other. They’re just different from each other, as all siblings, and even all humans, are.
Robert and Rosalind: These two have the opposite issue. Robert and Rosalind are literally the same person. They’re just from two different realities. Rosalind is from the original reality that the player character is from. She was a lonely child, and one day dreamed that she came face to face with multiple versions of her, all different, but still basically her. The event caused her to become a scientist and seek out the dimensions where these versions of her existed so she could have a sibling. The first time she was successful she met Robert, a male version of her from a different reality. The two became very close and decided to stick together regardless of which reality they decided to hang out in. While there are some slight differences between them, their similarities are more often emphasized. They even finish each others sentences almost every time they speak, which implies they have a lot of the same thoughts. Obviously, this is a very harmful trope. Twins are very different people. It’s difficult for us to finish each others sentences because we aren’t always on the same page. We have different thoughts, beliefs, and personalities.
Winner: Jacob and Evie take this one easily. While portraying twins as opposites isn’t completely accurate, portraying twins as the same person is infinitely worse. Any piece of media that decides to show twins as individuals is on the right track, even if they make them too different. Meanwhile, introducing twin characters to an audience, only to reveal to them that these twin characters are just the same person, is horrible.
Differences and Similarities:
Jacob and Evie: I’ve already talked about their vast differences, but these two do have some similarities. For one, they both chose the same profession and are both very passionate about it. Their father taught them both to be Assassins, and though they go about their jobs in different ways, they still enjoy many of the same aspects of the job. Also, because the player has to be able to switch between the characters easily, they have friendships with a lot of the same people. Their relationships with those people are still different, too. For example, Jacob finds Henry Green to be a good friend and ally while Evie has a giant crush on him and has a bit more in common to speak with him about. But they are both close to him. This isn’t abnormal for many twins. Just because we are different people doesn’t mean we can’t share some of the same interests or that we don’t have the same friends. I enjoy that this game gives these two similarities without using it as a way to question each of their individualities.
Robert and Rosalind: Surprisingly, there are some differences between these two. Or, to be precise, one major difference. Robert has more of a moral conscience. Rosalind dedicated her life to finding an alternate version of her to be her sibling. Once she succeeded, she didn’t care about anything else. As long as she was able to enjoy her time with her brother, and attempt a few crazy experiments every once in a while, she was content. Robert, however, wasn’t like that. When he and Rosalind became caught up in a plan to kidnap a baby with the promise that they would be able to stay together at the end of it, Robert became very guilty. So guilty, in fact, that he threatened to refuse to see or speak to Rosalind again if she didn’t help him undo the damage they had done. Unfortunately there aren’t any other differences between them, but I’m glad this one does exist.
Winner: Jacob and Evie. Jacob and Evie’s plethora of small similarities are easily better than the one difference between Robert and Rosalind. They could use more obvious similarities, of course. But Robert and Rosalind get extra points knocked off because you only discover Robert is a more moral person when you get to a secret room in one of the DLCs. It isn’t even in the main game.
Jacob and Evie: These two have one of the most basic sibling relationships in all of media. They have a sibling rivalry. Their opposite personalities cause them to fight a lot. Evie gets increasingly frustrated that Jacob leaves messes for her to clean up, but Jacob finds her complaints ridiculous when she won’t act in the first place. That argument happens throughout the entirety of the game and comes to a head towards the end, where they decide that they should no longer work as a duo. But, of course, they realize that they care about each other and like working together at the end of the game. It’s implied they work together far into the future. Still, the sibling rivalry plot is a bit overused. It’s heartwarming to see the moments in the game where the two get along, but the plot relies on the fact that they don’t for the majority of the game.
Robert and Rosalind: These two have a very close sibling relationship. They rely on each other for comfort and for a second opinion. They care about what happens to each other. They demonstrate a pretty good sibling relationship. This type of relationship could have been portrayed as slightly romantic. This happens too often with opposite-sex twin relationships, especially ones that are close. Luckily, this isn’t true of these two. They fight on occasion and they do disagree, but their relationship doesn’t falter for it.
Winner: Robert and Rosalind. I don’t have an issue with twins fighting or not getting along with each other. It happens a lot in real life, too. But, once again, a balance between fighting and getting along is more realistic. The opposite personalities make Jacob and Evie’s sibling rivalry even more questionable. With Robert and Rosalind we get a pretty nice relationship that isn’t reliant on any overused plot devices.
Jacob and Evie: These two have two separate storylines that converge in parts. In other words, the perfect layout for twin characters. Evie is on the search for a Piece of Eden which causes her to take a more observant position while she looks for information. She spends some of her time looking for old Assassin treasures with Henry Green, and at other times attempts to get to the Piece of Eden before the Templars misuse it. Jacob makes his mission to take down all of the major Templar officials in the area. He works closely with the police chief to find them, makes friends with many of the wrong people, and ends up making the most assassinations of the two. But, of course, both are fighting against the Templars, which means they are both fighting against the same people. Their goals are just slightly different. This causes their storylines to converge. And even when they aren’t working against the same people at the same time, there are various occasions where they need each other’s expertise in order to complete a mission. These two are not only the main characters, but they have different storylines for their personalities to grow and develop. I don’t see any issues here.
Robert and Rosalind: They have the same plotline. They show up at the same moments. You never see one without the other. The only instance you see their different personalities is through collectables you can find throughout the game. These collectables are entries in Rosalind’s audio diary, which means you get some of her on her own. But that’s about it. Their personalities are not established sperate from each other. There aren’t many differences to be found in the first place.
Winner: Jacob and Evie by quite a bit. This is really the perfect video game layout for twin characters against the worst video game layout for twin characters. There is absolutely no contest here.
Jacob and Evie Frye win! You probably guessed this after the first round. I have no problem with the idea of having the same person from two alternate realities interact with each other. But when you present them as twins, and even have them finishing each others sentences in a move that reflects a lot of bad representations of twins in media, you create something more harmful than entertaining. It’s even more frustrating that the major differences between Robert and Rosalind are kept to a secret room in a DLC. Meanwhile, Evie and Jacob are major characters with very different personalities. They fall into some tropes, but overall that doesn’t affect how well the game shows them as separate people. The game is even able to focus on their sibling relationship for it’s plot without pulling out too many harmful twin tropes. I wish there was more same-sex twin representation to be found in gaming, but I’ll appreciate ‘Assassin’s Creed”s fairly good attempt at general twin representation, regardless.
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!