French company releases video game depicting George Washington as villain to be assassinated

A day after the United States honored George Washington, a French software company released a video game that depicts the first president as a tyrant who hangs people and must be assassinated.

The game, titled "Assassin's Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington" and released Tuesday by Ubisoft, can be played on Nintendo Wii U, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game presents an alternate reality that depicts Washington as "the former champion of American freedom turned power-mad overlord," according to its creators.

"With the introduction of our first single-player episodic DLC 'The Tyranny of King Washington,' we figured we should reacquaint you with the hero you thought you knew," Ubisoft says in a statement on its website, underneath a promotional video showing an evil-looking Washington wearing a crown and gripping a throne with the American flag draped overhead.

Curators at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate acknowledged that the story line represents a "fictionalized scenario involving George Washington," but expressed no opposition to the game.

"Unlike other historic military figures, Washington admirably stepped away from power and returned to private life," Mount Vernon spokeswoman Melissa Wood said in a statement to "George Washington set the precedent for this democracy’s peaceful transition of power. Mount Vernon hopes that this game will give its players some perspective on this important accomplishment, which is often overlooked."

Nathan Fouts, an Indiana-based video game developer, claims it is no coincidence Ubisoft released the game the day after President's Day.

"I think they're trying to do something a little edgy," Fouts told "To provoke some people ... and get the most marketing reaction that they can."

Fouts, who has not yet viewed the game, described the violence in previous versions of the Assassin's Creed series as "graphic," and said they included throat-slitting and stabbing. But he said he does not think the game exceeds "anything that's already on the market" in terms of violence.'s Cristina Corbin contributed to this report. 

Editors' Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that "The Tyranny of King Washington" could be played on the Nintendo Wii, rather than the Wii U.