- "We come into the world kicking and screaming; violent and unstable. It is what we are, we cannot help ourselves."
- ―King Richard I, 1191.[src]
Richard I (1157 – 1199), commonly known as Richard the Lionheart, was the King of England from 1189 until his death in 1199. He was the second monarch of the House of Plantagenet. He was also the commander of the Crusader army during the Third Crusade, and was considered a great military leader and warrior.
Upon his death, he was succeeded as King of England by his younger brother, John.
- "Even now, that heathen Saladin cuts through my men and I must attend to them. But perhaps having seen how vulnerable he is, he will reconsider his actions. Yes. In time, what you seek may be possible."
- ―Richard to Altaïr, 1191.[src]
Prompted by Saladin's recapture of Jerusalem, Richard vowed to go on crusade. He was crowned king in September 1189 and, after remaining in England for only six months, set off for the Holy Land. During his journey, Richard scored a series of successes, notably conquering Sicily and retaking Acre.
In 1191, Richard departed from Acre with his army to move south, and left William of Montferrat as Regent Lord of Acre, unaware that William was secretly a member of the Templar conspiracy who intended to betray him. Fortunately for the oblivious Richard, William was killed by the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad soon after Richard had left Acre.
Under Richard, the Crusaders eventually reached Arsuf, where they engaged Saladin's army. Here they were approached by Altaïr, the Assassin responsible for killing not only William of Montferrat, but also the leaders of the Knights Hospitalier, Garnier de Naplouse, and of the Knights Teutonic, Sibrand.
Altaïr then claimed that Robert de Sablé, Grand Master of the Templar Order and one of the lieutenants of Richard, intended to betray the king. However, Robert insisted that Altaïr's story was merely a ruse to keep Richard from interfering in the Assassin's mission.
Unsure on who to believe, Richard left the decision in the hands of God, declaring that Robert and his Templars were to fight Altaïr in a trial by combat. Ultimately, Altaïr proved the victor, and so Richard accepted the Assassin's version of events. Richard and Altaïr then discussed the philosophies of war and peace, with Richard admitting that he was not yet ready for peace with Saladin. As Altaïr left, saying that he needed to confront the faults of his Master, Richard reminded him that Al Mualim was merely human, just as he was.
The revelation that his conflict with the Saracens had been exploited by the Templars eventually led Richard to make peace with Saladin. He would then head back home in 1192.
After his death in battle at 1199, Richard was succeeded by his brother John Lackland, who was later manipulated by the Templars during his rule as king.
Personality and characteristics
Richard was a man strong in faith, and relied upon God for crucial decisions. He did, however, seem tolerant towards non-believers, as Altaïr denying the help of God in his victory against Robert did not trouble him.
Richard believed that mankind could never change. In his mind, the only way for him to bring peace was for his men to crush their enemies, Saladin and the Saracens.
- When observing King Richard through Eagle Vision, he appeared to be red, which implied that he was an enemy despite appearing to be friendly or at least neutral towards Altaïr.
- Richard could be attacked, but he would not die whenever such an attack was initiated. In order for Altaïr to do this, one soldier needed to be thrown towards Richard, and upon standing up, the soldier would try to attack Altaïr from inside the Animus' barrier, but would hit Richard instead. This would force him outside of the barrier, and from there, Altaïr could attack him but not kill him.
- In the Animus 1.28, Richard was portrayed with a French accent. This accurately reflects history as in real life, even though Richard was born and spent his childhood in England, he spent much of his life in France and it is not known to what extent he even understood English.
- Richard's concept art depicts him with a shield, which he did not appear to be equipped in the game.
- Richard is mentioned in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag in Robert de Sable's 'Great Minds in History' file that could be obtained while the analyst is outside the Animus.
- Richard's voice actor, Marcel Jeannin, previously voiced Ivanhoe, the titular knight of King Richard, in Ivanhoe: The King's Knight.