Preparing For Origins
The Assassin's Creed series has always been known for its extensive storyline and dense lore and mythology. The latest entry Assassin's Creed Origins is a prequel to the franchise, but it's useful to learn about key characters and events from past games. To help get you up to speed on all the important happenings in the Assassin's Creed universe, here's a recap of everything you need to know before jumping into Assassin's Creed Origins. Be wary, there are ahead.
Assassin's Creed Origins is releasing soon on October 27 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Ubisoft has detailed the minimum and recommended PC system requirements. And for more about the latest Assassin's Creed game, check out our roundup containing in-depth features and gameplay videos. You can also check out our comprehensive video documenting the complete history of the Assassin's Creed franchise.
Those Who Came Before
In the beginning, Earth was inhabited by the Isu, an ancient species of advanced humanoids. They possessed precognitive abilities and were gifted scientists; they also had incredibly long lifespans, though they were not immortal. Their immense power and intelligence lead them to create the human race, whom they designed in their image to be a capable, but docile, workforce. But in order to ensure that humanity remained subservient to their rule, the Isu created several powerful devices--later known to humanity as Pieces of Eden--to enslave their minds.
Rebellion And War
When the Isu created humanity, they designed them to be born with a chemical neurotransmitter in their brains that made them susceptible to the Pieces of Eden. However, over time interbreeding between humans and Isu lead to the creation of a hybrid race, who were immune to the effects of the mind-controlling devices of their benefactors. This resulted in an uprising by two hybrids, Adam and Eve, who stole a Piece of Eden known as the Apple to wage war against the Isu.
While the Isu were technologically superior to humans, the ensuing war took a toll on them as they were heavily outnumbered; a result of the Isu having produced so many humans to work for them. After a decade's worth of fighting, the conflict came to an abrupt end due to a massive solar flare that devastated the Earth, resulting in heavy losses on both sides. This event became known as the Toba Catastrophe.
Last Ditch Effort
During the war, there were three Isu scientists--Minerva, Juno, and Jupiter--who were actually aware of the solar flare that would hit Earth. They endeavored to prevent it by researching six different solutions; however, none adequately provided what was needed. Eventually Minerva created a seventh solution known as the Eye, a device capable of allowing them to manipulate the patterns and equations of existence. With its power, the Isu could deploy a planetary magnetic shield that would deflect the incoming disaster.
In the midst of the experiments, Juno developed a deep hatred for humans. She made plans to take over the world and enslave humanity in the solar flare's aftermath. However, Minerva and Jupiter caught wind of this and imprisoned her consciousness. But before Juno could be sealed away, she tampered with the pattern of the Eye, so that it would release her from prison upon its activation. Minerva discovered this and decided that instead of letting Juno get her way, it would be best to destroy the device and let the solar flare occur.
Messages To The Next Generation
Before the solar flare arrived to Earth, Minerva crafted a second Eye to relay messages to future generations of humanity in hopes of giving them the knowledge needed to prevent an inevitable second catastrophe. These messages were locked away in vaults hidden throughout the planet.
Despite these attempts to help the future of humanity, Juno's evil ambitions persisted. In her imprisonment, she managed to fix the first Eye and used it to commune with future generations in hopes of swaying them towards accomplishing her goals.
Reconciliation and The Fall of the Isu
The impact of the solar flare flipped the polarity of Earth's magnetic field and exposed it to the Sun's deadly radiation. While both the Isu and humanity survived the disaster, their numbers began to dwindle. As a result, both species made peace and worked together to rebuild the world.
Several Isu took steps to influence the human race, endeavoring to spread their knowledge. Some of these attempts would manifest themselves in superstitions and religious myths passed through the ages across different cultures. Despite their best efforts to preserve their ways, the Isu eventually went extinct. Humanity continued to thrive through the centuries ahead, slowly forgetting the existence of the Isu as they split off into new civilizations and cultures.
The Assassins And The Templars: A Battle of Ideology
As the centuries passed, humans began to discover several Pieces of Eden, which had survived the destruction of the Toba Catastrophe. The power the artifacts stirred debate towards how to use them for humanity's benefit. There were many who sought to fulfill humanity's true potential and decided it would be best to use the artifacts to create a utopia. While there were others who stood against their use, opting to give humanity complete freedom where all could live according to their own will. These two beliefs eventually manifested into two respective organizations, the Templars and the Assassins, who went on to wage a covert war spanning most of human history.
Enter Desmond Miles
A key player in the Assassin-Templar conflict was a man named Desmond Miles. A modern day Assassin, Desmond was wary of his organization's tenets and lifestyle growing up. At age 16, he fled home and moved to New York City to work as a bartender. However, he could not escape his origins, and was kidnapped by the Templars, who had at this point masked their activities under the guise of a company called Abstergo.
The unwilling Assassin was taken to one of Abstergo's laboratories where he was used as a test subject in the Animus, a device that could read the memories of a person's ancestors through the genetic memory encoded in their DNA. Leading the research experiment was a scientist named Warren Vidic and his assistant, Lucy Stillman. Their goal was to discover the locations of the Pieces of Eden.
Assassin's Creed -- Destiny
Desmond was made to relive the genetic memory of his ancestor, Altair Ibn-La'Ahad--a member of the Assassin order during the Third Crusade. By exploring Altair's memories, Vidic was able to discover the locations of numerous Pieces of Eden. After finding this out, Abstergo executives ordered Desmond's execution, as he had outlived his usefulness; however, Lucy revealed to Desmond that she was an undercover agent of the Assassins, and promised his safety.
Assassin's Creed II -- Becoming an Assassin and a Message From Minerva
Lucy busted Desmond out his cell and the two escaped from the Abstergo laboratory. Arriving at one of the Assassins' hideouts, Desmond and Lucy met with fellow members of the order, Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane. Their new goal was to train Desmond to be an Assassin using the Bleeding Effect, a symptom induced by prolonged exposure to the Animus that allowed a person to inherit abilities from their ancestors.
Desmond returned to the Animus to experience the memories of Ezio Auditore, an Assassin who lived through the Italian Renaissance. As the group pushed further into the Italian Assassin's memories, they discovered his encounter with one of Minerva's messages, which warned of the impending catastrophe and recounted the story of the war between the Isu and humanity. But what shocked Desmond was Minerva revealing that she was actually talking to him through Ezio. Following this revelation, Desmond was pulled from the Animus, as the Templars discovered their location. Despite an altercation with Vidic and his goons, the group managed to escape.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood -- Finding the Apple
The group fled north and set up shop at Monteriggioni, the former headquarters of the Italian Brotherhood during the 14th century. Once again Desmond used the Animus to dive into Ezio's memories in hopes of discovering information that could help the Assassins. However, the Bleeding Effect soon began to take a toll on him, as he began to experience more hallucinations. Regardless, Desmond pushed through it and learned that Ezio hid an Apple of Eden under the Colosseum in Rome.
At the Colosseum, the group discovered a path leading to an underground chamber where the Apple was held. A hologram of Juno appeared before them to reveal the existence of the Isu's secret vaults. Desmond then grabbed the Apple from its pedestal, but in doing so, the artifact activated, allowing Juno to take control of him and kill Lucy. The shock of the ordeal caused Desmond to fall into a coma.
Assassin's Creed: Revelations -- Escape From the Black Room
After the events of Lucy's murder, William Miles--Desmond's father and the de facto leader of the Assassins--dispatched several Assassins to retrieve the group from the Colosseum vault. Desmond was put back into the Animus to stabilize his condition. He awakened to find himself inside the Black Room, a safe mode built into the Animus' programming. There he met a visual construct of Clay Kaczmarek, a man who used the Animus prior to him during Vidic's experiments. Kaczmarek informed Desmond that he needed to keep reliving his ancestors' memories in order to awaken from his coma.
Desmond experienced not only the later years of Ezio's life, but Altair's as well. His journey through the memories of both his ancestors allowed him to discover a message from Jupiter, who revealed the location of the Grand Temple, which housed all of the research conducted to prevent the first solar flare. After having discovered this, Desmond awakened from his coma, with Shaun, Rebecca, and his father standing beside him.
Assassin's Creed III -- Finding the Grand Temple Key
The group travelled to the Grand Temple where they once again set up the Animus. Entering the Grand Temple triggered Desmond's Bleeding Effect, which revealed that a key was required to unlock its innermost chambers. Instead of reliving the memories of Ezio, Desmond dove into the memories of Haytham Kenway, an 18th-century Templar who once had possession of the key. However, he learned that it was actually Haytham's illegitimate son, an Assassin named Ratonhnhaké:ton aka Connor Kenway, who would later come into possession of it during the American Revolution.
As Desmond searched through Connor's memories, he occasionally took breaks to embark on missions to obtain batteries to power the Animus. However, the arrival of the second solar flare rapidly approached, and with no leads on the Grand Temple key's current location, the situation grew desperate. In an effort to maximize productivity, Desmond focused on reliving Connor's memories, while William retrieved a new battery from a museum in Cairo.
However, Vidic intercepted William and sent a video message to the group explaining that William would only be set free in exchange for the Apple of Eden. Desmond complied and traveled to the Abstergo facility where his father was being held, but instead of handing over the Apple, he used it to kill Vidic and his henchmen.
Assassin's Creed III (Cont.) -- Saving the World
Desmond returned to the Animus and learned that the Grand Temple key was hidden in a grave in Massachusetts. Using the key to open the gate to the Grand Temple's inner chamber, Desmond and the group entered only to be greeted by Juno, who revealed that they could save the world using the Eye. However, Minerva appeared and urged Desmond not to activate the device, explaining Juno's schemes to enslave humanity. She insisted that while the device would save the world from the solar flare, it would also kill Desmond and allow Juno to complete her quest to rule over Earth.
Despite Minerva's warnings, Desmond stated that if Juno was released, there could still be a slim chance that humanity could stop her. With his mind made up, Desmond activated the Eye, thus sacrificing himself to protect the planet and freeing Juno from imprisonment.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag -- Infiltrating Abstergo Entertainment
With the death of Desmond, Shaun, Rebecca, and William continued the fight against the Templars. However, William eventually stepped down as leader of the Assassins in order to go on a self-imposed exile.
Shaun and Rebecca then went undercover as low-level employees at Abstergo, who had managed to create a new version of the Animus that could let people relive the genetic memories of anyone's DNA, as long as the DNA was harvested. With this new tech--which was created using Desmond's DNA--the Templars formed Abstergo Entertainment, a branch of the company that created consumer products using Animus technology. However, Abstergo Entertainment was a front for the Templars to locate and acquire new Pieces of Eden.
The Assassins had an informant in the company, named John Standish, who began helping an unnamed Abstergo Entertainment employee (your player character) hack into the company's databases. The employee gradually fed the archived information to the Assassins.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Cont.) -- The Sage
Juno remained adamant towards advancing her schemes of world domination. However, she could do little without a physical body to transfer her consciousness into. Luckily, Juno had set a plan in motion prior to her imprisonment: she had managed to manipulate the human genetic code, creating a hidden trigger that would alter the genetic makeup of an individual, imbuing them with the memories and appearance of her husband. The experiment caused Juno's husband to be repeatedly reincarnated in human form for millennia. These reincarnations would be known as Sages.
Unbeknownst to everyone, John Standish was actually a Sage and plotted to transfer Juno's consciousness into the body of the unnamed Abstergo Entertainment employee. However, the plan failed and Abstergo security guards gunned down John.
Assassin's Creed Unity -- The Initiates
As a means of fighting the Templars, the Assassins enlisted the help of players using Abstergo Entertainment's gaming products. Those convinced to join were known as Initiates. With the help of an unnamed Initiate, an Assassin operative named Bishop managed to secure the location of an Apple of Eden via the memories of French Revolution era Assassin, Arno Dorian.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate -- Juno's Next Plan
The Templars began using John Standish's DNA to create an Isu from scratch, aiming to explore the genetic memories encoded in its DNA using the Animus. But in order to achieve this, they needed a Piece of Eden known as the Shroud; one was known to be hidden somewhere in London. The Assassins caught wind of this and once again enlisted the help of an unnamed Initiate.
By reliving the memories of Assassin twins, Jacob and Evie Frye, the Initiate discovered that the Shroud was located underneath Buckingham Palace. Shaun and Rebecca were dispatched to retrieve it, but were attacked by the Templars, who successfully escape with the Shroud. It was then revealed that Juno had secretly orchestrated the scheme from the beginning, manipulating the Templars into creating a new vessel for her to implant her consciousness.
Assassin's Creed Origins -- What Could It All Mean?
While we know Assassin's Creed Origins documents the formation of the Assassin order, little is known about the game's modern day storyline. From what occurs at the end of Syndicate, it's clear that Juno will finally return. In addition, according to a video memo in that game, Desmond has a ten-year-old illegitimate son. However, he was born a Sage, which means he's genetically bound to serve Juno. It's possible Desmond's son could become a key component of Origin's modern day plot.
Another important question stems from who you'll be playing in Origins. While Ubisoft could lean towards the Initiate route again, there's also the possibility for a completely new character. But given how Bayek--Origins' protagonist--sports the same lip scar that Desmond, Altair, and Ezio have, the genetic memories being explored must root from Desmond's DNA, seeing as that characteristic seems to run consistent with much of his family line thus far.