Everything you need to know about Assassin’s Creed
Another year, another Assassin’s Creed game – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Lots of fans, and Internet users in general, were put off by the glitches that the Assassin’s Creed Unity launch suffered last year (even if some of them were hilarious).
Nevertheless, Unity’s companion game, Rogue, got better reviews, and the previous game, Black Flag, was one of the best in the series. So, there’s no reason that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate can’t be great.
The Assassin’s Creed Experience booth at Comic-Con 2015.
Syndicate, set for an October 2015 release, is promising revised and revamped mechanics and gameplay for stealth, as well as fighting, which ought to freshen up the series a little bit. Set in 1860s Victorian England during the Industrial Revolution, the game stars brother and sister Jacob and Evie Frye, who are set to add themselves to the list of great hero assassins, among the likes of Altair, Ezio, and Edward.
Even if you’ve never played any of the video games, all of these characters make amazing costumes that will get you plenty of positive reactions. But, you should still understand the basics. Keep reading for our crash course on the timeline of the Assassin’s Creed series. We’re going to be as spoiler-free as possible, but proceed with caution regardless.
In This Post:
- The Crusade Era (late 12th Century)
- The Renaissance Era (15th – 16th Centuries)
- The Colonial Era (18th – 19th Centuries)
- The European Revolutionary Era (18th – 19th Centuries)
The Crusade Era (late 12th Century)
This is where everything started. During a fictionalized version of the Crusades, the eternal struggle between the Assassins and Templars is introduced, as both factions vie for an artifact referred to as the “Piece of Eden.”
The original Assassin’s Creed, released in 2007, is primarily set during the events of the Third Crusade, in the year 1191. The game begins in the present day, with series protagonist Desmond Miles, after he is captured by the organization Abstergo.
Using a virtual reality device called the Animus, Abstergo forces Desmond to explore the memories of his Assassin ancestor, Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad, to discover the location of the Piece of Eden.
Assassin’s Creed also spawned two handheld spin-off titles that continued the story of Altaïr: a prequel, Altaïr’s Chronicles, in 2008; and Bloodlines, the following year.
The Renaissance Era (15th – 16th Centuries)
This arc of Assassin’s Creed is typically regarded as one of the series’ best. Along with a few spin-offs and side games, this is the period in which The Ezio Trilogy is set, which star the fan-favorite Ezio Auditore de Firenze.
Assassin’s Creed II
Ezio Auditore, a young man from Florence, Italy, is forced to flee his home with his mother and sister when his father is framed for a crime and hanged. After meeting his uncle Mario, Ezio finds out about his family’s secret involvement with the Assassins, and begins a quest for revenge.
Assassin’s Creed II also got its own spin-off/sub-sequel in Discovery, a side-scroller on the Nintendo DS. A pair of mobile-only games was released in 2011 (Multiplayer Rearmed and Recollection), and there was even a Facebook game called Assassin’s Creed: Project Legacy.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
In Brotherhood, Ezio’s character grows from an immature youth into a respected assassin, as he ascends the organization’s rankings, with assassins of his own under his command. Ezio and the Assassins’ conflict with the Templars and the Borgia family also reaches a climax.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
“Revelations” might just be code for “we couldn’t think of a cool-sounding title for this sequel,” but Assassin’s Creed: Revelations does serve to reveal several major plot points about the backstory that underpin the entire series. It also ties up Ezio’s story, as well as Altaïr’s, who returns as a playable character in a few sequences.
The Colonial Era (18th – 19th Centuries)
In this time period, Assassin’s Creed crosses the Atlantic to the Americas. It also restarts and re-stops the numbering of its sequels.
Assassin’s Creed III
In 2012’s Assassin’s Creed III, Desmond experiences the story of the Native American warrior Ratonhnhaké:ton, also known by the name Connor, in Revolution-era America. This time, Templars versus Assassins takes on the role of England versus the Colonies, as each faction choose a side to back in order to further their own goals. Spoiler alert: England loses.
The game was also concurrently released with a spin-off, Liberation, which follows the first female Assassin in the series, Aveline de Grandpre, during the French and Indian War in Louisiana.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The next direct sequel in the series is actually a prequel, chronologically. This time, an unnamed Abstergo employee (in first-person) explores Edward Kenway’s memories through the Animus. After leaving his home in England to take on a privateering mission in the Caribbean, Edward is shipwrecked on an island, and assumes the identity of a dead Assassin after taking his clothes.
Black Flag was lauded by critics for being a departure from the Assassin’s Creed that worked: instead of being purely a stealth/action game, there is a lot of totally new sailing and exploration sequences as Edward carves out a name for himself as the most feared pirate of his time. The Sage, an immortal character introduced in Black Flag, is further examined in the mobile side game Identity.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue
Released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at the same time that Assassin’s Creed Unity was released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Rogue serves primarily as a link between the stories of Connor and Edward, as well as a prequel to Unity.
Set during the Seven Years’ War, Rogue’s protagonist is Shay Patrick Cormac, a former Assassin who has turned to the Templar side. The game itself features more of the naval combat and exploration seen in Black Flag.
The European Revolutionary Era (18th – 19th Centuries)
These games bring the focus of the stories back to events in Western Europe, specifically the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution in England.
Assassin’s Creed Unity
As we mentioned earlier, this is the Assassin’s Creed game that may be best described as a “mixed bag.” Critics didn’t mind so much the game itself, but Ubisoft’s rushed production schedule caused lots of issues at launch, such as characters being grotesquely rendered without faces (we’re usually fans of scary stuff, but that’s just horrifying).
The protagonist of the game is Arno Dorian, whose adopted family has strong ties to the Templars. As he learns about the Templars and their quest, he eventually seeks redemption through the Assassins.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Syndicate is the first Assassin’s Creed in which gamers may swap between two playable protagonists: twins Jacob and Evie Frye. Similar to the ways in which Ezio built a brotherhood of loyal Assassins and Edward built his own network of pirates, part of Syndicate focused on the Fryes building the biggest gang in London.
The twins’ main quest is (unsurprisingly) to take down the Templars, who, since the last installment in the series, have tightened their grips on Europe considerably.
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