Assassin's Creed: Stealth, Parkour and Historical Intrigue
Since its inception in 2007, the Assassin’s Creed series has emerged as a titan in the realm of video games, weaving an intricate tapestry of historical fiction, action-packed gameplay, and a captivating narrative that transcends time and space. Developed by Ubisoft, this franchise has taken players on a mesmerizing journey through various historical periods, offering a unique blend of stealth, parkour, and combat elements. With numerous titles released and millions of copies sold, the Assassin’s Creed series has left an indelible mark on the gaming industry. In this comprehensive article by Academic Block, we will delve into the origins, evolution, and key features of this iconic gaming saga.
Genesis of the Creed
The seeds of the Assassin’s Creed series were sown in 2007 with the release of the eponymous first title. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft, the game introduced players to the protagonist Desmond Miles, a modern-day bartender kidnapped by a shadowy organization known as Abstergo Industries. Abstergo sought to exploit Desmond’s genetic memories through a device called the Animus, unlocking the secrets of his ancestors. This set the stage for an enthralling narrative that would unfold across multiple time periods.
Assassin’s Creed (2007)
The inaugural game transported players to the Holy Land during the Third Crusade, where they assumed the role of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, a skilled Assassin tasked with eliminating key targets to restore peace. The game showcased innovative parkour mechanics, allowing players to traverse cities with unprecedented freedom. Its groundbreaking blend of historical accuracy and fictional narrative garnered widespread acclaim, laying the foundation for the series’ success.
Assassin’s Creed II (2009)
Building upon the success of its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed II introduced players to a new protagonist, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an Italian nobleman turned Assassin. Set against the backdrop of the Renaissance, the game expanded the series’ scope, offering a more expansive open world and refining core gameplay mechanics. The addition of a wealth of side missions, collectibles, and a deepening narrative marked a significant leap forward, solidifying the series’ status as a major player in the gaming landscape.
Brotherhood (2010) and Revelations (2011)
The narrative continued with Ezio in Brotherhood and Revelations, exploring his journey as he led the Assassin Brotherhood against the Templar threat. Brotherhood introduced a compelling multiplayer mode, allowing players to engage in covert, cat-and-mouse battles. Revelations, on the other hand, delved deeper into the mysteries of the series’ lore, connecting Altaïr, Ezio, and Desmond in a narrative tapestry that spanned centuries.
Assassin’s Creed III (2012)
With the release of Assassin’s Creed III, the series ventured into the American Revolution, introducing a new protagonist, Connor Kenway. The game marked a departure from the urban landscapes of its predecessors, embracing the vast wilderness of colonial America. The addition of naval warfare and a more intricate combat system added layers of complexity to the gameplay, expanding the series’ horizons.
Black Flag (2013) and Rogue (2014)
Black Flag took players to the Golden Age of Piracy, offering a breathtaking open-world experience as players assumed the role of Edward Kenway, a privateer and pirate. Naval exploration and combat took center stage, introducing a refreshing dynamic to the series. Rogue, released concurrently with Unity, provided a unique perspective, allowing players to experience the Assassin-Templar conflict from the Templar viewpoint.
Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, Unity aimed to redefine the series with enhanced graphics and a robust cooperative multiplayer mode. However, its release was marred by technical issues, overshadowing the game’s ambitious design and attention to historical detail. Despite its challenges, Unity laid the groundwork for future innovations in the series.
Transporting players to Victorian London, Syndicate introduced twin protagonists, Jacob and Evie Frye, each with their distinctive playstyles. The game refined combat mechanics, emphasized stealth, and showcased the evolving Industrial Revolution. While not a revolutionary entry, Syndicate provided a solid, enjoyable experience for fans of the series.
In a bold move, Ubisoft took the series back to its roots with Origins, exploring the birth of the Assassin Brotherhood in ancient Egypt. Players assumed the role of Bayek of Siwa, a Medjay on a quest for vengeance. The game overhauled the combat system, introducing RPG elements and a more expansive open world. The narrative also shifted its focus, delving deeper into the mystical aspects of the series’ lore.
Continuing the trend of exploration and innovation, Odyssey transported players to ancient Greece, offering a choice between two protagonists, Alexios and Kassandra. The introduction of dialogue choices and a branching narrative marked a significant departure from the series’ linear storytelling. Odyssey also embraced a more overtly RPG-centric approach, allowing players to shape the narrative through their decisions.
The most recent installment, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, thrust players into the Viking Age, exploring the exploits of Eivor, a Norse warrior. Building upon the RPG elements introduced in Origins and Odyssey, Valhalla presented a vast open world, blending historical accuracy with the series’ trademark fictional elements. The game further emphasized player choice, allowing for varied approaches to both combat and narrative progression.
Unveiling the Animus: A Narrative Odyssey
Central to the Assassin’s Creed experience is its intricate narrative, seamlessly blending historical events with fictional elements. The series weaves a complex tapestry that spans centuries, connecting the fates of various protagonists across different time periods. At its core, the narrative revolves around the eternal conflict between the Assassins and the Templars, two secret societies vying for control over powerful artifacts known as Pieces of Eden.
The modern-day component, following Desmond Miles and later Layla Hassan, serves as the overarching frame for the historical narratives. As players delve into the memories of their ancestors through the Animus, they unravel the mysteries of the past while confronting the present-day implications of the ongoing struggle between Assassins and Templars.
The Isu and the Pieces of Eden
A significant narrative thread revolves around the Isu, a technologically advanced precursor race that once ruled the Earth. The Pieces of Eden, artifacts created by the Isu, possess incredible power and influence. Throughout the series, characters discover and interact with these artifacts, influencing historical events and shaping the fate of humanity. The series masterfully intertwines real historical figures with fictional elements, creating a narrative that feels both grounded and fantastical.
The Multifaceted Protagonists
Each mainline Assassin’s Creed title introduces a new protagonist, adding layers to the overarching narrative. From Altaïr’s journey of redemption to Ezio’s evolution from a vengeful youth to a seasoned Assassin, and from Connor’s struggle for justice during the American Revolution to Eivor’s quest for glory in Viking Age England, each protagonist brings a unique perspective to the series.
The modern-day segments, initially centered around Desmond Miles, have evolved to feature Layla Hassan, a researcher working for Abstergo. Layla’s journey expands upon the lore of the Isu and their influence on human history, tying together the disparate threads of the Assassin’s Creed universe.
The Art of World-Building: Historical Accuracy and Immersive Environments
One of the series’ standout features is its commitment to historical accuracy and world-building. Each installment meticulously recreates historical settings, from the bustling streets of Renaissance Florence to the rugged landscapes of ancient Greece. The level of detail extends to architecture, clothing, and even the political climate of each era, offering players an immersive experience that transcends traditional gaming boundaries.
Assassin’s Creed titles serve as interactive time machines, allowing players to explore and interact with pivotal moments in history. The series has covered a vast array of time periods, including the Crusades, the Renaissance, the American Revolution, the Golden Age of Piracy, and the Viking Age. The developers collaborate with historians and experts to ensure a high level of accuracy, blending real events with fictional narratives seamlessly.
The evolution of the series is marked by the expansion and refinement of open-world environments. Each game introduces a meticulously crafted setting, teeming with side quests, collectibles, and dynamic events. The cities and landscapes are not mere backdrops but living, breathing worlds that react to player actions. Whether scaling the rooftops of Rome or sailing the high seas as a pirate, players are immersed in environments that are as diverse as they are captivating.
The Assassin’s Arsenal: Gameplay Mechanics and Innovations
Parkour and Stealth: From the outset, Assassin’s Creed distinguished itself with its fluid parkour mechanics. Players could seamlessly navigate urban environments, scaling buildings, leaping across rooftops, and blending into crowds with ease. The series refined and expanded upon these mechanics with each installment, introducing new traversal options and enhancing the overall sense of freedom.
Stealth gameplay is another cornerstone of the series, allowing players to approach missions with a variety of tactics. From hiding in plain sight to utilizing the environment for cover, the Assassin’s Creed series empowers players to choose their preferred playstyle. The iconic hidden blade, a retractable wrist blade used for discreet assassinations, remains a symbol of the Assassin Brotherhood’s deadly efficiency.
Combat Evolution: The combat system has undergone significant evolution throughout the series. The early games featured a more straightforward counter-based system, while later entries introduced a more intricate and varied combat experience. Origins and Odyssey, in particular, embraced a more RPG-centric approach, incorporating weapon variety, skill trees, and enemy levels. Valhalla continued this trend, offering a visceral combat experience with an emphasis on player choice and customization.
Naval Warfare: A standout innovation in the series was the introduction of naval warfare in Assassin’s Creed III and expanded upon in Black Flag. Players commandeered ships, engaged in naval battles, and explored vast expanses of open water. The seamless transition from land to sea added a new dimension to the series, with players navigating treacherous waters and engaging in epic naval clashes.
RPG Elements: Origins marked a paradigm shift for the series by incorporating RPG elements, including a leveling system, gear customization, and a skill tree. This departure from the series’ more linear roots allowed players to tailor their playstyle and shape the development of their characters. Odyssey expanded on these RPG elements, introducing dialogue choices and multiple endings, offering players a more personalized narrative experience.
The Musical Tapestry: Score and Sound Design
A crucial but often overlooked aspect of the Assassin’s Creed series is its exceptional musical score and sound design. Composed by Jesper Kyd, Sarah Schachner, and others, the series’ music captures the essence of each historical setting, evoking the emotions of the narrative and enhancing the overall gaming experience. The use of historical instruments, combined with modern elements, creates a memorable and immersive auditory backdrop.
The iconic main theme, with its hauntingly beautiful melody, has become synonymous with the series. The sound design, from the ambient noises of bustling cities to the swaying of ship masts in the open sea, adds depth to the immersive worlds crafted by the developers.
The Brotherhood of Fans: Cultural Impact and Legacy
As the Assassin’s Creed series continued to captivate players worldwide, it also left a lasting impact on popular culture. The franchise inspired novels, comics, an animated series, and even a live-action film. While the film adaptation received mixed reviews, it showcased the widespread appeal of the Assassin’s Creed universe beyond the realm of gaming.
The series’ cultural impact extends to fan communities, where enthusiasts discuss lore theories, share gameplay experiences, and create fan art. The iconic hooded robes of the Assassins and the enigmatic symbols associated with the franchise have become symbols recognized beyond the gaming community.
Controversies revolving around Assassin’s Creed Series
While the Assassin’s Creed series has enjoyed immense popularity, critical acclaim, and commercial success, it has not been without its fair share of controversies. These controversies have spanned various aspects of the games, including historical accuracy, technical issues, and narrative choices. Here are some notable controversies surrounding the Assassin’s Creed series:
Historical Accuracy Criticisms: Despite the series’ commitment to historical accuracy, some critics and historians have pointed out inaccuracies and liberties taken with historical events and figures. The blending of real historical events with fictional elements has been a subject of debate, with some arguing that it might lead to a distorted understanding of history among players.
Annual Release Fatigue: The decision by Ubisoft to adhere to an annual release schedule for Assassin’s Creed titles from 2009 to 2015 raised concerns among fans and critics. Some argued that this rapid release cycle could potentially compromise the quality of the games, leading to burnout among both developers and players.
Technical Issues with Assassin’s Creed Unity: The release of Assassin’s Creed Unity in 2014 was marred by significant technical problems, including numerous bugs, glitches, and performance issues. The game’s launch was widely criticized, leading to a public apology from Ubisoft. This incident prompted the company to reevaluate its development and release strategies.
Controversy over Female Playable Characters: Prior to the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, there was controversy over the absence of playable female characters in the game’s cooperative multiplayer mode. Ubisoft faced criticism for its explanation that including female characters would have required additional resources and was not part of the development plan.
Treatment of Female Characters in Syndicate: While Assassin’s Creed Syndicate introduced a playable female protagonist, Evie Frye, concerns were raised about the balance of the narrative focus between Evie and her male counterpart, Jacob Frye. Some players felt that the marketing and story emphasis tilted more towards Jacob, sparking discussions about gender representation in the series.
Narrative Complexity and Confusion: The overarching narrative of the Assassin’s Creed series, involving the conflict between Assassins and Templars, the Isu, and the use of the Animus, has been criticized for its complexity. Some players found the storylines convoluted and challenging to follow, especially as the series expanded and introduced new layers of lore.
Microtransactions and In-Game Purchases: As with many modern games, some entries in the Assassin’s Creed series included microtransactions and in-game purchases. This sparked debates about the impact of such monetization strategies on the overall gaming experience and the perception of fairness among players.
Handling of Sensitive Themes: Certain games in the series, including Assassin’s Creed III and Black Flag, touched on sensitive historical themes such as slavery and colonialism. The portrayal of these themes in the games led to discussions about the responsibility of game developers when dealing with historically charged subject matter.
Divergence from Stealth Roots: As the series evolved, some long-time fans expressed disappointment at the shift from stealth-focused gameplay to a more action-oriented and combat-centric approach, especially in titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. This departure from the series’ roots sparked debates within the fan community.
Reception of the Film Adaptation: The 2016 live-action film adaptation of Assassin’s Creed, starring Michael Fassbender, received mixed reviews from both critics and fans. While some praised the film’s visuals, others criticized its convoluted plot and deviations from the game’s established lore.
What to expect in future from Assassin’s Creed Series
Diverse Historical Settings: The Assassin’s Creed series is known for exploring a wide range of historical periods and locations. Fans can likely anticipate future titles to continue this trend, delving into new and unexplored settings. Possible eras could include ancient civilizations, feudal Japan, or other pivotal moments in history.
Evolution of Gameplay Mechanics: Future Assassin’s Creed games are likely to build upon the gameplay innovations introduced in recent titles. This may include further refinement of RPG elements, enhanced combat mechanics, and a continued focus on player choice and agency in shaping the narrative.
Advancements in Graphics and Technology: As technology continues to advance, players can expect improvements in graphics, animation, and overall visual fidelity. Future Assassin’s Creed titles are likely to leverage the capabilities of next-generation gaming consoles and high-end PCs to create more immersive and stunning open-world environments.
Exploration of New Platforms: With the gaming industry evolving and new platforms emerging, future Assassin’s Creed games may explore virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) experiences. These platforms could provide unique opportunities for players to engage with the Assassin’s Creed universe in innovative ways.
Continued Narrative Complexity: The overarching narrative of the Assassin’s Creed series, involving the conflict between Assassins and Templars, the Isu, and the Animus, is likely to evolve and deepen. Future games may introduce new layers to the lore, expanding on the mysteries surrounding the Isu and the Pieces of Eden.
Innovation in Multiplayer and Co-op: Following the success of multiplayer elements in titles like Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and the cooperative mode in Unity, future games may introduce innovative multiplayer experiences. This could include expanded cooperative modes, shared open-world interactions, or new competitive elements.
Integration of Player Feedback: Ubisoft has a history of actively listening to player feedback and incorporating it into subsequent releases. Future Assassin’s Creed games are expected to address community concerns, refine gameplay mechanics based on player experiences, and provide a more polished overall experience.
Collaborations and Cross-Media Experiences: The Assassin’s Creed franchise may continue to expand beyond gaming through collaborations and cross-media experiences. This could involve tie-in novels, comics, animated series, or potentially more film adaptations exploring different facets of the Assassin’s Creed universe.
Attention to Inclusivity and Representation: There may be a continued focus on inclusivity and representation in future Assassin’s Creed games. This could involve diverse protagonists, nuanced exploration of historical themes, and an ongoing commitment to portraying diverse cultures and perspectives with sensitivity.
Post-Launch Support and Expansions: Future Assassin’s Creed titles are likely to receive post-launch support, including updates, patches, and expansions. This could involve additional story content, new playable characters, and expanded features to keep players engaged long after the initial release.
As the Assassin’s Creed series embarks on its third decade, it stands as a testament to the resilience of the franchise and the enduring appeal of its core elements. The series has weathered challenges, evolved with the gaming landscape, and maintained a dedicated fanbase.
From the bustling streets of Damascus to the snowy landscapes of Norway, the Assassin’s Creed series has transported players across time and space, offering a blend of historical immersion, innovative gameplay, and a narrative tapestry that spans centuries. As the Animus continues to unravel the secrets of the past, the future of the Assassin’s Creed series holds the promise of new adventures, challenges, and discoveries, ensuring that the creed of the Assassins endures across the annals of gaming history. Please provide your views in comment section below to make this article better. Thanks for Reading and Game On!
Some quotes from Assassin’s Creed Series
“Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”
“Requiescat in pace.” (Rest in peace.)
“The truth is written in blood.”
“May the Father of Understanding guide us.”
“We work in the dark to serve the light.”
“I am the blade in the shadows.”
“The creed of the Assassin Brotherhood teaches us that nothing is forbidden to us.”
“To say that nothing is true is to realize that the foundations of society are fragile and that we must be the shepherds of our own civilization.”
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“Walk the path of chaos. Embrace your disorder. The order will rise from it.”
Facts about Assassin’s Creed Series
Inception and Development: The first Assassin’s Creed game was released in 2007, developed by Ubisoft Montreal. The original concept for the game was inspired by the novel “Alamut” by Vladimir Bartol, which explored the history of the Assassins during the Crusades.
Global Success: The Assassin’s Creed series has sold over 155 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling video game franchises.
Annual Release Tradition: Ubisoft followed an annual release tradition for Assassin’s Creed titles from 2009 to 2015, which contributed to the rapid expansion of the series but also raised concerns about potential quality issues.
Historical Settings: The series has explored diverse historical settings, including the Third Crusade, Renaissance Italy, the American Revolution, the Golden Age of Piracy, Victorian London, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, the Viking Age, and more.
Protagonists Through the Ages: The mainline Assassin’s Creed games feature various protagonists, including Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, Ezio Auditore, Connor Kenway, Edward Kenway, Arno Dorian, Jacob and Evie Frye, Bayek of Siwa, Kassandra/Alexios, and Eivor.
The Animus and Genetic Memory: The central narrative device in the series is the Animus, a machine that allows characters to relive the memories of their ancestors stored in their DNA. This concept explores the idea of genetic memory.
Pieces of Eden and Isu: The overarching plot involves a conflict between the Assassins and Templars over powerful artifacts called Pieces of Eden, created by an ancient and technologically advanced race known as the Isu.
Parkour and Stealth Mechanics: The series revolutionized parkour in gaming, allowing players to seamlessly navigate urban environments. Stealth mechanics, including the iconic hidden blade, have become integral to the gameplay experience.
Naval Exploration: Assassin’s Creed III and Black Flag introduced naval exploration and warfare, allowing players to captain ships and engage in naval battles. This feature was well-received and expanded upon in subsequent titles.
Cultural Impact: The Assassin’s Creed series has expanded beyond gaming into various media, including novels, comics, and an animated series. A live-action film, starring Michael Fassbender, was released in 2016.
Award-Winning Music: The series is renowned for its music, composed by Jesper Kyd, Lorne Balfe, and Sarah Schachner. The main theme, in particular, has become iconic and is instantly recognizable to fans.
Modern-Day Story Arc: The modern-day story arc, initially centered around Desmond Miles, has transitioned to feature Layla Hassan, a character introduced in Origins. Layla continues to unravel the mysteries of the Isu and their influence on human history.
RPG Elements and Player Choice: Origins introduced RPG elements, including a leveling system and skill trees. Odyssey expanded on this by incorporating dialogue choices, branching narratives, and multiple endings, giving players more agency in shaping their experience.
Technical Challenges: Assassin’s Creed Unity, released in 2014, faced significant criticism for technical issues, including bugs and glitches. This prompted Ubisoft to reevaluate their development and release strategies.
Ongoing Evolution: The series has evolved over time, embracing RPG elements, open-world exploration, and a more player-driven narrative. The continuous evolution of the franchise reflects Ubisoft’s commitment to keeping the Assassin’s Creed experience fresh and engaging.
Evolution of the game from start
Recommended Hardware for playing
- Processor (CPU): Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 series or higher.
- Graphics Card (GPU): NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 580 (or equivalent) with at least 4GB VRAM.
- RAM: 16 GB minimum, but 16GB or higher for optimal performance.
- Operating System: 64-bit operating system, e.g., Windows 10.
- PlayStation 4 (PS4): PlayStation 4 Pro for enhanced graphics performance.
- PlayStation 5 (PS5): The latest PlayStation console for the best performance and graphics quality.
- Xbox One: Xbox One X for improved graphics and performance.
- Xbox Series X: The latest Xbox console with enhanced capabilities for a superior gaming experience.
Easter Eggs in Assassin’s Creed Series
Splinter Cell in Assassin’s Creed II: In Assassin’s Creed II, players can find a conference room with a wall dedicated to various weapons. Among them is Sam Fisher’s iconic three-lensed night-vision goggles from the Splinter Cell series, another Ubisoft franchise.
The Lost Hatch in Assassin’s Creed III: Assassin’s Creed III, set during the American Revolution, includes a hidden hatch on the frontier, reminiscent of the hatch in the TV series “Lost.”
Edward Kenway’s Fleet in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag: In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, players can unlock a fleet management minigame reminiscent of the mobile game “Assassin’s Creed: Pirates.” The game allows players to send ships on missions to gather resources.
White Whale in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag: A reference to Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” players can encounter a massive white whale while sailing the seas in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
Cave Paintings in Assassin’s Creed III: Within Assassin’s Creed III, players can find a cave with ancient drawings on the walls, hinting at the existence of the First Civilization.
Frozen Mammoth in Assassin’s Creed III: In the DLC “The Tyranny of King Washington,” a frozen mammoth can be found in the northern part of the map, adding a touch of prehistoric flair.
Templar Coin in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood: In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, players can find a Templar coin with the image of Ezio’s face, possibly as a commentary on the commodification of heroes.
Batman Easter Egg in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood: The sequence where Desmond practices his freerunning skills in a cave includes a reference to Batman. As Desmond leaps across platforms, a voice can be heard saying, “I’m Batman.”
Flying Machine Blueprint in Assassin’s Creed II: In Assassin’s Creed II, players can find a set of flying machine blueprints on Leonardo da Vinci’s desk, hinting at the events of the DLC “The Da Vinci Disappearance.”
Origins of the Brotherhood in Assassin’s Creed: Origins: Assassin’s Creed: Origins includes a nod to the series’ roots by depicting the formation of the Assassin Brotherhood in ancient Egypt.
Black Panther in Assassin’s Creed: Origins: There’s a hidden reference to the Marvel superhero Black Panther in Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Players can find a pyramid that resembles the Black Panther mask.
Vault of Glass in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey: In Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, players can find a hidden entrance to a place called “The Underworld” which is similar to the Vault of Glass, a raid in the game Destiny.
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