The Assassin’s Creed franchise is a group of 12 open-world action and adventure stealth games. They are produced and published by the video gaming company Ubisoft who also produces other popular video games such as Just Dance, Far Cry, and Rayman.
The premise of the games is a struggle and conflict between two groups of people that have been going on for millennia. These groups are the Assassins and the Templars.
Each of the twelve games features fictional and real-world characters. There are historical events and figures and they are set in places and eras that you will recognize from literature, science fiction, and even your history classes!
Let’s take a closer look at each of the twelve installments of the franchise. Warning: there may be spoilers….
Assassin’s Creed (2007)
The first-ever Assassin’s Creed was released in 2007 and set up the premise for the whole franchise. It follows a character called Desmond who is voiced by actor Nolan North.
Desmond wakes up inside a laboratory. He is inside a machine called the Animus, a device that allows the person inside to relive the life and memories of their ancestors. This is exactly what happens to Desmond as he is made to relive his ancestor’s, Altair’s, life.
The reason for this is because Vidic, the person responsible for putting him in the Animus, wants information that can only be gained through Altair’s life and memories.
We learn that Altair fails an important mission (retrieving the golden orb) and so he gets stripped of his titles, weapons, and rank. To earn this back he must assassinate 9 members of the Templar group.
We see Desmond learning all of this, and in between these memories learning more about the mission of the Templars today through Lucy Stillman, the assistant of Vidic. We find out that Altair was an Assassin, making Desmond an ancestor of the Assassins. This game is set in the ancient, medieval Middle East.
You could play this on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC originally.
Assassin’s Creed II (2009)
Just two years after the first installment, we were given Assassin’s Creed II. Again, this followed Desmond who, after learning about his routes and reliving Altair’s life, decides to train to become a modern-day member of the Assassins. Desmond is saved from the grasp of Vidic by Lucy Stillman, his assistant.
He trains with help from another Assassin ancestor. The Animus is used again here to help Desmond train, and through this, he is placed in the 15th century Italian Renaissance. He follows the life of Ezio who escapes as his father and brothers are hanged. He escapes to the city to find his uncle and embarks on a quest for revenge.
In this game, we begin to see some of those famous historical figures we discussed, namely Leonardo Da Vinci in this installment. Leonardo Da Vinci’s character helps Ezio to enhance many of his weapons.
In this game, we learn that many of Ezio’s memories are actually protected and cannot be viewed or detected by the Animus. The end of this game is where the gang (Desmond, Lucy, etc) gets attacked by Vidic and the Templars, forcing them to flee.
This game was made to be played on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. However, it has since been remastered for newer consoles, as was the first Assassin’s Creed.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010)
In Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, the story continues from the earlier Assassin’s Creed II. Desmond, Lucy, and the other Assassins escape to the ruins of a villa (Villa Auditore). This is where Ezio once lived. Luckily, the gang still has their Animus, and so Desmond can revisit the life of Ezio and pick up where he left off.
The mission in this installment of the franchise is to locate an artifact called the apple of Eden which is thought to be able to stop the catastrophic event that is said to happen in that year (2012 in the modern-day world of Duncan and Lucy).
They return to 15th-century Italy, right at the turn of the century in 1499. We see Ezio with his uncle, Mario. Cesare steals the apple of Eden and kills Mario. He takes the apple to the Templars.
Fuelled even further for revenge, Ezio works with Macchiavelli (another real-world historical figure) and creates a new Assassins Brotherhood to defeat the Templars and his enemy, Cesare. As Desmond is watching all of this he sees Ezio retrieve and hide the apple.
When Desmond comes out of the Animus an enemy takes over his body and forces him to stab Lucy. She dies and Desmond is comatose. It ends with an unseen conversation of two men agreeing to put Desmond back into the Animus.
This game was available to be played on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. It has since been remastered for newer consoles.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (2011)
In this installment, we meet Desmond again, along with Altair from the first game and Ezio. Desmond is still comatose and trapped inside the Animus. However, he finds a Safe Mode known as the Black Room, in which he must find a way to link back up with Ezio and Altair to awake him from his coma.
In the meantime, Ezio himself travels back to the time of Altair using one of the first types of Animus from the relics of the First Civilization. These help him to relive the memories of Altair, just as Desmond did with him.
Ezio does this because he finds out that Altair possibly has something that could destroy the evil Templars forever. He visits Altair’s memories in an attempt to find this. This game is set in the Ottoman Empire, namely, in the country known as Constantinople in the modern day it is called Istanbul).
This particular installment is very story-based and is less action-packed than previous games. However, this is not such a bad thing if you are a sucker for historical context, fictional and real-world characters, and impressive graphics! You could originally play this on PS3, Xbox, and PC. it has since been remastered.
Assassin’s Creed III (2012)
The 2012 installment of Assassin’s Creed introduced us to a new character, Connor. Connor aka Ratonhnhaké:ton. Connor is the son of a Templar but when his Native American village gets attacked and taken over by Templars, he turns to the side of the Assassins.
This installment of the game is set in 18th century America, at the time of the American Revolution. This is very different from the eras and periods of time that have been depicted so far. As such, you are likely to recognize many of the historical figures as they include the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere.
Whilst the events of 18th century America are ongoing and Connor is working to achieve peace amongst the Templars and Assassins, we learn that Desmond is still in the Animus. Desmond’s story continues, and we learn that he and his gang find the Temple of the First Civilization. However, they cannot yet access it as they need a key.
Connor hides this key in the 18th century but it is then retrieved by Desmond in 2012 to open the Temple. Doing this means that Desmond sacrifices himself to save the world.
This game could be played on a number of consoles and has been remastered to work with newer ones, too.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013)
This installment follows the life (through memories in the Animus) of Edward Kenway. Kenway is an Englishman who was a pirate and grandfather to Connor (y’know, from the previous game). His memories are viewed through DNA samples that were taken from the corpse of our dead hero, Desmond.
Through Desmond’s samples, they are able to allow the Animus to keep using his memories. The people in charge of the Animus hire someone else to look back at Edward Kenway’s memories. Edward Kenway was an interesting character. He uncovered a plot between the Templars within the British Empire and the Spanish Empire.
This plot was hidden under the guise of trying to deter piracy in the Caribbean. However, what they were actually plotting was to find the Sage (Bartholomew Roberts) who is the only person who can lead them to the Observatory.
Kenway gets intertwined in this plot for the Observatory after he unwittingly kills an Assassin. He is thrust into Templar and Assassin society and eventually locates the Sage. Together, he and the Sage uncover the Observatory but the Sage betrays Kenway at the last moment. Kenway then decides to train as an Assassin.
This game was available on all of the usual consoles and was also released on Nintendo Switch!
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (2014)
This game, the 7th in the series, follows the Colonial Brotherhood of Assassins. The Assassins add a new Assassin recruit to their order by the name of Shay Patrick Cormac. Shay trains as an Assassin in the North Atlantic chapter and meets other assassins. One of these is called Adewale.
When Shay is in training he is sent to investigate the Templars (the mortal enemy of the Assassins, remember?). The Templars have an interest, it seems, in the Precursor artifact and a manuscript. These are linked to a temple in Port-Au-Prince. Port-Au-Prince, you find out, has been devastated by a natural disaster – coincidence, I think not!
Shay investigates this by pretending to be a Templar courier. He delivers the artifact in question to Benjamin Franklin who generates a map using electricity.
This map shows where all of the Precursor temples are, one of which has a Piece of Eden artifact in it. This is in Lisbon. Shay is told he must go to retrieve it.
However, he learns that there is danger involved in this and so doesn’t go, instead stealing the manuscript. However, the Assassins catch him and kill him.
In the modern day, we are shown that the employees of Abstergo are researching the memories of Shay but you, as the player, disrupt this by accidentally infecting the Animus servers.
The Brotherhood then closes down all communications and at the end, the player is given a choice to join the Templars or die…
This game could be played on all of the usual consoles.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity (2014)
Unity sees us going further back in time again, this time to 1307 in Europe. It begins with a memory of a Templar of this time being assassinated after being seen hiding a book and a sword in a crypt somewhere.
This memory then quickly flashes forward to the death of a character called De Molay, before which he can be seen cursing both King Philip IV and the Pope at the time who was called Clement V.
We learn that the Templar at the beginning was instructed by De Molay, which makes sense that both of them were caught and killed. It then flashes to the present day where a character called Bishop takes control of the memory.
Through Bishop, we find ourselves in 1776, at the time of the French Revolution. The character is in Versailles. In this memory, we can see Arno Dorian meeting with the daughter of a Templar.
During this meeting, he sneaks around and then finds the Templar Grandmaster murdered. However, he is accused as the killer and jailed. The game is all about his quest to get revenge on the killers of the Grandmaster who were actually schismed Templars. He becomes an Assassin to do this.
This was available on PS4, Xbox One, Windows, and Stadia only.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (2015)
In this game, we meet two twin assassins, Evie and Jacob Frye. It is based in Victorian London where the two twins have been tasked with finding a Piece of Eden in their city.
The issues come in when the player realizes that locating these pieces of Eden is not going to be simple since London has been taken over by Templars. The Templars in London are headed by the Grand Master known as Crawford Starrick. He has overtaken the political powers of London to force them into becoming Templars.
Along the way, the twin Assassins meet lots of recognizable historical figures such as Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and even Queen Victoria. The twins destroy the Templars’ plans by creating an Assassin gang against the wishes of the Assassin Brotherhood. This gang kills and defeats many high ranking Templars.
This game could be played on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins (2017)
This is the 10th game of the franchise and, again, very different from previous ones in terms of settings. You are taken back to 49 BCE where you meet historical figures such as Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Lucius Septimus, and Cassius, among others.
You meet two men called Bayek and Khemu who are kidnapped and forced to try and open a secret vault in the Temple of Amun. In trying to escape, Khemu accidentally kills his own father and vows to seek revenge on the men who kidnapped them and caused this.
You also encounter the Order of the Ancients who aim to take over Egypt. This game is very different from previous ones and was a breath of fresh air for long term players of Assassin’s Creed. It was available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC gaming.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (2018)
This game is set in 431 – 422 BCE in a mythological historical setting. It takes place during the Peloponnesian War in Greece, and so you encounter many ANcient Greek figures as well as cultural references to the Greeks.
What makes this game so different is that you get to choose which side to fight for which is something that has not happened before in the other Assassins games. It is in this game that you also learn that the fight between Templars and Assassins can never be won, as any victory will be disastrous. Instead, order must be reached together.
Again, this could be played on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It has since been remastered for the latest consoles.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (2020)
This latest installment of Assassin’s Creed is based in the years 872-878 AD and is based in the Viking Expansion of Britain. As the player, you are the Viking Raider known as Eivor Varinsdottir who finds himself intertwined with the already centuries old conflict between Templars and Assassins.
In the modern day, a character called Layla uses the Animus to look back at the memories of Eivor Varinsdottir to help save the world from destruction. Of course, this is still a relatively new game and so we do not want to spoil too much as chances are you may not have finished it (or even started it yet).
However, trust us when we say you do not want to miss this one! It was the biggest Assassin’s Creed release yet, selling more copies in its first week of release than any other Assassins game!