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Headscratchers / Assassin's Creed

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Note: For the sake of organization, if you have a Headscratcher that only pertains to a specific game, please put it on one of the following pages instead of here:


Expanded Universe

The folders below are for Headscratchers that focus on the series and mythology overall, or questions about what is going on during Desmond's time.

And remember: If your question can be answered with "The Animus does not create a perfect simulation" or "The Templars or the Assassins altered the history", it does not need to be listed.

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    Altaïr’s Sword 
  • Is there any significance, Watsonian or Doylist, why Altaïr’s Sword has been in the possession of Altaïr, Ezio, Edward, & Shay, but not any of the other protagonists? Connor & all other Assassins either during or after his time don’t ever possess the sword, while Bayek & the Mistos obviously can’t because they existed before Altaïr was even born.

    Using a Hidden Blade 

  • Just how does one use a Hidden Blade, exactly? In-game, the user sort of flicks their wrist to extend it, and flicks it back to retract it. But aren't there thousands of situations where an Assassin could do so accidentally? Like, when climbing up a structure, or trapped in combat, or even reaching for an apple?
    • If you're assuming that the blade freely slides in and out, it doesn't. There's some kind of switch or pressure-activated trigger within the glove itself that shoots the blade out at great force and locks it in place until it's retracted (that's part of what makes it so deadly).
    • But Ezio (and Altair) don't wear gloves with their blades. I think we see a few Assassins that do, but they don't.
    • Well, mainly it looks cool. But yes, in the novelizations, they're said to use some type of deploy mechanism attached to their finger.
    • If I remember correctly, when Game Informer did a cover story on the game, someone explained how the hidden blade works. Basically, removing the ring finger is symbolic in that not only can the assassin no longer marry (excluding Ezio in ACII), he is in effect married to the Brotherhood (with the hidden blade being the ring) but it also shows their commitment to the Brotherhood. Once they put the hidden blade on, there is a ring that is attached to the stump with a wire that activates the mechanism that draws the blade whenever the wearer flicks their wrist or so. I'd imagine there's also a safety wire of sorts attached to one of their other fingers to prevent the blade from deploying accidentally, can't really remember what they said exactly.


    Modern Day 

  • I don't understand why they made the animus/modern day storyline in the first place. Even by the end of the second game, it still hasn't justified itself. Assassin's Creed would have worked just fine as a series of games, each with their own story.
    • Because it's cool.
    • It also allows the skipping of boring time, a justification for the side-missions respawning, etc. Basically it's a framing device, and it looks like they're building up to a third in the modern day.
    • Looks like? They set the release date in the first game! December 21, 2012 is repeatedly stated as the Templar's deadline and was on the right schedule for when the game was initially released to provide development time to put out the third game then (maybe a little earlier to make more than last-minute holiday sales unless they're really dedicated to the solstice).
    • While a series of self-contained games could work, the metaplot ties the whole history of the two groups together.
    • 1. Desmond Miles is the man here (like it or not). 2. Having a computerized simulation gave Ubisoft a lot of leeway in how things could be presented (which, as you may guess from most of the entries here, they needed big time). 3. Knowing that the Assassins and Templars have been fighting, constantly, for hundreds thousands of years, as opposed to three remote, unrelated flareups, really drives home the sheer scope of the conflict.
    • Also it basically justifies anything wrong in the game. Why can't Altaïr swim? The animus has a bug.
    • This. It's a lazy way to handwave any obvious gamey-ness or problems by making you play a game about playing a game.
    • But that's the beauty of it all! The Animus singlehandedly justified the Life Meter, Regenerating Health, all forms of Non Standard Game Over (Stealth-Based Mission, Escort Mission, Timed Mission), the Heads-Up Display, Super Drowning Skills (retroactively, anyway), and control/graphics changes between games ("No more selecting individual parts of your ancestor's body!"); allowed Subject Sixteen's side story and, in fact, the entire Myth Arc; tied together thousands of years with one (very mortal) protagonist; and expertly tied together the genres of Science Fiction and Historical Fiction — all without breaking the Willing Suspension of Disbelief and being explained well enough to avoid falling into Voodoo Shark territory (although, as a biology major, the idea of genetic memory rubs me the wrong way). As plot devices go, the Animus is probably one of the best — expertly constructed, simple, internally consistent, and very effective.
    • This was a bit of realism. It was extremely uncommon for people to know how to swim back then. Its actually kind of weird that Ezio knows how to swim in the sequel for that matter.
    • Actually, I figured that was because he had no reason to know how to swim. They don't live in an area with a large number of bodies of water, and he seems to operate mainly in that area. Sure, there are seas sort of nearby, but I don't really see him learning to swim. It would be like learning to move through a forest quietly; kind of a moot point in the area. What makes less sense is Ezio being able to swim with all of that gear and the heavy clothes on him.
    • Actually, I just remembered something. Lorenzo di Medici, AKA Giovanni Auditore's friend, almost died by drowning. Giovanni saved him with swimming. So, perhaps, when Ezio was a boy, Giovanni said, "Alright, it's a hot day in Firenze. EZIO! We're going to the river. You're going to learn to swim! You'll never know when you need it. . ."
    • Actually, it's justified at the end of the second game. Minerva speaks directly to Desmond through Ezio via the animus and gives him an important message about an upcoming global disaster. The fact that Those Who Came Before seem to be able to transcend time in this way shows that the scope is waaaay bigger than just a Templar/Assassin war.

    Parting the Red Sea 

  • If the parting of the red sea was an illusion created by the Piece of Eden, how did they cross it?
    • Al Mualim was ever so slightly full of it when he claimed that all the Biblical miracles were nothing but illusions cast by the Pieces of Eden. After all, how exactly does he know that all the Biblical miracles were illusions? Because he found one of the Pieces of Eden? Nonsense. That's like some future archaeologist stumbling across an old copy of Adobe Photoshop and concluding that Elvis never really existed, he was just some guy they photoshopped into a bunch of pictures. I suspect that at the end of the series we'll discover that there's more truth to religious belief than the Templars ever suspected.
    • In the sequel we're told by one of Those Who Came Before that they and their technology were what inspired human religions, so Jossed. As for how Al Mualim got his information, the Apple isn't just a hypnotism device it's also a repository of knowledge.
    • Not Jossed at all. The Truth video reveals that the Book of Genesis is actually a fairly accurate (if poetic and non-literal) account of the creation of the human race.
    • Except for the bit where humans were not created by a god but by the race who made the artifacts.
    • Hence the phrase "poetic and non-literal". And as always, remember Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Those Who Came Before are advanced enough that they may as well be gods.
    • I think we basically agree here but are arguing about two different things. Al Mualim claimed that the Apple and artifacts like it were responsible for all the miracles of various religions, the second post in this block argued that he was wrong and it would turn out that there was more to religions than the Templars thought. That's the point I said was Jossed a few posts back - Assassin's Creed II makes it quite clear that Those Who Came Before really are ultimately responsible for various apparent miracles (including what is pretty much the big one, as shown in The Truth).
    • Create the illusion of parting the Red Sea, and then an illusion of you crossing it. Meanwhile, you move the rest of your people away while everyone chasing you is brainwashed. Or hell, just brainwash the people chasing you and tell them to walk into the ocean until they die from it, then send a few mind-raped survivors back to tell everyone you parted the Red Sea and drowned everybody.
    • This also makes sense in that it explains the period of wandering detailed in the Bible. Since Moses was taking the Jews the long way around, he had to give them some sort of excuse for it taking so long. So he made them think they were wandering in the desert even though he was just making up the extra distance.
    • Even though Al Mualim states that all the Apple ever does is perform illusions, he demonstrates that the Apple is actually capable of more than that every time he restrains Altaïr. Another thing to think about is that in the second game, we are introduced to the Staff, which can have the Apple installed on it to increase its power. Since the original Biblical story makes many reference to Moses' staff, it is possible that he had both the Staff and the Apple and with their combined power was able to create both the illusion of the parting of the Red Sea and facilitate a means of getting across it without having to part it.
    • Al Mualim is not fully informed. We know as of ACII that humans have a dormant neurotransmitter int hem that is triggered by the Pieces, particularly the Apple. This is what he was using to restrain Altair, albeit to a very limited degree thanks to his innate Assassin genes that made him resistant.
    • They seemingly can't decide whether atheists are right or the villains. Chalk it up to that "multicultural team" they want to PC you with.
    • Just because some villains are atheists doesn't mean they're not right about that specific conviction. Ezio's an atheist, or close to; Altair seems not to subscribe to Islam, Judaism or Christianity and later in his life writes his theories about why anyone does, going so far to think of pantheism as a more logical (though still wrong) method of explaining the world. On that note, there are villainous and heroic theists as well. It's not inconsistent so much as, well, realistic. Your faith or lack thereof is part of who you are and may inform your ethics, but it doesn't actually make you a good or bad person. Fanaticism, on the other hand... My point being, TWGB are god-figures, and several humans or human-hybrids throughout history used the power of their artifacts, the Pieces of Eden, to seem like prophets or avatars. The Pieces have varying abilities, from mental domination to healing to boosting combat skills to possibly manipulating time itself. Maybe parting the Red Sea was one of them. Or Al-Mualim may have just been using poetic license. Nothing is true.
    • We get a conclusive answer to this in Assassin's Creed III. Juno reveals to Desmond that when enough people are enthralled by a Piece of Eden and told to believe something, they can make it come true. By extension, this would mean all miracles actually did happen.
    • This right here. The implications of that are simply staggering. A man (or a group of men) have the abillity to basically rewrite reality, something in the domain of God(s).. In order to grasp the significance of this let's consider the following: if it is to be believed the in-universe lore, if humans are apparently wholy mundane, lacking any soul or something else that would make us "special", what's to prevent someone from creating an AI orders of magnitude more powerfull than any human(s) could ever be, with the machine's ability to focus singularily on one thought, and overwriting reality? Long story short, the very possibility of such a thing puts a VERY strong argument in any theist/deist/idealist's case (not to mention effectively toppling a number of philosophies and strongly reinforcing others). Also, the Templars are thus correct in the end, by enthralling all of humanity, they can just wish a utopian society to become a reality...and it simply would.

    Stealing versus looting 

  • If you steal from people, nobody calls you for it directly (they only lament "my purse! It's gone!"), and it raises your notoriety. However, if you loot bodies, bystanders yell at you for it to your face, but it doesn't make you more notorious.
    • The first part is untrue; you can hear your victims calling for the guards if you run for it (though you're usually fast enough to escape without trouble), but if you stick around for too long the person you stole from will forget the guards and start punching you him/herself. As for the point about looting corpses, that's a natural reaction for typical crowd behavior, as crowds usually observe and fail to act. The only reason cutpurse victims fight you is because the atrocity directly affected them.
    • Notoriety deals with how the guards perceive you, not the unwashed masses (who are pretty much always the same regardless of your recent history). As for the grossly disproportionate outrage over looting corpses...what, putting them in that state is perfectly fine?...I chalk it up to irrational stick-up-the-butt prejudice. Annoying but ultimately harmless.

    Eagle Vision 

  • Just what is eagle vision supposed to be? At first I figured it was the Animus's best approximation of Altaïr's skilled eye to relate to Desmond. But now Desmond has the power in the real world. Ezio also seemed to be able to pick a man out instantly with the eagle vision, where other Assassins had failed. Is Ezio just that good, or is eagle vision an actual power? As in, it's not Broad Strokes or artistic license or anything, and people in the Altaïr/Ezio/Desmond bloodline just had the power to see things as gold/red/blue false color?
    • It's not supposed to be video-game targeting. It's supposed to be ultra-perception, that basically constructs "the truth from the lies" (wait what am i doing dammit too much nasuverse magibabbly has cooked my brain) LET'S START AGAIN. It lets people with it identify the not-that-obvious signs that show things like "hidden door here", "that guy is evil", "distinguish feather from information-rich rooftop", "minor painted over traces that can be reconstructed into coherent image", that sort of thing. In-game, it shows up as highlights. Basically, it gives you Batman's eyes. It's kinda absurd, but this is a game series about hereditary Assassins who are actually closer to Batman than the Hashashin.
    • The Assassins are Not Quite Human, as Subject 16 implies. Eagle Vision is simply a sixth sense they possess, probably as a result of descent from Those Who Came Before.
    • I thought the ending sequence of ACII made it pretty clear that eagle vision was a sixth sense passed down from Those Who Came Before, based on what Juno said while Desmonds trying to hit all the power switches underneath the Colleseum.
    • It's very, very strongly implied in Subject 16's glyph puzzles that the Assassins (or at least, Desmond's bloodline) are descended from a half-human, half-Those Who Came Before coupling. As TWCB were essentially Gods, this means that Desmond's ancestors possess several unique abilities, including Eagle Vision. It's possible that their extreme durability (ability to survive falling from great heights) and unlimited stamina could also come under this, if they're not simply effects of the Animus.
    • Eagle Vision is not the sixth sense that Those Who Came Before kept from us. If it was, there wouldn't be any reason for Juno to tell Desmond to "Awaken the Sixth". Eagle Vision is just a more basic version of the Sixth Sense. This also justifies the sudden renaming and upgrade it gets in Revelations, where it's named Eagle Sense, and allows you to do the same as with Eagle Vision, as well as predict where a target will go, and where he has already gone. In other words, Desmond, Ezio and possibly Altaïr as well, awaken the sixth sense in Revelations.

    First Templar and first Assassin 

  • As far as Cain being the first Templar, who's the first Assassin? Considering Cain killed Able, who avenged Able? Did that person, therefore, become the first Assassin?
    • In the Bible, I think Adam and Eve have a third son, named Seth, after Cain kills Abel. Perhaps Seth grows up and kills his older brother Cain in revenge for killing Able, making Seth the first Assassin?
    • According to the more dramatic interpretations of the Bible, Cain was cursed by God to wander the Earth forever without the ability to die (i.e. never being able to enter heaven). If the next sequel deals with Cain then, in keeping with the Rule of Drama, it'll probably have him as some sort of immortal Big Bad (supreme leader of the Templars, perhaps?).
    • I doubt it, just because it would draw comparisons with another Kane.


    Desmond's race 

  • Exactly what race is Desmond? Apparently Altaïr was Arab, and Ezio was just Italian with a tan, so what's Desmond? If they are both Altaïr's descendants, does that mean that Ezio has Arab blood too?
    • Actually Altaïr is half-Arab. His mother was a Christian, meaning she was probably white. Desmond is the direct descendant of both Ezio and Altaïr, therefore Desmond has some amount of Arab blood in him. But it's such a small amount and it's so distant that it's reasonable to call Desmond white.
    • I've always assumed that Desmond was deliberately designed to be of mixed racial origin, so they could justify anyone being his ancestor. Especially when contrasted with Lucy, Shaun, and Vidic, Desmond clearly has some recent non-European ancestry, most likely Hispanic or Arab.
    • Ezio isn't a descendant of Altaïr's. I believe that it states this in Black Flag in one of the emails, so Ezio isn't Arab by Altaïr's blood, but if he has another ancestor that's Arab, it wasn't stated.
    • And, of course, Maria (Altaïr's wife and Desmond's ancestor) was white and probably English.

    Skipping stuff 

  • If the animus is programmed for Desmond to be able to access his ancestors' memories through Broad Strokes, wouldn't it make more sense if it skipped all the stuff that didn't directly relate to what they want to find out? I mean, broaden the strokes even more? Remove the guards from the streets, for example, so Desmond is free to go to places without being harassed.
    • Those guards were in Altaïr's/Ezio's memories, so they're there in the Animus. The idea of the device is that you relieve your ancestor's memory exactly; removing parts of it to save time might cause problems. The MST3K Mantra really applies here — the Animus works like a video game, just run with it.
    • Case in point: The fact that they needed Desmond to actually dive into the memories and personally sift through them suggests that they don't know exactly what they're looking for. Abstergo knew Altaïr had found several other Pieces of Eden, but they don't know when, where, or how he found them. Even if they had the ability to omit certain memories (and they might not, the design of the Animus or the nature of the genetic memory may not allow it), they don't know which memories are relevant to their search. Suppose one of those street guards had provided Altaïr with a piece of vital intelligence that was key to the completion of his mission. If they remove all the guards, Altaïr can't get that intelligence, can't complete his mission, and Abstergo can't find the Pieces of Eden.
    • Right at the start of the first game they try to skip right to when Altaïr found the Apple, but end up with an incomprehensible glitchy mess. They had to replay a bunch of previous memories to give Desmond enough context to watch the important scene.
    • Plus, with Altaïr, Abstergo wanted a specific memory but in order to reach it, they needed Desmond to synchronize with Altaïr as much as possible, which meant replaying things as Altaïr remembered them. With Ezio on the other hand, the Assassins wanted to train Desmond, so the guards made a suitable training obstacle.
    • To a degree, there is a lot of fast-forwarding going on; the Animus makes it explicitly clear that it is "fast-forwarding to a more recent memory."

    How long allies been with assassins 

  • Are we told explicitly at any point how long Lucy, Rebecca or Shaun have been with the Assassins?
    • No.
    • Shaun and Rebecca were both recruited into the organization after trying out other careers - they both look to be in their mid-thirties at the latest, so it's probably safe to assume that at the longest, they've been with the Assassins for about twelve years. Lucy's origins with the Assassins are still unclear so it's hard to tell, but in ACII she mentions that it's been seven years since she's seen Rebecca, so she's been with the Assassins for at least that long.

    Templars goals 

  • What are the Templars after? At the end of ACII you hear Minerva's warning and learn that there is a threat to the entire planet approaching. So, what do the Templars do in all this? Each Templar leader or prominent member have wildly differing goals, from Robert and Al-Mualim to Rodrigo and then Cesare Borgia. Do they have any other goals other than obtaining the POE for personal gain? We have enough information to suggest otherwise, but am I missing something or do the Templars' overall goals seem to be more and more aimed at destroying the world (which they happen to live on)?
    • The Templars all want to control the world, through the Pieces of Eden. Abstergo plans on launching a satellite containing a Piece of Eden, presumably the apple, to orbit around the world, allowing them to control the minds of most, if not all, of the people on the planet. The threat of the Earth's destruction is a second matter entirely, in which the Earth's poles reverse, and the Sun will destroy the entire planet. The Templars/Abstergo have nothing to do with that threat, and likely don't even know about it.
    • In general, they believe Hobbes Was Right and humanity needs to be ruled by wise but brutal autocrats in order to save it from its own destructive influences. "To guide all wayward minds to safe and sober thought", as Grand Master Torres puts it in Black Flag. As the Order has been around for a very long time, the exact details tend to vary - The medieval European Templars sought to use the Apple of Eden to achieve their goal, while the Colonial Brotherhood was more focused on controlling the economy and placing their agents in positions of power; the proto-Templar "Order of the Ancients" believed humanity's rightful masters were the Isu, whereas later Templars tend to believe that the Order itself should rule humanity - but the general idea remains the same. Rodrigo Borgia is a special case in that he abandoned all pretext that the Order had any ideals beyond obtaining power for its own sake, to the point where the modern Templars actually refer to his tenure as Grand Master as "the dark ages of the Order".

    Templar survival 

  • Altair fucks over the Templars royally. He kills off several of their major leaders, and then hunts down a lot of the others for a long time. He's very good at straight-up murdering people in the face, so we can assume that a *lot* of templars got facemurdered. He reorganises the assassins into a more effective force, one that can change and modify itself as necessary. And then we get to Ezio's time and find out that the Templars are once again highly organised and generally in control of stuff (able to install one of their leaders as pope apparently quite easily) and the assassins are a weak and distributed force that can't quite stand up to the Templars. And then Ezio joins, royally fucks up the templars again, killing their main leader of the time, steals two pieces of Eden from the Vatican after punching the pope in the face a few times, pumps a lot of money into the assassin organisation, single-handedly rediscovers all the stuff that Altair already discovered, and starts rebuilding the assassin's order into something that can stand on equal grounds with the Templars. And then we get to Desmond's time and find out that the Templars rule the world and the assassins are on the run, in hiding, and losing badly whenever they go into open conflict against the Templars. They're so desperate that they're willing to devote a *lot* of time and resources into Desmond to get him on the team. So what's the deal here? Is it just that the assassins, as a whole, just plain suck? That Altair, Ezio and Desmond are the ultimate badasses who can single-handedly turn the war in their favour whenever they bother to join? Frankly at this point in the series, the Templars *deserve* to win. They have some serious organisation acumen and determination.
    • It's a war. The conflict between the Assassins and the Templars is a back-and-forth struggle involving secretive actions across entire civilizations. Keep in mind that even at the height of Ezio's power, he was focusing the majority of his efforts at fighting one Templar leader in one city in one part of Europe, while the Templars in this timeframe controlled entire armies. The Templars have always been more powerful than the Assassins, which is why the Assassins have always been forced to operate covertly. Ezio's actions were little more than a moderate setback for them, because the width and breadth of their control spread across the entire globe. And, to be honest, Ezio's elimination of the Borgias may have, ultimately, helped the Templars out quite a bit, as the Borgias were power-mad loonies with no real interest in the Templars' overarching goal of establishing a New World. By the time Cesare took over, it was less about idealism and more about Cesare stabbing the Borgia flag into as many skulls as he could.

    Templar survival and assassin disappearance 

  • How on earth is the Templar organization still around? In the series, you have killed their leadership and smashed their plans to dust no less than four times. A better question would be: Where have the Assassins gone? In the Ezio timeline, you have the ability to build the Assassins up to controlling most of the cities of Europe. Yet, in 3rd official game, it is like the Assassins never existed except for Achilles. Where did they go? How did the Templars regain power? If the Assassins had the Apple, and the Templar leadership is dead, who exactly is rebuilding the organization? It drives me mad....
    • Simple because the Templars represent an Idea. The Templar's Ideal and goal is to create a Utopia with happiness and no suffering, which will attract many people, no matter how many Templars the Assassin kills their will always be people who want to create an ideal world. Similar to how the Assassins still exist, they represent freedom and independence, and someone will always wants that.
    • All I know is that they had some major famous leaders on their side in the newer generations, like FDR, and that the Assassins were pretty scattered and crushed, as we learn in Assassins Creed Brotherhood. Considering that Abstergo had enough money to purchase Ubisoft to research Edward Kenway by ACIV, I'd say the newer generations had become more powerful.
    • Really, the hardest problem for the Assassins is that they don't like to get involved in politics. I know that sounds silly, but the Assassin's means of work in "work in the dark to serve the light" means they generally don't like to be in power positions the same way the Templars do. That means they're consistently fighting against power systems that the Templars tend to want to use for their own purpose, and no matter how much assassins might trust humans to do the right and true thing, their hands off, restraining others approach means that it allows the Templars to get into the mix much easier and then mess things up again. And no matter how many times they kill localized leadership, the templars always seem to have 1 lieutenant or another city or more people attracted to them for power or revenge to join up. And as Syndicate indicated, once the Templars started to get their hands on economics as well as political power, stamping them out becomes even more difficult.


  • Why is the series called Assassin's Creed? It's not just Altair's or Ezio's. All Assassins have the same creed. Shouldn't it be Assassins' Creed?
    • It's just a matter of perspective. We are only following one Assassin in the game, and the creed belongs to him. "Meet Ezio Auditore. He is an Assassin. This is the Assassin's Creed."

    Historical good guys versus bad guys 

  • If I understand correctly, the Templar/Assassin breakdown works like this: All Designated Historical Villains are Templars, and all Designated Historical Good Guys are Assassins (or sympathizers). But it's stated in the games that the Templars altered history books to smear the Assassins - shouldn't the breakdown be opposite then? Shouldn't the Borgias actually be Assassins, considering their modern connotations (especially Lucrezia, with her reputation as a poisoner)? Shouldn't Richard the Lionheart be a Templar? Of course, I understand that the games are narrated from the Assassins' point of view, so "the eeeeevil Templars changed all the history books to make us appear bad, but we never engage in such underhanded tactics, no sir!" would fit, but it still bothers me.
    • ....did you actually pay attention? Lots of people who are considered heroes were actually Templars. Winston Churchill and FDR were Templars!
    • Let's not forget that Niccolò Machiavelli was revealed to be an Assassin. Psychology itself takes the term Machiavellianism to mean being cool and emotionally detached. This leaves him as appearing inhuman. However, when looked at from a different angle, being calm, cool and collected makes one a clever negotiator, manipulator, and a great Assassin as well, thus showing the Templars' twisting of history.

    Cain's goals 

  • Is it ever revealed why Cain wanted the Apple and/or why he founded the Templars?
    • No but my guess is power.

    Assassins name 

  • Why do the Assassins call themselves assassins? I mean I know they assassinate people but that isn't all they do. Clearly they are a mercenary group that travels all around the world fighting in wars where the Templars have political interest and have helped rescue people in need around the local communities. I mean the Templars engage in assassinations too and yet they aren't called assassins as a result. I guess the name "traveling mercenaries who fight against a global conspiracy spanning thousands of years who sometimes assassinate members of said conspiracy" doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well?
    • Because we only associate the word "assassin" with murderers because of the Templars editing history.
    • It's unintentional but the word that inspired assassin originally means "foundation". Not a bad word to describe your group's ideals.
    • Assassination (and all the killing/stealing/information gathering/sabotage they have to do to get to their targets) is still the primary focus of the organization. As Shaun once pointed out, it's the one part of the job that's the same for everybody. One Assassin might rescue slaves, one might destroy Templar propaganda, one might deliver food to starving refugees, but all are versed in the art of blade-to-vital-area and will do it at some point. Yes, even Shaun.
    • The term was the name of a secret order before it became the word for murder, in real life. The Assassins from the first game are literally part of this order, and the concept of the game is that it, as the Templars, kept existing until way after their real-life counterparts disappeared. So yeah, they don't call themselves Assassins because they're proud murderers, the term "assassin" came to represent "murder" because of their methods.

    Nietzche and the creed 

  • Did Frederich Nietzche really say "Nothing is true, everything is permitted"? I've seen it in TOW's article on Assassins and removed it assuming it was vandalism but they put it right back in.
    • He mentions them in On the Genealogy of Morality, and at one point does say the line. The quote, just because I think it's badass: "When the Christian crusaders in the Orient came across that invincible order of Assassins – that order of free spirits par excellence whose lowest order received, through some channel or other, a hint about that symbol and spell reserved for the uppermost echelons alone, as their secret: "nothing is true, everything is permitted". Now that was freedom of the spirit, with that, belief in truth itself was renounced."
    • Keep in mind that Nietzche was referencing the supposed last words of Hassan-i Sabbah, the "Old Man in the Mountain" who led the Hashâshīn in real life and who was Altair's Mentor in the first game. Ubisoft didn't make the Creed up whole cloth.

    The Animus in real life 

  • How exactly does the Animus work? Is it like a 3D videogame? Does Desmond control Altair and Ezio like we do, with a couple of buttons, seeing it from 3rd person view? It seems implied to be so. If so, does he feel, smell or taste the things like the characters do? Wouldn't it make much more sense if he would control their bodies like his own, with his brain, with the Animus being something like the Matrix, you being loaded in a virtual reality within a body of your ancestor? Or is it actually something like that?
    • It's a bit of both. It's like a 3D videogame, except Desmond doesn't control Altair and Ezio with buttons, but with his own mind. His point of view is actually the camera angle, as seen when Minerva turns to it at the end of ACII to talk directly to Desmond.
    • Assassin's Creed (2016) introduced the Crane-Style-Animus which does indeed imply a "control their bodies like his own" system, except there's a difference. The film states that, instead of Cal directing an avatar of his ancestor, he is mimicking his ancestor's movements. In other words, Aguilar is in the driver's seat, not Cal.

    Secret conspiracies 

  • How did the Templars and Assassins maintain worldwide secret organizations with the levels of communication and travel technology available to them?
    • It is mentioned in the Codex in ACII as well as in Revelations that Altaïr had begun vastly reorganizing the Assassins in a number of ways. One of the biggest ways being the abandonment of the fortress that was Masayaf. Altaïr claimed it had become a symbol of arrogance and disregarding that all together it was a giant advertisement for themselves. It was also mentioned in the Codex that as the Assassins began being more secretive, the Templars followed suit. Seeing as both sides of the war began to practice more stealth and subtlety as far back as the Crusades, it's fair to say that they've had practice with staying out of the public spotlight.
    • That's not what was asked. I believe the question being asked is how the Assassins and Templars could possibly run organizations to span the globe with non-modern methods of communication? The internet hasn't been around long, nor has the telephone. Basically what is being asked is how they could be so large when the methods of communication would require days/months/years of travel in order to function either from carrier pigeons, messengers sent on horseback/ships/foot.
    • We see how they run them most clearly in Black Flag. Each Assassin Bureau and small Templar order is somewhat loosely affiliated by ideology but otherwise pursues their own goals. And we see the natural effect of that: groups nominally on the same side working at cross-purposes, people going off the reservation, etc.

    The Second Disaster 

  • Massive Assassin's Creed III Ending Spoilers: So in the end, the Second Disaster is averted by Juno... how? Throughout the game we're told repeatedly that Those Who Came Before didn't find a way to stop their disaster despite spending years working on plan after plan to survive. The world was still devastated despite the entirety of the First Civilization still being alive and aware of the problem. So how is it exactly that only one First Civilization member managed to avert the disaster when the rest of her species couldn't?
    • She completed the first plan (use the tower to disperse the sun's energy). Remember, the only reason TWCB scrapped it was they didn't have enough time, and Juno was in the tower for thousands of years. The aftermath (some minor damage in various spots worldwide and global communications temporarily messed up) supports this.
    • To me, my main annoyance about the ending is more meta, in that people are comparing it to the ending of Mass Effect 3. Mostly because it seems like that was just the big thing to bring up for a while and there hasn't been enough time in between. To me they aren't even comparable though; we all remember the endings to the second game and Brotherhood, right? How they were crazy and non sensible and made no sense and went unexplained until the sequel? For Assassins Creed, stupid endings like this are established and expected, where as for Mass Effect it came right out of a writers ass when they couldn't think of anything better. Obviously the ending could have been handled better, but it's not even remotely comparable to Mass Effect 3.
    • Haven't seen the ending yet, but I'd guess that it's because Juno actually knows what is happening this time. The first time this happened, Those Who Came Before were trying to figure out what exactly was going on, what it was doing, and what it's effects were. This time, What's left of them know what happened, what it did, how it did it, and had thousands of years to figure out how to deal with it.

    Assassins and the Second Disaster 

  • Related to the above question, what is up with the assassins in the past doing absolutely nothing to avert the upcoming Second Disaster? The order learned about it at the end of Assassin's Creed II, so they decide to do nothing with this information? To my knowledge, the only person Ezio told was Mario and they seemed to think it far enough away to be affected by the Bystander Syndrome. Isn't that way too short-sighted for people who believe themselves to be protecting the world? Shouldn't knowledge of the impending disaster, at the very least, be common knowledge amongst the assassin order, if not shared with the entire world, so that it wouldn't be completely sprung on present day assassins by surprise? I mean, Pieces of Eden give knowledge of technology centuries ahead of its time, shouldn't they have been used to help find a way to stop the disaster instead of being locked away for being too dangerous?
    • If memory serves me right, Ezio label it someone else's problem after Minerva specifically told him that he was not important, that he was the prophet and all he had to do was getting into the vault so she could warn someone who could actually do something about it, Desmond. As such, after the end of ACII he went on a journey, through Rome, Masyaf and Constantinople to learn what was that, in the end, given up on the journey saying that "I've seen enough for one life".
    • Ezio was explicitly told he was nothing more than a conduit. He probably didn't see any point in trying to do the job of someone who had yet to exist (or had existed, whichever way you look at it). Before that, I'm not sure anyone else was completely aware that something like this was going to happen. Those Who Came Before kept bringing it up with the likes of Ezio and Connor so that they could do their specific jobs as Desmond's ancestors, but otherwise left everyone else to survive on their own.

    Genetic Memory 

  • Is the "genetic memory" justification for the Animus still canon? If it is, how is Desmond able to relive the memories of old Altair and Ezio? With Ezio, I can assume that by the events of Revelations he still hasn't sired a child, but for Altair, we're specifically shown in Assassin's Creed II that Desmond can no longer follow him after gettin' jiggy with Maria. Which makes it rather jarring when in ACR we're back with elderly Altair.
    • The Altair sections in Revelations were actually Desmond reliving Ezio reliving Altair through those magic key things.
    • This has irked me as well. How exactly does one continue to follow the genetic memory of someone up until the very moment of their death? It would seem to me that the only genetic memories that would be "recorded" would be up until the next person in the genetic line was conceived. At that point it becomes a completely new person, without the ability to alter their genetic code to continue adding memories. Thus it would be impossible to create a synch nexus unless there were very specific circumstances. Fully living out Altier's memories were done through Ezio's experiences, but it would be impossible to see Ezio's final memories because he would have had to sire a child before then.
    • Desmond doesn't see Ezio's death. At some point after the end of Revelations Ezio had a daughter with Sofia, which is where his genetic memory would end (but this memory isn't in the games) and you see his death in Embers, which is not part of the framing device genetic memories. Altair's death was recorded on magical discs, not his DNA.
    • You don't follow the memory until the moment of their death. The words used in Revelations is "until your ancestor has nothing left to show you". Presumably, that means all the important and significant memories of that ancestor you have in your DNA, not every single memory from birth to death.
    • Again, you weren't following Altair's memories in ACR because of the genetic memory, you were following Ezio who saw Altair's memories through the magical DVD's.

    Purity of genetic memory 

  • Related to the above, how does genetic memory keep so intact? Each parent contributes only one set of chromosomes (and recombined ones at that) to the child. Assuming 4 generations per century, Desmond would be 33 generations removed from Altair, the blood getting diluted (figuratively speaking) every time, and that's not accounting for minor mutations within the germline. And yet, the Animus makes it possible for Desmond to access Altair's memory very clearly, remember exact conversations and so on. And that's not something easily written out of the AC-verse (i.e. "we already have genetic memory in this setting, just roll with other fictional elements").
    • A common fallacy when discussing genetics is that the half of your genes from your father are all the same ones from his. However, there are more than just X and Y chromosomes - there are 23 pairs in total, and anything one of each pair other than the sex (X and Y) chromosomes can be passed on separately. Your son could, therefore, have your Y chromosome, but any mixture of 22 others from your parents. You wouldn't be able to remember ALL of your ancestors' memories, but specific individuals would show up.
  • So which gene is it that connects the Animus user to the ancestor? One might assume that it goes through Y-DNA, which is why Desmond only views male memories. But does that mean that the Kenway side of the family is the same as the Auditore side of the family? How does that work? Did Edward stumble upon his Assassin legacy totally by accident? If not, then how is Desmond able to access ancestors on both sides?
    • There is no Single Line of Descent in the game. It's multiple lines of descent across the years. Desmond can access memories on both sides of his family. As per Black Flag, Altair is on his mother's side of the family. While yes, both the Kenways and the Auditores are on the father's side but not in the way you think. What happened is that Connor had a descendant and somewhere down the line that descendant married a person who is also a descendant of Ezio. This Auditore-Kenway descendant then married another person who is a descendant of Altair. So Edward is not a descendant of Ezio at all.

    Templar improving the world 

  • I honestly don't know how the Templars are going to make the world better. According to them, once the pieces of Eden are in their hands, they will be able to control the collective will of humanity and bring world peace. That sounds mighty fine and all, except the ones with any free will left will be the Templars themselves. And if there's nothing to control the will of the Templars, what's to keep them from abusing their power and turning the world into a dystopic nightmare? What happens if a Templar with mental illness gains control of the pieces of Eden and decides to make everything into a model of his twisted fantasies? How many templars would be needed to keep humanity in check? What will prevent one Templar from using the pieces against his fellow order? How will the worlds' economy keep itself in check? For example, we humans have domesticated many animals to service our needs. A lot of our accomplishments and survival wouldn't happen if it weren't for sheep, dogs, cows, and horses. Yet that hasn't stopped us humans from waging wars against each other and being dicks to each other. Do the Templars honestly think they will be so above such things that things like this wouldn't happen!?
    • Yes. Yes they do. That delusion is why the Assassins keep plunging Hidden Blades into their throats.
    • What's even more telling is that the Templars almost always have the upper hand and yet so much of human history is a bloody, chaotic mess. As much as they'd love to blame the assasins for this, rarely do the templars seem to do much on the "Improve mankind" front but rather then exercising power and control for it's own sake. You can count on one hand(maybe two if you're generous) the number of Templars who seem to have reasonable, altruistic goals they profess to work towards.

    Templars and mind control 

  • Do the Templars even want to mind control people? Didn't Revelations' MP unlock documents saying Eye-Abstergo was meant to awaken the 'Knowing' sense that TWCB had?


  • What's the Watsonian explanation for common collectables, such as flags or Animus fragments?
    • The fragments, if memory serves, were mentioned in a semi-offhand comment about being literal "fragments" of data that needed to be collected so they could get more information. The flags were described in the first game's manual as being additional memories that were not directly related to the main one. Basically, Desmond was going off-script for a bit to run around grabbing shinies. Even that justification was lost basically immediately afterwards, with it becoming almost strictly Doylist in nature. "Collect the things because they're things that you collect."

    Powers of the Apple 

  • The Apple of Eden was designed by the First Civ to exploit genetically engineered neurons in the human brain in order to create illusions and control the minds of men. I was under the impression that that was all it does. The only time in the first two games when it does something different was when it created a map to the other Apples, which is feasible given that they are such powerful tools, and when it opens the vault, but at that point it was combined with the Staff, so all bets are off. However, in Brotherhood, people start talking about it as if it were some kind of font of knowledge. How? How did the Apple "reveal" to Altaïr advanced metallurgy and explosives technology? How did it show Ezio Cesare's activities after escaping from prison? It's a universal remote control, not a scientific database or a spy satellite.
    • It can, it could feasibly create illusion to show people this.
    • That doesn't answer my question. I know that the Apple can create any kind of illusion, but the only way I can think of that it could be used to gain knowledge would be for its wielder to use it like some kind of 3 dimensional smartboard for knowledge the wielder already had. However, Ezio did not know where Cesare is any more than Altaïr had any idea how a firearm worked. The Apple gave them knowledge. Heck, in Altaïr's case, what it showed him could not have possibly come from a human source (since pistols were almost unheard of until around AC revelations). This is not part of what we were told the Apple's functions were. It's an enslaver, not a computer
    • It's primary function may be control, but maybe it has a backup harddrive with some remnant info from the first civilization. As for locating Cesare, it could easily just trace him using the same artificial neurons it exploits.
    • I was under the impression, that Apple of Eden is also the aforementioned Apple of Knowledge. You know, from the Bible. Also, June was it? One of TWCB clearly stated that humans could be turned into reality warpers, as long as they are One. I assumed that Apple, while controlling humans, simply sends them image, and details, of an item TWCB need to create, and humans wish it into existence. Kinda like that. Meaning that Apple is both a tool to control, and a database of both past high tech and future low tech. And also a vessel, me thinks.
    • Its actually Fridge brilliance I think: Imagine you are member of technologically super advanced race, but you use a slave force. For building complex devices and technologies, you would have to give them education on HOW it works, and that is dangerous and very long term. I believe Apples do not just mind control humans, but also contains knowledge, so the slaves would have been show what to do by the Apple.
    • The pieces of Eden are part of a larger system put in place by Those Who Came Before to manipulate future history along the path they needed in order to prevent the coming disaster (thwarted at the end of III). In addition to many Po Es, we also know there are temple complexes with lots of machinery that have different functions. There's one in the Caribbean that's basically a blood-based surveillance system (seen in Black Flag) and a number whose purpose is apparently to keep certain land-masses stable (Rogue). How does the Apple know so much? Bluetooth. It's connected to the network, and the network can see the future.

     Modern humans' and TWCB's civilizations 

  • Throughout the first few games we are presented with TWCB as a powerfull divine race beyond our comprehension and intellect. But as of 2015, human society is ever increasingly resembling the TWCB. Not only that, but we may even have surpassed them (and will continue to), we went to the Moon several times whilst they stayed on Earth, why? Couldn't they have saved themselves via off-world/off-system colonies? It seems that we are only ~100-200 years away from being roughly where they were on a societal and technological level. But unlike them, we seem to "dream bigger". What I'm basically getting at is the seeming disparity between what TWCB did, and what they could have done.
    • The First Civ did travel into space. The glyphs mention that an Apple of Eden was found in the Moon, and one of the plans was to launch to avert the Toba Catastrophe was to launch a Satellite into space but it failed not because they couldn't launch but because the Apple didn't work the way it wanted. The other thing to note is that a lot of humanity's achievements derive from First Civ influence and technology. So you can't say that the humans of the AC-verse have surpassed the First Civ when a lot of their tech is based on Reverse Engineering, or catching up to stuff that the First Civ already achieved anyway.

     Memory Corridors 

  • Is there an explanation for the interrogate-the-target-after-assassinating-him cutscenes? The stylistics make it look like an Animus thing, but the historical assassin clearly got information from the target at that point in history (i.e., Altaïr learns of the Templars in one of these Corridor scenes. If it was really an Animus thing, only Desmond should have heard any of that, right?). And how would the Animus even do anything like that, when it can only access ancestral memories? Or are memory corridors some kind of Assassin skill?
    • Unity states that it's a product of the Eagle Vision and the Sixth Sense of knowledge, that when Assassins focus on certain targets specifically and kill them in a manner they can absorb memories from their dying victims. At a higher level, they can go one step further and talk to the dying consciousness itself (after all, consciousness is described by the First Civ as bits of information on a quantum...yadda yadda mumbo jumbo). The explanation fits I guess but it's something that I wish the developers left ambiguous rather than spell it out openly.
      My own interpretation however was that the memories seen in the Animus are reconstructed from the actual Genetic Memory. To reconstruct it the Animus codes the entire sessions in the metaphor of a video game. This is mentioned in the manual of the first AC. So the Animus is a simulation and reconstruction but while it shows what happened, it leaves a lot of room for "how" it happened. That is to say it shows Point A, Point B, Point C, but the points between A and B are up for interpretation. What that means is that Altair killed Talal, killed Garnier, Sibrand but how he did it probably did not happen in the way we play it. It was probably less dramatic, less gamey and more that Altair snuck in their room and stabbed them in private long enough to get information from them. The memory corridors are instances or clusters where we kind of see the simulation collapse and what we get is an impression, not something we should take literally.

     Everything is permitted, but we have rules. 

  • If "Nothing is true, everything is permitted," why does the Creed exist? It's basically saying, "Everything is permitted, except for killing innocents, not blending in, and compromising us," which seems inconsistent. Altair actually asks this question in the first game, but Al Mualim just kind of hand waves it.
    • As mentioned in the tropes pages, this is just a construct the Brotherhood seems to be linked to. Each of the protagonists even elaborates this some that to say nothing is true is just that times change, and we must change with them. Or to say everything is permitted is to say only WE can be responsible for our actions. It's one of those philosophical paradoxes that come with the brotherhood being a shadow brotherhood. Besides, the 3 rules of the order are not really the creed.
    • I've been wondering the hypocrisy of it myself. Especially during a scene in 3. Desmond questions why somebody has to die, to which Shaun says something to the effect of, "We're assassin's. It's what we do. It's right there in the name." Which blew my mind, because the creed is "Nothing is true, everything is permitted", which is to say you choose what to believe and how to act, yet they dogmatically assert that an assassin must be a killer and you must kill this person.
    • Ezio gives some expansion in Revelations - It's a philosophical statement above all else. "Nothing is true" is a statement that reality is based in our perceptions, and our perceptions are warped by our experiences and views. Society itself is fragile, and we must constantly be building or even rebuilding it. "Everything is permitted" is a reminder that we CAN do anything within that society - but we are not free of those consequences of those actions. Which ties in pretty well with the idea of "stay your blade from the flesh of the innocent, hide in plain sight, and do not compromise the brotherhood." Murdering the innocent means that they're just indiscriminate killers, keeping their presence hidden keeps their anonymity, so that the Brotherhood is not compromised and they can keep at their work of guiding civilization, with the previous two tenets also contributing to the sustainability of the last one.

     Pieces of Eden 
  • What exactly do the P.O.E do, and what are the different kinds? I’m trying to organize it altogether for a project of mine, and I realized I don’t actually know. The Apples mind control people and have knowledge, but why did the TWCB implant knowledge in there, and for what purpose? Also, if they get enough people to believe, reality warps but how, and how does someone wield a Apple without going crazy? Al Mualim, Savonarola and Napoleon as far as I know did, but how did they without the TWCB DNA like Altair did? The Shroud clearly can heal and resurrect people, but oacasionally drives them crazy? What is the differentiating factor? What does the Sword do exactly? Basically, what are the known P.O.E capabilities, what are all the different P.O.E’s, and how does someone wield them?
    • The AC Wiki has a list of each know Piece of Eden and a description of everything we see them do.

     Templars and the second disaster 
  • So considering this series has so far established that the Templars and their proto-templar varients have been researching the ISU since at least 1500 BCE, thus having about 3500 years to learn about and perhaps, try to learn how to prevent the 2nd disaster, why is it that Desmond and like 3 other people were the ones eventually able to do it? Presumably the Templars know far more about the ISU then the Assasins ever will and yet the assasins reached the grand temple first and saved the world from the solar flare and it seems like the Templars were not only clueless about the incoming Solar Flare, but 5-6ish years later in universe, still don't seem to be aware that the world nearly ended in 2012(at least, not that any of the MD Templar docs seem to indicate). You'd think they would have been not only aware of what was going on, but would have had a vested interest in stopping it since they apparently control the world in MD. Ironically, the assassins would have benefited a lot more from the world ending since the Templars infrastructure and control would have been shattered beyond recognition.
    • Probably has something to do with Templar leadership being wiped out every few decades by up and coming Assassins.

     Empty ISU ruins and dead ISU 
  • Does anyone else find it odd that pretty much every ISU site shown in this series, pretty much every single one of them is pretty much bare? The structure survived for at least 75000 years and some of the Pieces of Eden lasted as long but there's almost nothing inside any of the ruins. No furniture, no bodies, almost nothing of their vaunted technology is there. Were they really into minimalism? Did the Templars get to all of the sites first and clean them out? If so, why haven't we heard or seen any of this stuff being studied or stored or something in any of the games?
    • Juno mentions that after the disaster they "destroyed what they could, hid what they could not". Anything not nailed down was likely destroyed or taken before they sealed up. Why waste a good chair after the end of the world?
    • One possibility is that it's simply an Aversion of Ragnarök Proofing - It makes sense that the Isu would build their superweapons/brainwashing tools/long-term information storage devices/etc. to last forever, but why waste that much effort and resources on building furniture? There's no reason to build a couch durable enough to survive 75,000 years of neglect.
  • On the above note, why haven't any ISU corpses been mentioned....ever? The Templars were apparently super interested in finding ISU DNA during the Black Flag-Syndicate games so presumably they've never found any ISU corpses in any of the ruins. Except bones can last for a very, very long time, as evidenced by the fact dinosaur bones from millions of years ago have been found and studied.
    • Who says they didn't? But ISU and humans are almost completely the same from a physical standpoint. Presumably any skeletons dug up would be presumed to be a primordial human and registered as such. Unless the ISU had an extra set of ribs or something, but the games say the main differences are in their senses.
    • Only two complete Homo habilis skeletons have ever been discovered. Ever. Bones of extinct animals are in general a lot less common than people think - It's entirely possible it's simply a matter of bad luck that nobody's ever found an intact Isu skeleton.
     ISU ruins used as shelters 
  • In Assassins Creed III, it's mentioned that the ISU tried to find a bunch of ways to preserve their species but couldn't find any before the solar flare hit. Later games in the series, particularly those set in Ancient Times, depict a number of ISU ruins which look surprisingly intact 75000 years after the disaster and seem to have a ton of space inside. Which begs the question, why couldn't/didn't the ISU use those facilities as bunkers until the surface was reasonably safe to emerge onto again? Especially since the end of III seems to show that Desmond and his fellow assassins would be perfectly fine inside the grand temple and would be able to survive until the danger had passed, assuming he wasn't being flat out lied to.
    • Given a few ISU DID survive, that's probably what some of them did do. Not that you could fit a whole civilization in those areas in the first place. Also, a lot can happen in thousands of years. Just because that site was human safe in 2012 doesn't mean it was perfectly safe for the ISU.
     Wearing the hood in stealth vs. not wearing it in combat 
  • Black Flag, Syndicate, and Valhalla all have mechanics where the protagonist can put on their hood while trying to be stealthy, then take it off once they enter open combat. Wouldn't the opposite make more sense? That is, hiding the extremely-suspicious-looking hood that marks them as an assassin when trying to blend in with a crowd, but putting it on once they're in a fight so that any witnesses have a harder time identifying their face.