Ever since 2007 when we were first introduced to the world of Assassin’s Creed. Ubisoft’s franchise has allowed us to explore history like never before throwing us head first into; historical events, cities and characters with mind-blowing accuracy. We were thrown into a fictional battle between the merciless Templars who only want to control the world and everyone in it, and the noble Assassin Brotherhood / Assassin Order who fight to keep the world free from the tyranny of the Templars. We were also introduced to a race of superior beings, aliens from another world called the Isu also known as the First Civilisation or The Ones Who Came Before. These beings lived far longer than humans and were treated like gods in fact they were the gods of myth and legend.
The story we were thrown into combined the current with the past, as we were sent into the past using a device called the Animus. A device created by the Templar Organisation, as they discovered that in our DNA we carry the memories of our ancestors and using an Animus we can see the world through the eyes of our ancestors what they saw, do what they did etc. If an ancestor had a particular skill the person using an Animus would eventually unlock it through what is known as “the bleeding effect”. The Templars have been hunting for what is known as Pieces of Eden, powerful technological artefacts created by the Isu. These Pieces of Eden put to shame even the most hi-tech weapons we have today. These typically take the shape of weapons and items of legend such as; the Apples of Eden, Excalibre, The Spear of Leonidas of Sparta, Guinginir, Mjolnir, the Sword of Damocles, The Papal Staff, The Staff of Hermes Trismegistus, the Scepter of Alexander the Great etc. In many cases using members captured members of the Assassins Brotherhood to find them. However, the Animus has a drawback in order to access those ancestral memories participants ideally need to go in voluntarily or else the machine can and will impact them negatively. In many cases leaving those who are forced to go into the Animus typically come out of the device broken with multiple personality syndrome from however many ancestors they visited.
So there you have it that is the rough story and basic premise a very cool story where you get to play with history, and up until the most recent trilogy of games, the fight between the Order of Assassins and the Templars took centre stage. Beginning with Assassins Creed Origins a jaunt back to Cleopatra’s Egypt a story which follows the origins of both the Templars and Assassins and ends with the creation of the Assassin Brotherhood and how their iconic logo was created. But this was also the beginning of the Assassins Creed franchise going into the Mythological worlds. Please bear in mind I am not saying these titles aren’t enjoyable because they are fantastic stories with some of the best gameplay in the series to carry you through. Odyssey is a game based in Ancient Greece with the Assassins Creed name put on it there is no mention of the Assassins at all till the end of the first DLC: Legacy of the First Blade that you have to pay for. Also, the series' most iconic weapon the hidden blade was absent from this title until the aforementioned add-on story and you never got to use it.
In Assassins Creed Valhalla, we all thought yes 9th Century England the Assassins Brotherhood will finally be returning as is the hidden blade (we knew this from the teaser trailers). The Brotherhood is barely mentioned aside from the occasional reference here, through side quests and are treated as a side note. There are hidden derelict Assassins Bureaus you can find however the main storylines are focused on the mythological battle between Odin and Loki and killing this game's version of the Templars. Even though this is a very cool and unexpected plot twist. In this title, it appears as if Ubisoft shifted its focus away from the Assassins and Templars choosing to explore the legends of Ancient myths instead. Hence the title of this blog Assassins Creed: The Missing Order, not that there is anything wrong with doing that and I have enjoyed it for the most part as someone who loves these stories. But it has taken the series too far away from its routes, its “origins” and what has made the franchise so compelling. This hidden war between the two factions that has been going on for centuries and in finding out more about the Isu and their origins.
The franchise did so well letting us explore the Italian Renaissance with Ezio Auditore da Firenze the only main character in the franchise to have his own trilogy (apart from Desmond Miles who is the modern-day protagonist who we explore the first five games in the series through him entering the Animus). A trilogy that balanced everything so well and still is arguably the most complete story in the franchise's history. Where it balanced the story of Ezio, his family, how he could have played a role in key historical events, the Brotherhood of Assassins, the Templars and their mission, the political infighting that took place in both organisations, the Isu and their history, the modern world and the story of Desmond Miles and his family legacy, with exciting gameplay and exploration. That trilogy is for the most part lightning in a bottle where we can overlook certain experiments like the tower defence mini-game in Revelations…which thankfully hasn’t returned to the series. If you haven’t played it or read the books surrounding Ezio please do.
Personally, I miss this focus and meeting people who could have been part of the order. It's a massive shame that the writers at Ubisoft have changed their focus away from the Assassins Brotherhood and its creed. I will do a separate entry on the creed and those who helped shape it later as I would like to explore it in greater detail.
There was something intriguing about this hidden battle between these two organisations. In a secretive battle that could easily still be being fought in the real world in the shadows. Instead especially with Valhalla which is a great game to dive into and explore Viking culture don’t get me wrong. But this hidden war between Assassins and Templars fighting to control the pieces of Eden in an effort to protect/control humanity, especially in the last two titles has been sidelined. In order to focus more on the mythological worlds which is a massive shame. Even though they have been the most complete video games in the franchise, they have improved on many things and allowed us to explore Ancient Greece and 9th Century England / Norway as a Viking (likely heavily inspired by the Vikings and Lost Kingdom Tv series) and the gods associated with each of the main protagonists like never before. As a fan of both Pantheons of gods and their stories, I have really enjoyed playing and exploring these worlds and the work Ubisoft has done has been next level. Truly I cannot praise it enough but Ubisoft can you please bring the series back to where it all began? I need more Assassins and Templars in this franchise that has meant so much to me over the years.