The best thing about huge franchise games is that they’re bound to have fun little treasures galore. Whether it’s a shout out to a sister series by the same developers or a series that the devs or the writers or whoever else are just really big fans of, such references, dubbed Easter Eggs by media consumers, can really add an element of fun to games and encourage exploration beyond whatever storyline your locked into. And what better franchise to look at than one that spans across all of history like Assassin’s Creed?
While the argument of what an “Easter Egg” in a video game truly is remains under debate, one thing’s for sure: people like using the term. For that reason and for the purposes of this article I’m going to go ahead and let it take on the most broad terms possible; anything from blatantly obvious references to other works, to fun little extras that you may have to go out of your way to find that potentially yield little to no reward other than the reaction of “Oh, that’s neat.”
With all that established, let’s jump right in to 15 Assassin’s Creed Easter Eggs that will blow your mind.
15 “Requiescat In Pace”
We know how it goes; you assassinate some top dog, Ezio allows them their last rites, and as he closes their eyes he offers them a final “Requiescat in Pace.” Okay, to be fair EVERY Assassin offers last rites to their targets in some form, but Ezio’s tagline just can’t be outdone. It’s badass, and we all know we’ve wanted to say it at least once in real life.
If that’s not enough, what if I told you not even Arno, the wisecracking smartass of our group of beloved protagonists, could resist? In the Dead Kings DLC for the unfortunately disastrous Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Arno spooks a raider into falling to his death. When he finally reaches the dead body, he offers an almost indifferent “Requiescat in Pace,” before looting the raider and taking his lantern, which ends up being incredibly important for the rest of the DLC.
I wonder what gamers appreciated more: the blatant call back to Ezio’s Latin phrase of choice or the fact that a French Assassin utters a Latin line with an English accent. Ubisoft, that iteration of the animus might have had a few wires crossed.
14 “It’s-A-Me! Mario!”
Hard to miss this gem from Assassin’s Creed II. When Ezio has to get out of Florence after his father and brothers are hanged for their ties to the Brotherhood, Ezio, his mother, and sister make their way to Monteriggioni. Before they can make it, Ezio is ambushed by an old rival of his before his uncle Mario arrives with mercenaries in tow to help even the odds. Ezio goes to thank the stranger but doesn’t recognize him until he introduces himself in the classic Italian Mario fashion.
This Easter Egg may be simple, but it’s a nice little thing for Assassin’s Creed fans to laugh at, considering those classic Mario games were a jumping in point for a lot of us into the world of gaming. Granted, it was probably an easy one to sneak in there that didn’t require much thought or hiding, but sometimes the simple things are nice just because they’re simple.
13 Machiavelli’s Works
Historical fiction is the best way to describe Assassin’s Creed, and the series has always done a pretty great job of giving players that immersive feeling of being a part of history and all that other fun stuff, and while we’ve interacted with an innumerable amount of historical figures throughout the series, Machiavelli is probably one of the biggest. What’s fun about him is how well in the games he seems to foil Ezio’s character in Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
And of course, the banter that occurs between them, Ubisoft decided, was the most perfect way to slip in a few Easter Eggs regarding Machiavelli’s real life works. For example at the end of Sequence seven in Brotherhood, Machiavelli makes mention to Ezio that he wants to write a book about him one day to which Ezio, without skipping a beat, replies “If you do, make it short.”
The Prince, anyone?
12 Metal Gear
When it comes to games that are about stealth it’s hard not to think of Metal Gear, and Assassin’s Creed pays its respects in a couple of ways. First, in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood before reuniting with his friend and ally from Assassin’s Creed II Leonardo da Vinci, Ezio comes across a very out of place cardboard box–one of the hallmark hiding tactics of Metal Gear characters. Furthermore, if a player completed every challenge in the Animus Virtual Training Program (basically the tutorial missions) with at least a bronze medal, they would be rewarded the Raiden Skin for Ezio. Doesn’t get much more obvious than that, now does it?
In a show of solidarity, a few Assassin’s Creed references made it into the Metal Gear series too. In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Altaïr’s costume could be unlocked for Snake, In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker an item called the Assassin’s Straw Box could be obtained by performing a Leap of Faith which comes complete with the telltale eagle’s screech.
11 Assassin Turkey
Probably the biggest Easter Egg in Assassin’s Creed III, this one allows the player to recruit a rather unlikely character into the reforming Colonial Brotherhood. Any time after sequence six, Connor could find a turkey in the Homestead after taking cover behind any corner and whistling, which would follow Connor wherever it could. If players then input the Konami Code, Connor would feed the turkey granting it an assassin’s hood.
I’m sure long time gamers have no problem appreciating the throwback to the classic Konami code, and while our assassin companion is there for little more than show, it’s an amusing little tidbit, if not a little frustrating pre patch where at the end of the game Connor could no longer don his hood. Now, if they had given us something similar with the damn horse, that would have been so much more fitting. I swear, that thing is way stealthier than any of the assassins in the Brotherhood.
10 The Flying Machine
In another move that references both history and another Assassin’s Creed game, Assassin’s Creed III features a series of Homestead missions that have him helping Lance, the resident woodworker. After helping him recover some blueprints, Lance lets Connor in on his secret; he’s got the schematics to a flying machine designed by one Leonardo da Vinci. Familiar, anyone? And of course, Lance builds it, and of course Connor wants to play, and in after a majestic take off…Lance’s version very quickly crashes into the water below.
This fun little nod in the direction of Assassin’s Creed II and the fact that it’s not a complete repeat of Ezio’s experience makes it worth the laugh. And I have to admit; there’s definitely something laughable about watching the most stoic of our Assassin protagonists silently fall to his fate in the bay of the Davenport homestead. Gosh, Connor. Nothing fazes you, does it?
9 Giant Squid Vs White Whale
This little shoutout to two gargantuan rivals of the deep can be found in the masterpiece that is Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. I don’t know if it’s worth anything beyond just being a cool scene that plays out when you’re in the right place at the right time, but nonetheless it’s definitely something worth mentioning. As Edward, you have the option to explore the sea in many ways, and diving is one of them. Designated diving spots allow Edward to explore shipwrecks and collect awesome treasures along the way as soon as players acquire the diving bell upgrade for the Jackdaw. Once you locate the Antocha wreck diving spot, dive on in and head into the sunken ship. If you position yourself appropriately by one of the windows and just hang out for a second you get to see the two elusive beasts duke it out, with the squid swooping in Assassin style. The only downside? You don’t get to see who the victor is, and it’s admittedly anyone’s guess. Not gonna lie, though; part of me wishes we could be a bit closer to the action.
8 Let Them Eat Cake
This is a bit of a doozy of an Easter Egg from Assassin’s Creed: Unity, but really one that just had to happen. I mean, revolutionary France, of course there are going to be cake references abound. West of the Paris Observatory, there’s an underground tunnel with an edible cake that Arno can partake of. There are a total of five cakes like this in the game and as you eat them they do disappear permanently from the game, but once all have been consumed you can unlock the Marquis de Bullion from the E3 gameplay trailers as an NPC. He’ll come to life from a statue, and start fighting Arno. Once he’s dead we’re treated to a lovely fireworks display… and not much else, really. If you’re questioning the relevance of this Easter Egg, don’t. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to make sense for a joke to be enough to make it into the game, you know?
7 Desmond The Dog
Aside from a lingering sense of disconnect between the paths of Evie and Jacob, I personally thought Syndicate was fun, and as embarrassing as it is to admit, it was the first Assassin’s Creed game that I Platinum-ed (I was never a fan of the multiplayer stuff to be entirely honest.) That said, Syndicate had plenty to offer that gave us a very different take on the whole dichotomy thing the series so loves to play with. While Jacob Frye wreaks havoc on London starting a gang and beating down prominent Templars in the streets, Evie is trying to maintain their dead Assassin father’s methods and striving to be the best by-the-book Assassin she can be. During their misadventures at one point Jacob has to escort Mary Anne Disraeli, wife of then British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli through a questionable area for little more than kicks. Of course, while this is happening her purse gets snatched and in it her Welsh corgi aptly named Desmond.
For those that don’t know, Desmond was of course the main modern day protagonist for Assassin’s Creed and its sequels, and he dies at the end of Assassin’s Creed III. It’s a heavy-handed reference, no doubt about that. But hey, good to see our boy gone but not forgotten, right?
6 The Far Cry Series
Ubisoft is kind of shameless when it comes to advertising their products in their own games. The ever intersecting lines of series like Far Cry, Watch Dogs, and Assassin’s Creed will probably continue on for as long as those franchises continue, so it seemed fitting to offer a spot on the list to the others as well. Far Cry has a smattering of references to Assassin’s Creed: in Far Cry 3 one of the collectible letters of the Lost Lab very plainly mentions scientists that speak of “Pieces of Eden and Edison’s electrical experiments into genetic memory.” It also notes a password that matches the date of the solar flare at the end of Desmond’s storyline, and several of the walls feature a pretty prominent Abstergo logo. Far Cry Primal gets even more personal with a mission that has you collecting feathers for an NPC who will perform a classic leap of faith. A trophy/achievement is unlockable as well where the player must climb to the top of the mountain Kanda and jump off into the water below.
5 The Simpsons
Confession: I was never much a fan of The Simpsons. That said, I still managed to catch wind of this reference being made on national television so that’s gotta be worth something right? No? Well, whatever. In the episode of the 23rd season of The Simpsons titled “The Food Wife”, the fictional games convention features a hippie with two hidden blades on a poster with the title “Assassin’s Creed: Summer of Love” on it. This little Easter Egg is an obvious jab at Ubisoft’s tendency to milk their IPs that make it big, and Assassin’s Creed is probably the most prime example of that with the public appeal of the series going downhill from the introduction of yearly releases. It’s also a playful poke at each story taking place during a specific time period or in a noteworthy area. I don’t know about you, but I’d be super curious to see how an Assassin Hippie would operate.
4 Watch Dogs
As mentioned before, Watch Dogs, while a much younger series than its siblings Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed, wastes no time when it comes to making references to other lines in the Ubisoft family. When players hack a camera feed they can watch a classic father-son gaming interaction while the son plays Assassin’s Creed Revalations, an innumerable amount of characters can be profiled as employees of Abstergo industries and a phone conversation can be overheard about how two of the infamous Three Stooges were Assassins while the other was a Templar.
Perhaps the most notorious reference, though, is the final criminal convoy mission aptly named… yup, you guessed it: “Requiescat in Pace.” During this mission, players are contracted to take down Olivier Garneau, CEO of Abstergo who we met in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. In this game, he’s unfortunately doomed to never make it to the shareholder’s meeting in Chicago.
3 Infamous 2
The idea of Infamous is that you basically control your fate. Wreak havoc and become notorious, or do good and become a hero. The choice is yours. While the Assassin’s Creed series didn’t really afford you the same liberties (you’d desynchronize and the Animus would boot you out if you killed one too many innocents), it’s still important, hero or otherwise, to take a break and relax every so often. Maybe see a movie? How about “Assassin’s Need (Love Too),” an obvious parody on our favorite historical fiction game, and probably a subtle truth, too? Not that this one isn’t too soon, or anything because we all know Assassins tend to be particularly dedicated to their profession of making things difficult for their Templar counterparts, and things like love are probably less important to them than things related to their hidden blades. Okay, okay, so maybe Altaïr had Maria, and Ezio had Sofia, and Arno had Élise, and Evie had Henry, but for crying out loud can Connor get some love too? Poor guy can never seem to catch a break. In fact, let’s be real; he’s probably the star of the movie! That’s my new headcanon, even if Assassin’s Creed III came out a year later.
2 The Headless Horseman
One of my favorite scary figures of folklore, the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, gets a nod in this awesome Easter Egg from the red headed stepchild game of the series, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, in which players play as Shay, a former Assassin turned Templar with only the best intentions at heart. At Sleepy Hollow in the Albany region of the River Valley, a character model of the Horseman can be found and will immediately attack Shay upon spotting him. As it turns out, he’s also not able to be killed through conventional means. The fun, of course, is figuring out how exactly to kill him, and thus far four ways have been discovered. You can either shoot a pumpkin in the cemetery next to the church where you find him (an obvious reference to the American version’s pumpkin head), by stealing his axe and using it against him, with a rope dart, or via haystack assassination.
1 Optimus Prime
This is a cool shoutout to a classic series that can be found in the first game. Certain buildings in Damascus and Acre have door and window arrangements that are strikingly similar to the torso/front view of Autobot extraordinaire Optimus Prime. Why is there an Easter Egg referencing Optimus Prime in an Assassin’s Creed title? What tie-in or connection do the Autobots have with the ageless battle between Assassins and Templars? And what connection does Ubisoft have with Hasbro? I have no idea, to be honest. Maybe some of the folks at Ubisoft were fans? Sometimes with these types of things that’s all it really takes. That, and access to the right resources, of course. Regardless, it’s kind of fun parkouring around the holy land and getting to this iconic look every so often. And let’s be real; if it were up to Optimus, he’d probably be an Assassin. Right?