If you've ever walked into a game store, you know the title Assassin's Creed. It's the juggernaut of the Ubisoft company, one that spans pretty much every modern console, including the regulars like Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but also WiiU, PC gaming, Playstation Portable and Vita, as well as the Nintendo DS. Basically, if you play video games anywhere, you can play Assassin's Creed. We all know the age old fight between the Assassins and the Templars, as both want peace, but have vastly different ideas of how to get it (kind of like the Mages and Templars in Dragon Age). Man what do people have against the Templars? I mean other than being religious zealots.
Assassin's Creed also has its own movie and a series of books, just to add to that massive collection you have sitting in your room. I did some searching for all those interesting facts you probably didn't know about the series that has come to us almost yearly since 2009. And hey, maybe by the time you're reading this, the new game will be released! Here's hoping it's as good as the hype and the full year break Ubisoft has taken to make it.
15 Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
We all know Ubisoft is a big company, which is why they can get out many games quickly. It’s not like they’re an indie developer that takes years to make a fuller fledged game. Plus, due to their financial strength, they have 29 development teams all over the world. Well, Assassin’s Creed is such a huge franchise, and with their promise to put out a game annually, they have 10 of those teams working on Assassin’s Creed at all times. That’s close to 30% of their company! Plus, most of the games are made during overlapping times, which is why things can get jumbled from game to game. Not to mention there are hundreds of people in each of those teams. Ubisoft says they have a solid ending in mind for the franchise, but we’ll see it when it happens.
14 Native Americans Voice Native Americans
In an industry that can often step over people of color, especially Native Americans, Ubisoft took a step in the right direction with AC III by casting Noah Watts -- a descendent of the Blackfeet Nation tribe -- as Ratonhnhaké:kon or Connor. You’d think that casting a Native American person to voice a Native American character would be a no brainer, but a lot of companies aren't that smart.
Ubisoft took it a step further with the authentication of the game by speaking with experts to make sure that the language, and its specific dialect, were historically correct. It’s really great when game designers stay true to a vision without compromising an entire culture for the sake of laziness. In fact, they were originally going to put in scalping as a feature of the game, but the specialists shut that down pretty quick as it was historically inaccurate.
13 Let It Go (Already)
Most of us probably know Kristen Bell as Anna from Frozen or one of the other many titles she’s been in. But this actress had one of her first forays into voice-acting as Lucy Stillman, who is in three of the AC games. Bell is a huge gaming fan, so this was probably pretty awesome for her. Honestly, I’m pretty jealous, as it sounds like it’d be pretty cool to voice act for a video game you like! Although, I suppose it would be pretty weird to have your voice coming out of a character’s mouth when you’re trying to play. Maybe actors just get used to the sound of their own voice? I mean, I think I sound like a high-pitched child when I hear my voice so, props to them.
12 Prince of Persia: Assassins
Back in the day, while Ubisoft had their Prince of Persia series still going strong, Assassin’s Creed was just beginning to get created. Originally, it was going to just be a co-op version of POP and eventually they’d probably have Altair and Prince join forces in a future game. But in 2008, when Ubisoft tried to relaunch POP, it didn’t exactly take off as expected. Hence, why we have so many AC games and why you haven't seen a POP for years (Although that movie did get made). Well, at the very least, I’m glad they decided to keep the franchises separate, as sometimes you just muddy the waters when you take too many ideas and throw them all together in a pot. It’s also allowed AC to go in a completely different direction!
11 Your Peach is In Another Castle
Mario is such a staple in the gaming world that it’s hard not to make a reference to it in some way. Like paying homage to those that came before (or maybe just cracking a joke that you know everyone will get). There’s a few Mario references in AC, including the “It’s a-me, Mario!” lines within AC II, which is pretty obviously a reference to everyone’s favorite Italian plumber.
But there is also an achievement you can get if you help out Lucrezia Borgia and the little achievement tag pops up to say: "Thank you Mario, but our Princess is in another castle!" Truthfully, gamer achievement puns or little quips are the only use I have, as I'm not much for getting all the achievements. I know it’s cool to get all the achievements, but I like to enjoy the game for the game. But hey, play it however you want to play! Just make sure you rescue the princess!
10 Ezio's End
In AC, Ezio was a pretty important character for a few of the games and then he seemed to disappear from the main timeline of the games. I, for one, prefer to know what happens to characters, even if that involves a brutal end. If you haven’t seen the short animated film involving Ezio, and you are a die hard AC fan, you really should! It follows up with Ezio as an older man, who is frail and weak. People still come to him for advice and he still stands up for people who aren’t able to fight back. Finally, he dies peacefully surrounded by his family. Sorry for leading you on with the brutal murder thing, I just always expect someone to die terribly in a video game. I mean who gets to die peacefully when people are running around killing each other?
9 Biggest Patch in Gaming History
Assassin’s Creed: Unity is a beautiful game with stunning visuals. Sadly, it also was filled with more bugs than a termite hill. Or my friend’s college dorm. Yuck. There were constantly problems with the game to the point where Ubisoft actually had to suspend sales so that they could go in and fix all the problems. It was so extensive that the patch was over 40GB! And Xbox users had it the worst, having to re-download the entire game. That hurts if you don't have unlimited internet at home or if your internet is slow in the first place. That 40GB holds the record for biggest patch, which isn’t exactly a title you want to have.
8 How Does That Make You Feel?
Alright kiddos, it’s time to learn a thing about psychology. And since I was a psych minor, I obviously am the expert in all things that relate to the human brain. Don’t question it. So back when Patrice Désilets was first ironing out the kinks for the world of AC, he came across Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. Basically, we all inherit these different ideas and archetypes through genetic memory. The Abstergo Industries’ Animus Project is a direct take away from Jung’s concepts of animus and anima. Not to mention Eve, Maria Thorpe and Sofia Sartor are all references to the different states of female anima that are in men.
7 Hashashin’s Creed
So this is a really cool little tidbit of history I dug up. Turns AC is actually (loosely) based around an assassin group by the name of Nizari Ismailis, who were around during the 11th Century. They were lead by Hassan-I Sabbah and were based in the Middle East. Linguistically, the word assassin is said to derive from the word “Hashashin” which is a derogatory way to call someone a drug addict or “user of Hashish.” There’s evidence to suggest that their rival group, the Mustali Ismailis, began spreading this word to cause dissension during the fall of the Fatimid Dynasty. Sometimes you don’t even need fiction, history has you covered with being bad-ass. There isn’t much proof that drugs were actually involved and the idea of calling them Hashashin’s seems like a clever jab.
6 Number 1!!
Out of all the Ubisoft games, AC is by far and large their most popular. Now that might not be entirely surprising to most of us, but the sheer gap between the games is crazy. Ubisoft is about 30 years old at this point and, in 2014, they announced, before Unity was even out, that AC has 73 million copies sold worldwide. Which makes you understand why they have so many teams pumping out the games left and right. When you have a brand that is selling, you keep selling it. Just ask Nintendo. The second game on the list was Just Dance with 48 million copies sold. Trailing that, by a larger margin, is Rainbow Six, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, and then even further we find Prince of Persia (at a measly 20 million), so it’s probably best they didn’t end up combining the series!
5 Dead IRL
As we saw earlier, for pretty much every game, Ubisoft takes historical accuracy very seriously. And thank God for that. Nothing is worse than screaming at a game or movie for total historical inaccuracy (I still cringe when I watch Gladiator). But they took it one step even further for this series, in that most of the people you kill are actually real people who died during the year that the game takes place. Pretty intense, right? Maybe they didn’t want to have you killing someone who is just fictional, but a real person. Which is also very creepy. Or maybe it was just meant as a cool easter egg for anyone who did decide to Google the name of those who died at your hands. Obviously, their deaths weren’t necessarily connected to an assassination, but hey, who knows?
Does anyone else remember how impressive playing Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was for the first time? Hyrule Field was enormous! And then to add to that the rest of the Ocarina of Time map felt immense. Well, games are getting bigger and bigger, especially now that the hardware can keep up with games the size of Paris. Which is good, as Unity's map was indeed the size of the major French city. It’s even modeled after the city and pretty close to the size. Which is crazy impressive. It makes exploring actually feel like exploring. Although, I have to admit. I get lost. But then again, I can get lost in a platformer so, whatever.
3 True (Nolan) North
Desmond Miles is voiced by none other than Nolan North within the AC series. Now, North is kind of known as a legend in the voice acting world, so it’s a pretty big deal. He also voiced Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series, so if they sound similar, that’s why. He was also David from The Last of Us and has been in Call of Duty, meaning that if you have a large video game franchise and you want a strong male lead character, he’s a good guy to call.
Now, we'd go through every game he's been a part of, but that would likely take the entire length of this list. Just know that he's been Desmond Miles, Deadpool, Nathan Drake, Splinter and Cyclops. That's quite the cast of characters!
2 It’s Been 2,000 Years!!
The main game of Assassin’s Creed spans from the years 1191 to the mid 2010s, which puts the timeline around 820 years figured out. But the developers have said that in actuality they have over 2,500 years of backstory to the plot. They have an expanded universe with lore and historical bits that you don’t get in the game. It dates back to the first assassin, Xerxes, who killed King Darius of Persia and this is according to Heroditus, a Greek historian. So it makes sense how it all ties back to Prince of Persia now, doesn’t it? Sounds like they set it up for the spinoff, but obviously AC was better on it’s own. Though, maybe we will see a crossover in the future? Maybe even with Xerxes himself?
1 Knights Templar
Here’s where the history takes a turn to fiction. Remember the Hashishin I mentioned earlier? They were the original assassins and while the Knights Templar were also around during that time, they probably never met. They also had vastly different roles in the game as compared to real life. The Hashashin only killed to further their own gain (although they often did kill in broad daylight as well) and the Templars helped to keep the roads safe for travel and commerce. Plus, there’s that whole idea that they were looking for the Holy Grail. And now all I can think of is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Ubisoft probably switched the good guys and the bad guys because it’s way more fun to run around assassinating guys than to watch over a road.