There are now so many Assassin Creed games that it is rare to find a fan who has actually played every single one. It is Ubisoft's cash cow, and the company knows it.
Assassin's Creed, like a lot of huge successful games, came from humble beginnings. We played as Altaïr during the Third Crusade in the Middle East and were wowed by the fun parkour, historical accuracy, and science fiction elements. Now it is easy to forget about this game in the shadow of Ezio's story, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, Origins, Odyssey, and so on. Here are ten facts about the original game that started it all.
10 It Was Originally Proposed As A Reboot Of The Prince Of Persia Series
If all of the parkour, climbing, and jumping felt familiar, that may be because you have played Prince of Persia. Originally, Assassin's Creed was actually "Prince of Persia: Assassin." It was going to be a spin-off of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. However, Ubisoft rejected the concept idea of "Prince of Persia: Assassin" because their story did not focus on the prince so much.
So instead Assassin's Creed was born.
9 Assassins Were Based On An Islamic Sect Known As The Order of The Hashshashin
You have to be a history buff or a major Assassin's Creed nerd in order to know about this fact. The order from the first game is based on a real group called the Nizari Ismailis Ḥashshāshīn, an order that existed far back in history. They were located in Syria and Persia and opposed the Seljuk Turks.
Their order was eventually destroyed by the Mongol Empire, but are still remembered due to people writing about them. Like in Assassin's Creed, they were trained killers who were used to eliminate important leaders. Besides that though, they are a highly fictionalized version of the real group.
8 Was Greatly Inspired By Vladimir Bartol's Novel, "Alamut"
This is connection to the real Ḥashshāshīn assassins that the game was based off of. The 1938 book, Alamut, is about the Ḥashshāshīn and their leader, Hassan-i Sabbāh. Many elements of the book went into the game. For example, the saying "nothing is true; everything is permitted" is an alternative translation from a phrase in the novel.
While the book is nearing one hundred years old, it is now marketed widely as the novel that inspired Assassin's Creed.
7 Ubisoft's Marketing Was Not Keen On The Animus idea
The major sci-fi element to Assassin's Creed was not warmly welcomed by Ubisoft's marking team and who can blame them? It was a very unusual idea to have the player be a historical character one moment and the next to be some guy from the future.
This also connected to the games' first inspiration: Prince of Persia Sands of Time. In that game, the prince was telling a story that happened already. In a way, the Animus was doing that as well. However the Animus is later on not so big in the series. For example, in Assassin's Creed Black Flag, there is no Animus.
6 Desmond Was Modeled After Francisco Randez
Francisco Randez was the model for Desmond's character, which means he was also the model for most of his ancestors like Ezio and Altaïr. He was found by Ubisoft through his modelling agency. The company was looking for "a face with Mediterranean features to return the character [Altaïr] to the time of the Crusades."
It is unknown whether it was on purpose or not, but Randez and Desmond both shared the occupation as being a bartender.
5 Desmond Miles Is Voiced By Nolan North
If you look up the voice actor for Desmond Miles, then you will see that you may be far more familiar with his voice than you thought. Nolan North has voice acted for a ton of different TV shows, films, and video games.
He voice acted Hades in God of War, the Prince in The Prince of Persia, David in The Last of Us, Penguin in Batman: Arkham Origins, and numerous Deadpool's for various video games. That is just the tip of the iceberg. In film he can be recognized as Sam Holt from Voltron: Legendary Defender, Scroopy Noopers from Rick and Morty, and more.
4 Altaïr's Inability To Swim Was Explained
The in-game fact is that Altaïr could swim. However, it was the fault of a glitch in the Animus as to why he would drown when you play as him. This is explained in one of the present day cutscenes by Rebecca Crane in one of the sequels. That also explained why you are able to swim in future games, as the Animus gets more developed.
As for the real reason, it is likely that the developers thought of it as an additional challenge or that swimming just is not important. However, feedback from fans might have made them change their minds.
3 Altaïr's Name Is Meaningful
Altaïr's full name is Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, which means "the bird" and "son of none." Any fan would immediately realize how meaningful that name is for his character. First of all, birds are a big part of the series. They are symbols to assassins and often mark the safe places to jump and hide.
"Son of none" would refer to Altaïr being an orphan from a young age. He was raised by the assassin's guild.
2 Masyaf Is A Real Place
Masyaf is a city in northwest Syria. The real part that fans imagine when they hear "Masyaf" is the castle, which also exists. It was also controlled by assassins for a time, particularly those who were part of the Nizari Ismailis sect. So it may have more in common with the game than you would think.
The castle can be visited today, as there was a restoration project of it from 2000 to 2006. During that restoration process, people discovered what they believed to be a hidden underground tunnel and a bath house.
1 Al Mualim Is Based On Rashid Ad-Din Sinan
Rashid ad-Din Sinan was the leader of the Ḥashshāshīn in the late 12th century, and the developers based Al Mualim off of him. Due to legal reasons, they did not use the real historical name. However, they were eventually able to use the name in Assassin's Creed; Infographics.
It it interesting to wonder what the real man would think of the Assassin's Creed games, and of course his role as the main antagonist of the first game. Of course he has been dead for about 1000 years so he would have to wrap his head around video games first.