We sum up the exploits of Desmond, Altaïr and Ezio to date.
With multiple time-lines, several assassins, historical figure-heads, Templars, terrorist organisations, gods, pieces of fruit and a smoking-hot blonde, there's a lot to keep track of in the Assassin's Creed series. To bring you up to speed before the next game, Assassin's Creed Revelations, we've put together this handy catch-up.
It should go without saying, but the following article is riddled with spoilers; it's been written as a recap, after all. So make sure you've played up until the end of Brotherhood before reading any further...
The Assassin's Creed series plays out across three timelines: the 12th century, the 15th century, and 2012. This follows the lives of Altaïr, Ezio and Desmond respectively. Things quickly get confusing, so pay attention...
Assassin's Creed 1 - September 2nd, 2012, 12th Century.
It all kicks off in 2012. A chap called Desmond is kidnapped and taken to Abstergo Industries, where researchers - lead by Warren Vidic - are working on something known as the Animus project. The Animus is able to pull out the memories of its user's ancestry, allowing him to replay those memories as if he were there himself.
Desmond was kidnapped because of one ancestor in particular: Altaïr, who was an assassin during the Third Crusade of the Holy Land. The first memory Desmond experiences is that of Altaïr failing to assassinate the Grand Master of The Templar Knights, Robert de Sable, and recover the order's treasure. Due to this, Altaïr is stripped of his Master Assassin rank.
Over the course of his time in the 12th Century, Desmond discovers an ancient battle between two clandestine organizations: the Assassins and the Templars, who both seek an artefact with the power to reshape the entire world.
Between sessions in the Animus Desmond meets Lucy Stillman, who appears to be working for Vidic. From Lucy Desmond learns that Abstergo Industries is run by modern-day Templars, who are seeking the locations of several artefacts that they can use to continue to Templars' goals in present day. Desmond - through Altaïr - is the key to the location of where that artefact might be hidden.
So, to cut a long story short, Altaïr goes off and kills nine dudes (resulting in one of the most repetitive gaming experiences in recent memory), restores peace to a land terrorised by the Third Crusade, and secures the fabled artefact: known as a Piece of Eden. With Altaïr's memory complete, Desmond awakes in 2012 discover that Abstergo Industries is already sending out recovery teams to those locations hoping to find the artefact. As he no longer serves any purpose to Abstergo, Desmond is ordered to be killed. It transpires, however, that Lucy is a mole for the Assassins, and helps Desmond to escape.
In the conclusion of the game, Desmond - having become 'synchronized' with Altaïr - is able to use the eagle vision, a power that he has no reason to be using outside of the Animus. This is a result of the 'bleeding effect', which is where DNA gets confused between generations. This bleeding effect is crucial to Desmond's future.