The Truth (Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2)

20 06 2010

Ok, so this is going to wrap up my coverage on Assassin’s Creed. Oh yeah, HUGE STORY SPOILERS FOLLOW! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

That is correct.

This is the last image you see when you play Assassin’s Creed. Desmond looks at the wall, sees all these symbols, the camera zooms in and the credits roll. The end. Gamers were left for two years to ponder just what the hell it meant, and speculation ran wild. Fans were able to get some ideas, but there were no real answers. We were left to guess and wonder until Assassin’s Creed 2 came out. Holy shit, did the game’s story take a turn for the awesome.

Like I said in talking about the first game, it was clear there was more going on than the story of the Assassins back in 1192. We knew the Templars wanted something, but we didn’t know what it was. Eventually, the Assassins’ leader tells us they want an artifact, something that was used since the dawn of mankind to trick the minds of many. At the end of the game, after you defeat the Templar leader (so you believe), you return to find Al Mualim, your leader and leader of the Assassins possessed the item and was going to use its power to control the minds of men.

HE'S EVIL I TELLS YA! EVIIIIIIIIIL!

When Altair defeats Al Mualim, he receives the item, which projects a sort of holographic map of the entire world, with a  few dots on various parts of the world. We’re never told what this represents in the first game, but eventually in Assassin’s Creed 2, Ezio and friends find a similar map, and find that these dots are locations of similar artifacts. AC2 also gives a name to this item: The Apple of Eden.

So ok, we end with Altair and the Assassins (sounds like a kickass band name, by the way) having the Apple of Eden in his possession. What did he do with it? Well, you never really find out for sure, but you do get hints. The PSP game Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines takes place after the first Assassin’s Creed and covers Altair’s attempts to shut down the Templars once and for all. I’ll admit I never played the game, so I can’t really tell you what happened in it other than it further his story, showed a romantic interest (which would lead eventually to Ezio and Desmond) and some other things. However, from what I gathered, there isn’t really all that much that was revealed in this game that wasn’t revealed in AC2.

So let’s just dive into AC2, shall we? Like I said in my previous entry, AC2 picks up literally moments after AC1 ended. Desmond is looking at that image, wondering what it all means when he is rescued by a fellow Assassin and familiar face from the first game. We learned in the first game that Desmond was not the first subject Abstergo used to attempt to find these artifacts, but he is the 17th. Throughout AC1, you have the option of finding out more about a mysterious man known only as subject 16. This man was eventually driven insane and died, but before he died, he uncovered something about mankind, about history that would shake the foundations of society. Basically, everything we know is a lie, nothing we know is true.

Subject 16 had uncovered The Truth.  Throughout AC2, you’ll find strange glyphs on walls. These glyphs, when scanned, open a strange puzzle that must be solved and, when solved, will give you a piece of the puzzle that is The Truth.

There’s an example of one of these glyphs, hidden in the game world. There is a total of 20 of these and it’s entirely up to the player to find them. They can be found in any order, and the puzzles will always be the same. These puzzles, however, carry a LOT of intrigue for the overall story. We learn about many conspiracies throughout time, often involving historical figures and pieces of Eden. We learn that Jesus had at least one piece of Eden, which allowed him to perform the “miracles” he did. Hitler had a piece of Eden, which he used to aid in his takeover. The conspiracies and the glyph puzzles are among the most intricate and interesting parts of the game, and you would never guess they would be there from looking at the game, would you?

Once you discover all of these glyphs and solve all the puzzles, you unlock The Truth. The Truth is hinted to after each glyph, but after seeing a half-second clip of someone running, it’s hard to guess what it’s about. Once you get them all, however… It becomes clear.

You see two people running from some unseen entity. They run through some futuristic factory and if you look close enough, you can even see what looks like other humans being forced to do manual labor. When the video ends, they stand on the roof of a very futuristic-looking building that stands before a snow-capped mountain. Many believe this to be Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. The two humans even have names: Adam and Eve. The video ends with binary code containing the letters E D E N. Eden. Adam and Eve. Eve is shown holding a piece of Eden… The Apple. Subject 16 had uncovered the “true” story of Adam and Eve, the true story of the Garden of Eden.

On top of that, the game’s ending, for those that haven’t played it, is incredible. We follow Ezio on his journey to stop the Spaniard from uncovering a location called The Vault. The Vault can only be opened with two pieces of Eden: the Apple and the Staff. By becoming the Pope, the Spaniard gained access to the Staff, so Ezio must defeat him and use these two to open the Vault, a mysterious room beneath the Vatican. Here, we meet Minerva. Minds are blown.

When the player first sees Minerva, it’s hard to guess what’s going on. Is she an alien? The Vault is filled with the same sorts of imagery that we see on the glyphs and she appears almost as a hologram, saying she has a message to relay. Throughout her message, Minerva rarely looks at Ezio but rather, the camera. She reveals that Ezio is simply a prophet, a means for relaying a message. She ends her message by saying Desmond is the only hope for the future, and that the rest of her kind are gone. Ezio is left absolutely confused with zero answers and a million questsions, just like the player. The game fades to black and one of the characters reacts the exact same as the player: “What the fuck?”

So… Let’s see here. Minerva and her people are not aliens, nor are they gods. They are simply people who came before humans. We may never comprehend their existence or their technology, but the fact of the matter is they created us in their image, they were revered as gods (perhaps giving way to our many religions) which is why she is called Minerva. She mentions Jupiter, the Roman name for the god Zeus. Whoever these people were, these Ones Who Came Before are gone now and must deliver a message to Desmond to save the world. We find that a catastrophic event caused many of the Ones Who Came Before to die may happen again, and only by visiting temples marked on a map Minerva shows can we (namely Desmond) prevent this from happening again.

For those that didn’t know, the events with Desmond happen in the year 2012. He is first captured in August and it’s likely some time has passed so it’s at least September 2012 when the game ends. I’m sure most people are aware of the Mayan ideas of December 21, 2012. The game takes these beliefs and builds on them. On that date, Abstergo was planning on launching a satellite with the pieces of Eden to brainwash the masses. Now, it looks like the event Minerva warned is about to happen, which if not stopped, could wipe out all life on Earth.

The Assassins are forced to flee their hideout (after Desmond shows off his kickass fighting moves, thanks to Ezio), wondering what’s going on. They know time is short and they know they have to stop this. The game ends with these questions left open and speculation is running wild on what will happen in Assassin’s Creed 3.

My theory is the game will focus on Desmond. He’s been the main character from the start, and most of AC2 was spent to build him up to be a proper Assassin, and you even get to experience his skills firsthand at a few moments in the game. I’m guessing AC3 will star Desmond and take place in the present. We’ll likely have a few more memories to his ancestors in other key moments of time (the American Revolution, World War II, etc.) but mostly, we’ll see Desmond and the other Assassins travel the world to find these temples and stop the impending apocalypse. Abstergo still stands in their way to stop them, either not knowing about the impending solar “attack” or perhaps even welcoming it as a sort of cleansing. Either way, we can expect to see Desmond traveling the world and ultimately stopping this, even putting an end to Abstergo.

When you look back at these games, it’s incredible. I don’t think anyone other than the creators could have guessed where they were going with this franchise, but it’s all incredibly engrossing. I can’t say the game began with a simple premise because it didn’t. The idea of using genetic memory to unlock someone’s past is a pretty complex thing, but with the second game, when they add in theories about Ones Who Came Before, The Truth and an impending Apocalypse by our own Sun, it’s amazing. They manage to weave it all together into one incredible overarching story, but the stories of Ezio and Altair aren’t forgotten either. They both tie into this story in ways they could have never guessed, and everyman Desmond is basically told he is the only one who can save the world. If it weren’t for the game’s story, I think it wouldn’t be nearly as spectacular. Sure, gameplay and all that are very important (and incredibly solid, to me) but when you combine everything, it’s easy to see why this is one of my favorite series and why Assassin’s Creed 2 is one of my favorite games of all time.

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One response

11 11 2010
kemeko

Dude, i love AC series, it’s long, and the storyline is very cool. It made me believe in to the theory about the world in this game… sick eh? 😀

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