Assassin’s Creed Origins Director Explains Modern Day Plot Choices

Assassin's Creed
  • Playstation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Open World

The Modern Day aspect of Assassin’s Creed has confused fans ever since the death of Desmond Miles. Writers seemingly threw out the last threads of logic at that very moment in Assassin’s Creed III , but at least some players were already too emotionally invested into the lore to give up on the story.

[SPOILER WARNING: Assassin’s Creed plot details ahead]

In Assassin’s Creed Origins , the Modern Day element was revisited with a new protagonist that is played in third person. The game introduces Layla Hassan, an Abstergo employee who starts her own Animus project in hopes to further her career and ultimately stumbles across information more valuable than she realizes. By the end of the game, Layla meets a familiar face who recruits her into the Modern Day Assassins. However, the Modern Day story in Assassin’s Creed Origins won’t answer any lingering questions — that wasn’t the vision Assassin’s Creed Origins Director Ashraf Ismail had for the game.

"[For Layla] in Assassin's Creed Origins , the idea was to refresh [the franchise]. We don't use 'reboot' because we don't want people to confuse the lore element,” Ismail said. “This game is part of the universe of Assassin's Creed , it's part of the lore. We don't use the word 'reboot,' but we've greatly refreshed the experience. For the Modern Day, it's the glue that's binding all the games and the content together. So even outside the game, like the movie and comic books and so on, we felt that we needed to start something that can grow. That was the idea behind creating a character like Layla and playing in third-person. We had dabbled in playing in first person for a while, but we're listening to our fans and we paid attention to what people were saying. For the people who really loved Modern Day, they were really excited to have a third-person protagonist.

"[We told ourselves] Origins was meant to be a reinvention of the AC experience, but fundamentally still be an AC game. And so when we think about reinvent the experience, it's really through gameplay, narrative structure, world structure, how players consume the content of the game. Being in AC means we [needed to] respect the lore. We respect the canon, we respect what's already out there. And we couldn't imagine an AC without treating the Modern Day element. We felt that this was a game for new players that people can come to AC and feel comfortable jumping in without having experienced the old games because it is an origins story. The guidelines we gave ourselves was, ‘Can we give a similar origins story in the modern day?’"

The Assassin’s Creed lore is truly complex. Desmond Miles was the original Assassin’s Creed Modern Day protagonist. Through Desmond’s DNA memories, we learned about two secret societies, Templars and Assassins, which exist to provide the checks and balances to keep the world in order. Both societies essentially want world peace, but differ in one moral aspect: the Assassins seek to protect free will while Templars wish to achieve world peace through control. This is where the Apple of Eden, an ancient piece of technology from the first Civilization, comes into play.


Assassin's Creed Origins
Layla Hassan, Abstergo employee. Photo: Ubisoft
Assassin's Creed
Juno, the talking head. Photo: Ubisoft

The leaders of the First Civilization created the Apple of Eden to control the people. The First Civilization grew careless and selfish, which led to people like Juno to seek to destroy the world in order to rebuild it. The leaders of the First Civilization were able to stop Juno and lock her away, but her conscience lived on. Eventually, Juno and the other members of the First Civilization lead Desmond to the Pieces of Eden, which will help him “restore order” in the world. Or so he’s lead to believe.

In Assassin’s Creed III , Desmond had the option to bring forth the apocalypse on Dec. 25, 2012. Instead, Desmond sacrificed his life to stop the world from coming to an end, but set Juno free. Desmond asks his fellow Assassins to stop whatever Juno is planning, but the Modern Day story stalls there — the last few games haven’t acknowledged what Desmond’s death means to the story and we never learn what Juno is up to or why the Templars keep digging into Assassins’ memories after Desmond’s death. But we do know the Abstergo, a.k.a. Templars, are still working on the Animus project and have become much more powerful than the Assassins.

The Assassin’s Creed story tells us there are three known Assassins who are still active, including Williams Miles (Desmond’s father), Rebecca Crane and Shaun Hastings. We last saw Rebecca and Shaun in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate . They were off to Madrid to steal blueprints for Abstergo’s latest Animus.

Then there’s Juno. Her conscience is somehow connected to technology and basically lives on the internet. She pops up in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate as well, but you have no clue why she’s still alive. Juno remains the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.

Assassin’s Creed Origins will leave you with more questions than answers if you’re a long-time fan. Despite the introduction of Layla Hassan, game’s developers pushed the game’s Modern Day storyline to the side in order to create a richer story experiences in the ancestral storylines, and it shows in Assassin’s Creed Origins . Bayek and Aya’s story had nuances we haven’t seen since Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag . The world of Ancient Egypt was alive and a marvel to explore. Only time will tell if that same attention to details will be applied to Modern Day elements of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

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