VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci
WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
With a dozen mainline games and plenty of spin-off titles, comics, and a poorly received movie, “Assassin's Creed” has more lore than many other franchises. With numerous Ubisoft studios all working in tandem to keep up with the almost-annual release cycle, it's easy to get confused with what's actually going on. And the most baffling thing of all is the Templars themselves and their ultimate aim.
Script written by Caitlin Johnson
The Biggest Assassin’s Creed Plot Hole
Welcome to MojoPlays! Today, we’re looking at the biggest “Assassin’s Creed” plot hole. With so many games out there, it’s no wonder the developers have gotten lost.
With a dozen mainline games and plenty of spin-off titles, comics, and a poorly received movie, “Assassin’s Creed” has more lore than many other franchises. With numerous Ubisoft studios all working in tandem to keep up with the almost-annual release cycle, it’s easy to get confused with what’s actually going on. And the most baffling thing of all is the Templars themselves and their ultimate aim.
In the very first game, we’re introduced to all the key elements that persist – more or less – in the series today. The Templars, who want order and control, are in a never-ending war with the Assassins, proponents of free will, and they’re fighting over various “Pieces of Eden” – relics from an advanced, precursor race called the Isu. Disillusioned Assassin Desmond Miles is kidnapped by the modern-day Templars, disguised as Abstergo Industries, and forced to use an Animus machine to find an Apple of Eden via his genetic memories. The issue with this is what the Templars actually plan to do with the Apple when they find it, which is a bizarre plan, to say the least. They want to end all wars and bring about world peace by loading the Apple onto a satellite, called the “Eye”, and mind-control the entire human race from outer space.
That’s all well and good for nefarious, video game villains, but later games introduced some pretty glaring problems with this plan. The Templars are actually being manipulated all along by Juno, a holographic Isu scientist who wants to wipe out mankind. Carrying out her bidding are the Instruments of the First Will, which always counts a Sage among its numbers. The Sages are the reincarnation of Juno’s Isu husband Aita, and since “Black Flag” have been working behind the scenes. By 2012, the modern Assassins are trying to avert the apocalypse, which will happen when Abstergo launches the Eye. At the last second, Minerva – another Isu – appears to explain Juno’s entire, evil plan to Desmond.
Only, the Assassins and Templars have both been fighting the Instruments of the First Will for thousands of years by this point. Apparently, neither faction was aware of Juno or her evil plan until Desmond came along and unraveled it. This is in spite of the fact many Assassins in the past, including Edward Kenway and Arno Dorian, have met Sages. And on the Templar side of things, the Templar Grand Master during the French Revolution, Germain, was himself a Sage – their different-colored eyes make them immediately recognizable. We know that this is because the Sage lore was only introduced to the continuity after Desmond’s story arc was complete, but the very existence of the Sages creates some pretty glaring holes. Just like the Templars apparently forgot to write down not to trust Sages, the Assassins were also twiddling their thumbs waiting for Desmond Miles to come along and witness key events through science-fiction flashbacks.
But what came of the Eye? According to the information given to Desmond by Juno, if Lucy Stillman had succeeded in her plot as a double agent to steal the Apple from the Assassins and take it back to Abstergo during “Brotherhood”, the planet would have been destroyed by devastating solar flares. But this information isn’t shared with the Templars, and the Eye plot is quietly forgotten. Sure, the Templars are still desperate to find any Piece of Eden they can get their hands on, but they no longer seem motivated to put those Pieces of Eden into a satellite and use them to control mankind. Apparently, everything was riding on whether that one satellite would launch on that one specific date with one specific, Apple of Eden, and since that was wrapped up in “Assassin’s Creed III”, the modern-day Templars have been floundering.
Their schemes after the failure of the Eye have gotten less and less important, especially after they decided to pose as a video game developer making Assassin-themed games to trick ordinary people into using the Animus to search for them. They want those Pieces of Eden, but they don’t have any other clear motivations besides this. Aside from being power-hungry, it’s also not clear why people become Templars at all.
Players care less and less about the modern-day elements and much more about the self-contained historical stories, with the Templar/Assassin feud becoming little more than background noise in more recent entries. And it’s also increasingly unlikely that Ubisoft will ever make a fully modern-day “AC”, meaning that we might forever be left wondering exactly what it is the Templars in the present are actually up to. But Templar motivations in the past are just as foggy. It’s still not absolutely clear what either the Cult of Kosmos or Order of the Ancients actually wanted, other than ultimate control for vague, evil reasons.
Because we keep coming back to the modern-day regardless of how much players actually care, we can’t forget this giant, dropped plotline: a cataclysmic plan thousands of years in the making that would have actually worked if it wasn’t for Juno. If we have to keep flashing forwards, out of the immersive, historical gameplay, to see what Layla Hassan is doing, at least come up with a compelling threat she has to work against, because the shadowy, modern Templars just aren’t that interesting anymore.
Despite being incredibly powerful, skilled, and intelligent, neither the Assassins nor the Templars manage to communicate to the Assassins and Templars of the future that the giant satellite is actually going to destroy the world – even though Juno’s evil plan has existed since the dawn of man. And after the Eye plot fell through, the Templar goal has been uninteresting, messy, and pointless.