10 Assassin's Creed Facts You Didn't Know
VOICE OVER: Aaron Kline
WRITTEN BY: Aaron Kline
Being one of the biggest gaming franchises around, we're sure there's at least a few things about "Assassin's Creed" you don't know. For this list, we'll be looking at facts from development and post-release across the Assassin's Creed series, with a few Easter eggs thrown in for good measure. Our list includes RDR's Inspiration from “Assassin's Creed III (2012), Creative Liberties from “Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag” (2013), National Geographic from “Assassin's Creed Origins” (2017), and more!
Script written by Aaron Kline
Welcome to MojoPlays, and today we’re hopping into the Animus to bring you 10 facts you didn’t know about the Assassin's Creed series. For this list, we’ll be looking at facts from development and post-release across the Assassin’s Creed series, with a few Easter eggs thrown in for good measure. What’s an obscure fact about Assassin’s Creed you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.
The Reason Altaïr Can’t Swim
“Assassin’s Creed” (2007)
Ever wonder why a trained Assassin can’t swim? In the first Assassin’s Creed, Altaïr couldn’t swim. This isn’t due to the assassin’s inability to do so, but more a glitch in the Animus. While never brought up in the games themselves, if you look in the Assassin’s Creed 2 manual, there are notes scribbled throughout by Lucy, one of which saying “Make sure to fix that annoying bug in the Animus 1.0 software which prevents ancestors from swimming.” All assassins were able to swim after this little bug in the Animus was fixed.
Scrapped Scalping Mechanic
“Assassin’s Creed III” (2012)
A scalping mechanic was going to be in Assassin's Creed III; the team even developed it into an early build of the game. However, this mechanic was taken out of the game for two reasons. One reason being that it was a bit too brutal and this didn’t fit Conor as a character. The other reason was due to Thomas Deer, a cultural liaison officer Ubisoft hired to keep the representation of the Native Americans in the game as accurate as possible. Deer informed the team that the Mohawk didn't scalp their enemies.
William of Montferrat’s Death
“Assassin’s Creed” (2007)
While creating the world of Assassin’s Creed, the teams try to stay as accurate as possible. This even goes for the targets you will assassinate throughout the games. In the first Assassin’s Creed, one of the targets was going to be Conrad of Montferrat. As the team at Ubisoft Montreal did more research, they found that Conrad was mysteriously killed, just not in 1191, the time period the game was set in. As the team kept researching, they found that Conrad had a relative, William, who was in Acre in 1191. The team replaced Conrad with William as the target to stay as historically accurate as possible.
“Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag” (2013)
With the teams striving to stay as historically accurate as possible in the Assassin’s Creed games, this became difficult with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. With other entries in the series, they could go off well documented figures and events, however pirates didn’t document their travels as much. Lead writer Darby McDevitt said, “We actually landed right in a place where we had to make up a lot of stuff. Or at least speculate on a lot of stuff in terms of where these guys were and what they were thinking and what they were doing.” With the lack of available information about pirates during the time in which the game is set, stories started going around from town to town about certain pirates. This is referenced in the game, as you’ll hear guards talk about Edward Kenway's reputation and false rumors.
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (2022)
The Assassin’s Creed franchise is Ubisoft's best selling franchise despite only being around for 15 years and having 12 games in the franchise. The series even outsells the Tom Clancy series with over 40 games in the franchise. In its first year, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla became Ubisoft's best selling game by making the company over $1 billion in consumer revenue. This number includes sales of the game and microtransactions. With sales like this, it makes you wonder how well the upcoming live service title Assassin’s Creed Infinity will do.
“Assassin’s Creed Origins” (2017)
The National Geographic Museum used gameplay from Assassin’s Creed Origins as a part of one of their exhibits. During the National Geographics exhibit titled “Queens of Egypt”, gameplay was used to show life in ancient Egypt. The teams that work on Assassin’s Creed strive to be as accurate as possible with their source material and Origins showed the day-to-day life of the people during these times and focused on workers and their roles, Assassin’s Creed Origins even has a combat free mode to help educate players during a virtual tour of ancient Egypt.
“Assassin’s Creed Mirage”
The upcoming game Assassin’s Creed Mirage has a hidden detail in the logo that fans may have missed. The logo is formed by Arabic calligraphy that reads “the hidden,” which is a reference to the Hidden Ones. The Hidden Ones are the first form of the Assassin Brotherhood that formed in Egypt . The Hidden Ones would work in the shadows to protect their people from injustice and preserve their free will which was in jeopardy due to the Templars who were pulling the strings of leaders to help their cause which was fuelled by greed.
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” (2022)
When outside of the Animus in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, players can find certain documents, one of which is an email dated May 11th, 2020. The email is a conversation between Layla and Ramy Hassan. In the email, Layla tells Ramy, “I don’t have Covid, no. And I’m well isolated, it’s just the three of us, traveling together, staying out of sight.” This is the first known Covid reference in a video game and is a little side document we can relate to all too well after the pandemic.
“Assassin’s Creed III (2014)
While developing Assassin's Creed III, the team at Ubisoft Montreal was working on a hunting mechanic. During the development, Red Dead Redemption was released, and seeing the success of Red Dead inspired the team at Ubisoft to build off of what made Red Dead's hunting and frontier area so great. Lead writer Matt Turner said, “let's look at their success and see how we can take it in new directions. That’s what I think we’ve tried to do.” While the hunting in Assassin’s Creed III is pretty good, sadly it didn’t surpass that groundwork made by Rockstar in Red Dead Redemption.
Assassin’s Creed Unity (2014)
A single developer for Assassin’s Creed Unity took notes on the Notre-Dame Cathedral. This dev’s duty was to study the landmark for two years with the main goal being to recreate it within the game, staying as true to the real thing as possible. A one-to-one recreation wasn’t possible due to the team having to change some of the cathedral’s layout so it would be fun for players to climb. Additional paths were made for the players which in turn made it easier to ascend Notre-Dame. Along with the climbing paths, some of the art had to be changed as well since it was protected under copyright laws. Despite these changes, it’s the most faithful historical recreation in any of the Assassin’s Creed games.