For the first time in eight years, there is no Assassin's Creed game being released this holiday season. We do, however, get the first Assassin’s Creed movie. The two seem to take place in similar yet separate universes — while the movie may have the basics of an Assassin's Creed title, it does not appear to further the story that fans are familiar with. However, by examining the past games and reading into the clues laid by developer Ubisoft, it becomes more obvious that the upcoming film likely takes place in the same universe as the games and is, in fact, a canonical continuation of the storyline.
There are many ways the producers could do this; though, some are more probable than others. This movie has been in the making for a long time, and the series has been dropping hints for years — hints that point to the possibility of some form of interplay between the two storylines.
Just like the secretive assassin brotherhood, Ubisoft works in the dark to serve the light... or at least its fanbase.
Actor Michael Fassbender, who is best known for playing Magneto in X-Men, will be playing two characters we haven't heard of before. Callum Lynch, the present-day protagonist...
...as well as his assassin ancestor in the Spanish Inquisition.
The basics of the movie are exactly the same as those of the first game. Through a device that called "the Animus" that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch experiences the memories of his ancestor, Aguilar, who lived more than 500 years ago during the Spanish Inquisition. Callum discovers he is descended from an ancient and secretive society known as ‘The Assassins’. The modern Templar organization and eternal rival to The Assassins, “Abstergo," kidnaps Callum and forces him into the Animus, where he then gains knowledge and skills while reliving his ancestor's life. This is all that can be gleaned from the one trailer released thus far.
If you are a fan of the series, this should sound very familiar. What happens to Callum is nearly identical to what Desmond Miles went through in the first game. In the first game, Miles was rescued by the modern-day Assassins and put back into the Animus in order to find more information from a different ancestor's life. This, however, eventually led to his dying and recovering of his body by Abstergo, who harvested it for its genetic material.
We know that there are not many people still living with Assassin bloodlines, making it more likely that Callum Lynch is a close relative to Desmond Miles — perhaps even his son. Desmond doesn't have any brothers or sisters, only his Assassin father whose crazy ideas of ancient brotherhoods and evil organizations striving for world domination drove a young Desmond away. During this time in Desmond's life, he got by as a bartender. It would be easy to believe that during this turbulent phase of his life he impregnated some unsuspecting woman during a fling.
The resulting child would have all same the genetic memories that made Desmond so vital to both organizations.
In the 2015 installment in the series, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, there is an Abstergo audio file that has been stolen and reconstructed by the Assassins. In it, the leader of the Templars is boasting to her lead genetic scientist about a 10-year-old boy discovered in New York. This child has a “unique lineage” so valuable that the nameless leader of the Templars wants to stick him inside an Animus “for the next 50 years."
If Callum is the son of Desmond, then Callum could experience his father’s memories just as well as those of relatives long dead. If this were to happen, Desmond, who died without any knowledge of having a son, would of course be unaware of Callum’s presence, and the scene would be limited to Callum’s father saying something wise — or possibly doing something heroic or inspiring.
Michael Fassbender is clearly older than 10, but, keep in mind, we don't know when the movie takes place; it could be any time in the future. A near-future setting is further supported by the changes inside Abstergo we see in the trailer. The Animus has changed from a comfortable bed-like virtual reality machine into a device that constricts around your waist and lifts you into the air.
This is possibly a more advanced Animus design that Abstergo has created and put into use.
One thing the producers could to do connect the movie to the game series is have Desmond communicate with Callum through the Animus despite being dead. In past games, other captors of Abstergo have communicated with Desmond through the Animus after their deaths. One such person who spoke with Desmond was named Subject 16.
Subject 16 was forced to spend so much time inside the Animus that he became confused with his own identity and committed suicide. His consciousness and personality lived on, however, inside the Animus as an artificial intelligence. Subject 16 was able to manipulate and create virtual environments within the Animus as well as tutor and guide Desmond.
When Desmond's mind became trapped inside the Animus, Subject 16 taught Desmond the necessary steps to escape. Knowledge that Subject 16 could not use — as his body was dead and gone — was passed on to Desmond while Desmond's body remained whole. After sacrificing himself, Desmond is clearly shown to be dead... or at least his body is. It is very possible that his consciousness continues to live on within the Animus, made possible by Subject 16’s tutelage. If Subject 16 could communicate with Desmond, then there is no reason to believe that Desmond couldn't do the same with Callum.
It is also possible that Desmond’s original (dead) body could be restored. The “first civilization,” or Isu, were a race of highly advanced humanoids that lived on earth before humanity. They are responsible for the creation of the pieces of Eden as well as humans, who they employed as a domestic workforce. With early humans unable to understand the Isu, they quickly came to be revered as gods, sparking various myths, legends, and religions.
A rebellion led by the first Isu/human hybrid, “Eve,” resulted in a decade-long war and caused the eventual extinction of the Isu. While these precursors are long dead, some of their technologies remain and are sought after by Templar and Assassin alike. “The shroud of eden” is a first-civilization artifact shaped like a clot and capable of restoration and healing. Such a powerful tool could be used to restore Desmond back to life.
It is also a possibility that a new body could be used as a vessel for Desmond’s consciousness. This isn't a groundbreaking concept and is common in science fiction and fantasy: A deceased mentor/father figure returns in some form to give advice and guidance, like in Star Wars with Obi wan Kenobi, Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter, or Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. The list goes on.
Appearances in the movies of characters from the games are not limited to Desmond alone. Although, he certainly would elicit a greater reaction than those of the supporting cast. In the first game, Desmond’s handler at Abstergo is a woman named Lucy. It is revealed that Lucy is secretly an Assassin when the camera zooms in on her missing ring finger on her left hand, a symbol of an Assassin’s devotion to the creed. At the beginning of the second game, she helps Desmond escape Abstergo and join the modern-day Assassin order.
From this, we know that Abstergo can be successfully infiltrated, and subjects can be extracted. While Lucy is now dead, other Assassins such as Rebecca and Shawn have already gone undercover in Abstergo Industries, albeit in less important roles such as delivery personnel. This makes it more likely that Callum will be liberated from the Templars and join The Assassin order just as his father did.
He would make a good fit in the brotherhood after his stay at Abstergo. Something called "the bleeding effect" occurs in those who have prolonged and repeated exposure to the Animus.
This is when the genetic memories of one's ancestor begin to blend with the sufferer's own, sometimes leading to difficulty distinguishing between the two. In severe cases, this leads to mental breakdown and possibly suicide. This phenomena is employed by Templar and Assassin alike in order to more quickly teach skills such as fighting, assassination, and free-running.
In the trailer, Callum can be seen fighting while still in Abstergo as well as shooting a bow. Whether this is an escape attempt or some kind of training required of him by his captors is still uncertain. An Animus-trained Callum would certainly be a welcome addition to the Assassin ranks.
Whenever a game to movie adaptation is announced, fans become very nervous that the movie will turn out to be disappointing — or worse, a full-blown disgrace to the franchise. However, it is encouraging that this movie — instead of attempting to tell the same story of the first game — decided to introduce us to new characters in a familiar setting and story. This is certainly the safer option, as this makes it impossible to grossly misrepresent characters that the target audience knows and loves.
However, it is vital to include some of the expected staples of an Assassin's Creed installment. By surprising us with the revelation that both the game and the move take place in the same universe and by staying true to the franchise, the movie could strike a perfect balance between fresh and familiar.