Assassin's Creed Ending Explained!
13th Nov 2007 | 11:24
UPDATE: Read our Assassin's Creed Brotherhood review online.
So, you've finished Assassin's Creed then? All gone a bit Da Vinci code hasn't it? Don't worry, Xbox World 360 magazine are here to guide you through it... SPOILERS AHEAD!
Q. Who is Subject Seventeen?
A. That would be you, Desmond.
Q. Is Desmond actually Altair?
A. No, Desmond is a descendent of Altair, and by using the Animus he's able to locate Altair's memories that are hidden in his DNA. This means that Altair had at least one child after the events of Assassin's Creed - otherwise Desmond would not have Altair's memories locked away inside him.
Q. What's all this writing about?
A. The room's previous occupant, Subject Sixteen, left all of the writing that you can see for Desmond to read.
Q. Okay, so why can I not see it until the end of the game?
A. Abstergo washed the messages off of the walls and the floor, but Desmond is able to spot the messages by using his Eagle Vision.
Q. Wait a second. You said that Desmond wasn't Altair! What gives?
A. He's not, at least, not yet... Read through Vidic's emails and you'll stumble across one that mentions 'The Bleeding Effect.' Vidic reports that, after using the Animus for a given length of time, some previous subjects were unable to distinguish between their ancestors' lives and their own. Their genetic and real-time memories have literally 'bled' into one another, which is why Desmond is able to use the Eagle Vision power at the end of the game.
Q. Why only the one power?
A. Be patient! Assassin's Creed is the first part of a trilogy. By the end of the third game Desmond will have a lot more moves to play with...
Q. Who are Abstergo?
A. Modern Templars. Abstergo are a company intent on world domination. Their 'aim' is for world peace, but the methods with which they wish to achieve this can be considered mad. They think that by controlling mankind, and killing those that aren't influenced by their power, they can achieve peace. Even their name betrays this secret: it's Latin for 'cleanse'.
Q. Who is Lucy?
A. Lucy Stillman is an employee of Abstergo, but is actually an undercover operative working with the Assassins. She is the one that passes on the door code to Desmond, and is trying to delay the project. In a series of emails to a person known only as '??' she asks for aid. The final message is coded, but reads, "We will be there soon." Vidic has his suspicions of Lucy. Alan Rikkin sent him an email regarding the fluoride leak: "Makes me wonder if the fluoride leak was internal after all... And if it was, are we dealing with a whistle blower or something worse?" It's highly reasonable to assume that Lucy was this leak.
Q. Back to the writing. What does the triangle of text say?
A. "They drained my soul and made it theirs. I drained my body to show you where I saw it." Subject sixteen wrote this, along with all of the other messages, in his blood. The first part refers to Abstergo stealing his soul, or in reality, his memories. They watched his ancestor's life to locate an important artefact, hence 16's belief that his 'soul' was taken. The second part is more literal. 16 drained his body to show you where he saw it, meaning that he used his own blood to leave you clues as to where the artefact lies. What artefact is he talking about? There's a strong chance it could be the Holy Grail. We'll look at some evidence later on that suggests this is the case.
Q. What does the block of writing say?
A. "Artefacts sent to the skies to control all nation, to make us obey a hidden crusade. Do not help them." This message refers directly to Abstergo's plan should they (and they will) get hold of the artefact that you're being used to locate. They plan to send it into space and attach it to a low orbit transmitter to brainwash mankind. In the final battle Altair discovers just what the artefact, the Third Piece of Eden, is capable of. It can make people believe anything, and was responsible for many Biblical illusions such as the parting of the Red Sea (in 'reality' it did not happen - the artefact simply made people think that it did). Subject Sixteen is well aware of Abstergo's plans and asks you not to help them.
Q. What does 12212012 mean?
A. It may be easier if we call it 21122012, for this number's a date. Specifically, 21 December 2012. It's a hugely important date, for it marks the 'end of the world as we know it'. The ancient Mayan civilisations used the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar (incidentally, we use the Gregorian calendar), and a significant event is supposed to take place. In Assassin's Creed this event is obvious, and it also tells us when the game takes place.
Reading through Vidic's emails you'll see that Abstergo must 'launch' on 21 December. It is safe, then, to say that the 'present day' antics take place in September 2012, and that Abstergo wish to launch the satellite on 21/12/2012 to begin the new era in control of mankind.
Q. What about 188.8.131.52.0?
A. This refers to 21/12/2012 again. To be more precise, it is the date written in long count form and marks the beginning of the thirteenth Baktun.
Q. What is the significance of the animal pictures?
A. There are three animals pictures: a hummingbird, a spider and a monkey. All three pictures are drawings of the famous Nazca lines - a series of lines in Peru that, when viewed from above, reveal giant animals. It's probable that the area is home to another ancient artefact, or if not the pictures reveal the location of one.
Q. What are the pyramids about?
A. The step pyramids are a common symbol of Mayan architecture. The Mitchell-Hedges skull was found inside a Mayan temple, and there are more artefacts locked away within the ruins.
Q. What is Yonaguni?
A. Yonaguni is the westernmost island in Japan, and a likely setting for the next game (or at least part of it). It is widely believed that an ancient and advanced civilisation once lived on Yonaguni, and that they suffered a similar fate to Atlantis' people. Buildings found submerged around Yonaguni predate any other known buildings in the world, so expect any Japanese ancestor tales to take place before Assassin's Creed 1.
Q. What is 22:13?
A. Revelations 22:13. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." There are also a few alphas and omegas scrawled on the giant mural.
Q. What's the eye in the triangle about?
A. Yet another reference to a God. It's a Christian version of the Eye of Providence - the eye of God. The triangle emphasises the Trinity. It's strange that among all the religions and beliefs there are some strong Christian vibes - strange because the game keeps sewing seeds that hint it's a lie.
During the game it's mentioned that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God and that it's a fabrication. The final email also mentions that artefacts related to Christ are probably fictional. And yet we have a couple of Christian symbols and a massively powerful New Testament verse that suggests maybe the opposite is true. Maybe the Piece of Eden has been used not to support a lie about Christ, but to cover up the very truth of the matter.
Q. Emporer Ji... Jing...?
A. "Within Emperor Jiajing'[s] sin and Quetzcoaltz's hunger lies the Answers." Emporer Jiajing was the Emperor of China from 1521 to 1567, and the 11th emperor of the Ming dynasty. He was not a kind emperor, and an internal plot to assassinate him was planned although ultimately failed (note: a possible 'level' in a future Assassin's Creed). He built the Temple of the Sun (notice a theme about the Sun in the paintings around the two rooms) and collected rare materials from around the world. One of these rare materials is almost certainly an artefact.
Quetzcoaltz isn't familiar, but is a likely misspelling of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec sky and creator God and another reference to the Sun. Although primarily an Aztec deity the Mesoamerican influences are strong, and the Mayans had their own version: Kukulkán. His 'hunger' refers to the ritual animal sacrifices that were made to appease him, and an artefact is probably lying within one of his temples.
Q. What is the significance of the door code?
A. It's the date of the Philadelphia Experiment.
Q. Can you please explain the email on the final computer?
A. Sure thing. We'll look at it piece by piece:
Email: "The others and I have finished reviewing the Animus recordings from Subjects 12-16. While the Piece of Eden remains our priority, we must continue working to locate and understand the remaining artefacts. I am sure you can understand our reasoning behind this. Although satellite is accomplished to a fair portion of the work for us, we will certainly need to deal with those who are either immune to - or protected from - its effects.
Explanation: There are multiple artefacts that Abstergo want to possess in order to control the world, and they all have different powers. Once the satellite is in orbit most of Earth's population will be under their control, but some people will be immune to its effects. They need to secure other artefacts to help deal with these people, otherwise their plans will be exposed and Abstergo will be under attack from rebels.
Email: "Piece of Eden (no. 3) - We applaud your continued efforts to locate an alternate artefact with the loss of no. 2 in the DIA Satellite Accident. We understand Subject Seventeen is having trouble interfacing with the Animus, leading to delays. As a result, we estimate another 24 hours before your next critical update. In the meantime, we'll prepare an extraction team and set them to standby. We're relying on you to obtain the additional information we require. He knows where the other objects are - even if he doesn't realize it. You MUST unlock that final memory or all of this will have been for nothing."
Explanation: The company is frantically trying to locate another Piece of Eden. They were about to launch a satellite with the second piece but an accident occurred and 20 people were killed. Desmond is being used to find another Piece of Eden with which Abstergo can launch another satellite and control the world.
Email: "Philadelphia Project - Data provided from Animus Subject Twelve indicates that the ship briefly manifested in a future state for approximately 18 minutes. It is unclear whether the timeline is consistent with or parallel to our own. Although we have recovered enough data to reconstruct and repair the original artefact used in the experiment, Administration has refused to move forward on the project, citing paradox concerns. Corporate policy remains in place: any objects found to interfere with or manipulate time must be contained. Artefact will be moved to secure storage."
Explanation: According to an email in Lucy's inbox the door code is 10281943 - the date of the alleged Philadelphia Experiment. It is rumoured that on 10 October 1943 the US destroyer escort USS Eldridge was subject to a top-secret experiment and became temporarily invisible. It has been suggested that it also underwent both teleportation and time travel, and that its crew never recovered. Many went mad, and some were even fused to the ship's bulkhead. This email confirms that the experiment took place and that the Templars were behind it.
Abstergo have the ability to manipulate time and space with the artefact, but dare not try in case of triggering paradoxical events. It's possible that Desmond will use such an artefact to stop Abstergo before they even begin their operation.
Email: "Tunguska Incident - Now believed to be the direct result of assault by Assassins. Research station destroyed as was artefact. Alternate wave generation devices have been located in storage, but we have insufficient data at the moment to initiate research. The risk of accident is too high.
Lineage Discovery and Acquisition Division should attempt to locate descendents of any attack survivors (either Assassin or Brotherhood) in order to continue research. Resurrecting this particular type of technology will aid us greatly with any holdouts following the Satellite's activation. We're putting together a team to push research in this area."
Explanation: On 30 June 1908 a massive explosion rocked the world. The incident, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Tunguska (now Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia) is believed to have occurred when a meteorite burst above the Earth's surface, flattening trees and causing widespread destruction. The email states that it was caused by a group of Assassins destroying a Templar base and the artefact at that location. Abstergo obviously believe that there is a great need for alternate wave generation artefacts to help deal with (ie destroy) resistance following the satellite's launch. Think of this as a powerful weapon, such as a neutron bomb that can be harnessed and aimed at certain targets.
Email: "Grail - We are removing the Grail from our list of objectives. There is insufficient evidence to confirm its existence. Current examination of Subject Seventeen indicates that aside from the Piece of Eden, all other artefacts related to Christ-figure are literary devices (or derived from Piece of Eden) and not actual objects. Even if the object is real, its use to us at this stage is negligible. Our resources are better used elsewhere."
Explanation: In what's likely to be Abstergo's biggest mistake they decide to stop searching for the Holy Grail. Why is this a mistake? It's likely that this artefact does exist, and that Desmond and the Assassins will track it down and use it against Abstergo in the future. It's possible that Subject Sixteen knew the location and provided clues for Desmond to follow - knowing that Abstergo wouldn't look for its locations while they were so focused on the Piece of Eden. If this is true then Abstergo have underestimated the Grail's significance - 16 obviously believed it was a key artefact in the battle against Abstergo.
Email: "Mitchell-Hedges Communicators - Analysis of the objects is complete. The good news is that they work. As a result we now have a safe and secure communication channel for use after the launch. However, they are severely limited in number, and so we will be providing them only to our most essential facilities. You will obviously retain possession of the one you have."
Explanation: The Mitchell-Hedges communicators are possibly the most interesting items mentioned. Found in a ruined Mayan temple in Belize at around 1926 the 'communicators' are ancient crystal skulls, and there are believed to be only 13 skulls worldwide. The origin of these skulls is unknown, but they are rumoured to bestow the holder with scrying powers - ie the ability to communicate psychically. Abstergo have located these skulls, and it will allow their top facilities to communicate with one another without fear of the Assassins listening in. The mythology of these skulls is interesting: some claim it originated from Atlantis (remember Yonaguni?) at that the Knights Templar carried one about during the crusades. If so, it's likely that it was passed down through the Templars and is now the one in Vidic's possession. That does, however, leave the Mayan relevance in some doubt...
Email: "Warren, I cannot stress how important it is that you wrap things up with Subject Seventeen as soon as possible. We're obviously relieved that you seem to be closing in on the target memory, but you need to step it up. Everything we're working towards depends on your retrieving these locations. Without them, we've got nothing. May the Father of Understanding guide you to success."
Explanation: The target memory in question is the final boss fight, and the revelation of multiple artefact locations. Obviously they're keen to get the information as quickly as possible so that Abstergo's retrieval teams can locate the artefacts.
Q. What are these Pieces of Eden?
A. It's unclear, but they could be the mythical golden apples. Apples are mentioned numerous times, and there are apples drawn in blood at the end. In Greek mythology there existed three Golden Apples, and it could be that this belief has been linked with Biblical aspects, and the Pieces of Eden and Golden Apples are the very same thing - the 'forbidden fruit' in the Garden of Eden.
Q. Explain the Achievements please!
A. There are two. After using Eagle Vision in the bedroom you'll unlock 'Visions of the Future', which is self-explanatory: clues for the next games. The Eagle and the Apple -1191 Achievement isn't as obvious. The Eagle is Altair - the parallels between the protagonist and the bird are too numerous for that not to be the case. His hood mimics an eagle's beak, his leap of faith move is accompanied by an eagle's cry and even the name Altair means 'The Flying'. 1191 is the year in which Assassin's Creed is set, which strongly suggests that the other games will take place in different times. The Apple? That would be the Piece of Eden that Altair viewed at the end of his adventure - the third Golden Apple.
Q. What's the other writing?
A. There's Arabic, Hebrew and Chinese writing on the mural too.
Still after more answers? We've devoted three pages of our latest issue to answering your questions and talking about your suggestions! Look out for Xbox World 360 Issue 61 on sale at all good newsagents now.