Think you know everything about the secret society? Well, challenge yourself by taking an in-depth but brief look into the lore of Assassin’s Creed.
The Fall of the Isu
We’re going to take this to a time long before we were introduced to Desmond, even before Bayek.
The Isu’s were the civilization responsible for creating Humanity. Knowing that mankind might one day revolt, the Isu created the Pieces of Eden as a way to dominate the free will of man. The first humans, Adam and Eve, were completely immune to the mind-controlling effects. We know from Assassin’s Creed II that Adam and Eve stole the Pieces of Eden, and it caused the Isu to go into an all-out war against the Humans to take the power back.
Neither of the species was brought to the brink of extinction from the war, but a solar flare that fried the Earth set the Isu’s eventual death into motion. While they were dying, the humans were starting to take over the Earth and multiplying in high numbers. Knowing that another solar flare was inevitable, three Isu went to work to help the humans from their future extinction.
Minerva and Jupiter work side-by-side with humans throughout the ages to create vaults capable of protecting Earth by firing off a shield. Their sister, Juno, anticipated her death and uploaded her consciousness to be turned on when the Eye was activated. The sisters did kill Juno, just like she planned, but neither of them knew of her last attempt at sabotaging them.
After the death of Minerva and Jupiter, the Isu were left extinct, and the only things that remained of them were prior programmings and the pieces of Eden that were lost.
The Abstergo Era
Our first introduction to Abstergo is through Desmond, a descendant of three separate assassins known to have touched the Pieces of Eden. Arguably the most popular one, Ezio, may have been single-handedly responsible for the expansion of the secret society in Europe for the later part of his career, and we still see its influence in Europe with later games.
It isn’t until Assassin’s Creed III that the modern-day story sees a serious kick forward. When Desmond meets his father, William, they work together to uncover details surrounding the Eye before finding it and receiving warning of Humanity’s impending doom. When the Eye was activated, Juno was freed and able to kill Lucy. Juno is later stopped, as Desmond is able to find every vault needed through memories, and stops the damage from the solar flare.
In the fourth game, Abstergo has commercialized its Animus and made it household technology to further increase the rate of finding the Pieces of Eden. The tech allowed people to sync in with their ancestors, and that’s how we end up meeting Bayek and the Twins.
It’s Bayek who starts the secret society in order to protect his people from the Order of The Ancients, our earliest version of the Templars. The bathhouse scene in Origins is our introduction to the tradition of cutting off the assassin’s middle-finger.
In Odyssey, The Cult of Kosmos is the more refined version of Templars, but they still haven’t officially formed that society yet. The groundwork, however, is starting to get more and more established. The played Twin ends up being the chosen keeper of the Staff of Hermes and passes it off to Layla shortly before thwarting Abstergo’s attempt to take it. Layla learns that neither side of the order can have complete control, and she takes up the mantle as the mediator.
We find out in Valhalla that Odin is an Isu, meaning that so are many of the descendants that are in Asgard are also Isus. He’s also referenced as one in the hieroglyphics in Assassin’s Creed II.
Assassin’s Creed has some crazy complex lore that would take a book to fully explain. Still, understanding the lore just a little bit more than you might’ve been able to previously allows you to enjoy your journey playing the games just a little bit more. For a free-wheeling story that’s been going on since 2008, the franchise isn’t half-bad.