If the name didn’t give it away, this article is going to spoil EVERYTHING about Assassin’s Creed Origins. No, seriously, all of it. Scroll past the gif for what’s to come. Otherwise, why not check out our definitive best Assassin’s Creed games list.
So it turns out that Ancient Egypt doesn’t just have mummies and scarab beetles lurking hidden inside ancient tombs. Not only is it the best Brotherhood entry potentially ever, look hard enough and Assassin’s Creed Origins has the clearest signposts in years for where the franchise is going next. No need for Eagle Vision or Animus Pulses here.
After years of frankly confusing wanders around the minimalist halls of Abstergo Entertainment, the nefarious present day face of the Templar Order, Origins finally takes a firm grip of its modern day lore. At last Ubi has connected some dots, steering the short but sweet 21st century elements into position for a potentially exceptionally exciting future. But that’s not all. It definitely doesn’t look like we’ll be skipping too far away from this time period for the next few games. Here’s everything Assassin’s Creed Origins tells us about the next steps for the franchise.
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A new hero rises
Origins is about Bayek, isn’t it? Well, yes, but it’s also about Aya and, in fact, if you look at it, they both get an origins story worth celebrating. While the pair quest to avenge the death of their son, each making wrong choices and learning painfully along the way, it’s Aya who has the grand reveal with her transformation into legendary Assassin Amunet. It’s Aya who goes on the full hero origins story, sacrificing her love of Bayek, travelling to Rome to threaten Cleopatra, and assassinating Caesar. It is also Aya who murders the final target on that hit list of super villainy before sealing the deal by setting up the Assassins in Rome and donning a white hood.
Bayek might have handed over the logo, his fury fuelling the Creed itself, but by becoming Amunet, Aya evolves into the driving execution, so to speak, of the modern Assassins. 1400 years before Ezio would arrive to visit her dedicated tomb, Amunet was there setting up an Italian base of the global Brotherhood. The Assassin’s Creed Origins logo appearing at the end with Bayek standing on a rooftop in Egypt is no accident. He is Egypt’s protector now, complete with a different Creed from his original Medjay roots, but his adventure has become a prologue while Amunet soars. His infinitely sweeter, more personal story finishes here in Egypt. I don’t think we’ll be controlling him again. This is Amunet’s story now. However, the fact that she was buried in the same tomb as Bayek means that their story together definitely isn’t over but chances are we’ll see it all through her eyes now.
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The leaks support a new trilogy too. Earlier in the year I pored over the Origins stories sneaking across Reddit and one gold mine in particular got everything right. A new modern day protagonist, combat, Senu the eagle... It’s not too much of a leap of faith to agree that the rumours of this being a new trilogy akin to Ezio’s adventures would now make logical sense. Travelling to Rome would be a natural progression and there’s one easy way that can happen.
Layla Hassan is the future of Assassin’s Creed
You might just think Layla Hassan, 33 year old rebel Abstergo employee, is a small part of Assassin’s Creed Origins but she single handedly revolutionises the much maligned modern day element. While it’s nice that she connects the dots to last year’s movie with some emails to Sophia Rikkin and claw Animus design - check out our Assassin’s Creed Origins Easter eggs for more sneaky references - Layla actually has the key to change everything with her new brand of Animus. While she’s meant to be on a field mission looking for artefacts, she tests out her homebrew model that has one Creed changing feature. It doesn’t need the ancestor of the historical figure to relive the memories, it only requires their DNA.
Think about it. This is literally game changing. The reason Desmond Miles dived into the Animus to get stabby in the Italian Renaissance all the way back in AC2 wasn’t just to have some quality time with Leonardo Da Vinci, it was to experience the memories of his own genetic ancestor. The subjects of Abstergo have been mined for their DNA memory for years and they have to be alive to do it. Sanity doesn't matter. Live subjects are needed for Abstergo to experience memories through them. If the company could do it itself, it would but all Layla has to do is find some DNA - she discovered both Bayek and Aya’s mummies in that tomb - and load it into her Animus. She doesn’t need any kind of genetic connection to them. Exactly how far this DNA use can go is anybody’s guess. Can someone just give Layla a hair and she’ll get to relive their ancestor’s darkest secrets? Regardless, Layla has singlehandedly reinvented the Animus wheel, neatly taking Ubi out of the narrative corner it had backed itself into.
Thus, don’t expect her to be going away anytime soon. Layla’s befriended Desmond’s father William, rejected Abstergo after they made her best friend disappear (we presume dead but let’s not put a full stop on it just yet), and there’s no way the next Assassin’s Creed won’t have her meeting Danny Wallace and co. This is her first chapter, not her only outing. So that’s the modern day element but let’s look at her experiences in the Animus itself.
Those Ancient Mechanism speeches REALLY matter
Sure, you can happily forget the 21st century if you want but stumble upon the Ancient Mechanisms lurking beneath the sands of Ancient Egypt and everything is about Layla. The messages from Those Who Came Before are speaking directly to her through Bayek. “In this timeless moment, you and I are a bridge. Both of us are from different eras, meeting half way at the narrowing of the hourglass in this ocean of sand,” one states solemnly.
Cut out the psychobabble and the message is surprisingly clear. It turns out that the world is going to end. Again. Surely Templars were bad enough but no, each of the Ancient Mechanisms connected to tombs are staunch warnings for Layla. “On the 21st day of December 2012, Desmond activated the global aurora borealis device and protected the earth from the sun’s deadly coronal mass ejection,” says the message in the Eeyoo Sekedoo Aat mechanism. “We thought that would have been enough. And it was until it wasn’t. Time is unyeilding. It always corrects itself.” Like Final Destination on a global scale, humanity apparently needs to go.
The Isu go into a lot of detail about perception and language but it’s clear enough that even after their first disaster they know the big bad is coming and only Layla can do something about it. “Your Animus is different,” states the messenger in the Eesfet Oon-m’ Aa Poo mechanism. “As is the mind that imagined it. It could escape the code. It could do that leap, and make possible a decision that defies the order of things that are.” While the Isu state smugly that they made humans to not be able to experience their sixth sense - hence some of the indecipherable noises in the messages - the Isu tease a way that Layla can change the story that time has written and avert another Great Catastrophe. Phew.
Sounds like a trip to Rome is in order
Well the good news is that we already know that there’s a vault under Rome’s Colosseum thanks to Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood but the messengers bring it up again. “‘A doorway that is also a puzzle. We must find the solution.’ Those were Brutus’s words when he visited the Vault under the Colosseum, more than 2000 years ago,” says the messenger in the Khesesh Em Sesh Em Eeneb mechanism. Well, funny that given we’ve just seen Amunet head over to Rome with Brutus. I sense a trip to the Colosseum to hear him say these very words to Amunet and a whole new set of mystical puzzles.
While the modern day Assassins now know that there is potentially a piece of Eden hiding in Alexandria - is it still in that trunk where Bayek left it? - their hunt through history can’t stop there. A solution is going to have to be found to that pesky end of the world situation. That is, if Layla passes on the apocalyptic information. Using her new version of the Animus to delve further into the memories of Amunet is apparently the only way to alter the course of history. Don’t be surprised if this kicks off Brotherhood and Revelations style sequels rather than a massive skip through time.
Whether Ubisoft will stick to its one year off mentality too is anyone’s guess but given the extra love and care that went into Origins, it would be a good thing to leave us in Egypt for a while longer.
Alternatively, I might be completely wrong, this might all be nonsense and we might be in Viking territory by next October. Nothing is true after all.