Uncovering conspiracies is all about finding information that isn’t supposed to be seen. Making predictions is about taking what is known, analyzing it, and through some method, extrapolating that information into a possible, yet non-immediately verifiable, form. Both practices require a discriminating eye, one that can cast aside irrelevant data while focusing on key points, and being able to tell the difference between the two. For the truly exceptional conspiracies to be uncovered, one must be able to identify information points that on the surface appear to be irrelevant, but when taken in whole with other bits form a full picture. This, is how I hope to make my bold predictions for the location for the next Assassin’s Creed.
Firstly, what needs to be understood is that the AC series utilizes two setting simultaneously: An Alternative Historical setting and Modern Day. For the most part, the more marketable setting would be that of the Alt-History, since that has always been much more exotic and interesting than anything in the modern day. In AC:1 the modern day setting consisted almost entirely of a single room in Abstergo, with Lucy and Dr. Viddic being the only other two humans to interact with. There’s not much for a team to really work with here, but given the story line at that early stage in the saga that was the point: No where to go but to bed or back in the Animus. Likewise for future titles, the Modern Day setting consisted of a single room or chamber where we typically did not venture out of. The exception to this would be AC:3 where Desmond traveled to various parts of the world seeking to retrieve energy sources, only to ultimately return back to the original team in their cavern encampment.
In AC:4, the Modern Day setting is, ironically, back at Abstergo. Rather than as a captive, the player takes on the role of a new hire for the “Sample 17” project, which we later learn is named as such since Desmond was known as “Subject 17” and Abstergo is continuing to research his bloodline after his death. Or as the officially released statement says, “DNA recovered from a very generous donor”. While here, we are greeted by “John from IT” who initially introduces himself as a crude mannered initiate from the Assassin Brotherhood. Turns out, he’s actually this era’s incarnation of “The Sage”, whose consciousness has been reborn through the years in to different bodies. In his final moments, we learn that “John” was once Juno’s husband, Aita, during the time of the Nephilim. This is, of course, not the only interaction we have with Aita’s spirit. During the course of the game, the player is able to locate pages from two different works, each telling a very direct story. In the West Indies, we find (as cliché as it may be) messages in bottles that have washed up ashore. Once all messages are collected, they form the memoirs of what turn out to be Thom Kavanaugh; that era’s reincarnation of the “The Sage”. In Edward Kenway’s time, it turns out that the current incarnation is that of Bartholomew Roberts- the “Sage” you spend most of your time trying to track down for the Assassins. The other collection of stories comes in the form of QR Codes found on “Sticky Notes” that have been periodically placed around the Modern Day office. These “Sticky Notes” collectively create the “Manifesto of the Instruments of the First Will”, a new Faction to the AC series which is obsessed with the return of the Nephilim and herald Juno akin to a living god. Both of these transcripts essentially originate from Aita, since both John and Thom are Aita thus all three men are versions of the same consciousness.
This is where I will begin to make my first prediction: The Modern Day setting may actually be in SPACE or a location associated with it. This assertion in based on two observations:
As stated in a previous post, the above shown exchange occurred during a live Twitter Q&A. This response could be completely innocuous, as the dev could just be simply giving the fan an overly generic and whimsical answer that everyone knows full well that they can not just share outright. Or, there could be something to it. In summarization of my previous post, we do know that the Nephilim are essentially the Ancient Aliens of History Channel’s fame. They are highly advanced, intelligent, and Juno, a member of them, seems to be living in Abstergo’s servers. Thus, if Juno is in their servers, then Abstergo indirectly has advanced knowledge of space travel. While traveling to an entirely different planet of galaxy may be a bit much to handle in a single plot jump, perhaps being stationed on a satellite may be a bit easier to transition to.
Also, there is an easter egg to be found: one that is a voice recording of “John” being as sassy as ever. During the course of his recording, he begins to mention the stars and space, and how big and open and wonderful it all is. Once again, this is a seemingly innocuous statement that wouldn’t normally be questioned, but when taken with the Twitter Q&A, there might be something more to it.
John’s Secret Message
There are three very different locations where the next AC may occur:
1) American South West
This one I have the least amount to go on, so we’ll just get this out of the way first. The only hint that I have found that this may be a location is the “Future Locations” email thread found while hacking Abstergo computers. During the course of the thread, it was mentioned with some enthusiasm as it would have plenty of controversy, legendary heroes, and plenty of Authority/Lawlessness conflict. In AC:4, they have already established the mechanics for wild gun fire, and I’m sure they could expand it out to accommodate a six round revolver. Also for the Wild West, the cover pic shown for the thread is that of an Assassin in the classic Cowboy Duster, Stetson, and Six-Shooter with a Hang-Man’s noose swaying in the background.
As per some information that has been found, there is a striking similarity between a leaked picture purported to be from a “Prince of Persia” game back in 2012 and a pic found in the Future Locations thread. Looking around the above comparison pic, it’s fairly easy to see that they are in fact the same model figure. the general width of the man’s shoulders, his stance, general complexion, visible garb, and even that crease or scar wrapping around the top right of his head. All these identifying characteristics are clear and identical in both scenes. However, what holds this comparison from being a definitive future location is that in the lower pic, the man is dressed in traditional Persian garb, and not that of an Assassin’s Robes. This could be easily explained away in that it was taken from a point in the story line where this mystery man has not yet joined the Assassin Brotherhood, and thus would not have gained access to one yet. I am also able to see that he is wearing some form of forearm bracers, but they do not look like Hidden Blades, the AC signature weapon. Still, Egypt would be a fitting location for an AC title, ripe with mystique, lore, and political strife!
3) Back to the Bayou
During the course of your computer hacking around Abstergo, the player will occasionally uncover a Marketability Analysis video for the previously played Assassins. As the main story continues, we find brief vids for Altair, Ezio (where the narrator annoyingly keeps saying ENZO! STOP IT! THERE’S NO “N” IN HIS NAME!!!), and Connor. Though each one, the final verdict for each Assassin is that Abstergo should no longer continue investigating their personal history, since each displays character flaws that are not suitable for their purposes. It should be stated that at this point in Abstergo’s lore, they are now attempting to market the Animus as an entertainment device that allows people to experience history in the first person, in a truly immersive way.
However, after the main storyline is completed, there is still one last computer to be hacked: this is the one of Aveline. She is the main Assassin of AC: Liberation, a game that originally came out only on the PS Vita. It was a smaller title, as it was a mobile game and not a full chapter in the series. Still, she was a main character so it was fitting that she would receive the same acknowledgement as her counterparts. The main difference here, though, is that at the conclusion of her analysis, the marketing team gives the “Thumbs Up” to pursue her history in greater detail!
This makes her the only Marketablilty Anaylsis to get approved, and it is found as an Easter Egg after the main story has been completed, AND AC: Liberation was just released for all platforms in an HD remake! By re-releasing AC: Liberation on all platforms, it enables Ubisoft to do a few things:
1) Makes her story available to players of all platforms
2) Reignites interest in her character
3) Delve deeper in to an already established setting
4) Add additional side quests that allows for a deeper development of her character.
It is the first and last notes that has me hooked on this theory the most. For the most part, re-releases are mostly just ways of capitalizing on existing product, making it available on the latest platforms, and exploiting gamer’s nostalgia for a title long past. This is commonly done with the Final Fantasy series (and I shamefully cave every time). However, this is not the case with AC: Liberation. Yes, it is moving the title up from a mobile platform to a console, but it is not nearly old enough to be considered “Nostalgic”. Also with re-releases, companies are able add little updates aside from just graphics. In this case, it was stated that there will be additional Side Quests not originally found in the game to further develop Aveline’s character. Through this, they may be able develop her character enough to bring her up to the level of the other Assassins.
Additional Plot Points
In the past two games, there has been an increasing sympathy to the cause of Templars. As stated in my previous post, the Kenway lineage has been flirting with the stability that the Templar order offers to give. Also, in AC:4 all of the computer files accessed are those of Abstergo, the Templar’s cover company. In the files accessed, there is a list of files known as “Great Minds” of where there are brief profiles of key Templars from previous titles.
Instruments of the First Will
Back to “John” and his Manifest. This was quite the thought out and extensive bit of prose to just be cast aside. Combine that with Juno’s presence in the Abstergo server, and I am quite sure that we will be hearing from this collective again. Being that Aita, or “John” as he was known in the Modern Day, seems to be the head of the faction, it would not be surprising that this faction can prove to become more powerful than the Templars. According to the Manifest, the Instruments have no intention on showing favor to any form of humanity, Templar, Assassin, or other current inhabitant of the planet. Through their devotion to Juno and possible leadership from Aita, they would have access to all forms of ancient and high technology.
The Observatory and The Animus
Through the course of AC:4, two recurring points keep arising: The Observatory and Blood Samples. Much time is spent seeking “The Observatory”, almost as much as what is spent preventing it from being found. As part of the induction ceremony into the Templar Order, initiates are required to give a sample of their blood for a seemingly unknown, mystical reason. Curiously, the drop of blood is kept in a crystal cube that is obviously of Nephilim design. For the most part, this is passed off as “we’ll learn more about this later:, which we definitely do! Once the Observatory is finally found with the help of Roberts, we walk down a long corridor that is LINED with these crystal cubes of men’s blood! We soon learn that the purpose of the Observatory is that we are able to select a cube containing a blood (DNA) sample, slide it in to the hole in a special skull, which activates a massive apparatus. This apparatus then allows others to see and hear what the donor is currently seeing and hearing, thus becoming quite the tool for espionage.
You can see the lines of crystal cubes as Kenway enters the hallway at 1:39, and again at 2:30
In the final moments of the game, as we approach the final climax, we once again re-enter the Observatory. Only this time, the Templars have beaten us there and ALL of the blood samples have been removed! Where they have gone is unclear, but whoever has them now has access to a multitude of blood lines, all of which are very ancient.
What is striking about the Observatory is that it is, in a capacity, very much like the Modern Day Animus developed by the Templars. Both machines are able to take on the DNA of an individual and view and experience what that individual views and experiences. If the Templars were able to get to the Observatory first and were able to harvest all of the Blood Samples, how many more memories would they be able to explore? What divine secrets would they be able to uncover?
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag has easily surpassed my expectations, for which I am deeply grateful! Through careful placement of information, and parsing the reveals throughout the span of the story, they are able to take the established canon into a new and expanded direction. The best that can be done at this point is read in between the lines that may or may not even exist. there are a few things that can be stated for almost certain, such as the future development of the Instruments of the First Will, and there are things that are absolutely and purely overly eager speculation from the franchise’s fans such as myself. Where ever we may go, I will be sure to follow.