The Assassin’s Creed timeline of video games and mythology is long and winding. With over a dozen main series games stretching over thousands of years and nearly every corner of the globe, it can be hard to keep your Masyafs straight from your Alamuts. And what even is the difference between a Hidden One and an Assassin? Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with a complete Assassin’s Creed timeline covering all of the main series games in chronological order. While the myriad side games and tie-in material are also great, they won’t be touched in this timeline.
Before Everything: The Isu
Before any extensive Assassin’s Creed Timeline can be endeavored, we have to talk about the Isu and their importance in the video games. The Isu were an ancient, prehistoric race of beings from before recorded time who lived in a supremely technologically advanced society. At some point along the way, the Isu decided to genetically modify a species of primates to turn into working drones called humans. Two things happened: first, the humans rebelled and second, human-Isu hybrids came into being that possessed amounts of the Isu’s triple-helix DNA and by extension, unique powers like Eagle Vision.
The history of the Isu itself is long and complicated, but it’s important to start here in the grand timeline of Assassin’s Creed because the Isu possessed names like of Hermes, Poseidon, Aletheia, Loki, and Odin. Essentially, the many gods of ancient civilizations were Isu whom humans came to worship. They also came to covet their gods powers’ and technologies. Ancient artifacts that would become known eventually as Pieces of Eden were scattered the world over and possessed all likes of incredible powers that different actors throughout known history sought to wield, sometimes for the sake of knowledge, and sometimes for the sake of power.
The Isu civilization collapsed on account of both internal strife and a massive planetary calamity that their strife kept them from preventing. However, ever the tenacious species, many of the most powerful Isu found various ways to preserve themselves or their consciousness in order to survive the calamity and, hopefully, by some means or another return thousands of years later. The Isu Juno, Minerva, and Jupiter were among those who tried but failed to stop the calamity that destroyed the First Civilization, all of whom would go on to play major roles over the millennia to come.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: The Very Begining
The Assassin’s Creed timeline’s playable portions begin way, way back in the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens in 431 BCE with one of the more recently released games. The game tells the epic story of the mercenary Kassandra who, after a prophesy condemned her baby brother Alexios to death, was exiled as a child for trying to save him. Kassandra wasn’t just anybody, though, she was the granddaughter of the famous King Leonidas I of Sparta. From him, Kassandra inherited the Spear of Leonidas, a Piece of Eden imbued with supernatural powers.
With this spear, Kassandra fought against the Cult of Kosmos, an ancient group that sought to control the Hellenistic world. They first orchestrated the rise of Xerxes I in Persia, alongside another group the Order of the Ancients (more on them later), and plotted to help him conquer Greece. However, after Leonidas’s failed war against Xerxes, a freedom fighter named Darius eventually became the first known wielder of a Hidden Blade and used it to assassinate Xerxes. However, by then, the Cult and the Order had both begun to amass great amounts of power in their respective corners of the world.
Kassandra would go on to slay the entirety of the Cult of Kosmos over the course of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but her journey extended long, long after the Peloponnesian War ended. In the time after the war, Kassandra would come into contact with Darius and learn more about his ideals and vision for a world free of tyranny. This vision would be passed down through his son Natakas, with whom he and Kassandra would have their own son Elpidios who would carry on their family’s tradition of discrete justice.
But that still was not all for Kassandra’s journey. She would eventually go on to become involved in an Isu plot millennia in the making that involved the Lost City of Atlantis, Poseidon, Hades, Persephone, and a Piece of Eden called the Staff of Hermes. This staff was imbued with the consciousness of the Isu Aletheia by her lover Loki and granted its wielder immortality so long as they kept it in their possession. Kassandra came to obtain this artifact from the philosopher Pythagoras and held it for several thousand years thereafter as its Keeper with the instruction to traverse the world and destroy the remaining Pieces of Eden while also preserving Aletheia for her reunion with an eventually reincarnated Loki.
Assassin’s Creed Origins: Of Hidden Ones And Orders Ancient
Elpidios, Kassandra of Assissin’s Creed Odyssey’s son, was the forefather of Aya, one of the founding members of the Hidden Ones, the precursor to the franchise’s titular Assassins and the bearers of Darius and Kassandra’s belief that free will should rule and tyranny had no place. Aya and her husband Bayek lived in Siwa, a region of ancient Egypt during the 1st Century BCE. This was the time of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar and the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt.
The Order of the Ancients, the same group that craved power centuries earlier in Persia and precursor to the Templar Order that will plague much of the later Assasin’s Creed timeline, sought to upend power in Egypt by separating the Pharoah Ptolemy and his sister Cleopatra. The Order murdered Aya and Bayek’s son Khemu, irrevocably changing their lives and their relationship to each other, vowing to seek revenge for this murder. Bayek aligned himself with Cleopatra and helped her regain power in Egypt alongside Caeser while hunting members of the Order. Meanwhile, Aya did the same in Alexandria.
After Cleopatra’s victory over her brother in the Battle of the Nile, Bayek and Aya were betrayed by her choosing to side with the Order of the Ancients. The husband and wife established the Hidden Ones to build power of their own and train others to walk the path of justice and free will. Aya moved back to Alexandria to establish a Hidden Ones bureau there and plot the eventual assassination of Julius Caesar while Bayek remained in Egypt to continue their work there.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Mirage: Enter Basim Ibn Ishaq
As the Hidden Ones and the Order of the Ancients continued to grow and evolve over the centuries, spreading across the known world and amassing their own strongholds of power, influence, and ongoing intrigue over Pieces of Eden and Isu knowledge, players pick up the next leg in the Assassin’s Creed timeline by way of Ubisoft’s most recent games: Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Centuries after the events of Origins, Mirage brings players to 9th Century Baghdad where a well-established and longstanding Hidden Ones brotherhood was engaged in their now-eternal conflict with the Order of the Ancients.
Basim Ibn Ishaq, the main character of Mirage, was enamored by the Hidden One’s standing up for free will against the tyranny of the day, even before he wiggled his way into becoming a member and eventually master. To protect against Assassin’s Creed Mirage spoilers, we’ll skip ahead in his complicated and interesting journey a decade or so to the events of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Basim met the Viking Sigurd while both were in Constantinople during the late 9th Century. Sigurd’s step-sister Eivor had recently departed their homeland of Norway to establish a new colony in England after members of the Order of the Ancients had invaded their home and weakened their father’s kingdom.
Basim and his apprentice Hytham established a Hidden Ones Bureau in the Viking’s settlement Ravensthorp. Neither Eivor nor Sigurd ever formally joined the Hidden Ones, but their goals of fighting tyranny and the Order of the Ancients aligned and they fought together to these ends. They also warred all across England against the many kingdoms in the hopes of creating a safe and peaceful land to dwell in. Their main adversary in this quest was the English King and Order chief Alfred who himself sought to unite all of England, whether the Danes would cede to his rule or not. He also was a Christian who sought to establish both his domains under a strict Christian edict, paving the way for the eventual rise of the Templar Order out of the Order of the Ancients.
Of course, nothing in Assassin’s Creed is ever this straightforward. The entirety of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is filled with questions about the characters’ relationships to the various gods (Isu) they worship, Odin, Tyr, Loki, and others. In the interest of avoiding spoilers, we won’t divulge much more than that, but know that Eivor’s journey took her far beyond England, Ireland, and France and into the many realms of the gods and even, at one point, encountered the immortal Kassandra. By the end of the journey, she would wind up far, far from home, and another link in the long chain of Isu machinations.
Assassin’s Creed I, II, Brotherhood, And Revelations: The Assassins Versus The Templars
Another few hundred years after the events of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, we finally arrive in the Assassin’s Creed timeline at the first game, 2007’s Assassin’s Creed. In the 1100s, the Hidden Ones had by now become the Assassins and the Order of the Ancients had become the Templars. The two orders still fought over the same ideals as ever and the very first playable Assassin, Altaïr Ibn-LaʼAhad was tasked with assassinating a query of Templars throughout Jerusalem, Damascus, and Acre.
It was discovered that the Templars sought a Piece of Eden, an Apple of Eden that could control other humans: the ultimate embodiment of the Templar’s belief in control and power as the means to freedom against the Assassin’s estimation that free will and anti-tyrant were the essence of a free society, even if freedom meant violence. After the defeat of the Templars, for the time being, and Altaïr’s eventual ascension to leader of his order, a distant descendant of his named Ezio Auditore da Firenze would rise from a street thief and womanizer to become an Assassin himself during the Renaissance of Italy in the 15th and 16th Centuries.
Fighting the Templars as led by the Borgias and befriending the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Ezio helped reestablish a fledgling brotherhood of Assassins in Italy before rising to become Grand Master of the whole order. These events take place over the course of Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. Ezio helped spread the power of the Assassins by supporting their bureaus around the world again, working especially to build a brotherhood in Constantinople during the height of conflict between the Ottoman Turks and Byzantium. There, Ezio not only succeeded in deepening the roots of the Assassins’ power in the world once more, but he also began uncovering secrets of the Isu that would have lasting impacts on both Orders hundreds of years later.
He especially came into contact with the Isu Juno, who had digitized herself before the great calamity that wiped out the Isu and sought to manipulate the Assassins across thousands of years to escape her circumstances and enslave humanity once again. Minerva, meanwhile, had found ways to record messages of herself before her death to play to Ezio, her Prophet, thousands of years later. He was never quite able to discern what all of his encounters with the Isu meant though, no matter how hard he tried. Namely, because the messages were never for Ezio himself, but rather a future Assassin reliving Ezio’s memories in the 21st century.
Assassin’s Creed IV, III, Unity, And Rogue: Turning The Tables
The next stop in the Assassin’s Creed timeline jumps ahead to 2013’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and the high seas of the early 18th century’s Golden Age of Caribbean Piracy, yes, pirates are in the games now. You play as Edward Kenway as he evolves from a washed-up pirate to a champion among them. He becomes an Assassin by accident, disguising himself unknowingly in some of their threads before becoming the center of another of the series’ many conflicts between free will and tyranny.
Eventually, Edward’s son Haytham would go on to betray all his father stood for by becoming a leader amongst his rivals, the Templars. Of course, Haytham didn’t see it this way, initiating an era in the franchise when the fine line between the goals and methods of the Assassins and Templars became intentionally blurry. Haytham, like his contemporary the Assassin-turned-Templar Shay Patrick Cormac of Assassin’s Creed Rogue, believed ardently that the Templar Order was the true defender of right and wrong in the universe. To them, the Assassin’s quest for free will was merely a mask for their own grabs for power. Sometimes, they weren’t exactly wrong, as deadly earthquakes and other catastrophes at the hands of the Assassins’ quest for Pieces of Eden wrought havoc on around the world.
By the late 1700s, as revolution rang in both North America and France, these wars became proxies for the Assassins and Templars as per usual. By the time of Assassin’s Creed III, Haytham sired a son Ratonhnhaké:ton, aka Connor who would fight alongside George Washington in the American Revolution. Haytham didn’t know Connor was his son until later in life and after Connor had already returned to his family’s legacy as an Assassin.
Meanwhile, a few years later in revolutionary France, Assassin’s Creed Unity sees the star-crossed lovers Assassin Arno Dorian and Templar Élise de la Serre engaged throughout their country’s revolution from the Battle of Bastille and through the Reign of Terror, Robespierre’s demise, and Napoleon’s ascension. The turncoat Shay had assassinated Anro’s father, also an Assassin, when Arno was a child, the games Rogue and Unity together, which had released on the same day for separate console generations in 2014.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: The End Of The Line
The furthest in the future that the Assassin’s Creed timeline takes players within the main context of the games is the mid-19th Century London of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. The twin Assassins Jacob and Evie Frye do what every Assassin before them has ever done: fight the Templars who use the organized crime and sleazy capitalism of the Industrial Revolution to control society as they always try to.
The series does take one more leap forward in time to World War I as some riffs in time caused by Juno, still trying as ever to escape her digital prison and reconstitute a physical form. Evie also makes some time to take on Jack the Ripper because, why not?
Modern Day Assassins: Abstergo, 2012
Of course, as anybody who has ever played any of the Assassin’s Creed games besides Mirage knows, not all of the action takes place in the past. Every entry in the series from the first through Valhalla has some kind of modern component to the gameplay, beginning in 2012 with one Desmond Miles, the reluctant son of Assassin William Miles and the distant descendant of every playable Assassin from Altaïr to Connor. Desmond is kidnapped by agents of a company called Abstergo, the public-facing corporation who are secretly just the same Templars as ever. They’ve discovered that he possesses the right amount of Isu DNA to make use of a new technology called the Animus, through which one can relive the memories of their ancestors. Abstergo was keen on using the Animus, and especially Desmond’s rich genetic history, to locate Pieces of Eden and control the world.
Helped by Lucy Stillman, a secret Assassin agent, who was actually a converted Templar after all, Desmond escaped Abstergo once the Bleeding Effect began to set in, a natural repercussion of too much time the Animus where users start to take on the traits of the ancestor they’re inhabiting in there. For Desmond, that meant gaining decades of Assassin training and tapping into his Eagle Vision abilities in mere days.
Alongside a team of Assassins including his father with whom he eventually reconciles, Desmond proceeded to use the memories of Ezio and Connor to try and keep one step ahead of the Templars and their quest for the Pieces of Eden. However, they also discovered that on December 21, 2012, a solar event like the one that wiped out the Isu would occur again, unless they could find the Isu Grand Temple and use it to prevent the catastrophe. (Remember when we all thought the world was going to end on 12/21/12)? The crew succeeded at saving the world, but it cost Desmond’s life and the escape of Juno.
Modern Day Assassins: The Initiates And Layla Hassan
The crew succeeded at saving the world, but it cost Desmond’s life and the escape of Juno. Over the next several years, Abstergo would continue using its continuously improving Animus technology to create supposed video game simulations based on Desmond and others’ genetic memories as they kept questing for Pieces of Eden. The Assassins, by this point, were in shambles and could rarely take bold steps in preventing the world of the Templars or exposing Abstergo for their evils. They relied, first, on small-scale infiltration of Abstergo’s playtesters, recruiting Initiates in Black Flag, Unity, and Syndicate to help sabotage the corporation’s work.
The Assassins finally hit the jackpot though in 2017 when an Abstergo employee, Layla Hassan, made the unauthorized choice to use her portable Animus to peak into the lives of Bayek and Aya, the first Hidden Ones and precursors to the Assassins. Abstergo obviously didn’t like this, so they launched a strike team to take her out, failing on account of the Bleeding Effect, and launching Layla on a quest to take Abstergo and the Templars down herself. She was recruited by William Miles and became an Assassin, quickly rising through the ranks.
The next year, Layla learned of the Spear of Leonidas and launched a mission to search for it. She got a whole lot more than she bargained for though, eventually uncovering the whole history of Kassandra and the Staff of Hermes. She took her Assassin cell to Greece to attempt to access Atlantis herself where she met none other than the immortal Kassandra, who had been instructed by Aletheia to hold onto the staff until she could specifically pass it onto Layla. Before Layla could fully wield the staff though, she would have to endure the same three Trials of Atlantis Kassandra once did. Upon success, Layla took the staff and by 2020 began a new assignment in North America alongside William Miles and the rest of Desmond’s old team.
Strange electromagnetic anomalies had been happening increasingly ever since the end of the world was prevented in 2012 and by now a permanent arora was freaking the world out. Aletheia, through the staff, informed Layla of a solution, for which she ventured with her team to North America where Eivor’s remains had somehow been discovered far from her English home. Reliving Eivor’s memories uncovered the truth about the Isu, who would be worshiped as Norse gods and their Ygdrisil device through which a number of them would upload DNA into the human gene pool and eventually be able to reincarnate in human bodies.
The final scenes of Valhalla marked an intriguing new chapter in the ongoing saga of the modern-day Assassins and the tale of the Isu who escaped the end of the First Civilization. Assassin’s Creed Mirage begins to deliver small amounts of new information, but fans desiring to know more about the Assassin’s Creed timeline beyond the exploits of Layla will just have to wait to see what future installments hold as the games continue.
The Assassin’s Creed timeline is long and winding through all of the games, but it is one of gaming’s most detailed and interesting. No matter where you begin your journey along the Assassin’s Creed timeline, one thing is always eternal: the battle between free will and tyranny may never find a victor.