The End Of Brotherhood And The Future Of Assassin's Creed

The future of Assassin's Creed series promises twists and "something really big," the writer of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood tells Kotaku. But what about the new game's cliffhanger ending? "

"We have a lot of twists waiting," Jeffrey Yohalem told Kotaku during a recent telephone interview. "There's a lot that's going to happen that should be surprising.

SPOILERS: In this post, we're talking about the ending of Brotherhood.

At the end of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, the series' modern-day protagonist, Desmond Miles, appears to lose control of his body. He turns toward Lucy, the Kristen Bell-voiced modern-day assassin who has been assisting Desmond for all three major Assassin's Creed games. She's been helping him relive the lives of his ancestors and survive attacks from the historical foes of her assassins guild, the Templars.

Lucy and Desmond have reached a key artifact, Desmond has lost control of his body as he sees visions of some spectral pre-human ancestor. He unsheathes a blade, turns to Lucy, and he kills her.

The screen goes dark, credits roll and two new new voice is heard, some men talking about someone (Desmond, presumably) going into shock and saying to put "him" back in the Animus… what just happened?

Don't ask Kristen Bell. Yohalem said that longtime Assassin's Creed creative director Patrice Desilets, who left the series and parent company Ubisoft earlier this year while Brotherhood was still in development, had attended Bell's voice-recording session and had hidden the details of her character's apparent death from her. "He didn't show her that," Yohalem said. "I don't know whether she knows yet."

Perhaps Lucy is dead. Or perhaps not.

One theory is that Desmond, who had been reliving the memories of his ancestors in the three main Assassin's Creed games through the device called the Animus was actually experiencing his exploits with Lucy through an Animus as well. Think of the layers of dreaming depicted in the movie Inception, the notion of dreaming within a dream that is mentioned by some of the characters in Brotherhood in that game's early hours. Maybe he only stabbed a dream of her.

Yohalem confirmed that the new voices speaking about Desmond during the credits were indeed new people we haven't heard from before. As for the Inception-style layering of dreams? "I have seen that theory," he said. "People seem to debate between that and whether the Assassins have grabbed Desmond or they've taken him out and hooked him up to some horrible animus in a car." Or maybe Desmond's been captured by the bad guys?

All three main Assassin's Creed games have ended on this types of cliffhangers, leaving gamers panting to know what's next. "When we write these games we treat them as seasons of a TV show," he said. "Ultimately a season of a TV show ends on a cliffhanger… I love the moments in the West Wing when he's been shot - or has he? - or there's that terrorist attack on the president in one seasons and you wait all summer to find out whether he's alive or isn't he."

The end of each main Assassin's Creed game has left gamers not only wondering what will happen next but who they will play as next. Desmond has essentially been a bit player in his own series, with gamers spending the majority of their time playing as Desmon's ancestors, Altair in the first game and Ezio in the next two. One popular theory among fans is that Desmond, whose 2012 version of our world may be heading to some sort of cataclysm, will eventually be the main playable character of a future AC game. "Some people want no present at all," Yohalem points out. "Ultimately we've decided that the Renaissance and/or any historical destinations is what people come to Assassin's Creed for, but at the same time people like the science fiction." Does this mean that we shouldn't expect a Desmond-starring game? "Maybe, maybe not. It really depends on how much time we have... how big the time is, what the resources are, what we can do simultaneously, stuff like that."

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood's single-player was made in about a year. A new AC game is already planned and slated for late 2011 release. Surely the team knows where it's going next.

The Assassin's Creed series has been increasingly impressive as sequels built upon the original to construct a conspiracy narrative filled with clues for the gamers to sort out. The series is now consumed by its most ardent fans with the kind of sleuthing and passion of fans of TV's Lost. But earlier this year, the chief creator of all it, Patrice Desilets, left Assassin's Creed.

A fan could justifiably wonder if Desilets took the "true" future of the series with him. Yohalem, who helped write Assassin's Creed II with Corey May, who did the first two console games and is still with the company, claims that the team still knows what is supposed to happen. "We're not going to lose the reins of this. It's very clear where we're going. We don't just make things up out of thin air. It's very thought out. It's all going toward something really big, so stay tuned."


    I know a lot of people complain about cliffhanger endings in games ("What?! I need to buy a sequel now!?"), but I don't really mind.

    Adds some drama'n'stuff which I feel is missing in general and, even though Assassin's Creed has a kind of convoluted story (not worse than any modern movie, mind you), I don't think it detracts from this game at all.

    In fact, I'm eager to find out what's going on and whether I can use Desmond as the primary character for realz or if it's going to be another period piece.

      Cliffhangers are good, so long as the individual game gets wrapped up with a satisfying ending.

      Thats one of the things I disliked about the first AC, the end was just look at a wall with writing and bam...its over...

      But ACII rectified that by giving the game a satisfying ending and the great "WTF?!" moments like Minerva appearing and speaking to Desmond through Ezio.

      AC:B kept that going with the satisfying ending to the Ezio story and the 2012 story, by finding the Apple...and whats described above.

      So long as theres a feeling of satisfaction, cliff hangers are a good way to keep you interested in the story.

    Good timing for this article. I finished AC:B at 1:30 this morning. :)

    Looking forward to seeing what happens next. It's funny - I wasn't that into the plot while I was playing it, but when I look back and think about it, I realise that I can't wait for the next instalment in the story.

    This cliffhanger was an interesting twist. But as far as the storyline goes, getting back to the animus and playing ezio's memories after that just doesn't really make sense. The previous assassin's creed games have allowed the players to get back into the animus because there was a story tie in allowing them to.

      As the article suggests something more is going on than what we already know.
      Someone is put back into the Animus, but it's not Desmond (it's a pretty long trek for him back to the Animus anyway).

      My current theory is that someone is reliving Lucy's memories, and goes into shock after she gets stabbed.

        You can't really get "put back into the animus" if you were already in an animus living out lucy's memories and went into shock when she got stabbed.

      to reply to Auto...

      there is a plausable way, remember that in AC2 Desmond suffered a bleeding effect while in the corridors of the hideout, and phased into Altair to chase down that girl who he got with on top of that tower?

      Desmond already has a way to enter his ancestors memories via bleeding without the animus.

    I highly doubt the next AC will be just purely Desmond as the main character. If anything the last game in the series (AC 3) if it is the last game in the series, should change back to Desmond more while still containing a historic element via the animus. Though as this article states there are a lot of loose ends after Brotherhood and maybe there is a chance that there may be another game before AC3. I personally don't like the idea but with such a successful franchise, Ubisoft may try 'milk' as much money as possible from the AC franchise. As for the inception, 'dream within a dream' wouldn't be a bad idea but It would only complicate the already hard to follow plot, and then the player would be playing three separate timelines, and to fit all that in one game would be very difficult.

    I think the bleeding effect will possibly play more of a role in the next game, so Desmond will be reliving memories sans animus. That could allow for some combat and assassinations in modern-day land as he is no longer tied to that heavy ball and chain... or the animus

    While they may be give Desmond a greater role in AC:3, it is unlikely they will do away with the Animus mechanism.
    If I had to guess, I'd say Desmond and the cell have fallen into the hands of the templar during the final sequence. They have screwed with the animus to create a false now and forced Desmond to kill Lucy after learning where the piece is and how to obtain it by combining Ezio's memories with reality. He fell out of the Animus while fighting the control, thus the new voices.

    Yeah probably one of my favorite stories in a game. I love the cliffhanger endings, they way they throw in a massive twist right at the end without me expecting it, is just amazing. Normally it would put me off thinking they are just trying to stretch out the game, but not with AC, they have done it perfectly.

    If we're moving into gun territory, either with a closer to the present ancestor or Desmond himself cooking fools, I really hope they adapt the mark and pop mechanic of Splinter Cell or something similar over any run of the mill third person shooter/cover shooter type of game.

    The beauty of comabt in the past AC games was the strategy, introducing shooting poorly could really leach that away.

    Remember at the start when desmond can't access the memory of the battle? The techo woman who's name I can't remember said it was like a memory within a memory, I suspect that has something to do with the next game. It just felt like one of those small throwaway lines that you're supposed to come back to after playing the next game and go "AAAAAAH! I get that now"

    I have a vague (and probably wrong)idea that the main character of 3 isn't desmond but a descendant who's reliving desmond's memories of reliving ezio & altairs memories.

    There is also the possibility that they're monkeying around with desmond's memories. In one of the templar agents missions near the end, you hunt down an agile woman in a green cloak who gets a database entry that pretty much says "She never existed other than a recent entry, whats abstergo up to?"

    "two new new voice is heard"

    ... typo?

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