MARCH 6th, 2019


With the launch of “Bloodline”, the third and final episode of the Legacy of the First Blade story arc of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, we reach the conclusion of the Eagle Bearer’s story with Darius/Artabanus. Episode 3 “Bloodline” is remarkably better directed and constructed than the previous two episodes, despite being held back by the episodic formula, which I believe would’ve been a lot better to release as a whole package rather than as three episodes which lessened their impact. 

The third episode opens with the death of the Eagle Bearer’s spouse (Natakas or Nima, depending on the player’s choice of either Alexios or Kassandra) at the hands of the members of the Order of the Ancients and Amorges, and their abduction of Elpidios, the Eagle Bearer’s son.

The Eagle Bearer joins forces with Darius to defeat the members of the Order along with Amorges and finding Elpidios. Eventually it is revealed that Amorges kept the baby alive and safe, in order to prevent the Eagle Bearer to raise him into someone who would oppose the Order and stand in the way of their plans for world domination and achieving peace through control of the masses. The Eagle Bearer and Darius both manage to defeat Amorges who seemingly regrets opposing his old friend and warns them that the Order will always find and endanger Elpidios, and shortly passes away as he recounts an old moral he and his friend both believed in, a long time ago.

The episode concludes with both Darius and the Eagle Bearer finding Elpidios and the Eagle Bearer eventually deciding to allow Darius to take Elpidios and raise him far away from Greece to prevent the Order from ever finding out about him and his ‘Tainted’ bloodline. Afterwards, Darius takes Elpidios and sails to Egypt where time-lapse shows him growing up and a lineage is born from him eventually revealing that Aya, Bayek’s wife is in fact a descendant of the Eagle Bearer through Elpidios.

The twist may be a surprise for some, though it’s been speculated that Odyssey would somehow link to Origins, and most likely through Aya since she was known to be half Greek from Origins and the Desert Oath novel. The problem is that while this revelation ties both games together, and thereby showing the connection between the Creed (or the Hidden Ones) which was noticeable and completely absent. However, this doesn’t come without a set of issues:

1. The time-lapse wrongfully depict the pyramids being built, despite the fact that they were already standing by the time Darius travelled to Egypt with Elpidios. 

2. Aya is introduced in Origins as Bayek’s wife. She isn’t given any prominent role related to her lineage, she isn’t shown to have any special connection to the Pieces of Eden, which makes the entire point of showing her as part of the “Tainted Ones” lineage to be pointless, and thereby the reveal itself being more of an easter egg than a meaningful discovery that makes more sense of an outstanding mystery.

3. Darius was the first to utilize a Hidden Blade as he assassinated Xerxes I, an even that grew to become an iconic moment in the history of the brotherhood that is remembered millennia onwards. However, when Aya gives Bayek the Hidden Blade, she informs him that she received it from Cleopatra. Now in order for the connection between Darius, Elpidios and Aya to make sense as a fruitful revelation, we expect that Aya would either manifest First Civilization-related capabilities or is shown to have safeguarded the hidden blade over generations, or at least had her share of knowledge about Darius and the Hidden Blade she gave to her husband, yet that is not the case as Assassin’s Creed Origins mentions nothing regarding the history of the Hidden Blade nor does it show Aya to exhibit any special abilities or even have any knowledge of her lineage, which makes the entire point of the twist to be ultimately empty.


The points mentioned above extend beyond Legacy of the First Blade and reflect the issues that the Assassin’s Creed franchise has been suffering from in the last few years. Among these issues is the fact that the lore itself is treated more like a series of easter eggs and fan service than a cohesive and well-knit narrative which we got used to during the Desmond saga.

The recent games feature an immense potential for great stories and a tons of raw materials for the significant lore progress which hardcore fans of the franchise have been hoping and calling for in the past five years. Issues such as great, immersive and rich settings like Egypt which can be a wondrous playground to evolve the First Civilization narrative are wasted in favor of short cryptic records which none of the characters makes much sense of or even acknowledges, including the present day protagonist, “epic moments and revelations” are either not powerful or compelling enough to evoke the intended emotion or placed without any good build up to allow players to genuinely feel them, other issues include how the plot is written to serve one game without much effort to extend beyond it, that the following game comes in with a brand new narrative and few references here and there make the games feel quite disconnected from one another with each game feeling unfinished as the lingering plot lines are never tied and the progress per game is minimal that following the grand overarching narrative to be an excruciatingly slow and unrewarding experience.

The fact that the majority of people who play Assassin’s Creed do not seek the overarching narrative probably influences the decision-making process regarding the size and scope of the present day, but it isn’t a good justification to utilize the short amount of time and resources to tell a story that raises a lot more questions than answers, and not in a manner that feels positive or expansive, but rather in a way were hardcore fans are constantly questioning whether the story is being written to be an honest expansion and progression of already great existing narrative, or written on the fly with the presumption that fans will never question the glaring inaccuracies as well the expectation of suspension of disbelief a lot more than a rewarding storyline to those who invest a lot of time into it.

Among the decisions regarding the franchise’s direction that felt detrimental to the seriousness of the narrative as well as its impact:

1. Shifting a major plot line to transmedia. The story of Juno, a major villain introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood whose story evolved over six games in ever-decreasing doses was culminated in a series of comic books “Uprising” which was a huge disappointment to a large number of community members who were simply interested in games as a format for storytelling.

Comic books do not resonate as well as video games in terms of storytelling, especially in stories that begun in video games and grew in an episodic format that got players gasping at the cliffhanger of each game, waiting for the next to deliver a rewarding answer that never came.

2. Historical settings and time periods are apparently chosen based on their popularity rather than how much sense they make to the evolution of the plot, and with the decision to dedicate only one game per setting and refraining from fully utilizing the Animus or First Civilization objects such as the Memory Disks, a lot of time periods within the same setting are wasted as the game as focused on only one to insure that the game features the same protagonist evolving through a more RPG-driven system than a linear and a cohesive storyline.For example, Egypt is rich in various iconic periods that could’ve gotten their own trilogy to explore or even a set of DLC that was better utilized to explore them rather than an illusion of an Apple of Eden representing the mythical ancient Egyptian afterlife, which was visually stunning, yet ultimately did not contribute much to the narrative nor the rich setting, which leads us to the next point.

3. Dedicating only one game per protagonist stands in the way of expanding upon the character and their impact across time. For example, Bayek of Siwa was promoted as the founder of the Assassin brotherhood (known as The Hidden Ones) yet Assassin’s Creed Origins itself, as great as it ways as a game, it did not manage to deliver a true origin story nor given Bayek much time to focus on the foundation of the brotherhood, save for a short DLC and few post-credits cutscenes.

After Origins, the logical follow up would be to further emphasize on the role of Bayek in being the founder, yet what followed as Odyssey where the presence of the Creed is non-existent and Darius was more of an accessory to the story of the Eagle Bearer than explored as a character of his own who was introduced years ago as the iconic man who first utilized a Hidden Blade, and despite the ending of the first story arc which does make a link between Origins and Odyssey, the connection is more of a nod to the fans than any fruitful revelation that help expand the narrative, and knowing the recent decision-making process, it is doubtful that we’d ever see more of Aya or Elpidios or even Darius or the Eagle Bearer beyond the boundaries of Odyssey and its post-launch content.

4. With the recent shift towards RPG, the games contain a lot more quests than previous games, side characters are introduced with their own quest lines to follow and tens if not hundreds of errands an live events are introduced, all while the main storyline and the important plot points are given less and less screen time. The time and resources spent on creating a hundreds of side quests and post-launch free quests could be allocated to crafting more fulfilling present day and historical missions that contribute to the ties between games and the overarching narrative. Quality over quantity.

5. The present day is delivered in very small fragmented segments each game without any clear direction or plot conflict that is meant to be resolved and this issue stemmed from the fact that the role of the greatest threat to both factions, Juno was finished in a comic book, leaving the games on a game-by-game plot line that is rarely connected to the games before.

6. The stories for each game are written with the convenience to serve the gameplay rather than to stand on their own right. For example, it feels that when a game is pitched, it’s in the form of “we want an Egyptian game” and “we want a revamp” so Origins was decided to be the “origins” story and revamp to the franchise, and that origin story was placed in Egypt, which is a great choice, but it was set in 49 BCE even when Iltani as formerly referred to as an Assassin with her own Babylonian Assassin Insignia placed on her state at the Villa Auditore, and the same applies for Darius, so why that time specifically? Because they wanted to show Cleopatra and Caesar.

However, the game did not do much to explore the origins of the brotherhood and was more of a story about the fall of an empire and the rise of another than a story exploring the birth of the brotherhood, a subject that should’ve taken at least a whole game to manage, rather than a short part of its ending.

In addition, placing the story at 49 BCE was detrimental to the lore as previous games have always stated that the two warring factions, the Assassins and the Templars have existed roughly since 75,000 BCE, and writing a story that promotes itself as the beginning of the brotherhood leaving fans to create conflicting theories about how to make sense of the Assassins that are referenced in previous games to have existed way before Bayek rendered the lore more convoluted than ever and reduced the seriousness of each story and its interconnectedness to other games to be paper thin and more of a context, and since fans by now understand that the next game will very well disregard everything that is established before it and the new team would write a new story based on their own vision for the franchise and maybe, just maybe they will leave a small easter-egg that references the other games, but not in any meaningful way that makes this revelation or twist feel as powerful as intended.

7. Lore elements are treated superficially without much depth like the Desmond saga where every little detail mattered. Barcodes and small well-hidden riddles reveal few familiar words such as “The Father of Understanding” or “Juno” yet they do not extend beyond that. A First Civilization transmission states “Nothing is real. Everything is permitted”, and a similar statement is made by Darius and Amorges “Nothing is absolute” the Eagle Bearer being able to see writings glowing on the wall that only he/she can see, which is a nod to the Eagle Vision yet what is missing is a follow up to make sense of these statements within the lore.

8. The games try to please everyone and be everything at the same time, and that is another detrimental factor to the franchise, as each brand has its own distinctive mark, the elements that served as the magnet for fans to stick to its narrative and style and grow with it expecting more with each title. For a brand to modernize itself and evolve with times is a must, however evolving beyond its own identity will eventually cause a rift between longtime admirers and newcomers, resulting from the conflict between the franchise being good at growing its own identity vs. becoming a new product marketed with a well-known name, in addition to the fact that trying to be two conflicting things at the same time ends up leading to disappointing both.

To attempt to become a series of standalone games as well as a franchise where games complete one another and progress a bigger plot line has led to the franchise not being able to set itself free of the overarching plot line and developing its own identity without being held back by any expectations to be satisfactory in the same manner the original games were, nor being a rewarding experience that fulfills the expectations of the original, evolving to be more modern but without losing its identity to whatever is popular.

The expectations from a franchise like The Witcher is different from those from an Assassin’s Creed game, by morphing the style of one to become more like the other will lead to an understandable disappointment to those who were dedicated to the deeper aspect of either franchise, rather than the general casual gamer’s experience, which is why it’s essential for each brand to evolve within the constraints of its identity. Imagine baking a cake and trying to make it a more delightful or one with a different frosting vs. turning a cake into a piece of bread or a pizza using some common ingredients and expecting players to treat them both as the same product, when in reality, the latter is not even a dessert.

Whether it’s a good or a bad product is not the problem, the problem is the identity of the franchise, does it give the sensation that it’s an evolved version of the same franchise, or is it a whole new game with an amalgamation of iconic elements placed here and there without any real context or impact, just to give the illusion that it’s part of the same product?


The potential in every Assassin’s Creed game is very much at its highest with the growing technology that allows the worlds to be larger and more photo-realistic than ever and new settings being introduced which can be a fertile ground for stories even greater than the Desmond saga. Instead of having two protagonists walk the same shoes and treated as a canon-breaking skin, have two separate experiences that depict the role of each one of them in their own story, for example one as an Assassin and the other as a Templar, or two characters in two different settings instead of one massive setting that feels rather visually similar and too big for the story or perhaps two different time periods showcasing how the actions of one impacted the other story centuries ahead. It’s entirely doable even in today’s technology and resources as vocals are already being recorded for each character which can be utilized to tell two different perspectives rathe than the same one, the assets are used to create one massive setting can be used to create two distinct ones or the same in different time periods.

What the franchise desperately needs is lore-keeping whether it’s in the manner of an official manual that details exactly where the story is, where it should go and how much information to be given per game, or a specific individual who oversees the way the lore is handled in each game and ensures that new stories are written with complete respect to what’s been established rather than written in a vacuum and expecting fans of the franchise to make up their own conflicting theories about how things came to be until a weak connection is made in one game, that ends up being more underwhelming than any fan theory. 

It isn’t surprising that a franchise this big would struggle with its own narrative, especially when faced with ever-growing and ever-changing industry standards. The struggle between keeping a brand profitable and evergreen vs. paying respect to those who supported the franchise on the longer run is a challenge in and of itself, but the success of multiple games that reflect a much older formula of classic games such as Resident Evil 2 as well as the eagerness for a powerful storyline in a theatrical gameplay experience such as God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2, the desire for fans to consume a modernized version of a classic rather than the typical format of today’s open world RPG games is very much alive and viable today. 

In addition, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has always dedicated a small portion of its running time to the present day segment and the First Civilization story, so what fans truly desire isn’t an entire game set in the present day, which could still be good if done right, but rather making the most of the small segments dedicated to the lore that feel compelling enough to push fans to wait for the next game and rewarding enough to eventually give satisfactory solutions to outstanding mysteries as well as introducing new conflicts, especially when each new Assassin’s Creed game comes with its own season pass, free post-launch missions as well as multiple outfits and weapon bundles, some of which could be allocated to further expanding the lore rather than focusing on elements made up for that specific game, without much contributing to the blank spots in the story and the untied loose ends.

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