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Assassin’s Creed: How to Play the Games in Chronological Order

Ubisoft’s enduring Assassin’s Creed series has traversed a vast expanse over its 16-year existence. The unending conflict between Assassins and Templars has transported players across five continents, leading them through epochs such as Ancient Greece and Victorian London, enveloping a staggering 2,300 years of history across 13 mainline installments.

As new additions to the AC saga loom on the horizon, a selection of which was showcased in Ubisoft Forward, we’ve meticulously crafted a chronological roadmap of the Assassin’s Creed timeline up to now, as compiled by IGN. This chronicle exclusively encompasses mainline Assassin’s Creed titles; peripheral spinoff games have been omitted from this inventory due to their limited relevance to the overarching Assassin’s Creed narrative.

Counting the Assassin’s Creed Games

At present, the main series comprises 12 Assassin’s Creed games, accompanied by an additional 17 spinoff titles. Beyond the gaming realm, a board game and a Netflix-bound TV series under the Assassin’s Creed banner also await.

Navigating the Sequence of Assassin’s Creed Games

There are two distinct approaches to delineating the chronology of Assassin’s Creed. First, there’s the order of the games’ modern-day storylines. This arrangement aligns with the series’ overarching narrative, interwoven through each mainline release’s present-day component. This modern-day tale develops sequentially with each subsequent release. If you prefer playing through the games in this fashion, refer to the section below titled “How to Play the Assassin’s Creed Games by Release Date.” Opting for this approach is advisable if you’re dedicated to immersing yourself in the entirety of the franchise, providing the optimal means to follow the grand narrative trajectory and witness the series’ evolution from stealth-action adventures to open-world RPGs.

The alternative option, explored below, arranges the games according to their historical settings. While these stories don’t display the same level of interconnectedness as their modern-day counterparts, they constitute the predominant focal point of the Assassin’s Creed experience. This method is more conducive to fostering curiosity about the franchise, rather than serving as a pragmatic guide for gameplay.

Sequencing the Assassin’s Creed Games Chronologically

Designed with newcomers to the series in mind, the brief plot summaries that follow contain minimal spoilers, primarily encompassing general plot themes, historical contexts, and character introductions.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (431 B.C.–422 B.C.)

• Principal Setting: Ancient Greece • Historical Protagonist: Cassandra or Alexios • Modern Protagonist: Layla Hassan

Set nearly four centuries prior to any other mainline installment, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey expanded upon the RPG elements introduced in Origins, culminating in a full-fledged transition from stealth-based action to open-world RPG dynamics.

Players embody Cassandra or Alexios, the descendants of Sparta’s King Leonidas I. Odyssey unfolds against the backdrop of the Peloponnesian War, pitting Sparta against Athens. The game introduces prominent historical figures from this era, including Hippocrates, Socrates, and Plato. Merging historical fact with mythology, Odyssey introduces legendary creatures such as the Sphinx, Cyclops, and Medusa.

Assassin’s Creed Origins (49 B.C.–44 B.C.)

• Principal Setting: Ancient Egypt • Historical Protagonist: Bayek of Siwa • Modern Protagonist: Layla Hassan

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Following a hiatus of a year after annual releases from 2009 to 2015, Ubisoft returned in 2017 with Assassin’s Creed Origins, heralding a soft reboot of the franchise and the integration of RPG mechanics into the series.

Origins is predominantly situated in Ancient Egypt during the reigns of Ptolemy XIII and Cleopatra. Its historical scope also extends to the Roman era and the dominion of Julius Caesar. Conforming to the franchise’s pattern, where tales of vengeance unravel into grand narratives of political intrigue, Origins follows suit. The demise of Bayek and Aya’s son instigates their journey, ultimately leading them to uncover a precursor to the Templar organization, termed the Order of the Ancients. This discovery prompts the formation of the Hidden Ones, the inaugural manifestation of the Assassins.

Simultaneously, the contemporary narrative introduces Layla Hassan, who remains the present-day protagonist throughout Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage (861–???)

• Principal Setting: 9th Century Baghdad • Historical Protagonist: Basim Ibn Ishaq • Modern Protagonist: Not Applicable

Scheduled for a 2023 debut, Assassin’s Creed Mirage is the forthcoming entry in the series. Diverging from the conventional full-priced open-world RPG format, Mirage adopts a stealth-centric approach, reflecting an homage to the franchise’s initial titles. Ubisoft portrays it as a narrative-driven, shorter adventure when compared to recent entries.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage revolves around Basim Ibn Ishaq, a 17-year-old street thief grappling with “nightmarish visions.” Basim’s significance in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is pivotal. The game will narrate Basim’s tale, as he escapes Baghdad en route to the Hidden Ones’ stronghold of Alamut under the tutelage of his mentor, Roshan.

Deviating from its counterparts on this list, Mirage curtails emphasis on the present-day storyline. A recent gameplay preview of Mirage, showcased during Ubisoft Forward 2023, accentuated the game’s return to its foundational style.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (872–878)

• Principal Setting: 9th Century England and Norway • Historical Protagonist: Eivor Varinsson/Varinsdottir • Modern Protagonist: Layla Hassan

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Valhalla marks the franchise’s foray into Norse history and mythology. Evidently, it stands as the most expansive game in the series, with the central narrative consuming around 60 hours to complete, surpassing even Odyssey by 15 hours. Corresponding to Odyssey, Valhalla harmoniously integrates historical context with mythological elements, introducing authentic historical figures like King Harald Fairhair, King Aelfred the Great, and Rollo, alongside mythic entities such as Fenrir and Odin.

The game perseveres with the age-old struggle between the Hidden Ones and the Order of the Ancients, while concurrently tracing the personal journey of Eivor and their clan from the austere lands of Norway to the more fertile terrains of England.

The modern-day story seemingly draws a curtain on Layla Hassan’s three-game narrative arc.

Assassin’s Creed (1191)

• Principal Setting: 12th Century Holy Land (Acre, Damascus, Jerusalem) • Historical Protagonist: Altair Ibn’La-Ahad • Modern Protagonist: Desmond Miles

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The inaugural installment of Assassin’s Creed is situated three centuries subsequent to Valhalla, introducing the series’ foundational protagonist, Altair Ibn’La-Ahad. This initial release laid the groundwork for the subsequent 15 years of the franchise’s triumph, introducing key gameplay elements such as climbing and assassinations. It also unveiled essential narrative concepts like the Pieces of Eden and the Animus, a device within the game’s universe that permits the present-day protagonist to relive the ancestral memories stored in their DNA.

Altair’s exploits revolve around the Third Crusade, during which he endeavors to eliminate nine Templars. Simultaneously, the contemporary narrative introduces Desmond Miles, setting the stage for the modern-day Assassin-Templar conflict that extends into AC III.

Assassin’s Creed II (1476–1499)

• Principal Setting: 15th Century Italy • Historical Protagonist: Ezio Auditore da Firenze • Modern Protagonist: Desmond Miles

Assassin’s Creed 2 brings to the forefront the enduring protagonist, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Adored by the Assassin’s Creed community, Ezio’s odyssey transpired from AC II in 2009 to AC: Revelations in 2011.

Ezio’s quest revolves around avenging the deaths of his father and brother, propelling him into a deeper conspiracy and embroiling him in the conflict between Assassins and Templars. The game leads players across various Italian locales, encompassing Florence and the Vatican, and acquaints Ezio with historical luminaries such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Pope Alexander VI.

In the modern-day backdrop, Desmond embarks on his journey with the Assassins.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (1499–1507)

• Principal Setting: 15th-16th Century Italy • Historical Protagonist: Ezio Auditore da Firenze • Modern Protagonist: Desmond Miles

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood extends the narrative of AC II, advancing the storylines of both the past and the contemporary realms. The aftermath of AC II spurs new adversaries for Ezio, as he embarks on another vengeance-driven quest while simultaneously reconstructing the weakened Assassin’s Guild of Rome and recovering the Apple of Eden.

In the modern day, Desmond and the contemporary Assassins undertake a journey to Italy in pursuit of the same Apple of Eden, a Piece of Eden that holds the potential to avert the prophesied apocalypse.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (1511–1512)

• Principal Setting: 16th Century Constantinople • Historical Protagonist: Ezio Auditore da Firenze • Modern Protagonist: Desmond Miles

The concluding chapter of the Ezio trilogy merges the narratives of the Italian assassin and his predecessor, Altair. An older Ezio embarks on a quest to Constantinople in search of Altair’s concealed library, reputed to harbor profound knowledge. During his sojourn, Ezio strives to locate the keys required to unlock the library, each key serving as a vessel of Altair’s memories. In doing so, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations unveils Ezio’s role within the broader AC narrative.

In the contemporary strand, a comatose Desmond remains trapped within the Animus, cooperating with a former Animus user to liberate himself from the confines of “the Black Room” and regain consciousness.

Notably, Revelations features one of the most acclaimed trailers in the series, unveiled at E3 2011.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (1715–1722)

• Principal Setting: 18th Century Caribbean Islands • Historical Protagonist: Edward Kenway • Modern Protagonist: Unnamed Abstergo Employee

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is etched into memory primarily for its introduction of naval gameplay mechanics. This game takes place two centuries subsequent to the events of Ezio’s trilogy and roughly 40 years preceding the events of Assassin’s Creed III.

Centered on the exploits of Edward Kenway, an 18th-century pirate and the grandfather of Connor Kenway (the protagonist of AC III), the game invites players to encounter notorious historical pirates of the era, including Blackbeard and Benjamin Hornigold. The game’s narrative embroils Edward in the ongoing Assassin-Templar conflict as he hunts for a hidden First Civilization site known as The Observatory.

In the present day, an unnamed employee of Abstergo assumes the role of a gamer navigating the Animus to relive Connor’s life. However, Abstergo’s true motives inevitably prove more sinister.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue (1752–1760)

• Principal Setting: 18th Century American Northeast • Historical Protagonist: Shay Patrick Cormac • Modern Protagonist: Abstergo Employee “Numbskull”

Assassin’s Creed Rogue serves as a pivotal narrative link between AC III and AC IV. It pivots around Shay Patrick Cormac, an Irish-American Assassin turned Templar who embarks on a quest to locate a Piece of Eden. The presence of Templar Grand Master Haytham Kenway, the son of Edward Kenway (the protagonist of AC IV) and father of Connor Kenway (the protagonist of AC III), imbues the story with historical resonance.

In the contemporary milieu, the player steps into the shoes of yet another Abstergo employee, referred to as “Numbskull,” carrying out the bidding of the modern-day Templars.

Assassin’s Creed III (1754–1783)

• Principal Setting: 18th Century Colonial America • Historical Protagonist: Ratonhnhaké “Connor” Kenway • Modern Protagonist: Desmond Miles

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Commencing with a sequence set in 1754, during which players control Haythem Kenway, Assassin’s Creed III plunges players into the journey of Haythem’s son, Ratonhnhaké:ton, also known as Connor. Set predominantly against the backdrop of the American Revolution, Connor strives to shield his tribe from the ravages of war while safeguarding the First Civilization’s Grand Temple from the machinations of the Templars.

Abounding in historical figures, AC III interweaves iconic figures such as George Washington, Sam Adams, and Benjamin Franklin into its fabric.

The modern-day narrative concludes Desmond’s arc, culminating in his rendezvous with other modern-day Assassins at the aforementioned Grand Temple in a bid to avert the apocalypse prophesied for December 21, 2012.

Assassin’s Creed Unity (1789–1794)

• Principal Setting: 18th Century France • Historical Protagonist: Shay Patrick Cormac • Modern Protagonist: Unnamed Helix Player

While Assassin’s Creed Unity incorporates vignettes spanning from 1307 to the mid-1900s, its core narrative unfolds against the backdrop of the French Revolution’s zenith from 1789 to 1794. The game pivots around French Assassin Arno Dorian, who becomes embroiled in the Assassin-Templar conflict while pursuing his own vendetta.

Historical luminaries including Napoléon Bonaparte, Marquis de Sade, and King Louis XVI make appearances within Unity.

Regrettably, Unity’s modern-day storyline lacks the memorability of its predecessors, characterized by the absence of gameplay in favor of cutscenes. Ultimately, this subplot contributes little to the overarching narrative. In this context, players assume the role of a gamer immersed in Helix, Abstergo’s Animus-powered gaming software designed to disseminate Templar propaganda and surreptitiously collect DNA samples from unsuspecting users.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (1868)

• Principal Setting: Victorian London • Historical Protagonists: Jacob and Evie Frye • Modern Protagonist: Unnamed Helix Player

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate introduces twin protagonists, Jacob and Evie Frye, twin Assassins tasked with liberating Victorian London from Templar control and acquiring a Piece of Eden. While certain segments of the game extend its timeline to World War I, the majority of Syndicate unfolds in 1868. Historical personalities, including Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Darwin, and Winston Churchill (in a future sequence), imbue the game’s milieu with richness.

The modern-day character from Unity returns, collaborating with the Assassins to trace yet another Piece of Eden concealed in London.

How to Experience the Assassin’s Creed Games by Release Date

• Assassin’s Creed (2007) • Assassin’s Creed II (2009) • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010) • Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (2011) • Assassin’s Creed III / Liberation (2012) • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag / Freedom Cry (2013) • Assassin’s Creed Rogue (2014) • Assassin’s Creed Unity (2014) • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (2015) • Assassin’s Creed Origins (2017) • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (2018) • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (2020) • Assassin’s Creed Mirage (2023) • Assassin’s Creed Codename Jade (2023) • Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR (2024)

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