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Introduction to the Assassin's Creed Series - Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Guide

Are you new to the Assassin's Creed series but starting on AC4? This handy guide will help you jump in and catch up.

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It can be pretty daunting trying to get into the Assassin's Creed universe. For one, the Ubisoft title has five main games, as well as about ten supporting games that span several different epic timelines in history. 

You don't to know the Assassin's Creed storyline to enjoy the games, but if you're like me, then the story is one of the more important parts to understand when it comes to a video game. 

This is an introduction guide for players who are new to the series.

We'll take a quick look at the story and characters that you should know from the games prior to Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

This will contain spoilers for the other games in the Assassin's Creed franchise, but if you're looking for a quick recap or want to be filled in on the game before beginning the newest installment, this is a guide for you. 

The games are interconnected by a frame story set in 2012.

For much of the series, you are technically playing as Desmond Miles -- a descendent of a long line of prestigious Assassins. The Assassins are in eternal conflict with the Knights Templar (who are related to an ancient species "pre-dating humanity.") Desmond was kidnapped by the current face of the Knights Templar, Abstergo Industries and forced to use a device called the "Animus." 

The Animus allows Desmond to relive the memories of his ancestors so that he can assist Abstergo in recovering several artifacts, known as the "Pieces of Eden." Desmond is then used by a group of modern Assassin's (through a device called the Animus 2.0) to locate more "Pieces of Eden" before Abstergo does. 

Desmond discovers that his memories hold the key to Earth surviving a catastrophic end in 2012, seen by a mysterious being known as Subject 16. To protect Earth, Desmond dies. His memories, however, are preserved by Abstergo, which hires a new subject to enter the Animus and continue to access the memories of Desmond's ancestors. 

Most of the gameplay of Assassin's Creed is actually performed through the memories of several key historical Assassins in different time periods.

Desmond witnesses these figures through the Animus. 

The following is a quick summation of each of the main previous games, as well as introducing important recurring characters and assassins: 

Assassin's Creed: Altair Ibn-La'Ahad

Altair Ibn-La'Ahad, an assassin during the Third Crusade. Through the initial Assassin's Creed game you play as Altair, attempting to assassinate nine Knights Templar. As Desmond, you are saved from murder at the hands of Abstergo by Lucy Stillman, an Assassin mole. 

In Assassin's Creed II: Ezio Auditore a Fireze

In Assassin's Creed II, you play as Ezio Auditore a Fireze, a 15th century Florence nobleman avenging the death of his father. As Desmond, you are avoiding Abstergo and utilizing the Animus created by the Assassin's. 

Through Assassin's Creed: Revelations and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, you play as Ezio and Altair again, while Desmond continues to avoid the watchful eye of Abstergo. 

Assassin's Creed III: Connor Kenway

Assassin's Creed III takes place during the height of the American Revolution and follows the Assassin known as Ratonhnhakéton, or more colloquially as Connor Kenway. Connor is half-Mohawk, half-British, and interacts with such historical figures as George Washington.

On Desmond's side of things, he encounters holographic projections of three ancient rulers: Juno, Jupiter and Minerva. These characters are met previously through the series, but their interaction is probably the strongest in this game where they (Juno specifically) are released to stop the effect of a solar flare, which then results in Desmond's ultimate death. 

The newest game in the franchise Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, which will follow the exploits of Edward Kenway, privateer and ancestor to Connor Kenway. 

Feel free to leave any more comments on plot points in the comments below. 

Ready to play? Head over to the Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Guide list

Originally Published Oct. 29th 2013

Associate Editor

Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.

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