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Abstergo Industries is a narrative tie for the myriad Assassin’s Creed games. In the original titles, they played a significant role in the story, with the games having a storyline in the historical time period and a modern one following Abstergo. The company’s appearances in the games have waned over time, but they still play an integral role in the series’ narrative and provide the framing device that the entire franchise is built on. So, whether you are a new franchise player or a fan that just happened to miss a few games here and there, it is pivotal to understand everything you can about Abstergo Industries.
Key Info Up Front
Abstergo Industries is a modern-day arm of the Templar Order that works tirelessly toward its goals of controlling humanity in the name of ultimate peace. The company has ancient roots and invented the powerful machine known as the Animus to explore the ancestry of individuals to search for powerful relics.
Games Appeared In
- Assassin’s Creed
- Assassin’s Creed II
- Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
- Assassin’s Creed III
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
- Assassin’s Creed Rogue
- Assassin’s Creed Unity
- Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
- Assassin’s Creed Origins
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Abstergo Industries History
Abstergo Industries was founded in 1937 as a small part of an initiative by the Templar Order to extend its influence across the world through capitalism in pursuit of “the Plan.” The Plan was a monumental scheme devised by rulers of the order, including Henry Ford and Ransom Olds, to prepare the world for being ruled by the Templars. It was centered around dominating and ruling people through economics rather than direct force and coercion, leading to the worldwide embrace of capitalism, accelerated by Ford’s invention of the assembly line.
The founding of Abstergo Industries was then devised to form a company that could be used to protect the Plan’s leadership from legal action behind the veil of corporatism. The company also provided a convenient place for them to pool their resources, obfuscate their actions, and worm their products and influence into people’s lives in an unsuspecting way. Abstergo Industries quickly began spearheading various scientific projects, allowing them to spread their power by adopting new technologies and products.
When World War II was kickstarted with the help of Templar agents Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, the company largely stayed out of it. However, it gave its employees some power through labor unions to manipulate them into believing and investing more in the promises of capitalism. During the war, Abstergo took advantage of the global distraction it provided to prepare for the inevitable post-war period that would offer it plenty of opportunities to spread its reach.
Growth Post World War II
Immediately after World War II, Abstergo held the Bretton Woods Conference to instigate the spread of capitalism throughout the economic markets of Europe and began demonizing communism in any way that it could. One way that it accomplished this was by establishing the World Bank, further tying the economies of markets worldwide to Abstergo’s control.
However, that control was threatened by the work of the scientist Alan Turing. Turing’s work in robotics and artificial intelligence threatened to irradicate many lower-income jobs, possibly leaving countless poor workers out of work or encouraging them to pursue higher education and more free jobs meant for Templar agents. So, the Templar Order had Turing prosecuted and killed to prevent his work from getting out of hand.
Abstergo set its eyes on foreign governments, especially socialist ones. They were responsible for overthrowing dozens of rightfully elected leaders using assassination, fabricated controversies, and instigating revolutions. The company eventually even assassinated American president John F. Kennedy for his willingness to cooperate with the Soviet Union to reach the moon, causing the Templar agent Lyndon B. Johnson to take over in his place.
Abstergo also controlled NASA once international interest in space travel began growing, ensuring the company’s influence would extend well into the future and eventually allowing them to obtain a relic known as an Apple of Eden from the moon using their agents Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.
The Modern Years
By the late 1900s, Abstergo was one of the giant corporations in the world, although most people had never even heard its name. They became the leading pharmaceutical company while facilitating leaps in technology within other fields. The very first prototype of their iconic Animus system was completed in 1985 and quickly underwent testing. Other projects they worked on at the time included developing a way to funnel the abilities of relics through a network.
Abstergo Industries also played a crucial role in assisting Boris Yeltsin in overthrowing Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, effectively ending the Soviet Union. This marked the fall of one of Abstergo’s most significant opposing forces as Yeltsin privatized the previously state-controlled industries within Russia and handed them over to Templar-controlled oligarchs. Once Abstergo instituted Vladimir Putin’s lead over the country, capitalism’s domination was effectively complete.
Shortly after this, Abstergo began what became known as the Great Purge. After a secret operative known as Subject 4 infiltrated the leadership of the Assassins, a secretive order that historically opposed the Templars at every turn, the Templars were able to kill the leader of the order and begin wiping out their training facilities as well. This led to the order of Assassins being almost entirely wiped off the planet, although some cells remained well hidden enough to avoid detection.
Moving forward, Abstergo Industries was also able to instigate the invasion of Iraq by United States president George W. Bush to push the country towards becoming an economic powerhouse through the military-industrial complex thanks to the military contractor companies owned by vice president Dick Cheney. Abstergo’s control of the United States then spread thanks to the introduction of television sets in nearly every household across the country. Thanks to hidden television channels, the company could spy on families and gather information such as their daily habits, credit card numbers, and medical histories.
With their control extending to nearly every person on the planet, the company turned its attention toward doubling down on hunting down the powerful ancient relics spread across the planet. To do this, they began kidnapping individuals to search their Assassin ancestry for clues toward the resting places of the relics, where the video game series begins.
Abstergo in the Games
The very first game in the franchise kicked off a sprawling storyline that followed the likes of bartender Desmond Miles who was kidnapped by Abstergo Industries and forced to participate in its Animus project. The Animus allowed Desmond to relive the memories of his ancestor Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad during the year 1191. Throughout the game, players transition between controlling Altaïr and Desmond in the Abstergo facilities.
While playing as Desmond, players can start uncovering the dark truth of Abstergo and realizing that they are part of the modern Templar Order that his Assassin ancestor dedicated his life to opposing. As Desmond becomes more familiar with the way of the Assassins, he begins to learn their techniques and abilities and is eventually able to start seeing strange writings all over his room at Abstergo. The writings are from various periods throughout history but warn of Abstergo’s plan to launch a satellite that will be able to broadcast the power of a relic to control people’s minds all over the planet.
Assassin’s Creed II
In the second game of the franchise, players again follow Desmond Miles, who is rescued from Abstergo by the undercover Assassin agent Lucy Stillman. However, Lucy also steals an Animus and plans to have Desmond continue his search through the past to find the relic before Abstergo does. This time, however, Desmond follows another ancestor of his, Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Italy, along with the help of two other assassins: Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane.
While Desmond is in the Animus reliving Ezio’s life, he begins picking up some of his ancestor’s skills and abilities, and Lucy begins training him in the modern world. Desmond also discovers that a previous captive of Abstergo, known only as Subject 16, was able to hack the Animus system, leaving messages all over for other Assassins to discover that revealed the far-reaching power of the Templars throughout history.
Desmond’s newfound Assassin abilities eventually come in handy when Abstergo locates the warehouse where they are hiding out and attacks them, looking for information on a powerful relic known as the Apple of Eden. Abstergo’s forces in the attack are all killed by Desmond and Lucy, and the group flees the safehouse to find somewhere else where they can continue their search through Desmond’s genetic memories.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
The third game in the series continued to follow the story of Desmond, working from a new safe house with an improved Animus 2.0 to continue searching for the Apple of Eden. Through Ezio’s memories, the group can locate the Apple of Eden in an ancient vault. The group reaches the relic despite Abstergo trying to hunt them down, and when Desmond touches it, he is forced to stab Lucy in the abdomen by the influence of a powerful being known as Juno, one of the “ones who came before.” The act causes him to slip into a coma while placed back into the Animus by a couple of remaining Assassins, including his father, William Miles.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
The story of Ezio and Altaïr was then wrapped up in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. While Desmond is in a coma, he is trapped inside the Animus, along with a digital version of Subject 16 that helps him regain consciousness by completing more memories of Ezio’s and Altaïr’s. Desmond eventually learns that the relics are from the First Civilization, founded by the “ones who came before” to try and stop a great calamity that brought their race to near extinction.
He then communicates with three remaining members of the race, who tell him that a second calamity is coming and that he needs to work to stop it. He and the other assassins go out to the Great Temple in New York to try and do so while the Templars train a man named Juhani Otso Berg for the sole purpose of kidnapping Desmond’s father, William.
Assassin’s Creed III
In Assassin’s Creed III, Desmond and the remaining assassins go to the Great Temple and find a countdown for the second calamity that indicates it will occur on December 12, 2012. Desmond then explores the memories of his ancestor Haytham Kenway, a Templar agent in the American colonies, and Haytham’s bastard son Ratonhnhaké:ton, a Native American. While exploring the memories, Desmond is also pulled out by his allies to retrieve power cells needed to operate sections of the Great Temple.
While doing so, it is revealed to him by Juno that Lucy was an Abstergo agent the entire time and that she was manipulating Desmond as part of the company’s plan to find the Apple of Eden. William Miles is then kidnapped by Abstergo, who offers to trade him for the Apple of Eden. However, Desmond instead attacks Abstergo, killing their agent Daniel and Vidic, the man in charge of the Animus program. With William rescued, Desmond is successful in stopping the second calamity, although he has to give his life to do so.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Abstergo then manages to collect DNA from Desmond’s corpse to use it to explore the memories of his other ancestors, including Haytham Kenway’s father, Edward Kenway. They do this to use the information they collect to create the world’s most realistic pieces of media and entertainment to try to control people with pop culture and economically while also searching for other relics, known as Pieces of Eden.
Players then control a research analyst hired by Abstergo to search the memories of Edward Kenway for any useful information. The analyst, however, is revealed to be working with the Assassins to hack into the project, which Abstergo eventually discovers. So, they secluded the analyst so that he could continue his work, but he still worked to undermine Abstergo’s wishes. It is then revealed that the Assassins are attempting to manipulate the analyst into releasing Juno so that he can destroy most of humanity and bring back his civilization. Still, Abstergo can stop their attempts.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue
The modern story of Assassin’s Creed Rogue takes place in 2014 and follows the Abstergo employee Numbskull. Numbskull is investigating the memories of Shay Patrick Cormac, an Irish-American Assassin. One of Cormac’s memories triggers a shutdown in Abstergo’s entire server system, leading to Numbskull being tasked with exploring his memories further to try and bring them back online.
It is revealed that Cormac eventually switched sides to work with the Templars after he began questioning the motives and rules of the Assassins, and he began hunting down his former allies with prejudice. Eventually, Numbskull successfully brought the Abstergo servers back online, allowing the Templars to send the memories Numbskull discovered of the Assassin Achilles Davenport almost destroying the world to the remaining Assassins, sending them into complete disarray. Numbskull is then given either joining the Templars and continuing to work for them or being killed for knowing too much. However, the game does not reveal his choice.
Assassin’s Creed Unity
Unity follows a character known only as the Helix Initiate, who at the start of the game is being manipulated by Abstergo to search the memories of the assassin Arno Dorian to find clues to the location of the Sword of Eden and a relic known as the Codex Pater Intellectus. However, the Helix Initiate is approached by an Assassin known as Bishop, who tells them the truth and shows them the eternal conflict between the two ideologies. The Helix Initiate helped Bishop and completed the task of exploring everything Arno knew at the time to Bishop’s satisfaction, who then promised to contact them with another mission sometime soon.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
That next mission comes in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate when the Helix Initiate is tasked with helping Shaun Hastings. Rebecca Crane explores the memories of Assassin siblings Jacob and Evie Frye, in London to find a Piece of Eden. The Helix Initiate’s work allows the assassins to recover a relic known as the Shroud of Eden, but they are attacked by Abstergo soon after.
The Templar Order manages to get away with the Shroud, which they plan to use to create their original member of the First Civilization. One of the scientists working to do so is Juno in a mortal form, revealing that Abstergo is now working with Juno to crush the Assassins and humanity.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
The modern story in Origins follows the Abstergo employees Layla Hassan and Deanna Geary trying to find a powerful relic in modern-day Egypt. Instead, they find the mummies of the assassins Bayek and Aya. Hassan decides to relive their genetic memories to help them find the relic using her secret recreation of the Animus without telling her supervisors. She hopes that doing so will grant her a promotion to the actual Animus project.
While she explores Bayak’s memory with the help of Geary, the two are attacked by one of Abstergo’s task forces for not checking in with the company. The task force captures Deanna and is assumed to have been killed, causing Hassan to swear vengeance on Abstergo. Later, she is greeted by William Miles, who convinces her to work with the Assassins to get revenge on Abstergo. The two leave together despite Hassan not ultimately joining the order.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Odyssey allows players to choose the gender of their character, but the cannon option is the assassin Kassandra in ancient Greece. It is eventually revealed that Kassandra’s genetic memories are again being explored by Hassan, who uses Kassandra’s memories to open Atlantis and meets with Kassandra. Kassandra tells Hassan that she has to finish what Kassandra started and gives her the Staff of Hermes after making her promise to destroy it once her work is done. That work is to keep the Assassins and Templars in check, as she claims that either one gaining too much power over the other will bring doom to the world.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
The most recent title follows the exploits of the Viking king Elivor. Layla Hassan again takes center stage in the modern-day story, which centers around the Assassins detecting a strengthening of the Earth’s magnetic field in 2020. They then receive a signal leading them to New England, where they dig up Elivor’s remains and begin exploring their memories. They figure out that it is a result of Desmond Miles’ previous actions and find a way to stop it, despite Abstergo’s attempts to intervene.
Question: Is Abstergo evil?
Answer: Whether or not the company is evil depends on one’s moral values. Many find the company’s desire to strip people of their free will evil, but their ultimate goal is global peace, which is not an evil thing to desire. So, it depends on how one views just how far the company is willing to go to reach its goals.
Question: Is Assassin’s Creed true?
Answer: The order of Assassins in the series is based on an actual historical order, and a lot of its lore is taken from various religious and belief systems throughout the world. However, the modern-day equivalent of the Assassins, Abstergo, and the happenings of the video games are all entirely fiction.
Question: Who was the first assassin in Assassin’s Creed?
Answer: The first assassins are widely considered Adam and Eve, who were functionally proto-assassins that led humanity in a fight against oppression. This makes their relic, the Apple of Eden, extremely valuable and powerful for the Assassins and the Templar Order.
The modern-day plotline is both loved and reviled by Assassin’s Creed fans, but it doesn’t seem the developers have any plans to leave it behind any time soon. Thankfully, the modern story in Valhalla was widely regarded as a massive improvement over other recent titles so that fans will be seeing more of the company in future entries. So, fans will want to familiarize themselves with the company’s history and actions, as they are one of the fascinating parts of the franchise’s long-running modern-day subplot.
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