The Assassin’s Creed franchise is a household name that spawns across a period of two and a half millennia of our history. Ubisoft has always aimed to capture our history as closely as possible and knit it within the yarn of a multi-generation Assassin brotherhood.
Blending real-world history with a gripping fantasy story is quite a thrilling concept but with a dozen games released over a period of 13 years, understanding the chronological order of the Assassin’s Creed franchise can be a challenge for anyone. This is further complicated by the fact that Ubisoft decided to leap through the timelines with the release of Assassin’s Creed Origins.
The exact play order of the series can be a heated subject among the core fanbase. Should you play the games in chronological order? Or should you play through the series in order of their release date?
This guide sets out the full chronological order of the all the Assassin’s Creed games, complete with our recommended order to play all the games in the series.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey (431 - 404 BC)
Set in the golden days of Ancient Greece, Assassin's Creed Odyssey is the first game in the chronological order of the series. The game takes place in 431 - 404 BC and builds upon the backdrop of the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens.
Odyssey was the first Assassin’s Creed game to introduce RPG mechanics. For the first time eve, you could choose the gender of the Assassin. Missions had multiple endings based on your actions and dialogue choices. The game also introduced a more extensive combat system that built upon the revamped fighting mechanics of Assassin’s Creed Origins. But the core mechanics of stealth and parkour were preserved in the game.
While the game wasn’t akin to the modern-day Assassin brotherhood, it explored the ideas of the first civilization and the origins of the Templar order, then known as the Cult of Kosmos.
Assassin’s Creed Origins (49-43 BC)
Assassin’s Creed Origins was the biggest overhaul in the Assassin’s Creed series. Ubisoft took a break from the beaten formula of chronologically progressing through the years and took a leap in history. Set in 49-43 BC Egypt, the game introduces Bayek of Siwa.
After Byek failed to save his child, he goes down the path of rage and revenge to defeat the Order of the Ancients. In the process, he also plants the roots of the modern-day brotherhood.
Origins was not just an overhaul in setting and story, but the complete gameplay dynamics. Now, there were multiple weapon classes and a detailed skill tree, which paved the path for full-blown RPG mechanics in Odyseey and Valhalla.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (873 AD)
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the latest game (as of November 2020) in the Assassin’s Creed series, is set in northern Europe in 873 AD. The Viking expansion of Europe acts as the backdrop of the game.
As Eivor, you’re tasked reuniting the Viking clans and taking over England. The Order of the Ancients, the predecessor of the Templar Order, has a strong presence in England which ties the Assassin-Templar conflict of the story.
The game expands on the RPG system pioneered by Origins and Odyssey and presents an interesting conflict between multiple factions. The newly introduced raiding mechanic presents a new side of the story, while the fantasy aspects of the story explore the deeper relations of the characters.
Assassin’s Creed (1191 AD)
The first instalment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, this was the game that set the roadmap for Ubisoft’s beloved series. Developed as a spin-off of the Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed paved it’s way to a stand-alone title, exploring the formation of Assassin Brotherhood as we know it today.
Assassin’s Creed was the most historically accurate game to date, exploring the Middle Eastern cities after the Crusader conquests. Heck, the developers even removed the crossbow to preserve the historical accuracy of the game. Assassin’s Creed lay the foundations of stealth and parkour gameplay that is so reminiscent with the series itself.
Assassin’s Creed 2 (1476-1499), Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (1499-1507 AD), Assassin’s Creed Revelations (1511-1512 AD)
One may argue that these three are three distinct games, I’d object and say that they are just three parts of one game, the Ezio Trilogy. The three games detail the birth, life and death of the Master Assassin Ezio Auditore. They take place during the Italian Renaissance in some of the most iconic cities like Venice, Florence and Istanbul among others. You’ll also come across some classical figures like Da Vinci.
Despite being about a decade old, the Ezio Trilogy is the most famous among the franchise. It wasn’t just the breathtaking locations or improved gameplay that made it so popular. In fact, I’d argue that it was just Ezio’s story that has kept the game in limelight even today. The story tells the moment Ezio came out of the womb all the way to his final days. We saw him develop from a carefree young man to a refined master Assassin and loving husband over the course of three games.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (1715-1722 AD)
Although Assassin’s Creed 3 came out first, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag takes place before the third instalment in the chronological order. Like Odyssey, Black Flag was not so much of an ‘Assassin Game’ as it was a ‘Pirate Game’, at least till the endgame.
Edward Kenway was a pirate in the Golden Age of Piracy, stealing from Spanish, French and the Brits. The newly introduced naval combat was an instant hit. The game opened up the world map to the vast sea, dotted with islands and iconic locations. Edward was a man that lived for himself, but as the story progresses, he learns the way of the Assassins and becomes a master Assassin.
While the game and Edward’s story ended there, the Kenway bloodline was yet part ways with the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Edward’s son, Hetham, was a master templar and an important figure in Assassin's Creed Rogue as well as Assassin's Creed 3. While Connor Kenway, Edward’s grandson, was the protagonist of Assassin's Creed 3.
Assassin's Creed Rogue (1752-1776 AD) & Assassin's Creed 3 (1754-1783)
Assassin’s Creed Rogue and Assassin's Creed 3 take place at almost the same time. But while Shay Patrick is a grown Assassin when Rogue starts, Assassin’s Creed 3 details Connor’s early life.
Shay Patrick betrays the Assassin brotherhood and joins Templar order after a newfound belief. While the gameplay was pretty much the same as Assassin’s Creed IV Blackflag in the sense that naval combat was the focus of the game, the story was pretty unique.
For the first time, we saw the Templar way of life and, in all honesty, they didn’t seem like the bad guys, not any more than the brotherhood itself. Remember all the cheeky techniques you used, and Assassin like smoke bombs, attacking Templars from the cover of crowds? Be prepared for all these tactics to be used against you when you step into the shoes of a Templar.
Connor’s story takes place on the other side of the pond, using the American Revolution as it’s the backdrop. Instead of tightly packed cities, Assassin’s Creed 3 is full of wild frontiers. A few new gameplay dynamics such as the bow and arrow and a killer rope are introduced, but the core gameplay is retained. Connor’s struggle is the very reason that the Colonial brotherhood in America falls and leads to American freedom.
While the release order is a bit confusing, Assassin's Creed Rogue and Assassin's Creed 3 neatly fill up the void between Blackflag and Unity. The correct play order would start with Blackflag, followed by Assassin's Creed 3, Assassin's Creed Rogue and Assassin's Creed Unity.
Assassin’s Creed Unity (1776-1800 AD)
Unity picks up right where Rogue left us. Back in the beautiful European cities, step into the shoes of Arno Dorian. The bloody French revolution serves as the backdrop of the game. On top of the basic Assassins vs Tempars arch, Unity had a fine romance weaved into the plot of the game.
It gave players the option to choose to their own weapons to fit their playstyle, the baby steps of the full-fledged RPG that the series is today. Unity also included the option to play through the majority of the campaign in CO-OP mode, thus the name ‘unity’.
Unity was a spectacular game, that, unfortunately, failed to live up to the hype. The game was littered with glitches on the launch. The devs fixed all the bugs consecutively and gave the expansion DLC for free as a compensation, but the damage had been already done.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (1868 AD)
Assassin's Creed Syndicate is officially the last chronological game in the main series. The game takes place at the brink of the Industrial revolution and tells the story of the Frye twins. London is sprawling with opportunities and new developments, but it’s under the cruel grip of Templars. The Twins aim to build their own gang, the Rooks, to take control of London.
You can’t openly carry swords and maces in modernised London, so your weapon choices are limited to concealed, small weapons like knuckles, kukri or a walking stick. This radically changes the combat, and hence the whole game. London is a huge city, so the new game allowed you to ride horse carriages as well as swing across the city with a zipline.
If you want to enjoy the old-school, classic Assassin’s Creed formula, Syndicate was the last game that did it.
Other Assassin’s Creed Games and Titles
The Assassin’s Creed franchise expands far beyond the main games. Standalone DLCs, side games, mobile games, books, comics and even a movie are under the radar of the franchise. While the main story of the Assassin Brotherhood is bound in the main games, all the side games and other titles close the loose ends.
Our Recommended Play Order for Assassin’s Creed Games
Here’s the good news for those who are new to the series, you can play any game without prior knowledge of previous titles. Each Assassin’s Creed game features a stand-alone story that’s centred around the protagonist, although it is always somehow related with the other parts of the series. So you won’t feel out of touch when you’re playing a game at random.
The only exception to this is the Ezio Trilogy. Although it’s three separate games, I firmly believe it’s just three parts of one game. You won’t understand what’s going on in Brotherhood if you haven’t played Assassin’s Creed 2, and the same can be said for Revelations. The story is closely knit together, so you must play the Ezio Trilogy as one game rather than three different ones.
However, if you’re someone who’d like to experience the Assassin’s Creed franchise in its full glory, then follow the chronological order mentioned here. You’ll feel a stark change in gameplay shifting from Origins to Assassin’s Creed, but the story at large will have no loopholes.