Why Desmond’s Journey Ends in ‘Assassin’s Creed 3,’ According to Ubisoft

Jul 23, 2012 by  

Assassins Creed 3 Desmond Miles Story

Five years, four games, and two ancestral assassins gone by, Desmond Miles has served as the transcendent protagonist in Assassin’s Creed from the very beginning. The New York City bartender, kidnapped at first by Abstergo, traveling back in time to discover his true history – and destiny within the Assassin Order.

Assassin’s Creed III is the culmination of that story. Ubisoft stated last year that Desmond make his final appearance amid a narrative tied to the 2012 apocalypse – an endpoint many of the AC story threads have been inching forward to, if ever so slowly. But why now? Why send the modern day embodiment of Altair, Ezio, and Connor on his way when the franchise, in Ubisoft’s eyes, is still in its infancy? According to Assassin’s Creed III creative lead Alex Hutchinson, it’s crucial for moving forward.

Hutchinson spoke at a Ubisoft press event yesterday, according to The Verge, and described Desmond Miles as a “wrapper.” Think of candy bar: he frames the overarching assassin storyline, but each narrative beyond the initial unfolding contains its own unique experience. At some point, there’s no longer a need for it:

“It’s more like The Twilight Zone. There’s always a guy introducing it and he’s there every episode, but each game completes its own story. Assassin’s Creed 1 was Altair’s story. Ezio has been and gone. You can engage with these historical stories individually without having to necessarily understand Desmond’s story. But yes, we eventually do have to wrap it up.”

If the pace of each game so far can be compared to The Twilight Zone, Hutchinson thinks the entire, massive property that is Assassin’s Creed is analogous to Star Trek. And the future lies within The Next Generation:

“I always pitched it to the guys on this game to think of it almost like Star Trek. Each game is a season [...] each big number is a sub-title. We’re not changing the universe, but we’re being given the reins to the equivalent of [Star Trek:] The Next Generation. Yes, it’s the Star Trek universe, and that has certain immutable laws and there’s a base kind of tone to it, but within that you can do whatever you want.”

Hutchinson also believes that this philosophy – essentially turning new iterations of Assassin’s Creed into brand new IPs – is already reflected greatly in Assassin’s Creed III. Without Desmond, everything from the American Revolution setting to the revamped gameplay mechanics to the new protagonist, Connor, comprises something that’s “90% a new game.”

So at some point Desmond becomes a liability, a roadblock to that ultimate goal of 100 percent. When asked if this warrants the outright death of Desmond, Hutchinson would only use the word “end,” but reiterated that seven, real-life years of story will be enough for a franchise bigger than any one character.

Desmond Miles Assassins Creed 3 Ending

That Ubisoft has begun discussing Desmond Miles now is no surprise; the last four months have already painted an enticing picture of the game’s American Revolution backdrop. And yet while we now know why his story ends, a lot remains to be answered on how. Previous Assassin’s Creeds have been fairly content with keeping Desmond’s journey under wraps until actually releasing, and it’s quite possible Ubisoft doesn’t want to spoil his coup de grace.

Ranters, where do you think Assassin’s Creed will go after Desmond Miles? Could a game like Assassin’s Creed: Liberation – releasing for the PlayStation Vita alongside AC III – provide a good template for a post-Desmond world?

Assassin’s Creed III releases on October 30, 2012 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. A Wii U release is slated for a later date.

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Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: The Verge

61 Comments

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  1. Whoever thinks that Desmond is dumb obviously doesn’t know the story. The only reason Minerva and Juno are present is because of Desmond. they had to travel to the future because they cant go past. Juno wanted to be free so she went to Connors time and guided him she had to make sure that Connor would burry amulet in the grave so Desmond could find it. Juno was stuck in the temple the only way to be free is for the amulet to open the door and touch the pedestal. He did so, but Minerva tried to prevent him because all of them would be enslaved and desmond would die. That’s why Minerva made sure that Ezio hid the apple of eden in the coliseum. Desmond is the most important if it wasn’t for him the world could have ended.

  2. Sorry, but killing off Desmond doesn’t make any sense. I mean it was fine and dandy for putting the wraps on this plot line, but given the fact that they prevented the big disaster. Exactly what plot line can they possibly follow that will make us care the way we did about Desmond/Altair/Ezio? (Sorry but I hate Conner, he was boring as hell and I just didn’t feel anything for him)

    Honestly, I think they shot themselves in the foot with the way they ended things. It would have made more sense to me if they simply left Desmond and focused on a different assassin group for a while.

  3. Something I just thought of: in ACIII a big story point for connor was working with the enemy (his father) because their goals aligned. In the series leading forward we may see a temporary alliance between assassins and templars to take down Juno. Just an idea.

  4. Eliminating Desmond Miles from the story came on dude it completely makes the game fail and suck besides Ezio or Altair and even Connor were awesome assassins but the story should had at least had focused on Desmond to accomplish something I know he saved the world and that the Templars would last a long time but honestly am completely disappointed with the ubisoft descition of giving rid of Desmond I don’t know what were their reasons but one thing is true and that is that the assassins creed producers just screwed up the game by giving rid of the star. Desmond has lived not long enough and he did the best he could so he never got time to fight for what he wanted to ? Why did they made up those stupid assassins like Connor came on he sucks honestly that assassins creed 3 sucked so much than ever and they should have made Desmond’s life end in a better way than the stupid way he did I know that nobody lasts forever but think about it people he didn’t deserve to die like that he out of all the assassins will always be the best and even do they through him in the trash that will mark the assassins creed series forever. They should have done a better descition and not that crap they did there. I honestly will say what I believe and that is that if they eneded with Desmond by killing him I say they stop assassins creed and don’t make any other parts because without Desmond the game and the order of the Assassins doesn’t have a reason to be.

  5. killing off desmond like that was a good choice because it all seemed like those superhero thing where only 1 person was like a hero or something. but the thing is that before killing desmond they should have had gave a chance to know him better or gave a dlc on him that would have been a goodbye to him. and to connor he did good in the according to me.
    finally ubisoft should have allowed to know desmond miles better before just killing him off.

    • Killing off Desmond like that was a kick-in-the-balls, slap-in-the-face betrayal. I have spent $60 on five of these Assassin’s Creed games since 2007 awaiting the epic finale to a story that was once mysterious, intriguing, and exciting. But suddenly, Ubisoft starts making all these incredibly (and obviously) stupid decisions with the story, such as Lucy and bringing Desmond’s father back into the plot. And those are just two examples of how screwed up this has gotten!

      But even though they didn’t do pretty much anything right from the ending of Brotherhood onwards, they promised resolution and a payoff for all the CRAP they’ve put us and Desmond through with the modern storyline. They could’ve redeemed themselves, and even though they’d severely messed it up by that time, the decisions they should’ve made to recover themselves were not only obvious, but again, easy. Instead, they chose to copy one of – if not the – worst ideas anyone who has ever written a story has ever had: to make the protagonist’s entire adventure in vein, in the hopes that anyone they haven’t chased off (because there sure as hell were a lot fewer people complaining about Desmond before Revelations) would be satisfied with their weak, cliche, and clearly-seen-through attempts to transform this franchise into the next Call of Duty – which is to say, nothing but purely undignified milking machine designed to suck as many profits out of a popular IP as they possibly can.

      And don’t even get me started on how terrible the ancestors’ stories were in ACIII… or this horseshit new “Tyranny of King Washington” episodic DLC (which, as anyone with the slightest of perspective would point out, is the beginning them bleeding their franchise dry) which presents us with an “alternate reality” instead of being cleaverly integrated into the game’s actual – and flimsy – storyline. Ugh…

    • Killing off Desmond like that was a kick-in-the-balls, slap-in-the-face betrayal. I have spent $60 on five of these Assassin’s Creed games since 2007 awaiting the epic finale to a story that was once mysterious, intriguing, and exciting. But suddenly, Ubisoft starts making all these incredibly (and obviously) stupid decisions with the story, such as Lucy and bringing Desmond’s father back into the plot. And those are just two examples of how screwed up this has gotten!

      But even though they didn’t do pretty much anything right from the ending of Brotherhood onwards, they promised resolution and a payoff for all the CRAP they’ve put us and Desmond through with the modern storyline. They could’ve redeemed themselves, and even though they’d severely messed it up by that time, the decisions they should’ve made to recover themselves were not only obvious, but again, easy. Instead, they chose to copy one of – if not the – worst ideas anyone who has ever written a story has ever had: to make the protagonist’s entire adventure in vein, in the hopes that anyone they haven’t chased off (because there sure as hell were a lot fewer people complaining about Desmond before Revelations) would be satisfied with their weak, cliche, and clearly-seen-through attempts to transform this franchise into the next Call of Duty – which is to say, nothing but purely undignified milking machine designed to suck as many profits out of a popular IP as they possibly can.

      And don’t even get me started on how terrible the ancestors’ stories were in ACIII… or this stupendous new “Tyranny of King Washington” episodic DLC (which, as anyone with the slightest of perspective would point out, is the beginning them bleeding their franchise dry) which presents us with an “alternate reality” instead of being cleaverly integrated into the game’s actual – and flimsy – storyline. Ugh…

    • Killing off Desmond like that was a kick-in-the-balls, slap-in-the-face betrayal. I have spent $60 on five of these Assassin’s Creed games since 2007 awaiting the epic finale to a story that was once mysterious, intriguing, and exciting. But suddenly, Ubisoft starts making all these incredibly (and obviously) stupid decisions with the story, such as Lucy and bringing Desmond’s father back into the plot. And those are just two examples of how screwed up this has gotten!

      But even though they didn’t do pretty much anything right from the ending of Brotherhood onwards, they promised resolution and a payoff for all the CRAP they’ve put us and Desmond through with the modern storyline. They could’ve redeemed themselves, and even though they’d severely messed it up by that time, the decisions they should’ve made to recover themselves were not only obvious, but again, easy. Instead, they chose to copy one of – if not the – worst ideas anyone who has ever written a story has ever had: to make the protagonist’s entire adventure in vein, in the hopes that anyone they haven’t chased off (because there sure as hell were a lot fewer people complaining about Desmond before Revelations) would be satisfied with their weak, cliche, and clearly-seen-through attempts to transform this franchise into the next Call of Duty – which is to say, nothing but purely undignified milking machine designed to suck as many profits out of a popular IP as they possibly can.

    • Killing off Desmond like that was a kick-in-the-balls, slap-in-the-face betrayal. I have spent $60 on five of these Assassin’s Creed games since 2007 awaiting the epic finale to a story that was once mysterious, intriguing, and exciting. But suddenly, Ubisoft starts making all these incredibly (and obviously) stupid decisions with the story, such as Lucy and bringing Desmond’s father back into the plot. And those are just two examples of how screwed up this has gotten!

      But even though they didn’t do pretty much anything right from the ending of Brotherhood onwards, they promised resolution and a payoff for all the CRAP they’ve put us and Desmond through with the modern storyline. They could’ve redeemed themselves, and even though they’d severely messed it up by that time, the decisions they should’ve made to recover themselves were not only obvious, but again, easy. Instead, they chose to copy one of – if not the – worst ideas anyone who has ever written a story has ever had: to make the protagonist’s entire adventure in vein, in the hopes that anyone they haven’t chased off (because there sure as h*ll were a lot fewer people complaining about Desmond before Revelations) would be satisfied with their weak, cliche, and clearly-seen-through attempts to transform this franchise into the next Call of Duty – which is to say, nothing but purely undignified milking machine designed to suck as many profits out of a popular IP as they possibly can.

  6. I personally hope that AC will move away from the Sci Fi elements. I know that they probably won’t be able to now, considering it’s a part of the series…but still.

    I honestly lost interest in the “out of animus” sequences….and if anything, they began to take me out of the epic, historical setting that Assassins Creed does so well.

    • The American Revolution wasn’t a good choice for ACIII. It’s too campy and uninteresting, especially since the game was supposed to (and failed spectacularly) to be about protecting the world from the sun AND stopping the templars from taking control of the world with their satelite. A setting such as the American Revolution is just too obviously trying to tie itself to Desmond’s story, on top of not being in any way a unique time period that “few games ever explore”, like Ubisoft said was one of the things they were trying to do with the AC franchise.

      But the cherry on top of the cake is definitely this horsesh*t new episodic DLC, “The Tyranny of King Washington”. There are way, WAY too many fictionalizations of well-known historical figures in ACIII already, for one thing. And for another, the idea of having this be an “alternate reality” is stupid, when they should just integrate it into the game’s weak story – it might help inject something interesting into it, although it already looks pretty trashy. And for a third issue, George Washington was already shown in one of Subject 16′s puzzles from ACII as having once come into contact with a Piece of Eden, so turning him into a templar tyrant and presenting it as an “alternate reality” is a contradiction in their original canon.

      As for Desmond, I’m betting you would have liked him a lot more if he had done more than hop out of the Animus for a few minutes every once in a while. To be quite honest, they should’ve had him doing things way back in ACB. I like Desmond, and without him, I’ll be reluctant (to put it mildly) about playing any further in this franchise – and it doesn’t help that they’ve botched this up so badly, either. But I would’ve been a lot happier if they had done more with him to compliment the (once) interesting nature of his story arc. And if they had, I would’ve had few problems saying goodbye and moving on – primarily because it would’ve felt like a less transparent attempt to cater to the vocal minority and still get more of my money from me at the same time.

    • The American Revolution wasn’t a good choice for ACIII. It’s too campy and uninteresting, especially since the game was supposed to (and failed spectacularly) to be about protecting the world from the sun AND stopping the templars from taking control of the world with their satelite. A setting such as the American Revolution is just too obviously trying to tie itself to Desmond’s story, on top of not being in any way a unique time period that “few games ever explore”, like Ubisoft said was one of the things they were trying to do with the AC franchise.

      But the cherry on top of the cake is definitely this stupendous new episodic DLC, “The Tyranny of King Washington”. There are way, WAY too many fictionalizations of well-known historical figures in ACIII already, for one thing. And for another, the idea of having this be an “alternate reality” is stupid, when they should just integrate it into the game’s weak story – it might help inject something interesting into it, although it already looks pretty trashy. And for a third issue, George Washington was already shown in one of Subject 16′s puzzles from ACII as having once come into contact with a Piece of Eden, so turning him into a templar tyrant and presenting it as an “alternate reality” is a contradiction in their original canon.

      As for Desmond, I’m betting you would have liked him a lot more if he had done more than hop out of the Animus for a few minutes every once in a while. To be quite honest, they should’ve had him doing things way back in ACB. I like Desmond, and without him, I’ll be reluctant (to put it mildly) about playing any further in this franchise – and it doesn’t help that they’ve botched this up so badly, either. But I would’ve been a lot happier if they had done more with him to compliment the (once) interesting nature of his story arc. And if they had, I would’ve had few problems saying goodbye and moving on – primarily because it would’ve felt like a less transparent attempt to cater to the vocal minority and still get more of my money from me at the same time.

    • The American Revolution wasn’t a good choice for ACIII. It’s too campy and uninteresting, especially since the game was supposed to (and failed spectacularly) to be about protecting the world from the sun AND stopping the templars from taking control of the world with their satelite. A setting such as the American Revolution is just too obviously trying to tie itself to Desmond’s story, on top of not being in any way a unique time period that “few games ever explore”, like Ubisoft said was one of the things they were trying to do with the AC franchise.

      But the cherry on top of the cake is definitely this stupendous new episodic DLC, “The Tyranny of King Washington”. There are way, WAY too many fictionalizations of well-known historical figures in ACIII already, for one thing. And for another, the idea of having this be an “alternate reality” is stupid, when they should just integrate it into the game’s weak story – it might help inject something interesting into it, although it already looks pretty trashy. And for a third issue, George Washington was already shown in one of Subject 16′s puzzles from ACII as having once come into contact with a Piece of Eden, so turning him into a templar tyrant and presenting it as an “alternate reality” is a contradiction in their original canon.

      As for Desmond, I’m betting you would have liked him a lot more if he had done more than hop out of the Animus for a few minutes every once in a while. To be quite honest, they should’ve had him doing things way back in ACB. I like Desmond, and without him, I’ll be reluctant (to put it mildly) about playing any further in this franchise – and it doesn’t help that they’ve messed this up so badly, either. But I would’ve been a lot happier if they had done more with him to compliment the (once) interesting nature of his story arc. And if they had, I would’ve had few problems saying goodbye and moving on – primarily because it would’ve felt like a less transparent attempt to cater to the vocal minority and still get more of my money from me at the same time.

  7. The makers of assassins creed clearly don’t know s*** about their own game. They didn’t even realize that all of this genetic memory stuff was just to train desmond to become someone important like his ancestors not just some random dude that needs to die. Ubisoft got it’s priorities wrong & their vision of assassins creed is all wrong and messed up. Desmond was not a “wrapper” god that was the most stupid thing to say. Assassins creed is putting over emphasis on the going inside the animus to learn about your ancestors while the main plot is the assassins and templars. Too much importance on the past is the problem here. why can’t we have a assassins creed game set completely in the present time line?. Just how many times are we going to relive the lives of the dead assassins i already got the point assassins and templars fighting for free will & people of first civilization left artifacts etc etc i get it. According to me bringing Juno of the 1st civilization as an enemy was a bad idea, they should have kept those guys dead and gone. I am not against going back in time but there should be some creed games set exclusive in the present world cause going back in the past by reliving the lives of your ancestors is great but it’s still is all in the past & i kind of want to know what’s happening to the creed & the templars in the present. All that training and gaining experience of your ancestors has to mean something which can only be done by setting some games in the present also ubisoft logic is the present is not that important people just want to go relive the past..lol

  8. I think that Ubisoft is kind of stupid and sometimes i think they are demented and taking off Desmond is a real dumb ass mistake! Me and my Friend keep thinking and asking our selves how is Edword Kenway active without Desmond i mean Desmond got the Humour and every-thing! the point i am making is maybe Desmond mite come back to life (e.g Altair when he got stabbed in the heart somehow he reborn) so he might reborn or one of the Gods might give his life back!!! SO HE MIGHT BE BACK ON TRACK but Ubisoft is being a REAL B**CH TAKING AWAY DESMOND IN AC3!

  9. why did they do that?

  10. I don’t disagree with killing off the main character it’s just when the hero dies so should the franchise. Desmond should have had a few more games and then should have been killed along with the franchise

    • Their concept of killing of Desmond was a terrible move for the games. I always saw it as we would slowly grow from the Assassin Creed Historical Games that were suppose to be training you/Desmond for the war against the Templars. Into a game that takes place in the present, as Desmond as the main character. Instead they ended the great conflict within a second instead of a massive war fought in present day and the past with Desmond fighting as a true Assassin and as their leader. 3 was a beyond let down for the plot and the company. Desmond must make a return, he released a god for pete’s sake! Why can’t she bring him back to life. There’s still assassin’s and Templars, and still a war going on. There’s still hope.

  11. Absolute BS. This guy can say that all he wants, and to a certain extent he is right. Desmond HAD to die, for the profit margin. If you go back to AC 1 and 2 and just forget everything about the next games, you can see a clear cut story that was meant to be a trilogy. I can even explain it. AC1: Desmond learns his origins through Altair. AC2: Desmond becomes a master assassin through Ezio. What AC3 should have been: The time has come for Desmond to confront the Templars and save the world. (Warning!!!None existent spoilers): Desmond infiltrates Abstergo, where it all began, and sets the satellite with the pieces of eden to create a barrier, protecting Earth, instead of the Templars plan to use it for mind control. Then Desmond must confront Vidic and Daniel Cross in an epic final showdown.

    F*** you ***holes, I just made the story awesome in like 30 seconds. You have my permission to use it for the movies.

  12. I’ve just finished playing the Black Flag and stumbled across this post. As I saw in the numerous comments above, whomever was in charge of the story line, simply destroyed a pretty decent game. There were many questionable decisions but to name a few of them I remember at the back of my head,

    1. Could have made a double agent Lucy and Desmond into a love-line relationship and thus, creating a much more needed depth of the ‘present era’ story line. But instead, you just decided to kill her off with a possessed Desmond and leaves him(and everyone) dumbfounded. Good job.

    2. After playing through the story of Haytham kenway and Connor, Haytham and Connor clearly did not see eye to eye, but was father and son nontheless. Haytham tried to convince Connor and even spared his life numerous times, and what does Connor do? he kills his father without beating an eyelash, not to mention killing his childhood friend ever so decisively. Maybe he could have I dunno.. persuaded him?? or just evaded him?? I threw away the keyboard in disgust after hearing Haytham say that he was proud of Connor as a father while being gutted by him. Seriously, I wanted Connor to try an air assassination move on himself. Even with the Black Flag UBI demonstrates an uncanny knack for killing off almost everyone involved.

    3. Speaking of killing off everyone, by disposing Desmond, UBI probably delivered the finishing blow to the already staggering storyline of AC. Throughout the series, players create a bond between Desmond and are deeply interested on how Desmond responds to the sudden change of environment from the daily bartender. The Player trains and bonds with Desmond throughout Altair, Ezio, Connor, knowing that Desmond absorbed what these great assassins achieved throughout their life time, only in a matter of months. AAAAAAAAAAAAAND they just kill him off. WOW REALLY?? the expressions above stating that they feel slapped across the face and backstabbed is an understatement. I mean.. what the hell was aaaaalll that for??

  13. Lemme let you in on a secret. There is no coup de grace. This series has no end. You may ask “how so?”. Because ubisoft wants your money, and Desmond’s story acted as the story’s overarching plot. If they truly ended Desmond’s story correctly, then there’d be no more game, and no more money. So they drag it along with s*** story telling by saving Desmond’s brain.

  14. I think killing off Desmond Miles was the worse thing they could have done. To me Desmond Miles, wasn’t just a wrapper character that is included in every story just to start them out, as Ubisoft puts it. To me Desmond Miles was the reason for playing as those character. I felt like the franchise was training Desmond Miles and having him finding all of the Pieces of Eden, until we finally get to present time. By that time Desmond would be a fully trained Assassin just like all of his past selves, except that the story takes place completely in present time. Branching into games of Desmond Finishing the collecting of all the Pieces of Eden and beating the Templars in present time.

    Now it feels like to me, there is no point to playing the games. It would have been fine, if they started the series without Desmond and without all of the build up. Just going through the lives of all those Assassins through history. But having started with Desmond you should have continued with his story building up to present time Assassin story with Desmond being a fully mastered Assassin in our time.

  15. Poor Lucy she is beautiful

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