While there can be no disputing the villainous nature of the Templars, the Brotherhood is arguably just as big a threat to Assassin’s Creed’s world.
By Tom Bowen
Published Mar 27, 2021
Although the Templars are typically portrayed as the villains of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series, it’s difficult to ignore some of the many sins committed by the assassins in their quest to bring peace to the world. Things started off slowly, but, over the years, the Brotherhood has racked up a lengthy list of crimes?which grows longer still with every new game.
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Players have been introduced to?plenty of different assassins?throughout the series; each one of them with their own motives for joining the cause. One thing that they all have in common though, is death. For a group who claims so passionately to want peace and freedom, the amount of carnage and bloodshed that’s left behind in their wake?suggests that their intentions?may not be quite as pure as they’d like people to believe.
In much the same way that a cult might, the assassins have a nasty habit of targeting and recruiting young children. Not just any children either, but typically those who have recently experienced personal loss and tragedy in their lives which is then used to indoctrinate them into the Brotherhood.
While it could certainly be argued that they are simply targeting people with the motivation required to become assassins, the teachings of the order are in no way appropriate for children and inhibit their ability to develop their own ideas about what constitutes right and wrong.
According to the Creed, assassins should never use their blades against the innocent. This sounds good on paper, but the problem is that who is and isn’t innocent seems somewhat open to their interpretation. One thing that is consistent, however, is that anybody who has even the slightest affiliation with the Templars is usually deemed fair game.
This can be seen in countless places throughout the series, with thousands of guards having fallen victim to the assassins over the years. Perhaps the most egregious example though can be found in the series’ first entry when Altair must interrogate a number of Heralds. Despite getting the information he needs from them by beating them, he then kills them with his hidden blade anyway.
Even those who have no affiliation with the Templars whatsoever are not safe from the Brotherhood, as evidenced in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations when Ezio and Yusuf are trying to gain access to Arsenal. Rather than using their years of training to sneak into the area, however, they decide to incite a riot?instead.
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Moments after the commotion kicks off, Janissaries swoop in and begin attacking the angry mob. Despite Ezio’s half-hearted efforts, many of the group are brutally killed as they attempt to open the gate. Although they do eventually succeed, they do so at the expense of many lives, but this doesn’t seem to trouble the assassins all too much.
While the Cappadocia region?is a known?stronghold for the Byzantine Templars, many innocent people also moved there following the fall of Constantinople. Ezio even meets some of them while visiting the underground city of Derinkuyu, but still?has no qualms about setting the city ablaze to draw out his target.
At best, Ezio’s actions led to thousands of innocent people losing their homes and possessions. The more likely scenario, however, is that most of?the city’s inhabitants were either burned alive or died from smoke inhalation due to the gunpowder explosion. It’s never actually revealed in the games, nor does Ezio give it a second thought after he’s escaped the blazing inferno by boat.
Given that the games are set in a world with magical artifacts capable of controlling people’s minds,?the possibility of good people being forced to do bad things is ever present. While this raises questions about many of the “guilty” people that the assassins have taken care of over the years, there are some who they know for certain were being controlled.
Sadly, even armed with this knowledge, the Brotherhood still has little?issue with killing them to get to Savonarola. Ezio is the worst in this regard though, showing no remorse whatsoever for murdering the nine lieutenants despite being expressly told that they were being controlled by one of the Apples of Eden.
Although Altair grows into his role as an assassin as time passes, some of his exploits in the early parts of Assassin’s Creed are incredibly reckless. As well as murdering an innocent old man while attempting to retrieve an Apple of Eden from Solomon’s Temple, he disobeys a direct order from Malik which has some catastrophic consequences.
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As well as losing his left arm, Malik also has to watch as his younger brother Kadar is?killed by the Templars. Despite being the one responsible for this tragedy, however, Altair doesn’t seem too phased by what happened nor does he seem particularly apologetic. This event and?the many others like it show how little honor there really is among thieves.
While the Creed does make it clear that compromising the Brotherhood is a big no no, the assassins are very quick to pass judgement on alleged traitors on numerous occasions. Usually they arrive at the right outcome by sheer dumb luck, although things don’t always work out that way.
In Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Ezio believes that he has stumbled upon a traitor and is ordered by?Suleiman to take him out. Had Ezio taken the time to confront Tarik before plunging his hidden blade into his brother’s neck though, he would have learned that he was working against the Templars rather than with them.
In many ways, the Templars and the Brotherhood are two sides of the same coin. Each group desires peace, although one would achieve it through order and control while the other favors a?more anarchistic approach. As is often the case with extremists though, many innocent people fall victim to their questionable methods.
Given their claims to want peace above all else and how much pain and suffering has come about as the result of their eternal struggle for dominance, one would suspect that the idea of a truce would be well received on both sides. Unfortunately, however, Connor is unable to move past his own selfishness which ultimately destroys any chance of peace; thus sealing the fate of thousands more innocent people.
While the series itself may be improving when it comes to its representation of women, many of the Brotherhood still?express a rather unhealthy interest in the opposite sex. What’s more, they’re not afraid to use their powers of deception to achieve their goal. There are a few instances of this scattered throughout the series, but it’s perhaps Ezio’s excessive pursuit of Cristina that stands out most.
Upon first meeting her, the young assassin tries his best to flirt?even though she’s clearly not interested. After she politely rejects his advances though, he for some reason decides to follow her home. If this wasn’t weird enough already, he encounters her again some time later and this time tricks her into kissing him by pretending to be her husband.
While there may be something in the idea of helping everyday citizens to reclaim power from their oppressors, the methodology used by the assassins leaves a lot to be desired. For all of their flaws, the Templars have a proven track record of building and advancing societies, while the assassins typically bring with them only death and destruction.
They often justify their actions by claiming that they are protecting free will, but they typically do so at the expense of innocent lives. While some people may benefit from the riots and revolutions?incited by the assassins in the long run, the short term damage caused – both to cities and their citizens – is arguably far too costly to justify such a violent approach.
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About The Author
(425 Articles Published)
Tom loves classic adventure games and RPGs above all else, but is also partial to a spot of FIFA from time to time. He typically writes about 80s movies, 90s video games and post 2000 television shows; although he’s happy to cover just about anything providing that it has some depth to it.
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