Assassin's Creed is a historical action-adventure open world stealth video game series that consists of five main games and a number of supporting materials, as of 2013. The games have appeared on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, iOS, HP webOS, Android, Nokia Symbian Windows Phone platforms, and the Wii U.
The main games in the franchise were developed by Ubisoft Montreal for the single player and Ubisoft Annecy for the multiplayer, with the handheld titles developed by Gameloft and Gryptonite Studios, with additional development by Ubisoft Montreal. The series has been well received by the public and critics, and has sold over 55 million copies as of March, 2013. The series took inspiration from the novel Alamut by the Slovenian writer Vladimir Bartol, and are considered by some to be the spiritual successor to the Prince of Persia series.
The Assassin's Creed games take place in 2012, and feature Desmond Miles, a bartender who is a descendant of several lines of prominent Assassins; though raised as an Assassin, he fled his nomadic family to seek out a more common lifestyle. He is initially kidnapped by the megacorporation Abstergo Industries, the modern-day face of the Knights Templar who are aware of Desmond's lineage. Desmond is forced to use the "Animus", a device that allows him to experience his ancestral memories. Abstergo is seeking to discover the location of several artifacts, or "Pieces of Eden", that hold great power, to control mankind and alter its fate, bringing humanity into a single unified group. Desmond also encounters a small team of modern-day Assassins; agreeing to work with them, Desmond uses their version of the Animus (the Animus 2.0) to continue to experience the memories of his ancestors to discover the locations of additional Pieces of Eden so they can be recovered before Abstergo can do so. While experiencing these memories, some of their abilities are genetically leaked into Desmond, known as the Bleeding Effect, giving him some of the Assassin skills of his predecessors at the cost of living with multiple sets of memories and personalities in his mind.
Within the Animus, Desmond explores the memories of Assassins Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad, an initially disgraced Assassin working to redeem himself during the Third Crusade; Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an Assassin in Italy during the late 15th and early 16th centuries of the Renaissance; and Ratohnhaké:ton, otherwise known as Connor, a half-Mohawk, half-British Assassin during the American Revolution. Throughout these events, Desmond learns of allusions to the prophetic end of the world in 2012 from a former Animus test subject, Subject 16, as well as from holographic figures of a species pre-dating humanity. Many years ago a massive solar flare nearly wiped out all life and a second threatens to do the same. With the second solar flare fast approaching, it is up to Desmond to use the memories of his ancestors to acquire their knowledge, learn the truth and find the Pieces of Eden to save humanity.