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AC Syndicate | Story Thread (Spoilers: Historical, Present Day, First Civ)

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DarkAlphabetZoup's picture
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The story was intense. I have much to say about it, and much of that will be summary. The rest will be analysis or speculation.

The Historical story didn't hit as hard as some of the others, but the Characters were enjoyable, and it had a light-hearted tone overall. A new chapter for Assassin's Creed's tone and pacing, perhaps. Its actual Plot could be better. Over in the Present Day, things are heating up, and despite it all being cutscenes, we see meaningful progress. Assassins are shown in action, Templars too. The First Civ make an appearance in a big way, and there are some hints of characters from previous games making a return of sorts, if not what we thought before.

The Helix Rift in particular sees us fight in a war-torn World War I simulation, playing as Jacob's granddaughter, Lydia Frye. An Assassin in World War I, and essentially a suffragette during her time, she even goes so far as to request of Winston Churchill the right for her, and other women, to vote. A revolutionary action at the time - and it makes sense that it'd be done by a female Assassin. It is a fundamental kind of freedom, and so many others stem from its implementation.

We hear information on the First Civilization, their real name revealed to be the Isu, and about Juno. Juno is called The Schemer by the Isu Consus. She sought to save the world not through physical means, but mental means. Isu consciousness is strong. It's why she can survive in "the Grey" which was speculated, and now revealed to be the Networked Areas between Systems. Reality is becoming a giant, Internet-based neural grid, and Juno exists in that large mess. But Human-Isu Hybrids, like Desmond and Clay can exist in such a state almost as well as she can. They were hinted at in AC Unity to be opening hundreds of Genetic Memory Sequences, reading them, then closing them and moving onto the next one. Not hampered by the limits of the human body, of the flesh, Desmond and Clay can gain tremendous amounts of power (and Knowledge) by Synchronizing with every DNA File they can get their hands on.

All of this Desmond/Clay stuff is still only well-educated speculation, but Syndicate just adds fuel to the fire with its ending and the information we're given on the Shroud.

Helix Glitches are a story-vital Collectible, unlocking text logs about the Shroud - a Piece of Eden - or Audiologs from the Present Day. The Shroud of Eden is an item that can bring back the dead, but only in a sense. Actually, it immediately heals any terminal injury sustained while wearing it. It has to be a War-Like force, or a force to the head to call out Consus, and possibly even to heal at all. Either way, it can't be from a pill overdose or slit wrists. This makes sense. It was used for war-time anyway, created in the Human-Isu War to Heal wounds that occur through combat, rather than Harm, which Swords were made for.

Consus, calling himself the "Erudite God" created Shrouds to Heal. In his prototype Shroud, he saw an opportunity. Because he was growing old, he wanted "more time!" all while calling bodies (and everything else but information) impermanent. He claims that Bodies are Constructs, and Minds are Programs. When asked how the Shroud heals such terrible damage, Consus answers, "The Body is a Construct. A... Machine. Shrouds access information found in [human DNA] and rebuild [construct] to specifications." Alvaro Gramattica says, "A factory reset!"

To the Isu, humanity were just complicated machines, AI, built to be a synthetic work force in the same way we might build robots or AI to do stuff for us in factories. Consus at one point says, "You are wonderful creations! Exceeded your programming! Made something from nothing~!" Humans, as machines, as constructs of the Isu, were never supposed to gain consciousness and "wake up." It's like every cyberpunk story where the Machines gain sentience - only in this story, We are the Machines.

From AC2 and Revelations we know that we were eventually awakened by Eve, (with Adam tagging along) wielding the Apple to dispel the Illusions that the Isu would use to keep us in check. In this way, Eve personified the Creed: "Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted." It trickled down through time as a String of Words, a String of Information that could be used as a lens through which to process old knowledge, old ideas and wisdom that was locked away from us. Alongside it, another String of Information has surfaced over time, not unlike the Creed in its function. "May the Father of Understanding guide us." This is, for lack of a better label, the Templar's lens, through which they look at the world. It's their "creed," their guiding Phrase.

In the WW1 Helix Rift, Lydia Frye assassinates a Sage, whom we know is one of Aita's genetic expressions in a human male. At the end of her conversation with the Initiate, Juno claims, "I am the Mother of Wisdom. ... I. Am. Juno!" We also learn that she was born in the City of Feyan to the Illuminat Caste (more on Isu Society later).

The Mother of Wisdom? Doesn't that sound a whole lot like a partner to The Father of Understanding?

As before, I still believe The Father of Understanding is supposed to be a Sage figure, or at least related. In Unity, we have the Codex Pater Intellectus - which sounds a lot like, "The Codex of the Father of Understanding." It is owned by Jacque de Molay, in which he wrote down his secrets and what he saw. De Molay was a Sage. Years later, it becomes the property of Francois-Thomas Germain - the Templar Sage from Arno's time. If Eve's faction is the Assassins, then Aita/Juno's Faction are the Templars and the Sages + Instruments of the First Will. At least, for now, there's some bleed-over between those. And this "Father of Understanding" - "Mother of Wisdom" angle just feels natural.

What else is interesting is that Abstergo is effectively tricked by Juno into making her a body to inhabit, a way to have a presence in the real-world - even as she spreads throughout the Grey, and the world grows more Networked every day. She is essentially Assassin's Creed's version of the Evil Omniscient AI in other cyberpunk fiction. Abstergo thinks they're just doing it for the Phoenix Project, to simply create a First Civ genome so they can observe the Isu Era and master the Pieces of Eden. Problem is, they're using the Shroud to speed things up, and constructing an Isu body/shell using Isu technology is only one step away from constructing shells/bodies for Human-Isu Hybrid Consciousness. In a word, this predicts or sets up the possibility of Desmond and Clay once again having a presence in the physical world. It wouldn't quite be human, but what is human at this point? The definition is becoming blurred. By creating Shells for Juno, Desmond and Clay, Abstergo can knowingly or unknowingly connect these shells to the Helix Network. They have to, because they want to study the Isu Era. In doing so, they'd provide a way for Desmond, Clay and Juno's Digital Cognizance Imprints (actual term used by AC) to upload themselves into these Shells. Juno is poised to access her body/Shell first. This is extremely dangerous.

That's pretty much how Syndicate ends.

    About Isu Society:
  • They apparently had a caste system.
  • Caste is a type of social system based on marrying within certain groups (ethnic or otherwise) and non-commensality. I might need some help to define commensality in more informal terms, because I only understand a bit of what I read on Wikipedia. It sounds to me like it's a relationship in which one participant gets food or advantages from the other without either helping or hindering them. So non-commensality, I suppose, means the opposite of that?
  • The Caste Juno was born to was the Illuminat Caste. Illuminat likely means Enlightened. This could be why Juno has such Knowledge or Wisdom - which was the Sense that she decided to Keep from Humans. Also, it would explain why she, alongside Jupiter, Consus and Minerva (if they too were of the Illuminat) were the Isu's scientists. The Enlightened Caste. All who are born to that Caste are responsible for Academia, Science, Knowledge. Just a theory.
  • She was born in the City of Feyan - this tells us that they had cities at all. I looked up Feyan, but couldn't find any meaning or symbolism. We don't know if Feyan is the only city, but it's highly unlikely to be. If Juno is an important figure in the Isu social system and many people knew her (it seems everyone did) then it's possible that Feyan might have been their biggest, or capital city.
  • When Juno talks about her birth and when it happened, she calls it the Isu Era. That means that the Isu might have used this phrase overall to refer to their time, but it doesn't make much sense to call it the Isu Era unless there were another Era later that was NOT The Isu Era. This other Era is obviously the Human Era. So did they really call it the Isu Era back when both races lived on the same Earth? Doesn't seem likely. The term "Isu Era" is then probably one used by Isu consciousnesses or minds that have survived into the Human era by occupying networks or Pieces of Eden.

There's guaranteed stuff I missed because it's a lot to summarize (A LOT, since so many layers.) If I missed something though, and someone wants an explanation or wants to remind me to fill it back in, I can try my best. Either way, crazy stuff!

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I have a feeling that the "new bodies" WILL be used later in the series as a way to bring back Clay and Desmond. Also, Juno could get a body as well. New modern day missions for the final AC game? Probably not; I'm sure they'll make it a cutscene like Syndicate did.

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DarkAlphabetZoup's picture
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We may get some Present Day missions if they are constructed the way Darby suggested: by reusing Assets from the Simulation part of the game in clever ways, similar to Brotherhood's Monteriggioni, and Syndicate's World War 1 London. Any future Present Day missions would necessarily take place in the same city that the game has claimed for the "location-of-the-Year," just a century or two forward in time. I'd be fine with that if the cutscenes continue respecting the Lore as much as they do in Syndicate.

EDIT: I just realized something massive! This assumes Desmond and Clay have actually been cracking open thousands upon thousands of Genetic Memory Logs and just downloading all of those Lives into their minds. All this while floating around the Grey with Juno. Now, a human body/mind cannot withstand the Sense of Knowledge, and trying to mess with that hard-limit screws people up: that's what the Bleeding Effect is, mentally and biologically. The thing is, that only applies to HUMAN bodies/shells. Once Desmond and Clay come back, and their consciousnesses/minds are uploaded into Isu bodies/shells like Juno's, they are going to be SO damn overpowered. It is all but confirmed that Isu can compound Knowledge this way, as Juno mentioned in the WW1 Rift about Aita, "His pattern has been added to my own." Just stockpiling more Information/Genetic Memory/Knowledge.

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Oh man. I'm itching to read and contribute to this thread. I'm only just starting sequence 7, so I'll be back. This will at least clear the "New" notification that beckons... until one of you replies anyway. Trig's nuke

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

Double McStab with Cheese's picture
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Alright. I finished the main campaign.

Ugh.

I'll comment more later but I can say this about the Jacob/Evie London story: if you're playing the game through for the first time, just skip sequences 8 and 9 and make up your own ending to the story if you want. Such a good game through sequence 7 only to be ruined by bullshit missions that don't make any sense and a boss fight that had me saying more than once "god this is boring, let's get this over with... argh, again?!"

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser