A series of Easter eggs in Assassin's Creed: Origins reveal that it takes place in the same universe as last year's Assassin's Creed movie - and that the game's protagonist has some major connections to that film's events. The AC series is one of the biggest in gaming and in 2016 look the leap to the big screen with the Michael Fassbender-fronted picture. Unfortunately, it didn't go too well, with scathing reviews predicating it being a no-show at the box office.
This year Ubisoft's back in the gaming realm with Origins. The big selling point this time around is the long-requested Ancient Egypt setting, allowing fans the opportunity to take the franchise's fluid parkour to the pyramids, although those hooked on the epic mythology that links the modern-day setting of all the games are going to get their fill too. As the title suggests, this is set to be an expansive entry - in more ways than you think.
A series of emails at the start of Origins reveal a major connection between the game's protagonist, Layla Hassan, and Marion Cotillard's Sofia Rikkin from the movie. Dated between February 2014 and August 2016, Layla sends a series of messages to the unresponsive Sofia about the development of the film's physical Animus in the Madrid base for Templar company Abstergo. They paint her as someone desperate to get involved with the Rikkin side of the operation, giving (uncredited) advice on the hydraulic machine, asking for an internship and trying to learn more about a portable Animus.
Further emails tie directly into the events of the film's ending - Sofia's father Alan (played by Jeremy Irons) is killed by Michael Fassbender's Callum Lynch - and introduce an Abstergo coverup, with the assassination publically dismissed as a gas leak.
All of this is key motivation for the ambitious Layla, who in Origins has been working on her own project in a bid to impress Sofia. Of course, the big reveal here is that the Assassin's Creed movie is indeed in the official continuity and has a strong influence of the games; Callum, Sofia and the rest are all canon and out there in the world. Something to this effect was reported all the way back in 2015, but as there were no explicit links to any of the prior games and word has been quiet since movie's failure, the consistency of those claims have been up for debate. This makes it clear Ubisoft aren't changing their plans and are doubling down on the interconnected world.
This was always the case in the games - the lives of Altair, Ezio and others all linked together in the early years - but it's exciting to see it happen with the spinoffs. How this will develop in future releases is presently unclear, but considering how the film landed stronger with gamers than it did regular audiences, it's fair to expect some continued involvement. To be sure, a Callum-starring game definitely doesn't seem off the cards.