Assassin's Creed is an open-world action-adventure stealth video game franchise published by Ubisoft and developed mainly by its studio Ubisoft Montreal using the game engine Anvil and its more advanced derivatives. Created by Patrice Désilets, Jade Raymond, and Corey May, the Assassin's Creed series depicts a fictional millennia-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through order and control. The series features historical fiction, science fiction and fictional characters intertwined with real-world historical events and figures. For the majority of time players control an Assassin in the past history, while also playing as an Assassin Initiate in the present day, who hunt down their Templar targets. The series took inspiration from the novel Alamut by the Slovenian writer Vladimir Bartol, based on the historical Hashashin sect of the medieval Middle East, while building upon concepts from the Prince of Persia series.The series's eponymous first title was released in 2007, and it has featured twelve main games in total, the most recent being 2020's Valhalla. Main games of Assassin's Creed are set in an open world and presented from the third-person perspective where the protagonists take down targets using their combat and stealth skills with the exploitation of the environment. Players have freedom to explore the historical settings as they finish main and side quests. Apart from single-player missions, some games also provide competitive and cooperative multiplayer gameplay. A new story and occasional new time period are introduced in each entry, and gameplay elements evolve from the previous one. There are three overarching story arcs in the series. For the first five main games, the framing story is set in 2012 and features series protagonist Desmond Miles, who uses a machine called the Animus to relive the memories of his ancestors and find powerful artifacts called "Pieces of Eden", while also attempting to prevent an upcoming catastrophic event that will wipe out humanity. From Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and until Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Assassin initiates and employees of Abstergo (a company used as a cover by the modern-day Templars) record genetic memories using the Helix software, helping the Templars and Assassins find new Pieces of Eden in the modern world. The latest three games, Assassin's Creed Origins, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, follow ex-Abstergo employee Layla Hassan and her own quest to save humanity from another disaster.
The main games in the Assassin's Creed video game series have received generally positive reviews for their ambition in visuals, game design, and narratives, with criticism for the yearly release cycle and frequent bugs. The spin-off games received mixed reviews. The video game series has received multiple awards and nominations, including Game of the Year awards. It is commercially successful, selling over 155 million copies as of October 2020, becoming Ubisoft's best-selling franchise and one of the highest selling video game franchises of all time. While main games are produced for major consoles and desktop platforms, multiple spin-off games are released for consoles, mobiles, and handhelds platforms. Assassin's Creed was adapted into a film, which received negative reviews. A series of art books, encyclopedias, comics, novelizations, and novels have been published.