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Who is Layla Hassan and what happened in Assassin’s Creed Origins?

Catch up before you play Assassins’ Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed Origins - Layla Hassan at work Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Simone de Rochefort has been producing & hosting YouTube videos for Polygon since 2016. She co-directed the upcoming documentary The Great Game: The Making of Spycraft.

So here you are, about to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. But there’s nagging doubt in your head — you skipped Assassin’s Creed Origins! What if you missed something terribly important?

It’s not that you shouldn’t play Origins. It’s one of our highest-ranked entries into the Assassin’s Creed series. But you can be forgiven for not wanting to spend $60 and 50 hours or so to understand the newest game, which will also cost you at least $60 and like, 80 hours.

Here’s all you need to know to fake your way through understanding what happens in Assassin’s Creed Origins.

Who is Layla Hassan?

Layla Hassan is the main character of Assassin’s Creed’s modern-day storyline, and she ties the two games together.

In Origins, Layla is an employee of Abstergo, AKA the modern-day Templars. She’s on an archeological dig in Egypt, looking for Isu artifacts, when she discovers the mummy of Bayek, and later, Aya. They were the first Assassins. Layla sees this as an opportunity to prove her skills to Abstergo and get on the much-vaunted Animus Project, a promotion she’s been denied before.

She hasn’t been allowed on the Animus Project because she keeps breaking rules, so she wisely breaks another rule by busting out her own portable Animus — something she herself created — to travel to Ancient Egypt with Bayek’s DNA.

Abstergo flip out and attack her when they learn what she’s done. Her coworker Deanna Geary is captured and possibly killed, but Layla escapes and is taken in by the Assassins.

She hasn’t joined the Brotherhood when we meet her again in Odyssey, but she is now working with them to continue her search for artifacts. That’s where the game begins.

How does Ancient Greece come into the picture?

Layla finds a book by Herodotos, the first historian and notorious liar, during the events of Origins. Well, this time Herodotos was being truthful: he writes about a legendary mercenary and a mythical artifact that they possessed: the Spear of Leonidas.

Layla finds the Spear using the book, an act that kicks off the events in Odyssey. We learn the Spear has two DNA strands to follow: one from a man named Alexios, and another from a woman named Kassandra.

What happened to the DNA of the hundreds I killed using said spear during my playthrough of Odyssey is never explained.

But they aren’t Assassins?

No, Alexios and Kassandra are specifically not Assassins, they are mercenaries. In Origins we see the lead-up to Aya’s founding of the Brotherhood, when she begins a group that goes by the name “the Hidden Ones,” around 47 BCE.

Odyssey takes place 384 years before Assassin’s Creed Origins. However, the roots of a Templar-like organization have already been planted, and the Isu are long-gone, their artifacts scattered. This sets the stage for an interesting game, and one that confusingly takes place before the previous game in one part of the story, but after the previous game in the modern day segments.

Very little, if any, of this is explained in Odyssey, but now you should know everything you need to know to play and enjoy the latest Assassin’s Creed.

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