UPDATE: Read our Assassin's Creed Brotherhood review online.
So, you've finished Assassin's Creed then? All gone a bit Da Vinci code hasn't it? Don't worry, Xbox World 360 magazine are here to guide you through it... SPOILERS AHEAD!
Q. Who is Subject Seventeen?
A. That would be you, Desmond.
Q. Is Desmond actually Altair?
A. No, Desmond is a descendent of Altair, and by using the Animus he's able to locate Altair's memories that are hidden in his DNA. This means that Altair had at least one child after the events of Assassin's Creed - otherwise Desmond would not have Altair's memories locked away inside him.
Q. What's all this writing about?
A. The room's previous occupant, Subject Sixteen, left all of the writing that you can see for Desmond to read.
Q. Okay, so why can I not see it until the end of the game?
A. Abstergo washed the messages off of the walls and the floor, but Desmond is able to spot the messages by using his Eagle Vision.
Q. Wait a second. You said that Desmond wasn't Altair! What gives?
A. He's not, at least, not yet... Read through Vidic's emails and you'll stumble across one that mentions 'The Bleeding Effect.' Vidic reports that, after using the Animus for a given length of time, some previous subjects were unable to distinguish between their ancestors' lives and their own. Their genetic and real-time memories have literally 'bled' into one another, which is why Desmond is able to use the Eagle Vision power at the end of the game.
Q. Why only the one power?
A. Be patient! Assassin's Creed is the first part of a trilogy. By the end of the third game Desmond will have a lot more moves to play with...
Q. Who are Abstergo?
A. Modern Templars. Abstergo are a company intent on world domination. Their 'aim' is for world peace, but the methods with which they wish to achieve this can be considered mad. They think that by controlling mankind, and killing those that aren't influenced by their power, they can achieve peace. Even their name betrays this secret: it's Latin for 'cleanse'.
Q. Who is Lucy?
A. Lucy Stillman is an employee of Abstergo, but is actually an undercover operative working with the Assassins. She is the one that passes on the door code to Desmond, and is trying to delay the project. In a series of emails to a person known only as '??' she asks for aid. The final message is coded, but reads, "We will be there soon." Vidic has his suspicions of Lucy. Alan Rikkin sent him an email regarding the fluoride leak: "Makes me wonder if the fluoride leak was internal after all... And if it was, are we dealing with a whistle blower or something worse?" It's highly reasonable to assume that Lucy was this leak.
Q. Back to the writing. What does the triangle of text say?
A. "They drained my soul and made it theirs. I drained my body to show you where I saw it." Subject sixteen wrote this, along with all of the other messages, in his blood. The first part refers to Abstergo stealing his soul, or in reality, his memories. They watched his ancestor's life to locate an important artefact, hence 16's belief that his 'soul' was taken. The second part is more literal. 16 drained his body to show you where he saw it, meaning that he used his own blood to leave you clues as to where the artefact lies. What artefact is he talking about? There's a strong chance it could be the Holy Grail. We'll look at some evidence later on that suggests this is the case.