E3 2013 Analysis and considerations
ATA team, September 22nd, 2013
Translated by: Markuz

E3 2013 was very rich in information, both technically and in terms of plot, as you may have noticed from the numerous news released on our Facebook page and our Twitter profile. In this article written through "10 hands" by the Admin Access the Animus we write theories based on clues emerged from the various sequences of gameplay, interviews or trailers on Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag that can be connected to some elements which were already shown in the previous chapter.
To ensure a certain clarity we are going to describe these clues through little chapters. These clues will serve as functional elements to understand a theory (section "Theory on the present day"), which we have formulated on the present day and on ACIV. Lastly, the article will be concluded by the infamous Edward's cube and some theories (more or less common) about it. Let us begin to see these "functional elements" starting with the Animus Fragments.

The Animus Fragments [E32013]

In one of the many (oh so MANY) video interviews made to Game Director Ashraf Ismail, a video excerpt appeared showing Edward doing a certain mission on a beach (as you can see in the video above). Towards the end of the video our dear Kenway moves toward a building on which he picks up a collectible: an Animus Fragment or more precisely an "Animus Fragment NanCaves 1/2" (Where NanCaves probably is a reference to the area in which the fragment is found).

The Animus Fragments already appeared in the Assassin's Creed saga in "Revelations". For those who do not remember, in this chapter Desmond Miles was in a coma after the events of Brotherhood, trying to put together the pieces that made up his sanity by using the Animus.
While we relived the exploits of aging Ezio Auditore, we were able to collect these Animus Fragments with the purpose of stabilizing the mind of Desmond and at the same time to unlock access to some portals located in the "Animus Island". Such fragments allowed us to enter in the memories of Desmond himself, in order to rehabilitate his mind in a whole, complete way.
So here the questions start: What are the Animus Fragments doing in Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag? What function do they have? Are they still stabilizers? Stabilizers of what? In this regard, we can have a sound hope since the script writer "creator" of the fragments in Revelations, Darby McDevitt, is also head of the writing team in Black Flag. As a side note we also point out that in the AC3 cutscenes, while we see our team on the road with their van, we can glimpse in William's tablet the symbol of the Animus Fragments. At the moment it is a simple curiosity that seems to have no connection with Black Flag.

"Invalid AFS Type" and other symbols in the Havana gameplay [E32013]

This is a real gem that we discovered during E3. In another interview, as always with Ash Ismail, it is possible to see a little sequence of gameplay in Havana where Edward is playing a side mission. Upon completion this mission, a box appears at the bottom right with a sequence of symbols together with the words "Assassination Contract Completed". Right after, on top of the box, another line appears in red lettering, saying "Invalid AFS Type Please check your data!"

First things first, let's begin to look at the various symbols, before seeing something more interesting. Some have already been seen seen in the saga, especially in ACIII in the various Animus menus and in the Achievements.

We are showing as follows the ones we know and the ones that are totally unknown to us, although about the latter ones it is possible to make assumptions:
  • The ACIII Statistics menu, which took into account our game stats. Probably it will have the same function in ACIV.

  • The Computer icon, which appeared in ACIII, indicating the arrival of a new mail in the system. This, too, will probably have the same function in ACIV.

  • The Collectable Objects and Notoriety icons of ACIII, which appears whenever the notoriety of the character varies, we loot bodies or we skin animals, informing us via notification system.

  • An Icon with the Assassins insignia, the same that appears on the maps from ACB onwards, every time we call the Brotherhood (it is also used in ACIII when Haytham calls his colleagues despite being Templars)

  • An icon with a shape resembling organizational charts, with a still unknown meaning.

  • An icon in the shape of a Parallelogram with an exclamation mark inside, which follows exactly the graphic style of the HUD in the game (the Character and Weapon Slot icons are placed inside a parallelogram), probably the symbol that will tell us the new memory in the sequence (all the icons that displayed the following memory in the sequences in the games from ACII onwards have always had the symbol of the exclamation point).

  • A circle with a dot inside, the astronomical symbol of the Sun and the alchemical symbol of Gold, which appeared in the beginning of Glyph #19 in ACII indicate the Sun, then was seen duringthe fourth memory of Clay Kackzmarek in the ACR DLC The Lost Archive (the Mole), then it was used as a notification symbol when data is added to the ACIII database and lastly, in the ACIII: Liberation trophy which can be unlocked by getting 100% Synchronization in all the Aveline sequences.

  • An icon in the shape of rhombus, much like the "Perfectionist" Achievement of ACIII, which could be unlocked by completing all the main missions with 100% Synchronization.

  • A circular composite symbol with inside the outer circle what looks like a hexagonal structure and within that structure a symbol that looks like an exclamation point, almost very similar to the AC3 Achievement "House Party" (if you take into consideration the nearly circular background of the trophy) which can be obtained by recruiting all the artisans of the Davenport Homestead.

  • An icon consisting of three arrows that are vaguely reminiscent of the shape of the AC3 trophy ACIII "Head in the clouds", obtainable after finding all the Pivots and synchronizing the Animus to the Cloud ...
    The only main difference lies in the arrangement of the three "arrows", which, when compared to the image of the trophy suggests a very particular aspect...
    The first picture from the left is the picture of the trophy, as it appears once it is obtained in Assassin's Creed III. The arrangement of the three "arrows" in ACIV: BF, however, is rotated 90 degrees, so it would be like in the picture to the right ...

  • Head in the Eru?
    Head in the Cloud…

    And that symbol to the right says it all...
The next and last two symbols, instead, appear on the red screen, which attracts more attention on them.
  • A smaller icon than the others with the shape of a "9" or a "g", with unknown meaning

  • An icon with the shape of an "X" which could stand for a system error or something similar, with above the fateful message "Invalid AFS Type Please check your data!" The meaning of this symbol is unknown, but probably it may be relevant...
Another element, not connected to the previous symbols is the image of the viewfinder of a gun, identical in its form to the picture in the AC3 Achievement of ACIII "Circus Act", obtainable killing at least 15 guards with a single cannon shot, while rotated by 45 degrees.

... The AC4 Viewfinder after.
The AC3 Trophy before ...

As far as the red writing is concerned, doing some research we found some connections between "AFS" and the Andrew File System (shortened AFS). Quoting from the Wikipedia page: "The Andrew File System (AFS), ) is a distributed networked file system which uses a set of trusted servers to present a homogeneous, location-transparent file name space to all the client workstations. It was developed by Carnegie Mellon University as part of the Andrew Project. It is named after Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon. Its primary use is in distributed computing"
The Andrew File System, then, is a kind of data management software / server. This system handles writing, organization, manipulation, access and reading of the data that reside, for example, in databases, with the peculiarity of being able to secure and manage over 25,000 clients (users) in complete safety. The Andrew File System also has a security system called Kerberos: "AFS uses Kerberos for authentication, and implements access control lists on directories for users and groups". So in addition to managing the data flow of data, the system controls the accesses by the users categorizing them by the kind of data that is being accessed.
Another feature is the following: "AFS uses the Weak Consistency model.[4] Read and write operations on an open file are directed only to the locally cached copy. When a modified file is closed, the changed portions are copied back to the file server. Cache consistency is maintained by callback mechanism. When a file is cached, the server makes a note of this and promises to inform the client if the file is updated by someone else. Callbacks are discarded and must be re-established after any client, server, or network failure, including a time-out. Re-establishing a callback involves a status check and does not require re-reading the file itself."
The system allows, therefore, even the possibility of saving a given modified file thus creating a copy, distinct from the original, within the cache dedicated to that access. Any modification and alteration shall be notified to all those who own a copy. We also suppose that the notification can be set and restricted to specific clients. Assuming that the AFS in the game is this, it can be theorized that this system is exploited by the Templars to manage their servers, whether they are private or public, of Abstergo Entertainment.

Aveline memories and multiple accesses to memories [E32013]
At E3 three memory sequences were announced starring Aveline de Grandpre (formerly main character of ACIII: Liberation), who turns out not to be an ancestor of Desmond unlike Edward and his predecessors. The female assassin appears for the first time in ACIII: Liberation through sequenced memories, which are reworked and then sold through the Animus Entertainment service for home use. Erudito sneaks in this situation to show the occasional customer the modified and removed parts. From the interviews with Ashraf Ismail we learn that these sequences will be analyzed by the unknown protagonist of ACIV through accessing another system / workstation (Ash talks about computers) which is separated from the alleged Animus where the protagonist can relive Edward's memories. Such a workstation would seem to be also located in another "office" of the Abstergo branch (again in the words of Ismail). May it be the famous location from which Aveline's memories were sequenced starting from a still today mysterious source (Paul Bellamy or "the Tuareg")?
And why wasn't this sequence of memories included in the product that went on sale then? Maybe it contained something that shouldn't have been shown? That's a mystery for now...

Desmond's dead body
With the end of Assassin's Creed III, we all know that Desmond decides to sacrifice himself to avoid the end of the world while at the same time freeing Juno. Through the site Assassin's Creed Initiates, when this was still in its public version, we know from the picture here aside that Desmond's body is taken from the Temple by some Abstergo scientists.

Although it could be expected, we do not know for sure if the body is now located in an Abstergo branche in a seat at Abstergo. However, there is an element that supports this theory, which is one of two pictures of the much-talked-AC: Rising Phoenix, whose official status is still not guaranteed. This image shows some sort of cryogenic room at Abstergo containing four very lightly coloured tanks and two people with Abstergo themed outfits, probably scientists, intent on looking at them. The general idea, which is now in the various communities of Assassin's Creed is that in one of those tanks Desmond's corpse might be preserved.

Hacking of Connor's memories
Who was not disheartened by the end of ACIII and went on playing the game after the canonical (and endless) credits will have noticed another sequence in which an Abstergo technician performs an elaborate procedure in order to hack Connor's memories to be able to alter them. His own words and the various glitches that can be activated from time to time confirm it. The context also suggests that there is a new individual experiencing the memories of Connor despite the Desmond's death. (hereafter the sequence we are talking about, taken from the user mime12's Youtube channel.

The new chosen one from the Abstergo Multiplayer
The final unlockable video of the ACIII multiplayer shows two actors / Abstergo engineers who compliment the protagonist (or we could say compliment us, from the point of view of the game) that has shown, compared to the average other gamers, a significant ability to synchronize with the Animus in those which obviously are not personal memories but sequences which are physically unrelated to the player. The scene will immediately shift on an Abstergo executive, who, after some common formalities, gives the protagonist advance notice that he will participate in a subsequent and painless collaboration with the company. With this, it is possible that this individual is the subject that is participating in the hacking of Connor's Connor.

Theory on the present day
Our theory is that the Animus Project over the last twenty years included, in addition to research through genetic memory, a cataloguing system of the memories themselves which, among other things, led to the creation of Abstergo Entertainment. The sequencing of the memories and the following data storage would therefore allow Abstergo to alter them letting the Templars sell an Abstergo Entertainment labeled product whis may be totally pro Templar (as in ACIII: Liberation). The trick, aside from being profitable, allows Abstergo to register and test the Animus sync with an infinite number of subjects who may be potentially useful to the project, as we have seen from the final video of the AC3 multiplayer.
The AFS, thanks to its programming would be perfect to manage the data and users information flow on the Abstergo servers which contain both the private and public parts of the company. For every access, going by the description of the AFS, a cached copy would be generated and it would be notified only to the concerned technicians who are meant to receive the information. The notifications in the game, therefore, may represent the data overwriting notifications in the cache.

The need to search for subjects who are able to create a certain degree of synchronization with the Animus may be connected with the "status" of Desmond's dead body. In AC: The Chain it is possible to see a big room full of functioning Animi and, especially, the presence among the subjects of Bellamy, in a comatose situation. Maybe even in those moments Abstergo was sequencing and registering a flow of memories including the Aveline ones (that will be later modified and sold). After Desmond's death it is possible to hypotesize that Abstergo, preventing the physical decomposition of the deceased assassin, may have connected it again to the Animus with the purpose of reliving and sequencing the memories of the man who demonstrated to be one of the subjects with the most interesting and useful genetic inheritance.
The new subject, connected to Desmond's source data, thanks to his peculiar synchronization ability, may play the conscious part of the process and thus may allow the canonical path of sequential analysis of the memories through the Animus. Desmond's memories after the sequencing would be saved in the company servers managed by the AFS, along with the Aveline ones to which the new subject will be able to access by using another workstation, even if the motivations behind that are still unknown. We can however suppose that the amplitude of the memories will be better than the one in Liberation, and it is right to hope for something interesting in those sequences.

But why are we going to see the Animus Fragments in the sessions? If their narrative function is kept in this game, their existence may be reconnected to the one of the fragments in Revelations. Given Desmond's status, which in a way is partly similar to the coma he experienced in AC: Revelations, we can hypothesize that his mind (fragmented like in the past) may lead to create some disconnected memories or maybe to overlay memories which are not related to Edward. The AFS error itself may suggest an overwriting error connected to the fragmented memories. Finding the fragments, whose function would be stabilizing Desmond's mind, may rebuild this fragmentation showing, then, something new, maybe connected to the memories of Desmond himself, which may forcefully show up in the Animus. This theory is supported by an interesting detail that can be found in The Tiranny of King Washington. The windows that overlap when the player open the chests may represent Desmond's fragmented memories, and it's the last one, showing his death, that encourages this theory even more.

As we know, it is possible to live the life of an ancestor until the moment in which he will give birth to his offspring, who will determine his descent, and so on from offspring to offspring. Following the theories on the genetic memories, the only memories that an hypothetical descendant can live are those from the birth of the ancestor to the birth of his offspring. After Desmond, this rule falls. The new subject, as if he / her were a normal descendant, will experience the memories of the closest ancestor, but not being a direct descendant, he will be able to access the personal memories of the defunct assassin until his own death. The situation that would come out of this may be really fascinating, and would give the new subject the knowledge of truths that very few people have at this time.
In this hypothetical scenery, the Erudito character (or group of characters) is the one that can't be theorized on the most. The only thing that we can imagine are potential and more interactions than in the past. Since his first appearance in Brotherhood, the Erudito Collective came to show itself more and more, game by game, from the simple mail in ACB to the stronger interferences in Project Legacy, and then to the even heavier intrusions in Liberation and in the ACIII Multiplayer. The Collective showed the ability to get inside the Abstergo AFS servers, and that may mean a lot for the potential future developments of the saga.

Edward's Cube
Last element of this analysis, separated from the last theory but possible consequence of it, is the infamous object of cubical shape that Edward looks at in one of the trailers that were shown at E3 and that might represent the objective of the search by Abstergo in Desmond's memories. From an article on the Ubiblog we know that Edward will be involved in the Assassin - Templar war when he gets to know about a mysterious object that may make him rich and powerful, and obviously he starts to search for it.
Are you by chance the mysterious object?

So what is this little cube? What does he bear inside?

The most common theory is that it is a crystal cube with inside a TWCB blood drop, containing some useful DNA to recreate a First Civilization being, or, much more likely, to read some memories of the TWCB era, if the Animus Technology can allow it. Another theory, less common but which still gained its fame, is that inside the cube is the seed of an apple and that would align to the theory that the Pieces of Eden are none other that the union of commonly used objects (apple, book, sword, staff) and a certain metal (as shown in page 10 of Altair's Codex). But on the other hand, if it really were a seed, why keeping it in a cube or even only why keeping it?
There is, though, a third theory that we would like to show you, much more complex than the other two. The idea comes from user Nondairygold, from the international Ubisoft forums. Nondairy bases his theory on the presence of the Maya ruins in ACIV, adding a little bit of Atlantis, which we never have enough of. In detail, he focuses his attention on the Maya ruins of Palenque .
Pakal's mask…
The Mayan ruins of Palenque reside in the Chiapas jungle, in south Mexico. These ruins, on the edge of the Yucatŕn peninsula have attracted explorers, grave robbers and archaeologists since 1770. The first known report of the discovery of Palenque was written by spanish explorer Ramon de Ordonez y Aguilar in 1773. Up until 1952 one of the bigges mysteries that surrounded this side regarded the never explained presence of holes in the floor in the Temple of the Inscriptions, the biggest step pyramid in Palenque. The discovery of the holes' function came by mexican archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhulllier, who realized that they were a way to access a door which had stayed secret for almost 1500 years.
…and the Cube.
This door lent to a tunnel and some steps that went down to the bottom of the temple and ended up in a chamber which contained the sarcophagus of Pakal K'inich Janaab, the most famous Maya king of the Palenque site. His tomb was intact and inside the sarcophagus he could be found with a death mask (we thank Suttonhoo for the pictures) and several jade jewels. What stands out, though, were the other two things that were found in the tomb with him. Pakal held a cube in one hand and a sphere in the other one, even if the motivations for that are still not known.
The explanation by Nondairygold is that often the cube and the sphere, when combined, help to create the divine proportion Golden Ratio, a ratio that can be found in nature and that was used non just in the Mayan, Greek and Roman architecture but also in Leonardo Da Vinci's art. The connection to a potential Apple of Eden and to a new "Cube of Eden" is, now, direct. From now on Nondairy's theory becomes more complex. In fact, while trying to explaining this cube, he ran into the Lemurian Seed Crystals.

Be careful: The Mindfuck flows strong with this theory

During the XIX century, Charles Darwin's theory about evolution was published (1859). Even if the theory was largely accepted by the scientists, it was also very controversial. One of the elements of the dispute concerned an animal and some layers of sediments found in South Africa, in Madagascar and in India. These were places who were close between each other but were separated by big sea stretches. The animal was the lemur, and the dispute concerned the fact that it had the same traits in every one of the aforementioned zones. According to Darwin's theory, instead, the animal should have developed some unique peculiarities depending on the different environments. The presence of similar sediments in each of the three areas, then, raised several questions. The scientists began to speculate on the fact that in the past a strip of land, called Lemuria, in the Indian Ocean, which connected the three areas (from here the analogy with Atlantis). The lost contintent of Lemuria, then, was born with a scientific basis but gained support through misticism. The mistics often defined Lemuria as a continent on which an ancient and technologically advanced race lived and had houses with transparent roofs and was able to use telepathy, teleport and produce energy through "the art of crystals". From what we just saw, we can already see a strong resemblance between Lemuria and Atlantis. The same legends on the technology of Atlantis, go hand in hand with the stories about Lemuria, especially the one concerning the most famous soothsayer of the twentieth century, Edgar Cayce. What is written below is strictly about the Paranormal field.
Cayce was known as the "Sleeping Prophet" because he felt these visions / experiences, entering into a deep cataleptic state. Sometimes he placed under hypnosis even those who wished, bringing to light memories of "other lives" [an Animus-like effect?]. Following what came out of the data collected from these sessions and coming from its "patients", Cayce revealed that the soul of each of us is eternal and that usually has experienced severals "lives" on the Earth [maybe the lives of the ancestors, mistaken for previous lives?]. . And it is thanks to the previous lives of "some of us" perhaps Hybrids?] that Cayce's data add a new aspect to the Platonic vision of Atlantis, telling how some survivors of Atlantis reached, in an attempt to escape, several coasts of the Mediterranean and Central America. To corroborate the story of the Atlanteans in Central America there is the legend known among the Aztecs and Maya, according to which these people came originally from a distant continent called Aztlán (the name is very reminiscent of Atlantis). It is said that the Aztecs themselves told the story of Aztlán to Hernan Cortes when he arrived along with the Conquistadores. (perhaps Giovanni Borgia might have heard something ...)

According to the psychic, at the base of the Atlantean technology, there were crystals whose structure would have been changed to harness and drive huge amounts of energy and often these crystals were located in temples, which were meant to increase the potential of these crystals.
Thus, according to the seer, the crystals in Atlantis were practically sources of energy, not so much different much from the "Batteries" (with a quite cubic form, oddly enough) of the Grand Temple of Turin. But there are also other interpretations that will be explained below.

Going back to the Lemuria topic, according to the mystics, this continent was sunk due to a great cataclysm that destroyed it (another connection to Atlantis) leaving as its last remains some small areas that emerge from the sea even now, such as Fiji, Hawaii and Easter Island (same thing with Atlantis, where it was said that the Bimini Road in the Bahamas and the Canary Islands were part of the remains of the Atlantean civilization). And the mindfuck rules over all of this, given the many similarities with TWCB and the Toba Catastrophe, but that's not all. It is also believed (always within the mysticism, of course), that the Lemurians were able to predict the catastrophe and, therefore, created the Seed Crystals (which are now mere objects for sale on the internet...) to preserve their knowledge and their traditions. According to one of the versions, the Lemurians would have recorded in these crystals the history of our planet and also an explanation of the events that led to the fall of Atlantis / Lemuria. In other versions of the same story, these crystals would hold the recorded memories of people of that period [accessed via the DNA extracted from the blood?]. Almost all versions, though, suggest that these Seed Crystals were acting as an information database of information, just like many POE ...

Observing, therefore, these "bizarre" theories, if ACIV drew something from them (it's possible in terms of plot and background), this could lead to very interesting developments. If the "crystal" owned by Edward contained for real the blood on which Abstergo could detect the DNA with the memories from the TWCB period of time, that would go along very well with the information about the history of the planet left in the Lemurian Crystals. From here, therefore, the potential appeal on Abstergo.

Last Curiosity and then we leave you: There is someone which we already saw in the Assassin's Creed saga that perhaps is holding an object the exact same size of Edward's Cube

Mind. Blown.

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