Assassin's Creed is an open-world, action-adventure, and stealth 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 video game series depicts a fictional millennia-old struggle between the Order of Assassins, who fight for peace and free will, and the Knights Templar, who desire peace through order and control. The series features historical fiction, science fiction, and fictional characters intertwined with real-world historical events and historical figures. In most games, players control a historical Assassin while also playing as an Assassin Initiate or someone caught in the Assassin–Templar conflict in the present-day framing story. Considered a spiritual successor to the Prince of Persia series, Assassin's Creed took inspiration from the novel Alamut by the Slovenian writer Vladimir Bartol, based on the historical Hashashin sect of the medieval Middle East.
The first Assassin's Creed was released in 2007, and it has featured twelve main games in total, the most recent being Assassin's Creed Valhalla in 2020. Main games in the Assassin's Creed series are set in an open world and played from the third-person view. Gameplay revolves around combat, stealth, and exploration, including the use of parkour to navigate the environment. The games feature both main and side missions, and some titles also include competitive and cooperative multiplayer game modes.
A new story and occasionally new time periods are introduced in each entry, with the gameplay elements also evolving. There are three overarching story arcs in the series. The first five main games follow Desmond Miles, a descendant of several important Assassins throughout history, who uses a machine called the Animus to relive his ancestors' memories and find powerful artifacts called Pieces of Eden while also attempting to prevent a catastrophic event, referencing the 2012 phenomenon, said to wipe out humanity by the end of 2012. From Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag to Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Assassin initiates and employees of Abstergo (a company used as a front 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 most recent games, Assassin's Creed Origins, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and Valhalla, follow ex-Abstergo employee Layla Hassan on her own quest to save humanity from another disaster.
The main games in the Assassin's Creed franchise have received generally positive reviews for their ambition in visuals, game design, and narratives, with criticism for the yearly release cycle and frequent bugs, as well as the prioritising of role-playing mechanics in later titles. The series has received multiple awards and nominations, including multiple Game of the Year awards. It is commercially successful, selling over 200 million copies as of September 2022, becoming Ubisoft's best-selling franchise and one of the highest selling video game franchises of all time. While main titles are produced for major consoles and desktop platforms, multiple spin-off games have been released for consoles, mobiles, and handheld platforms. A series of art books, encyclopedias, comics, novelizations, and novels have also been published. A live-action film adaptation of the series, titled Assassin's Creed, was released in 2016.