Desmond Miles

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Desmond Miles
Assassin's Creed character
Desmond Miles.png
First appearanceAssassin's Creed (2007)
Last appearanceAssassin's Creed III (2012)
Created byUbisoft
Portrayed byFrancisco Randez
Voiced byNolan North

Desmond Miles is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the frame story uniting the first five installments in the Assassin's Creed series of video games.[1][2][3] He is a descendant of a long line of other Assassins, including Adam,[4][5] Aquilus,[6][7][8] Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad,[9] Ezio Auditore da Firenze,[10][11][12][13] Edward Kenway,[14][15] Haytham Kenway[16][17][18][19] and Ratonhnhaké:ton.[20][21][22] Miles is voiced by Nolan North[23][24] and is modeled after Canadian fashion model Francisco Randez.[25] He represents symbolically a form of transcendence from the necessity of the human body.[3]

Plot appearances[edit]

Assassin's Creed[edit]

Desmond lives in New York and works as a bartender.[3] In order to hide his identity, he lives under assumed names and uses only cash to protect himself. However, yet because his ancestors were renowned Assassins, he is eventually tracked down by Abstergo Industries and captured by the Templars.[3] Once inside Abstergo's facility, Desmond is forced to enter the Animus, an advanced technology which allows him to relive the memories of his ancestors stored in his DNA.[3] It enables him to separate Desmond's consciousness from his body and to infuse his mind with his ancestors.[3] All under the watch of Abstergo scientists Dr. Warren Vidic and Dr. Lucy Stillman.[26] The scientists explain they are searching the memories of Desmond's ancestors, specifically those of Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad (1165-1257; Syria),[3] for specific information, which they refuse to disclose.[27] Without much choice, Desmond begrudgingly agrees to help them.

After recovering the information for which Vidic was searching, Abstergo's executives order Desmond to be killed. Lucy's quick thinking saves him; she persuades Vidic to keep him alive until they know he is of no further use. Upon returning to his room, Desmond, suffering from the "Bleeding Effect", discovers the side effect has given him Altaïr's "Eagle Vision". This allows him to discern friend from foe and to read cryptic messages written on walls and floors by Subject 16, another Animus subject that Lucy and Vidic occasionally mention.

According to voice actor Nolan North, the original plan for Desmond would be that he would feature in six respective games acquiring the skills of his Assassin ancestors and would eventually become 'The Ultimate Assassin'[28] and would be able to time-travel between time periods; North became greatly interested in the concept, this idea unfortunately was scrapped, adding upon this, North personally noted Desmond as a 'boring' protagonist whom ultimately had no direction to go forward, describing the character as 'a fork in the road'. He has been defined as a MacGuffin: "he exists to move the story forward, but he provides little substance".[3]

Assassin's Creed II[edit]

Desmond escapes from Abstergo with the help of Lucy, who is an undercover Assassin in Abstergo. He enters the Animus 2.0, supervised by Lucy and her team of assassins Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane, to be quickly trained as an Assassin via the Bleeding Effect. He relives the memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze (1459-1524; Italy),[3] his ancestor from the Renaissance. After successfully navigating Ezio's early memories, Desmond is extracted from the Animus to avoid the mental degradation that Subject 16 suffered as a side-effect of the Bleeding Effect and spending too long in the Animus. Shortly after extraction, Desmond flashes back to one of Altaïr's memories, despite not being linked to the Animus. Desmond learns of Altaïr's lover Maria Thorpe, a former Templar used as a decoy by Robert de Sablé. As Altaïr leaves, Desmond wonders why he is not following the Assassin; instead he moves towards Maria and enters her womb, showing that Altaïr's child— another of Desmond's ancestors—has just been conceived.

After spending more time in the Animus 2.0, Desmond begins to adjust to his newly developed skills and becomes agile and an expert in the use of weapons Ezio learned to use. The last segment of Ezio's memories brings an astonished Ezio and Desmond to a futuristic chamber underneath the Sistine Chapel, where a hologram of the goddess Minerva addresses Desmond by name and through Ezio warns him of an impending cataclysm with the potential to destroy all life on Earth. Desmond is pulled from the Animus as Abstergo discovers their hideout. The team escapes; Desmond using the skills acquired from the Bleeding Effect to repel Abstergo's forces. Desmond enters the Animus while in transit, knowing Ezio and perhaps Subject 16 may have the answers they seek.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood[edit]

Desmond, Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca arrive at Monteriggioni, where they set up a safehouse in the Villa Auditore's sanctuary; Desmond re-enters the Animus 2.0 to discover the location of the Apple of Eden, one of the "Pieces of Eden" obtained by Ezio. Through Ezio's memories, Desmond and the others learn the Apple is hidden under the Colosseum. The Assassins find their way inside an ancient vault, where the Apple is located. Desmond takes the Apple and through it, Juno takes control of his body and forces him to stab Lucy, who is revealed to be a Templar double agent. Desmond falls into a coma, and is placed back into the Animus by William Miles and another Assassin in a bid to preserve his consciousness.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations[edit]

Within the Animus, Desmond finds himself in the Black Room, a "safe mode" area for the device. In the Black Room's "Animus Island", he meets the digital construct of Subject 16, who explains that Desmond must find a memory that links him with Altaïr and Ezio so he can reintegrate his shattered subconscious and awaken from his coma. While in this state, Desmond can hear conversations between his father, William "Bill" Miles, Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane. When the Animus begins to delete Animus Island, Subject 16 sacrifices himself to prevent Desmond's consciousness from being deleted, but not before transferring his own genetic memories onto Desmond. After awakening from his coma, Desmond sees Shaun, Rebecca, and Bill around him. When William asks if he is alright, Desmond simply states that he knows what they have to do.[29]

While in the Black Room, there are five sequences where Desmond talks about his life and how he came to be in the hands of Abstergo. In Desmond Sequence 1, he expresses regret for running away from The Farm, and also wishes that he could apologize to his parents. In Desmond Sequences 2 and 3, Desmond explains his early life on The Farm and the training he went through. He also describes his escape, which happened at the age of 16. He ran away into the Black Hills, before running into girls from Illinois who drove him to Chicago. After this, he moved to New York City. During Desmond Sequence 4, he talks of his life in New York, and the job he got at a bar. In the last sequence, Desmond Sequence 5, Desmond describes how Abstergo found him at age 25 and how much he regretted not taking his parents' warnings and training more seriously, and finally accepts his role as an Assassin.

Assassin's Creed III[edit]

Desmond, who is noticeably thinner and frail after a long time in Animus, awakes from his coma. With the help of his father and friends, he relives the memories of his ancestor Ratonhnhaké:ton (1756-unknown; Colonial America),[3] and he must find his way into the Central Vault and stop the world from perishing. Using the new Animus 3.0, Desmond begins to live another of his ancestor's memories: Native American (Mohawk) Assassin, Ratonhnhaké:ton, who fought during the American Revolution. After he relives the life of Ratonhnhaké:ton and kills Warren Vidic and Daniel Cross, he finds the key to the secret door. Desmond opens the door and speaks with Juno. Minerva suddenly appears and tells Desmond that while they were planning to save the world, Juno wanted to use the machines and set in motion her plans of global conquest and return of the old order.

Minerva warns Desmond that if he touches the pedestal, he will be destroyed and Juno will be released but the world will be saved. Juno shows Desmond how his divinity among the survivors of the catastrophe would end with the world going through another cycle of political and religious war. Desmond decides to use the device and save the world, believing it has a better chance fighting Juno. While Shaun, Rebecca, and William exit the temple, Desmond touches the pedestal and releases Juno. He saves the world, but kills himself by releasing Juno.

According to lead designer Steve Masters, Desmond's story ends in Assassins Creed III: "What we're trying to do is bring some finality to Desmond's story. To actually wrap up what you've opened and experienced with him." Creative director of the series, Jean Guesdon, said that Desmond is an important character in the Assassin's Creed series, and will be playing a large part in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.[30]

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag[edit]

Despite his physical death, Desmond is still a powerful asset for Templars and Assassins. Shortly after Desmond's death, a sample recovery team from Abstergo is sent to collect his body and samples for the new Sample 17. Desmond's DNA is stored in Abstergo Entertainment's servers, where a crew of analysts are tasked with reliving his copied genetic memories and learning about his ancestors. One of them, the player character, is tasked with reliving the memories of Edward Kenway, Ratonhnhaké:ton's grandfather, a pirate and later an eventual member recruited into the Assassin Order, collecting enough data to lead the Abstergo to the Observatory, a First Civilization's temple hosting an advanced tracking device and several vials of First Civilization's blood samples. This allows Abstergo Entertainment to fund its operations by writing a movie about the Golden Age of Piracy.

The analyst steals and sends back to the Assassins several recordings left by Desmond detailing his initial doubts of leaving the farm, his acceptance of the role he had been chosen to play and his love for his parents. Because Abstergo can now collect anyone's genetic memories without having to use blood-related analysts, Desmond's body gives Abstergo full knowledge about his family life.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate[edit]

In 2015, a boy was brought by his mother to an Abstergo clinic in New York City. Abstergo analysts discovered that the boy shared exactly the same patrilineal lineage of Desmond Miles, indicating that he may have been unknowingly conceived by Desmond a few years after the latter's escape from the Assassins. On top of that, it was also revealed that the boy is a Sage, a modern-day reincarnation of a First Civilization member. An Abstergo researcher then proposes to kidnap the boy and conduct a vivisection on him. However, another researcher, Isabelle Ardant, opposed the idea, claiming that it would be better to abduct the boy when he is older and place him in the Animus for 50 years so that Abstergo can study his lineage.


Michael Fassbender starred in and co-produced a film adaptation of the series, projected to be the first of several films.[31] Initially thought to be cast as Desmond Miles, Ubisoft stated that Fassbender would play a new character, named Callum Lynch.[32][33]


Desmond Miles received mixed reviews from critics[34] primarily due to his uneven characterisation and development.[35] He was voted the twentieth top character of the 2000s decade by Game Informer's readers.[36] PlayStation Universe rated Desmond one of the PlayStation 3's worst characters, saying, "While voiced admirably by the ubiquitous Nolan North, it's impossible to shake the feeling of pure monotony when stepping into Desmond's shoes when all you want to do is hop back in time and stab people in the face".[37] Watch Mojo ranked Desmond in 10th position of the Top 10 Assassin's Creed Characters, whom stated 'Though cynical on the surface, Desmond's bravery and concern for others shines through, to say nothing of his willingess to sacrifice himself for the greater good.'[38]


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  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Banks, Mejia & Adams 2017, p. 51.
  4. ^ Lepkowsky, Ian (22 October 2015). "Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Backstory Explained – Pieces of Eden, Precursors, and Present-Day". Twinfinite. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  5. ^ Nathan, Ian (21 December 2016). Guillemont, Gerard (ed.). Assassin's Creed: Into the Animus. Insight Editions. p. 160. ISBN 9781608877973.
  6. ^ Corberyan, Eric (11 November 2009). Defali, Djilalli; Hedon, Raphael (eds.). Assassin's Creed 1: Desmond. Les Deux Royaumes. p. 48. ISBN 2918771007.
  7. ^ Corberyan, Eric (12 November 2010). Defali, Djilalli; Sentenac, Alexis (eds.). Assassin's Creed 2: Aquilus. Les Deux Royaumes. p. 48. ISBN 2918771007.
  8. ^ Corberyan, Eric (12 November 2011). Defali, Djilalli; Sentenac, Alexis (eds.). Assassin's Creed 3: Accipiter. Les Deux Royaumes. p. 48. ISBN 2918771007.
  9. ^ Granger, Katie (19 February 2016). "Ubisoft's 'Assassin's Creed' Series Might Just Be Saved By New Release Model". Moviepilot. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  10. ^ Baez, Dominic (27 January 2017). "Saying ciao to an old friend". The Register-Guard. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  11. ^ Crecente, Brian (7 October 2009). "Hands On With Assassin's Creed II: Mario Kart And DiCaprio". Kotaku. Australia. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  12. ^ Schiesel, Seth (12 December 2011). "Time-Travel Tip for Constantinople: Pack Daggers". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  13. ^ Smith, Nick (26 December 2016). "Like the Assassins, Assassin's Creed Will Stay in the Dark". The Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  14. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (29 October 2013). "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: The Kotaku Review". Kotaku. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  15. ^ Makuch, Eddie (7 October 2013). "All foliage in Xbox One, PS4 ACIV: Black Flag has physics". GameSpot. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
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  17. ^ Black, Tony (9 May 2016). "Assassin's Creed: How might the movie differ from the games?". Flickering Myth. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  18. ^ Benzeghadi, Yossef (3 November 2014). "Assassin's Creed Unity : Elise, Junon, Première Civilisation et métahistoire". Gameblog (in French). Retrieved 25 December 2017.
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  20. ^ Thomas, Adam Robert (14 November 2012). "Video Game Review: Assassin's Creed 3". California Literary Review. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  21. ^ Cloutier, Jean-François. "Assassin's Creed: un film pour 2015". TVQC (in French). Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  22. ^ Davan-Soulas, Melinda (27 October 2017). ""Assassin's Creed" : Ezio, Altaïr, Connor, Arno... Retour sur dix ans de héros". La Chaîne Info (in French). Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  23. ^ Herndon, Neil (25 January 2016). "We Need 'Assassin's Creed' Back". Forbes. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  24. ^ emilygera (2 January 2014). "Troy Baker and Nolan North featuring in upcoming E3 Voices of Gaming panel". Polygon. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  25. ^ Bernard, Sophie (23 November 2007). "Francisco Randez prête son visage à Altaïr". Lien Multimédia (in French). Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  26. ^ Harris, Ron (16 November 2011). "Review: 'Assassin's Creed' puts premium on stealth". Business Week.
  27. ^ Tannenbaum, David (2 April 2008). "'Assassin' hits target dead-on, brings city to life". The Eagle. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  28. ^ Herndon, Neil (25 June 2016). "We Need 'Assassin's Creed' Back". Forbes. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  29. ^ Ubisoft Montreal (15 November 2011). Assassin's Creed: Revelations. PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Ubisoft. Desmond: I know what we need to do.
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  32. ^ Gilbert, Ben (9 July 2012). "Fassbender's Assassin's Creed character not necessarily Desmond". Engadget. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  33. ^ Doty, Meriah (27 August 2015). "'Assassin's Creed' First Look: Here's Michael Fassbender as Brand New Character (Exclusive)". Yahoo! Entertainment. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  34. ^ EGM Staff (21 July 2012). "Ubisoft Ready To Eliminate Desmond Miles From Assassin's Creed". EGMNOW. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  35. ^ Hughes, Nathan (6 April 2014). "Assassin's Creed: What Went Wrong With Desmond Miles?". Only SP. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  36. ^ Vore, Bryan (3 December 2010). "Readers' Top 30 Characters Results Revealed". Game Informer. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  37. ^ Harradence, Michael (17 May 2012). "PS3's top 5 worst protagonists". PlayStation Universe. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  38. ^ Morris, Jack (17 June 2013). "Top 10 Assassin's Creed Characters". Watch Mojo. Retrieved 23 December 2017.