- "I'm a bartender, for Christ's sake! What do you want me to do, teach you how to mix a Martini?"
- ―Desmond to Vidic and Lucy.[src]
Desmond Miles (born 1987) was a traveling hermit and a descendant of a long line of ancestors who swore their allegiance to the Assassin Order. In August 2012, he was kidnapped and incarcerated at Abstergo Industries, a Templar organization, and forced into a machine called the Animus to relive the memories of his ancestor, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, during the Third Crusade, in order to learn the location of "the Apple", one of the Pieces of Eden.
Eventually escaping with the aid of Lucy Stillman, Desmond once again used an Animus to explore the memories of another ancestor of his, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, so as to learn the ways of the Assassins through the bleeding effect.
- "You have any idea what it's like to be trapped in a place, knowing there was a whole world out there I'd never get to see?"
- ―Desmond to Lucy about his childhood.[src]
Desmond Miles was born in an Assassin "hideout" in the desert known as "The Farm", an off-the-grid compound with a population of about thirty people, much like the city of Masyaf. Though he was destined to be trained as an Assassin, he was frustrated by his parents' explicit instructions not to leave the compound, and believed them to be overly concerned and paranoid. On his 16th birthday, he finally fled, wanting "to see the rest of the world." He later told Lucy Stillman that he had no regrets over leaving his parents, because as far as he was concerned, they were little more than his wardens, with the farm as his prison.
After leaving the Assassin compound, he went into hiding for nine years. While keeping a low profile, he eventually became a bartender. Aware of the Templars, and wanting to avoid both them and the Assassins, Desmond never used his real name and used only cash to purchase items. However, he was eventually found, traced through a fingerprint needed for a motorcycle license, and was kidnapped to be brought to the Abstergo laboratory in Italy.
Kidnapped by Abstergo
- "I'm not an Assassin... not any more."
- ―Desmond Miles to Warren Vidic.[src]
In September 2012, Desmond Miles was kidnapped by Abstergo Industries, a pharmaceutical company and front for the Templars, for use as a test subject in the Animus, a device that can read the memories of Desmond's ancestors through the "genetic memory" left behind in their descendants' DNA.
At first, Warren Vidic attempted to pry the information he wanted from Desmond's mind, but was met with failure. While Desmond claimed to be nothing more than a bartender, Vidic revealed that they knew of his history as an Assassin, forcing Desmond to finally admit his past life. Vidic and Lucy told Desmond that they were trying to access a certain memory, but Desmond's subconscious was resisting their efforts. Vidic warned Desmond that if he refused to assist them, they would induce a coma, continue their work, and leave him to die when they had finished. Without much of a choice, Desmond agreed to help them.
Desmond was made to explore the genetic memories of his ancestor Altaïr - a member of a creed of Assassins active around the Third Crusade. He did so over several days under the watchful eye of Vidic, but during the nights, Desmond was given a code that allowed him to open his room's door and explore the lab he was being held in, accessing the Animus computer and (after stealing Vidic's pen) gaining access to his personal computer.
Through e-mails, Desmond learned much about Abstergo, as well as the Animus subject who had preceded him, Subject 16, who had suffered from a "bleeding effect" due to prolonged exposure to the Animus. Eventually, with the aid of Lucy, the Assassins learned of Desmond's capture and attempted to liberate him, with the gunfire of their assault being heard through an intercom device.
After the rescue attempt failed, Vidic boasted that those Assassins were, in fact, the last of the group Desmond had escaped from, their desert hideout having been previously destroyed. When Vidic left, however, Lucy reassured Desmond that his parents had "probably escaped." During this discussion, Lucy revealed herself to be an undercover member of the Assassins.
Desmond eventually achieved Vidic's goal and discovered the location of numerous Pieces of Eden. Executives of Abstergo Industries then ordered his execution, but his life was saved by Lucy's intervention, as she asked them to keep Desmond alive in order to re-access his memories if necessary. After the executives left, Desmond realized that he was able to use Eagle Vision, an ability he shared with his Assassin ancestors which he had picked up through the bleeding effect. Using it for the first time, he saw Vidic's and Lucy's true allegiances, as well as countless scrawled messages and puzzles on the floor of the main laboratory.
Escape to the Hideout
- "Wait! Why aren't I following Altaïr? Oh, shit..."
- ―Desmond discovering his lineage.[src]
After Desmond spent some time alone in the laboratory, Lucy suddenly arrived, covered in blood and demanding Desmond to get into the Animus before Abstergo discovered what she had done. Desmond, rather confused, agreed and managed to sync with the closest genetic match between himself and Subject 16 recorded in the Animus’ memory core. Inside the Animus, he experienced the birth of another of his ancestors, Ezio Auditore. He was pulled out abruptly, however, so that they could both make their escape.
The two of them were quickly spotted by Abstergo's security, though Lucy was able to react fast enough to lock a door and keep the guards from getting to them. Unfortunately, they were forced into an engagement with two more security personnel which Lucy promptly dealt with, astonishing Desmond, allowing them to continue on undetected. The two soon entered a transparent elevator, that led down to a large open room filled with office blocks, housing a large number of Animus machines.
Following Lucy through the maze-like walkways between the Animi to avoid the guard patrols, they made their way to the back of the room. Lucy attempted to enter a code into the locked door of another elevator, but it was rejected, prompting Desmond to instinctively call upon his recently acquired Eagle Vision. Seeing the buttons necessary for the code, Desmond successfully unlocked the door on his third try. Once in the car park underneath the building, the two were halted by more of Abstergo's guards, but were able to defeat them and escape.
Arriving at one of the Assassins' hideouts, Desmond was introduced to two more Assassins – Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane – who had previously worked with Lucy. Lucy told Desmond that they wanted him to become trained as an Assassin, which could be achieved in a matter of days, thanks to the bleeding effect. Doing so required him to learn through the ancestor that he had synchronized with Subject 16, Ezio Auditore. Desmond agreed to help almost immediately, which surprised Lucy. He was then quickly plugged into the Animus 2.0, and began reliving Ezio's memories.
After learning the skills of an Assassin through Ezio's memories, Desmond was retracted from the Animus, partly to test his retention of the memories, but also to prevent the mental degradation that Subject 16 had suffered from, for being in the Animus for an extended period of time.
Tasking him with initiating security protocols around the hideout, Lucy left it to Desmond to figure out how to reach them through the use of his eagle vision and new-found free running skills. Just as he began, however, he started suffering vivid hallucinations of the Crusader era. At first, the visions were short, and were nothing to worry about, but after completing the task, Desmond was incapacitated as the visions became more real.
Taken back to medieval Acre by the bleeding effect, Desmond once again followed the memories of Altaïr, though this time, without using the Animus. Through this vision, he discovered that Altaïr and Maria Thorpe had conceived a child, who was to be Desmond's next ancestor after Altaïr.
The next day, Desmond had recovered from the experiences and returned to the Animus, neglecting to tell the Assassins what had happened. He continued to watch the genetic memories of Ezio Auditore, despite at one time being thrown out by "corrupted memory sequences". Eventually, the team learned that Ezio's nemesis, Rodrigo Borgia, had become Pope Alexander VI in 1492 so as to gain access to both another Piece of Eden, the Papal Staff, and the Vault. As Ezio entered this Vault, he was confronted by a "goddess" hologram who called herself, Minerva.
Minerva warned the Assassins of the end of the world, recounting the story of the war between "Those Who Came Before," and their human subjects. The Assassins were shocked when Minerva addressed Desmond by name, confusing even Ezio, and revealed that Minerva was in fact talking to Desmond through Ezio. Mere moments after, Desmond was quickly pulled out of the Animus, and upon seeing the three rushing to collect their belongings, realized that the Templars had found their location.
As he climbed out of the Animus, Lucy tossed Desmond a hidden blade with the Assassin insignia on the bracer, and asked for his assistance in covering their escape. Making their way into the warehouse, they were confronted by Vidic and several Abstergo security guards, all of whom were intent on reclaiming Desmond.
The two eliminated all of the Templars that assaulted them, with Desmond – now being fully synchronized with Ezio and thus, had learned all of his abilities – masterfully using his hidden blade to kill many of the guards himself. With his entourage defeated, Vidic was left to confront Desmond on his own; though he opted instead to retreat, promising that their victory was only temporary. The four Assassins then fled north, with Desmond being hooked up to the Animus inside the van so he could continue to search through his memories for anything useful. Meanwhile, the other Assassins began to discuss the nature of Minerva and her speech.
- "What if I can't stop the visions? How long before I start painting symbols on the walls?"
- ―Desmond to Lucy about the bleeding effect.[src]
After the Abstergo attack on their warehouse base, the Assassins traveled to Monteriggioni, one of the last Assassin safe houses in Italy. As the Templars were actively searching for them, and were analyzing the environment using cell phone towers, they were forced to set up underground, in the Sanctuary under the Villa Auditore.
Whilst searching the grounds of the Villa Auditore for a way into the Sanctuary, Desmond – through the bleeding effect – saw a vision of Ezio in the past, who led him to a high, narrow ledge and leaped off. Desmond immediately followed suit, performing his first-ever Leap of Faith into a pile of hay. Desmond and Lucy then made their way to the Sanctuary, via a tunnel used by Ezio and the villagers of Monteriggioni to escape after the attack.
As they passed through the tunnels, Desmond saw more visions, which worried him, making him wonder if he would eventually "start painting symbols on the walls." Lucy then scolded him, telling him not to joke about his condition, and reminded him that Subject 16 was dead, and that he needed to focus.
When the two reached the Sanctuary, Desmond saw another vision of Ezio, who seemed to have visited it in his old age. Before he opened the door to Mario Auditore's office, Desmond noticed the numbers 1419, 1420, and 1421 written on the walls, which he pointed out to the other Assassins. Shaun theorized the numbers to refer to dates, however he admitted that he needed to do further research. After the team set up, Desmond became in charge of bringing electricity into the Sanctuary by inserting devices of Rebecca's construction into four electrical power boxes located around Monterrigioni, that would allow them to accumulate small amounts of power from each source. After that, he continued with his regular Animus sessions.
- Unnamed man: "Shit! He's gone into shock!"
- William M: "Put him back in the machine, it's the only way to fix this."
- Unnamed man: "But the Animus did this to him!"
- William M: "Am I the expert or not? Do it!"
- —William M. and a unnamed man regarding Desmond's current health, 2012.
After finishing in the Animus, Desmond and the others learned that the Apple of Eden was hidden under the Colosseum. Upon traveling to Rome, the group separated, with Desmond climbing through the ruins towards the Santa Maria Aracoeli, where he unbarred the door for the other Assassins.
Inside, Desmond activated an elevator that took all of them down to a chamber that held the Apple. However, as he took the Piece of Eden from its pedestal, Juno's voice was heard, saying that Desmond's DNA had activated the Apple. Juno then took control of Desmond's body, and forced him to stab Lucy in the abdomen with his hidden blade.
After collapsing in the Colosseum Vault, Desmond was found by William M. and an associate. Having slipped in shock, and later a coma, his unconscious body was recovered, and transported to an unknown location.
As Desmond started to go into shock, he was put back into an Animus by William M. and another, unidentified person. During this session, Ezio and Leonardo da Vinci were seen to have discovered a smaller vault in Rome. When Ezio's DNA was activated, a set of coordinates intended for Desmond were projected: 43 39 19 N 75 27 42 W. After reliving more memories, Desmond's condition worsened, and he entered a comatose state.
Plot or ending details follow. Click [show] to view.
After both his extensive exposure to the Animus, and the strain of the Apple on his mind, Desmond's conscious shattered, leaving him in a deep coma. He was placed back into an Animus by the Assassins in an attempt to keep his mind active. Here, Desmond slipped from the "White Room", which serves as the loading screen for genetic memories, into the "Black Room" - a 'safe' room where Desmond could access his own fragmented memories through a back door in the Animus' programming. Desmond had to repair his splintered subconscious piece by piece from within the Animus in order to wake himself from his coma, ultimately having to find a specific memory that linked himself, Altaïr and Ezio together to accomplish this.
Characteristics and personality
Desmond was a gruff and cynical individual, who held a serious outlook on life. This was mainly due to him being aware of the Templars and Assassins since his youth, although he was initially unaware of Abstergo Industries being a Templar company. Despite this, he was not above jesting about his situation, and would occasionally make jokes, although they rarely elicited a good reaction. After his emancipation from Abstergo, Desmond's demeanor became considerably more relaxed, and he spent a noticeable amount of time conversing with Lucy. He began to question his sanity, however, after experiencing the bleeding effect.
Equipment and skills
As Desmond was trained during childhood as an Assassin, he was proficient in basic reconnaissance skills, such as eavesdropping and pickpocketing. After about a week of being forced to relive the memories of his ancestor, Altaïr, Desmond developed an extra-sensory ability called eagle vision. Later on, after willingly exploring the memories of his other ancestor, Ezio, Desmond learned how to free-run and use weapons. Not long afterwards, he was able to easily fend off a Templar attack with Ezio's combat skills.
Since fully synchronizing with Ezio, Desmond has been able to use all of the abilities his ancestor could in real life, notably in free running across Monteriggioni and the Colosseum.
- Desmond has an A+ blood type.
- Desmond is modeled after Francisco Randez and voiced by Nolan North. Curiously, Randez also used to be a bartender before he became a model. This may have inspired the makers of the game to give Desmond the same profession.
- The etymology of Desmond's name "the world" (or "man of the world" in Celtic) is not related to either of his ancestors, whereas Altaïr's and Ezio's names pertain to avians; Altaïr's being "the flying one" and Ezio's "eagle." His surname "Miles" is also the Latin word for "soldier." This name suits him however, as he wanted to leave his parents' watchful eyes to see the rest of the world outside the compound, and refers to his role in saving the world from destruction.
- Desmond is a descendant of Those Who Came Before and humans. Proof of this is his eagle vision, a product of the unification of those two races, which also led to the birth of the first "Assassins," Adam and Eve.
- Desmond possesses the same scar on his lip as his ancestors Altaïr and Ezio, though how Desmond acquired it is unknown.
- Desmond and Altaïr share the same age during the first game, both being 25 years of age in 2012 and 1191 respectively.
- Desmond's history shows that he never wanted to be an Assassin, nor does he have the skills yet before Assassin's Creed II to be one; as Shaun puts it "[Desmond] didn't even try to escape." However, in the graphic novel included with the limited edition of Assassin's Creed, he does call himself an Assassin, and shows skills of stealth and lethality.
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
- The Animus machine, during the tutorial segment, refers to the subject viewing the memories as Subject 17, which was the subject number given to Desmond during the events of Assassin's Creed. Although likely, Desmond's presence in Bloodlines is highly debatable, due to time conflicts between Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II.
Assassin's Creed II
- Desmond acquires a hidden blade at the conclusion of Assassin's Creed II. The original owner of the blade is not mentioned, but its bracer is identical to the one Ezio Auditore inherited from his father, Giovanni Auditore. However, it is very unlikely that Ezio's bracer was passed down to Desmond, as he replaced it in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.
- Although only given a hidden blade, this is not the only weapon Desmond can use, as he can disarm his opponents when escaping from the Hideout and stay with their clubs.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- Interacting with the statue of Altaïr in the Sanctuary at any point during the storyline will trigger Desmond to say "Hey, wassa-matta-you, Altaïr?", followed by Rebecca reprimanding him for being racist. This can be done as many times as the player wants after the cutscene.
- In early images, Desmond is seen with a beard identical to Ezio's. It is unknown why the beard was present then, and was later removed.
- During the beginning, when Desmond and Lucy are traversing the tunnels to get to the Sanctuary, the two will engage in a brief argument on how to climb a small wall. Desmond suggests that one of them gives the other a boost into the air to reach a ledge, however, Lucy refuses. This is a reference to the game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, in which the protagonist Nathan Drake, who is also voiced by Nolan North, must often launch his female companions with a boost to get around certain obstacles. Later, Lucy and Desmond also begin using a catapult jumping technique exactly like that seen in Uncharted 2 to cross gaps in the path.
- Desmond is practically invincible outside of the Animus, where he is able to survive, unharmed, from a fall from any height.
- Despite being equipped with a hidden blade throughout the story, Desmond only uses it twice; the first in the Auditore Family Crypt, to lower a platform for Lucy, and the second in the Colosseum Vault, to stab Lucy.
- Should the player achieve full synchronization in Sequence 8, Desmond will appear as a playable skin in the Animus. The Animus states that the Desmond model was uploaded from the Animus memory banks. Despite him only wearing one hidden blade, double kills are still possible.
- An exact replica of Desmond's shirt (as well as one in an alternative color) was available from UbiWorkshop.
- Desmond's t-shirt design appears to change throughout the game. Sometimes the eagle on his shirt's head is facing left and other times it is pointing right.
Notes and references