Layla Hassan (1984–2020) is a member of the Assassin Brotherhood and former employee of Abstergo Industries. Forced to leave Abstergo following a Templar attempt on her life, she was offered a position with the Assassins by their leader, William Miles.
Though initially reluctant, she eventually joined the Assassins and became an important member of the Brotherhood, taking control of her own cell within a year. In 2018, her exploration of the memories of the Greek mercenary Kassandra led her to the ancient First Civilization complex of Atlantis, where she received the Staff of Hermes from Kassandra.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality and characteristics
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Appearances
- 5 References
Born in Cairo to parents Ashraf and Zeniab Hassan, Layla and her family emigrated to the United States in 1986 when she was two, before finally settling in Queens, New York. It was there that Layla grew up alongside her two younger brothers, Rami and Kaden. She was granted American citizenship through a process known as naturalization.
In her childhood, Layla often drove her parents crazy as she always disassembled her toys rather than playing with them. She also disliked surprises and objects that seemed to work by magic, Growing up, Layla began showing a penchant for rule-breaking and she disliked the regimented nature of formal schooling, due to having an unpleasant experience of being punished for playing by the rules. This cemented her existing tendency to buck authority.
After high school, Layla was pressured by her father into post-secondary enrollment despite her plans not to continue studies as well as her poor grades. However, she showed promise in engineering and this led her father to enroll her in the University of California in Berkeley under the electrical engineering program.
Working at Abstergo
However, Layla remained uncommitted to her studies and found herself thriving in the campus' highly politicized atmosphere, feuding with the school's administration. It was during this time she met Sofia Rikkin, who was part of a delegation of Abstergo touring the campus with the company's "young innovators" recruitment program.
Sofia was intrigued by Layla's interest in technology, and as such offered her a job with Abstergo where she could work her way up to the Animus lab. In 2006, Layla dropped out of the university and joined Abstergo, working first in the I+D division of Abstergo Fitness and later in the Research and Development division.
Over the years, Abstergo used several of her ideas to make adjustments to the Animus, though she was never made aware of the company's Templar affiliations. Although Layla worked for Abstergo for eleven years, the one thing she wanted more than anything else was a promotion to work on the Animus Project. However, she was denied this offer due to her numerous transgressions against Abstergo protocols.
Egyptian revolution activism
In January 2011, protests against then-president Hosni Mubarak and his regime erupted in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. Layla, feeling the need for revolution, asked for a leave of absence and returned to her home country. She was present for the Tahir Square demonstrations. Although her fluency in Arabic was minimal, she managed to become strongly involved in the country's revolutionary youth culture. She helped her new friends communicate via social media and also in hacking digital devices despite the widespread government censorship.
In July 2013, after the coup d'état that installed Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as president, Layla decided to reluctantly return to America to work for Abstergo again. She was issued her own portable Animus, but her satisfaction with her job grew stale. The near-lack of contact with Sofia angered Layla over the denied professional opportunity.
For the next three years, Layla continued her work at Abstergo while also secretly modding her Animus to able to process DNA of those not related to her and also excessively damaged DNA. She had planned to present her new design to Sofia and finally be a part of the Animus team. However due to the Assassin attack on the Abstergo Foundation Rehabilitation Center in October 2016, all contact with Sofia stopped.
Assignment in Egypt
In 2017, as part of a Historical Tactical Team, Layla and her co-worker and best friend, Deanna Geary, were assigned by Simon Hathaway to find and retrieve an important historical artifact from the Qattara Depression in Egypt. During this expedition, Layla found the mummies of the ancient Assassins Bayek and Aya. Without informing her superiors, she used her own portable Animus to relive their memories from around the year 48 BCE in order to prove her worth to the Animus Project.
Layla's refusal to check in with Abstergo led to the company deploying a Sigma Team to find her and Deanna. While Deanna was assaulted in her hotel, Layla made use of the skills she'd obtained through the Bleeding Effect to dispatch her attackers.
She was later found by William Miles, Mentor of the Assassins after he had caught wind of her situation. He offered her a position with the Brotherhood and faced with no other option, Layla agreed to work with him, but refused to actually join as a member.
Working with the Assassins
By the end of 2017, she had not only become a member of the Assassins, but befriended several members, including Charlotte de la Cruz, Arend Schut-Cunningham, and Harlan Cunningham, and had become a leader of her own Assassin cell.
As part of her first Assassin mission, she and Kiyoshi Takakura went on a mission to Quebec. They searched the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec for a relic which had belonged to the Recollects. Things went sideways when they were confronted by Abstergo, but Kiyoshi's past as a yakuza helped him save Layla from danger.
Herodotos' Lost Histories
In October 2018, during her quest for Isu artifacts, Layla discovered the Lost Histories of Herodotos, the earliest known Greek historian. From this work, she learned of the Spartan mercenary Kassandra who had wielded an Isu weapon, the Spear of Leonidas. Layla went out searching for the broken spear, and after finding it she was able to relive Kassandra's memories with the help of another ex-Abstergo employee Dr Victoria Bibeau.
After reliving Kassandra's memory of discovering Atlantis for the first time, Layla and her crew sailed from London to the coast of Santorini aboard the Altaïr II, hoping to find the secret underwater entrance to the ancient city. Layla, having found the entrance and the city, further explored Atlantis, looking for a way to open it. Not finding anything then, she decided to further relive Kassandra's memories to find out how she might open the city.
Once Layla had the necessary knowledge to open the city, she realigned the mirrors reflecting the light beam and the city was opened. It was then that she met with Kassandra herself, kept alive by the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus. Kassandra warned that as the Templars and Assassins represent order and chaos, either side prevailing over the other would result in the world's doom. Declaring Layla the prophesied one who would bring balance, Kassandra passed the staff on to Layla and immediately lost her immortality and expired – Layla held her in her arms as she died. Layla then returned to the Animus to synchronize with the remainder of Kassandra's memories.
Unlocking the Seal of Atlantis
Whilst exploring Kassandra's memories, Layla encountered a hologram of the Isu Aletheia, who guided Kassandra to hold onto the Staff until she could hand it over to Layla, whom Aletheia referred to as the "Heir of Memories". Upon exiting the Animus, Layla heard Aletheia's voice issue from the Staff, instructing her to identify the three symbols to unlock the Great Seal to Atlantis. Layla, with the assistance of the Altaïr II, later located the symbols in the tombs of Agamemnon, Orion, and Eteokles.
All the while, Bibeau expressed concern for Layla's well-being while Aletheia warned that someone called the Interloper sought to stop her. Realizing that Kassandra's associate, Phidias, knew the meaning of these symbols, Layla relived the memories of Kassandra's brother Deimos, who was responsible for the sculptor's murder, despite the dangerous effects on her mind, at which Bibeau was forced to remotely pull her out.
After hearing from Aletheia that the Interloper was male, Layla soon lost contact with the Altaïr II as it was attacked by the Sigma Team. Uncertain of her team's status, Layla went to unlock the Seal, realizing that the three words Phidias had repeated when Alexios assaulted him were the password. Subsequently, she was relieved to hear that her team had fought off the Sigma Team. Furthermore, Alannah Ryan claimed that someone was listening in on their communications, so the Altaïr II was forced to go dark until it was safe to open up Atlantis.
Trials of Atlantis
Having successfully unlocked Atlantis, Layla entered the room, where she was greeted by Aletheia and joined by Victoria, who was concerned about her friend's wellbeing. Aletheia tasked Kassandra to enter simulations of realms created by her in order to master the staff. This was so that Layla would not fall to the Staff's influence and corruption.
As Layla continued to relive Kassandra's memories while the latter explored the simulations, Layla's behaviour became increasingly aggressive, which caused Victoria to forcefully pull Layla out of the Animus, citing the Bleeding Effect to be affecting her. This culminated in Layla accidentally killing Victoria with the Staff. Horrified at what she'd done, Layla was approached by Aletheia, who proclaimed that Layla might not be the true "Heir of Memories" after all, and that she needed time to reflect. Layla refuted Aletheia's statement, blaming the Staff for her actions though Aletheia reminded her that she dictated who the "Heir" was and not Layla. Layla later agreed to leave and take some time to reflect, requesting Aletheia to look after Victoria until she returned.
Layla subsequently returned to the chamber, wishing to finish the trials despite Aletheia's apprehension. Nevertheless, Layla was able to convince the Isu to let her back in. After reliving Kassandra's memories of her trials' completion, Layla was quickly woken up by Aletheia, who informed her that the Interloper, revealed to be Otso Berg, had arrived. Layla was briefed by the Templar of the things that had transpired since her team's discovery of Herodotos' Lost Histories. As Layla tried to negotiate with Berg by using the Staff to help his daughter Elina, Otso Berg interrupted and threatened her to hand over the Staff.
The two engaged in a fight which saw Layla defeating Berg with the Staff. She then proceeded to impale Berg's back with the Staff, rendering him immobile. As Berg passed out from his injuries, Layla approached Victoria's body, taking the earphones off her ear. In doing so, Layla regained communications with Alannah and her team, informing her of what had transpired and requested the team to pick her up from the vault.
Finding the Wolf-Kissed
After the incident in Atlantis, Layla's relationships with Kiyoshi and Alannah became strained. By May 2020, she had been reassigned to an Assassin cell with Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane. Months later, as the Earth's magnetic field continued to increase in potency since the 2012 coronal mass ejection, resulting in huge electromagnetic disturbances worldwide creating an aurora borealis over the entire world, the team received a strange message that promised a solution, which led them to a New England Viking grave in North America dating to the ninth century. Using her Animus, Layla was able to relive the memories of the Norse warrior, Eivor Varinsdottir. Shaun also placed a mood stabilizer on Layla's neck, to ensure she didn't succumb to the Staff's power again. After completing the memories of Eivor, Layla is connected to the Yggdrasil device, slows the machine down and returns the planet to its normal state, while she releases Basim Ibn Ishaq and meets the reader, Desmond Miles. As a result of being connected to the machine she drops the Hermes's Staff. She starts looking for a solution in a place called Gray.
Personality and characteristics
During her early years, Layla Hassan was noted by her colleagues for her strict adherence to policy and protocol. On the occasions in which she was forced to act outside of these boundaries, she often took on an apologetic tone; this was shown on at least one occasion when she emailed Juhani Otso Berg regarding his use of her allocated parking space at Abstergo's offices. Eventually, however, Layla's frustration at the perceived lack of respect from her colleagues convinced her to act outside of the company protocol and attempt to "prove herself" by undertaking the mission to sequence Bayek's genetic memories, alone, save for Deanna on the other end of a phone.
Layla seems somewhat addicted to the Animus and the freedom it gives her. This is evident by how she reacts when Victoria pulls her out with no warning. Along with the Staff's meddling and her experiences of the Bleeding Effect from Deimos and Kassandra, Layla has become prone to sudden bursts of anger, although she later forgets what she did or why. Having been affected by the power of the Staff, Layla taunted Berg after defeating him. Layla killing Victoria was later compared to Desmond Miles killing his ally Lucy in 2012 by her teammate Kiyoshi.
By 2020, Layla had started exhibiting depressive and nihilistic symptoms. In addition, she also started self-destructive behavior with her smoking and downing pills. Despite the mood stabilizer in her neck, Layla could still hear the hum of the Staff even with it being locked in a glass box, this hum would usually make her stare longingly at it before breaking herself away.
Equipment and skills
After reliving the memories of the Medjay Bayek, Layla experienced the Bleeding Effect and was able to perform freerunning, leaps of faith and assassinations flawlessly. Layla is also an adequate swimmer, being able to dive underwater to find the hidden city of Atlantis, albeit with the assistance of scuba gear.
Once Layla had found Aya's hidden blade she taped it to her forearm as a make-shift hidden blade. With it she was able to dispatch the members of Sigma Team sent to find her without much effort. After being bestowed the Staff of Hermes, Layla was able to fight efficiently with her Bleeding Effect as her only training. She was able to defeat several members of Sigma Team and even succeeded in incapacitating the squadron's leader Juhani Otso Berg.
Behind the scenes
Layla (ليلى) is a feminine Arabic name meaning 'night', while Hassan (حسن) is a common Arabic surname meaning 'strong, good'. Layla's father, Ashraf Hassan, shares his birth name with Ashraf Ismail, the game director of Origins.
Around Layla's equipment are a Moogle doll, a Cactuar statuette, and a Chocobo sticker. This was from a collaborative crossover with Assassin's Creed and the Final Fantasy series, particularly Final Fantasy XV.
- Assassin's Creed: Origins (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
- Assassin's Creed: Blade of Shao Jun (appears in flashback(s))
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice – Tokyo XXI
- Assassin's Creed Origins: Official Game Guide – The Heroes: Layla Hassan
- Assassin's Creed: Origins – Modern Day
- Assassin's Creed: The Essential Guide
- Assassin's Creed: Origins – Subject header: "Egypt"
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – Modern Day
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – Subject header: "Team Effort"
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – The Heir of Memories
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – The Fate of Atlantis: Fields of Elysium – Modern Day
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – The Fate of Atlantis: Torment of Hades – Modern Day
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – The Fate of Atlantis: Judgment of Atlantis – Modern Day
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla – Modern Day
- Assassin's Creed: Blade of Shao Jun – Chapter 6
- Totilo, Stephen (20-12-2017). There Is Now Some Final Fantasy XV In Assassin's Creed Origins. Kotaku. Retrieved on May 26, 2020.