10 Years of the Hidden Blade
04/21/2017 09:00 AM
In 2007, Assassins shared their secrets with us to aid in the fight for humanity against the Templars. The Hidden Blade, the signature weapon and symbol for Assassins everywhere, being one of the most important. This compact and deadly device, which would quickly extend or retract, consisted of a three-part folding blade disguised inside a bracer, remaining undetectable until the moment it was too late. As the role of Assassins evolved to fit with the changing times, so too did the Hidden Blade.
Long before you wielded the Hidden Blade, it was an idea hidden in plain sight waiting for our developers to uncover its secrets. To detect more, we sat down with Aymar Azaïzia, Assassin’s Creed head of content, our guide into how the concept of the Hidden Blade became the deadly signature weapon of the Assassins.
Why was this particular design chosen? “Hidden Blades are signature weapons of the Assassins. Each one is beautifully crafted to match their owner’s style and time period and that is the reason why they have evolved so much, going from very ritualistic weapon that requires the user to sacrifice a finger to use them, to lethal tool featuring more than a single blade,” said Aymar Azaizia.
From concept to design, we bring you four of the most iconic Hidden Blades. Let’s begin with the Assassin who first leaped into our hearts, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. Altaïr first showed us the mark of a true Assassin with the traditional Hidden Blade in Assassin’s Creed. As Altaïr set the precedent for his Assassin successors, his blade set the standard for all the following Hidden Blade models.
The blade sat on a spring-loaded mechanism operated by a ring cuff, attached to the little finger. The cuff triggered a switch that let Altaïr quickly extend or retract the blade with a simple flick of the wrist. His leather bracer contained the rig on his left arm, and the Hidden Blade extended through the gap in his fist where his ring finger used to be, before its removal during the Assassin’s initiation ceremony.
Altaïr’s traditional Hidden Blade was not only an extension of himself, but also a symbol of his complete commitment to the Brotherhood. Altaïr used the Apple of Eden to envision improvements to the Hidden Blade, which he hid in his Codex, along with many other secrets. Until these pages of lost knowledge were found by Ezio Auditore, the design of the Hidden Blade remained much the same.
Double Hidden Blades, the next influential blades, were used by none other than Ezio Auditore in Assassin’s Creed II. Upon discovering the Codex pages, Ezio was unable to translate them alone, leading him to seek one of the most diversely talented individuals in history, Leonardo da Vinci.
Created from Leonardo’s inspired design, Double Hidden Blades were made with improved metals to withstand melee combat and pierce armor, but they were also used to operate mechanisms and pick locks. This twin weapon was worn on the arms, enabling the Assassin to deal death to one or multiple targets – twice the blades, twice the fun.
Double Hidden Blades also marked an era of even stealthier Master Assassins. The removal of the ring switch allowed the mechanism to be operated by a pressure switch inside the bracer itself. Activated by a simple movement, the design no longer required the sacrifice of a finger to operate and thus members of the Brotherhood could disguise themselves with greater ease. Though cutting off a finger was no longer necessary, many Assassins, like Ezio and his sister Claudia, branded the finger to show their dedication to the Brotherhood.
Blending into the crowd was essential for an Assassin, but they also need to cover great distances with speed. This brings us to our third-most influential Hidden Blade in the series, the Hook Blade. The Hook Blade was first introduced in Assassin’s Creed Revelations by Yusuf Tazim, leader of the Ottoman Brotherhood. Yusuf gave Ezio the Hook Blade and taught him how to use the elegant design for both travel and battle.
The Hook Blade was composed of two parts, the curved hook and a blade similar to the traditional Assassin weapon. The design of Ezio’s hook resembled the head of an eagle, one of the symbols of the Brotherhood. In the spirit of the creature it was crafted to resemble, Ezio used it to fly over the rooftops by attaching the hook to zip lines, or swiftly climb walls. To avoid a fight, Assassins used the hook to flip over enemies or pull down scaffolding to slow pursuers.
In direct combat, the hook had many uses. The Hook Blade pulled victims in for a close-range attack, threw them to the ground by hooking onto their armor, or snapped their necks by hooking into their helmet. The combination of hook and blade proved immensely versatile for Assassins in mobility and combat.
Continuing on this deadly path, we come to our fourth blade, the Pivot Blade, introduced in Assassin’s Creed III, given to Ratonhnhaké:ton by his mentor, Achilles Davenport. Besides the ability to perform traditional functions of a Hidden Blade, the Pivot Blade did exactly what its name implied: pivot. The pivot mechanism rotated the blade at a ninety-degree angle so the Assassin had the freedom to use it as a dagger. This increased the deadly speed in which enemies could be taken out by adapting to combat needs of each encounter. Being so versatile, the Pivot Blade was also used at the same time as swords, small weapons, and many other tools the Assassins used.
A true Assassin holds the Hidden Blade dear. You have proved this time and time again by using the Hidden Blade as it has evolved over the last ten years. It is a great honor to be a part of the Brotherhood with each and every one of you.
So, Assassins, do you have any memorable Hidden Blade kills? Which influential Hidden Blade is your favorite to wield?