Hey everyone,

I recently finished a playthrough of AC: Origins and came across a puzzle during the Curse of the Pharaohs DLC that hasn't been solved yet. I figured I'd take a crack at it. Here is my solution outlined below. Let me know what you think.

YYIYY IIIYYIYYIYY YIYYIYY

As soon as I saw this, I went straight to my computer and googled away to see if anyone had deciphered it. My search came up short. A few people have taken a stab at it back when the DLC was first released, but none of the answers were compelling in my opinion. There is a Reddit post that sums up the findings so far. I’ll link to the discussion here for the curious, but as far as I can tell the case has gone cold. Everyone has moved on since the releases of both AC: Odyssey and AC: Valhalla.

The best solution that post offers uses Egyptian hieroglyphics to come up with a series of three numbers - 9 17 12 - which has been taken to mean a date. To quote the Reddit post, “on September 17th 2012 the Assassins arrived at the Auditore Villa in Monteriggioni.” Additionally, this date is a few months before Desmond’s death. I don’t know about you, but I find that answer unsatisfying.

I.
Initially, I thought this might be some form of morse code or binary code. I spent a while trying different things. Eventually, I learned that in both the Coptic and Greek alphabets, there are letters that utilize I and Y as their representative mark. Those two letters are Iota and Ypsilon, which both also have numerical values. Iota = 10 and Ypsilon = 400. So the first step I took was transferring the code to represent its new numerical value.

YYIYY = 40040010400400

IIIYYIYYIYY = 1010104004001040040010400400

YIYYIYY = 4001040040010400400

II.
Next, I added each Greek numeral together.

40040010400400 = 1,610

1010104004001040040010400400 = 2450

4001040040010400400 = 2020

III.
From here, it got a bit tricky. I tried a range of things including converting each number from an octal format to binary and then to text. I tried it again but with Unicode. I tried to list off every 1 or 2 digits and then convert them into English letters. Nothing gave me anything even remotely related or legible. I was stumped. Eventually, since I added digits together in the prior step, I decided I should do that again.

1610 = 8

2450 = 11 or 2

2020 = 4

IV.
I put 11 or 2 on the second line because it doesn’t matter which one is in that slot for my solution. I still end up at the same place. I googled 8/11/4 and 8/2/4 along with Assassin’s Creed and came up with nothing. I checked all the available timelines for the series and nothing obvious popped out at me. I also tried switching these numbers for their equivalent English letters. For those wondering you get H-K-D or H-B-D. I checked to see if the letters were an acronym or referenced a location.

Nothing.

Unsatisfied, I decided to do the only next thing I could think of which was to add all three numbers together. Now depending on whether you have an 11 or a 2 in the middle spot, you get either 23 or 14 respectively.

Why I bring this up is if you stop at this point and translate each digit to its equivalent English letter you get 23 -> BC or 14 -> AD. Because time and history is such an important factor in the AC series, even if this wasn’t intentional, it’s a fun tidbit.

V.
Adding the digits up one more time, no matter if you have 14 or 23 you get 5. So the big question then becomes, what is the significance of this number?

Well, in the Greek and English alphabets, the 5th letter is Epsilon or “e”. If we take the number 5 to mean Epsilon, then two possible meanings become relevant:

In computer science, Epsilon is often used to denote an empty string.

In mathematics, Epsilon is used to denote an arbitrarily small positive number that approaches 0 with a difference between it and 0 that is negligible.

If Epsilon is really the answer to this riddle then “Well played, Ubisoft!”

That being said, my solution for this puzzle comes from a use case for the letter “e.” So assuming the 5 means the fifth letter in the English alphabet, and then if we take that letter into mathematics, we find that the letter “e” is used to represent Euler’s number.

What is Euler’s number?
Great question! So the simplest definition I could find comes from a Medium article. The full thing is worth a read, but I’ll quote the writer’s definition of e here:

Just like every number can be considered a scaled version of 1 (the base unit) & every circle can be considered a scaled version of the unit circle (radius 1), every rate of growth can be considered a scaled version of e (unit growth, perfectly compounded). E is the base rate of growth shared by all continually growing processes; it shows up whenever systems grow exponentially & continuously: population, radioactive decay, interest calculations, etc… E represents the idea that all continually growing systems are scaled versions of a common rate.

He’s saying that with any given thing that grows at a continuous exponential rate, what it’s actually doing is increasing at a rate of e to the x power. e is the base rate of growth on an exponential scale. So ubiquitous is this number that it shows up not just in math but in science, engineering, chemistry, physics, and many other disciplines. This number is also an irregular number meaning it can only be approximated in its value. The first few digits are 2.7182818 but the number itself is infinite.

So what does this mean in the context of Assassin’s Creed?
The first thing to note is that this puzzle can only be found when Bayek visits the afterlife, or more specifically, Aaru or the Field of Reeds. This magical place is represented as a beautiful landscape that stretches to infinity. Another thing to think about is the consideration that Bayek never actually visits the afterlife in-game. He admits later that his visits there were only a vision or a hallucination brought on by the power of the artifact that plagues Thebes. Additionally, from the player’s perspective, the various areas of the afterlife that Bayek visits are mere digital fabrications, created by Layla Hassan’s Animus.

In that context, e can almost be seen as an unmasking of the code that’s constructing the world that Layla is experiencing through Bayek or more simply put, an Animus glitch. It’s a peek at the source code. If we then consider this glitch in the context of the Ancient Mechanisms that Bayek discovers throughout Egypt, a fuller picture is realized. The messages relayed through those mechanisms hint over and over again that the reality Laya and/or Bayek are experiencing isn’t real.

Now, it’s believed those mechanisms’ messages were intended for Layla’s ear as well as being a subtle nod to the fact that the Bayek Layla is experiencing is a construction of the Animus. Nevertheless, all of this makes me wonder just how reliable the Animus is at faithfully depicting history. It also makes me wonder if the actual historical Bayek ran into this message in the afterlife or not. If so, did he question it? When the Animus drops you in a place in history, are you faithfully reliving history or just being fed a convincing facsimile?

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That's my solution. Let me know what you think, and if the mods will allow me a small shameless plug, this post is actually the gist of the first issue of a gaming newsletter I recently started. If anyone wants to check that out, the link is here.