Since the release of the first Assassin’s Creed game in 2007, the series of titles that followed after and including the first game featured a signature weapon called wrist blade or hidden blade. Throughout the series of AC video games, the wrist blade has been a favorite weapon for all assassins when it comes to assassinating Templars. Assassin’s Creed wrist blade has become the go-to, small yet effective weapon in enacting assassinations. We have curated this guide to take a leap of faith into the history, learning about the overall design and various modifications that various Assassin Brotherhoods have adopted since the beginning.
History Of Assassin’s Creed Wrist Blade
The history of the wrist blade dates back from earlier times, and its adaptations and a few modifications continue to the modern era. Here is the complete breakdown of the overall known history of wrist/hidden blades in Assassins’ Creed games.
The Earlier Times
Although Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, Mentor of the Levantine Brotherhood in 1191, was the first one showcased by Ubisoft to have featured the wrist blade, he was not the first assassin to wield it. The history of the wrist blade becoming a signature weapon for Assassins of Brotherhood dates back to the 5th Century BCE. Darius used the wrist blade to assassinate King Xerxes I, and then the blade was passed on to its descendant Aya, wife of Bayek.
Due to the sharp blade coupled with a faster unloading mechanism, Bayek accidentally severed his finger while launching the blade from its resting position. This is also one of the many reasons why earlier Assassins used to severe a particular finger. Another reason being giving a clear path for the blade to emerge out of its hide without being hindered by a finger.
After Bayek, Raven Clan shieldmaiden Eivor Varinsdottir in the 9th century wielded a concealed weapon that looked more or less like an Assassin’s Creed wrist blade. Unlike Bayek’s wrist blade, Eivor’s from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, hidden blade was mounted on the top of the left hand’s wrist.
The legacy of using wrist blades by the Assassin Brotherhood grew, and in the 12th century, during the times of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, the usage of this hidden weapon was widely adapted. At some point, Altaïr even wielded dual hidden blades, and therefore the right to bear two wrist blades after that was reserved for the Master Assassins only.
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The Middle Ages
In the early ages, a wrist flick activated the hidden blade. However, during the 15th century, the advancement made in the mechanism of the wrist blade no longer had the mentioned requirement to launch the hidden blade. Additionally, the re-designed model of the hidden blade was also used with a clenched first instead of an open one. The hidden blade was mostly extended or retracted with a closed fist from this point on and after. Giovanni Auditore was the first assassin who was associated with closed-fist styling of using the Assassin’s Creed wrist blade.
The advancement in hidden blade technology paved the way for the modification and more practical usage of wrist blades. The hook and foot blades were some of the two earliest improvements used by Ottoman Assassins and Indian Assassins, respectively. More on the wrist blade modifications later.
Two centuries later, the usage of dual-wielding of wrist blades became more common. The Caribbean and Colonial Assassins were some of the early members of the Assassin Brotherhood who discarded the old methods and started using dual-wrist blades to eliminate the Templar order.
The Modern Era
The hidden blade that was a part of an Assassin attire slowly turned into a traditional offering and a rare sight. In the early 20th century, most assassins still continued to use wrist blades for close combat. However, other effective weapons also were put to use and replaced the usage of the hidden blade.
Moreover, the wearing of a hidden blade became associated mainly with a high-ranking assassin only. In some instances, the wrist blade was also used as a ceremonial gift.
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Design Of Wrist Blade
Assassin’s Creed wrist blade designs have varied throughout the centuries. During the times of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, the earlier adaptations involved the usage of a spring mechanism to extend or retract the hidden blade. The spring mechanism was tied with a ring that the wielder looped around the little finger. Whenever the wrist was opened and flicked, the spring mechanism used to get triggered, and the wrist blade extended out of its resting position.
To use the blade with a clenched fist, the earlier assassins used to sever a finger allowing the blade to extend while the fist remaining closed. This started with Bayek and later on became a sort of ritual reflecting the commitment to the Assassin Brotherhood.
This also changed in the late 15 century as technology advanced and a more efficient and easy-to-use wrist blade was created. There were multiple reasons why assassins after Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad chose not to go with the severing of finger. The first and the most important one was the ease of identification. Since every assassin had their finger severed in early times, most Templars or other enemies of Assassin Brotherhood would immediately identify a person as an Assassin if the finger was seen severed.
By design, Assassin’s Creed wrist blade, since the 5th century were made of common metals such as iron. However, Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, with the help of Apple of Eden, found a lost formula for a secret alloy that the ancient Isu used. Altaïr looked over at the production of wrist blades made of this scarce material and was mindful of not letting it slip into the enemy’s hands. As a result, upon his death, Altaïr destroyed all records containing the formula for the scarce material and its creation.
Later, Ezio Auditore da Firenze and his father Giovanni Auditore da Firenze modified the wrist blade in terms of overall design, functionality, and aesthetics. As a result, the Italian Brotherhood’s assassins were usually given wrist blades made of two coils, three gears, one chain, three screws, two sprockets, and a leather bracer hide.
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Various Wrist Blade Modifications
Assassin’s Creed wrist blade saw modifications in the era of the Italian Brotherhood. Ezio and his Father Giovanni broke their hidden blades during some battle with Templars. As a result, assassins resorted to using swords and other forms of weapon arsenal for combat and reserved wrist blades for assassinations only.
Moreover, the limited usage of the wrist blade allowed room for improvement and creativity. Throughout centuries, assassins with the aid of allies made wrist blade modifications, enabling taking out their targets quite efficiently. Here are a few famous modifications known so far.
The hidden bolt was the first attempt to fire small yet sharp crossbow bolts by modifying the hidden blade mechanism. Before the application of Phantom Blade by the French Brotherhood, the hidden bolt was the modification that came into practice by Francesco Vecellio, Ezio’s apprentice. However, Ezio forbade Francesco to use the hidden bolt modification and hence he relied only on the hidden gun.
As mentioned above, Arno Victor Dorian, a French Brotherhood assassin, was seen using Phantom Blade modification in Assassin’s Creed Unity. This wrist blade improvement allowed to fire a lethal small-sized crossbow bolt, effectively taking out targets from a distance. Moreover, the master assassin made further improvements to the Assassin’s Creed wrist blade modification and could fire berserk, or toxins infused crossbows using the Phantom Blade.
The first traces of hook blade modifications can be seen during the Ottoman Brotherhood. Assassin Yusuf provided a secondary wrist blade to Ezio containing a medium-sized hook attached at the place of the hidden blade. The modification was made to traverse quickly and effectively the landscape above the targets. However, assassins of that era used the hook blade in combat as well, making the most of the modification.
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Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad was the first master assassin who can be associated with the creation of poison blade modification. He created the altered version of the wrist blade to take out smaller targets or to create distractions so that enough time can be bought to assassinate a high-profile target. Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad injected the poison into the hallowed space of a blade, and whenever the wrist blade pierced a target’s skin, the poison would grant a slow death and strike fear in the opponents’ hearts.
Hidden gun modification has seen a more comprehensive application during Ezio’s time. However, Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, the master assassin, is known to have used it first while assassinating a corrupt member of assassin Brotherhood called Abbas Sofian. The hidden gun modification used a wheellock-based gun mechanism, allowing an assassin to pop out a small-sized, limited ammo gun that was loud and created a big smoke cloud after firing the shot. As opposed to other Assassin’s Creed wrist blade modifications, this improvement was anti-stealth and usually seen as a last resort to take out targets from a distance which was usually surrounded by heavy defenses.
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Sleep dart was the first dart-based assassin equipment used widely to distract targets or disable them for a short duration. Bayek of Siwa was the first assassin to have known to used the sleep dart. However, that was a separate instrument and was not a part of the wrist blade. This changed when poison dart modification was introduced during Ezio’s time.
Dart launcher modification of wrist blade was seen first during the Ezio’s time. More specifically, the poison dart launcher was created by Leonardo da Vinci who supplied most of the assassin equipment to Ezio.
Many enemies of Assassin Brotherhood became accustomed to the wrist-equipped blade. So, Shao Jun, a Chinese assassin, modified the hidden blade and installed it into her footwear, allowing her to take down targets by striking them with a foot blade.
The composite blade modification allowed an assassin to separate the blade from the wrist holder, adding versatility to combat. Featured in the Assassin’s Creed movie, Callum Lynch wields the composite blade and is seen taking out targets quickly and without raising much suspicion.
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The two-pronged blade worked very similarly to a standard-issue Assassin’s Creed wrist blade. The notable difference was that a singular blade was replaced with two sharp and thinner blades placed adjacent.
Additionally, the model of a two-pronged blade was later adapted in the 21st century to create another modified wrist blade called the shock blade.
As mentioned above, the shock blade was the improved iteration of the two-pronged blade. When the weapon penetrates a target’s skin, it electrocutes the flesh by generating a high-voltage electric arc. The shock blade damages the insides of a target by cauterizing the wound.
From Assassin’s Creed III, Connor was the first assassin to have used the pivot blade in combat against colonial templars. This wrist blade modification allowed the wielder to rotate the hidden blade by 90 degrees, turning the lethal and sharp wrist blade into a dagger. Arguably, the pivot blade was used mainly by Connor as a means of offense and defense strategies. He would use it to deflect the incoming attacks as the blade had pretty high durability.
Assassin’s Creed Wrist Blade Uses
Even though the Assassin Brotherhood introduced and linked their identities with the wrist blade throughout history, Templars have also used this small and deadly weapon. Usually, the assassin-turned-templars never discarded their signature wrist blade and continued killing assassin brothers by siding with templars. Shay Cormac and Vali cel Tradat were two infamous assassins who turned their back on Assassin Brotherhood and joined the Templar’s cause.
Moreover, there were also instances where Templars would take the hidden blade as a trophy by killing an assassin. Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed III was one of the notorious assassins known to have killed a British assassin called Miko and took away his wrist blade for personal use.
That is pretty much everything you need to know about Assassin’s Creed wrist blade for now. Which legendary assassin has been your favorite since the first game? Let us know more of your thoughts in the comments section below.
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