That's right. The Supreme Court of the United States has a cameo in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Unfortunately, it isn’t a very flattering portrayal, so hopefully it won’t have any bearing on their decision in Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchant Association. For now though, it stands as one of the better easter eggs of the year, so let's take a closer look, shall we?
So, in case you hadn't heard, Brotherhood is pretty fantastic (check out my review for all the details). And one of the things it does extremely well is carry on the conspiratorial torch sparked in the previous two games, specifically with regards to the series of hidden glyphs located throughout the game world that lead you to puzzles, which, once solved, unlock “The Truth,” aka the high level narrative arch that encompasses all of the events of the AC universe.
There are 10 groups of puzzles to solve in Brotherhood, but one of them, Batch 7 to be exact, includes a rather interesting/humorous appearance by the aforementioned Supreme Court, which has been in the gaming news a lot recently, most notably earlier this month when its members considered the Constitutionality of a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors.
The overall theme of Batch 7 is the idea of corporations being granted the same rights as individuals, specifically with regards to their ability to donate unlimited (and undisclosed) amounts of money to political causes. As crazy as such a scenario sounds, it’s actually a reality now thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. While certainly a cause for concern in the real world, in the world of Assassin’s Creed, this monumental event was not only engineered by the Templars, but is also a major vicory for The Company and whatever other shadowy corporations hold sway over large portions of the world’s governments.
The photo used in this puzzle features eight of the current Supreme Court Justices, as it was taken before Justice Elena Kagan replaced Justice David Souter, who retired in 2009. Scrolling over a few of the Justices’ faces reveals some choice quotes in reference to the power corporations should wield, but the key piece of the puzzle can be found on Chief Justice John Roberts’ ring finger (Hinted at by the mention of “wed” in the puzzle header).
It’s hard to see it in the video, but the infrared scanner reveals the ring is actually a Templar cross, and clicking on it leads you to the next piece of the puzzle that you need to solve in order to get to the best part of the whole sequence: a letter discussing several amazing topics like President George W. Bush (“W.”) wanting to reignite tensions with Iraq, thereby providing Dick Cheney (“C.”) with the perfect opportunity to cash in on military contracts, and the desire to have Chief Justice Roberts appointed so as to pave the way for an eventual decision such as the one reached in Citizens United.
I just love the idea that two weeks after the video games went before the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, several members of which appeared to come to the defense of the game industry in the case's lively oral arguments, are portrayed as secret members of the Templar order. Classic.
If you pick up Brotherhood, I highly recommend checking out all of the puzzles, because there are tons of great details packed inside of them. Just make sure your wearing your thinking caps. These puzzles don’t mess around.