Unlock the Animus

The challenge's main menu

The Unlock the Animus Challenge was a puzzle-based Internet competition that developer Ubisoft launched in October 2011. Though it promised a holiday to Istanbul (for one) amongst other prizes for select winners, only participants from the United Kingdom were eligible for the competition.


The contest consisted of five puzzles organized as memory strands and a sixth "Mastermind" puzzle. In each, the player had to identify the problem and solve it. Each day, the player had five attempts to use on any available puzzle, and the count would be refreshed to five each day.

Strand 1

The first puzzle to be released was a video showing moments in the Assassin's Creed series. After the video ended, the player was told to make a list of the clips in order of their appearance. Each time the video was viewed, the image quality degraded 20%. There were more clips than keywords, so the player had to find the most relevant clip for each keyword. For example, the first relevant scene was an arch in Rome, so the first answer was "Arch". The order of their appearance was as follows:

  • Arch
  • Arrow
  • Toll
  • Inferno
  • Shadow
  • Links
  • Fortress
  • Pray
  • Gallows
  • Peaks
  • Portcullis
  • Tempest

Should the player answer incorrectly, the keyword would be marked as being placed in the wrong position, being written on a black background with greyish white text. Correctly placed keywords were placed on a glowing white background with black text. This puzzle was unique in that only the incorrect answers were reset for the next puzzle attempt until the next day.

Strand 2

Strand 2

Decrypting the answer

The next puzzle consisted of encrypted string of symbols in rows with punctuation and the player worked out the five top-most symbols. This was a variant of the Templar cipher and encrypted a very particular phrase. The answer was as follows:

  • The "X" like symbol.
  • The up-right pyramid with a dot in the center.
  • An up-right pyramid without a dot with a smaller triangle underneath it.
  • An up-right pyramid without a dot with a smaller triangle underneath it.
  • The "V" like symbol.

When done, the game decrypted the words to read "Nulla e reale, tutto e lecito." This translated to "Nothing is true, everything is permitted." in Italian. Ezio's voice followed as the screen revealed his words in red: "Requiescat in Pace."

Strand 3

The third puzzle was formed of two smaller, connected puzzles.

The first was called "Artifact Identification", which showed a Portuguese coin with the words "In hoc signo vinces" on it. This meant "In this sign you will conquer", which was a phrase used by Constantine I, and it referred to the Templar cross. The player then entered the phrase into a cryptex, and when it opened the player had to find the correct coordinates. They mostly consisted of Roman landmarks, but the correct one was "N4100518E2858795", which were the coordinates for the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul.

Phase 3 Answer

Aligning the circles

The second puzzle needed the player to align the eight circles (four of both the larger and smaller size) in the correct pattern on a ninth, larger circle. The satellite photo of the Hagia Sophia, held in the upper right of the screen, hinted at the correct pattern. Using the largest circle in the very center, the midsized circles fit on the top-left, top-right, bottom-left and bottom-right directions of the circle. The smallest circles could then be placed between the four midsized circles. The puzzle tracked the ratio of how close the player was to the final pattern, and when the pattern was complete, the puzzle would read "Recognition 100%" and self-complete.

Strand 4

Screen shot 2011-10-25 at 6.03.21 PM

The bomb puzzle

The fourth puzzle was a physics and mathematics-based challenge. Players had a small ball at the bottom of a maze. Bombs could be crafted to propel the ball in a brute-force fashion. The player could control the shrapnel, gunpowder, and shell types that went into the bombs, and a portal waited at the top right corner of the puzzle to accept the ball. The ball also took a certain amount of damage for each detonation, and the player could use at most five bombs to finish the challenge. Should the ball be destroyed, the player would need to wait for the next day to try again, as the ball would not be visible on the next attempt. Should all go well, however, the player could blast the ball into the portal and complete the challenge.

Strand 5


The rings completed

The fifth puzzle was a rotating-rings puzzle similar to the ones seen in the Glyph challenges of Assassin's Creed II and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. There were five seals, each with a different image. Players rotated the rings to line up all the images and had only 20 turns of the rings to do so. Each ring was connected to another ring or set of rings on another seal, so players had to carefully consider their moves before rotating a ring. With the proper rotations, the player needed only to arrange the symbols into the proper order to finish the puzzle - the puzzle would also hint at the correct order by marking the correct and incorrect answers.

Final challenge


The DNA pairs

The final challenge involved players reconstructing four segments of broken DNA in two-by-two array, using any combination of five symbols. Each symbol represented a previous puzzle. The player had a number of attempts for each DNA segment before one of the daily attempts was marked a failure, and completion would reveal what component of DNA had been completed. A yellow dot indicated a correct symbol in the correct place, while a red dot indicated a correct symbol in the wrong place. A black dot indicated an incorrect symbol for the sequence. The first two segments had ten attempts and were revealed to be Cytosine and Guanine segments. Conveniently, Cytosine only bonded to Guanine in DNA and vice versa. While the third and fourth segments only had three attempts each, a clever player would see the pattern and quickly complete the puzzle. Once completed, players were given an audio message from Shaun Hastings before being asked to input their information for entry into the sweepstakes. An encrypted countdown cylinder would then count down the time until the winner was selected.


The countdown timer


  • Non-UK players could still complete the challenges. Wallpapers of various sizes, both for computer and mobile devices, were awarded to players for the completion of each strand and the mastermind puzzle.
  • A hack existed for the puzzles on most days - expunging the cache and saved data from the browser would allow five more attempts.

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