Geek Interview Assassin's Creed Mirage Honours Legacy & History Through Classic Gameplay

Geek Interview: ‘Assassin’s Creed Mirage’ Honours Legacy & History Through Classic Gameplay

Ever since its reveal back in September of 2022, Assassin’s Creed Mirage has occupied a unique space in the franchise. As a new entry, players are probably expecting more fresh bells and whistles, but for the team at Ubisoft Bordeaux, it represents a great opportunity to go back to the roots of the series, all while ensuring that players are getting the best modern experience they have grown to love.

This was made evidently clear as we spoke to Sarah Beaulieu, the Narrative Director of Assassin’s Creed Mirage, be it through its narrative, gameplay, and the various characters that are part of the saga that is both moving forward and backwards at the same time. At the core, the adventure remains a tussle between two warring and familiar factions that fans would be excited to see again, but there’s more.

Assassin's Creed Mirage Sarah Beaulieu
Sarah Beaulieu, Narrative Director

“Along with the historical conflict between the Order of the Ancients and the Hidden Ones, there is this persistent question of the meaning of freedom. This theme has been conveyed since the first game, through the Creed itself. This is one of the things that appealed to me the most,” said Beaulieu about Assassin’s Creed Mirage.

“Basim is torn between the Brotherhood and this part of him which craves for another kind of freedom… I like the possibilities that the fight between the Hidden Ones and the Order of the Ancients provides in terms of supporting the theme of freedom.”

This pursuit of the elusive answer meant a trip back to the Middle East and its history was inevitable. With Baghdad being one of the “biggest and most advanced cities in the world” during the 9th century, its role as a “commercial, scientific and political centre” offers plenty of possibilities when it comes to “creating interesting narratives and tying these to bigger historical events and characters.”  

Assassin's Creed Mirage Baghdad

The beginning of Assassin’s Creed Mirage sees the Abbasid caliphate at the height of its power, but within the peace lies tension, stoked by the Zanj rebellion that eventually leads to the fall of the empire. Ali ibn Muhammad, the leader of this rebellion, is one of the main historical characters that will make an appearance in the game, and for Beaulieu, she “was immediately hooked by his personality.”

The Banu Musa are also part of the fun, historical inventors and engineers who will be part of Assassin’s Creed Mirage as “part of the Hidden Ones and help Basim by providing him with powerful Assassin tools.”

Speaking of Basim, with freedom being such an integral part of the formula of the franchise, it helps that the players will be living it through this particular hero. For the team, his memorable appearance in Valhalla meant that Mirage was a great “opportunity to tell more” about this character, how he came to be, and his story. “As the narrative director, I also connected to Basim’s struggles. His complex and conflicted nature is what I seek in a character,” said Beaulieu.

“We designed Basim to be a sort of quintessential Assassin, agile, efficient, hunting his prey and striking from the shadows. Everything we developed serves this purpose, from his ability to parkour effortlessly from rooftop to rooftop, to the way he is using his Assassin Tools to approach silently and evade quickly after eliminating his targets.”

Having honed the craft over 15 years, Assassin’s Creed Mirage will hopefully bring the best of what the franchise can offer, and for Beaulieu and the team, this was always going to be the case even with the journey back in time.

“That was really our main focus, honouring the legacy while leveraging some of the modern elements brought to the franchise over its 15 years of existence,” the narrative director explained. An example is the retaining of Basim’s eagle companion, which “makes a lot of sense in the context of a stealth experience,” and for combat, the hitbox system introduced in Origins will be used. “All in all, we looked at many games in the franchise and tried to take the features and ingredients that served our experience the best.”

Ali ibn Muhammad
Ali ibn Muhammad

As for the entire journey, there is much freedom to look forward to beyond its beginning hours and the ending, which is yet another component veteran fans would be used to.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage has a linear beginning and a linear ending. While in Baghdad, the player will be free to take down Order members in any order, but the story continues. Basim’s internal conflict and the answers he seeks are intertwined with the external conflict of the Hidden Ones fighting the Order of the Ancients in Baghdad.

Considering that a character’s development and evolution are tied in closely with how the story of the game unfolds, it makes for an exciting proposition, especially when Ubisoft Bordeaux has “designed a condensed and character-driven narrative” that is also supported by the open world structure.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage will release on 12 October on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.