Assassin’s Creed Mirage is “going back to the roots” of the franchise

Posted on September 11, 2022

After leaks over the last week stole its thunder and led to a quick announcement on social media, we’ve now had the chance to get a first look at Assassin’s Creed Mirage, which was shown off as part of Ubisoft Forward.

With the last entry of the series releasing (what feels like a million years back) in 2020 with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Mirage is set to go “back to the roots” of the series, with a focus on three key pillars: stealth as a core, parkour and assassinations. Checkpoint Gaming was invited to a presentation from Ubisoft Bordeaux (who previously led the Wrath of the Druids expansion for Valhalla), who gave us the low-down on what we can expect from the new entry.

Basim (who also featured in Valhalla) was confirmed as the protagonist, and Mirage is set 20 years before Valhalla, showing the journey of how he moved from being a lowly street thief into a worthy assassin. The game is going back to the middle east, this time in Baghdad, in what promises to be a dense and vibrant city with inhabitants that will react to your every move. It will be set in the Golden Age, 861. In the story, The Hidden Ones (the beginning of The Templars) are a major factor, and Basim will join them on his quest for justice and answers.

Noting that this will not be the next “mainline” entry into the series (which we now know will be set in feudal Japan, currently “Codename Red”), Mirage is taking a more focused approach, with narrative taking front and center, and a very scaled back style of gameplay experience. That means you’re not going to find a gigantic open world with hundreds of side quests and secrets to uncover; instead, a more linear path is the plan, comparing it to earlier games in the series.

“A tightly crafted narrative-driven action adventure experience could be just what the doctor ordered…”

“A tightly crafted narrative-driven action adventure experience” could be just what the doctor ordered, considering Valhalla was accused by many critics of being bloated after years of expanding and iterating. According to the team at Ubisoft Bordeaux, Mirage will have new locations and an inspiring cast of characters, including childhood friends, mentors and political leaders.

While the narrative structure is closer to OG Assassin’s Creed, meaning it’s more driven and linear compared to recent entries, we were told that there will still be moments where you’ll tackle missions in a chosen order, despite there being a clear beginning and end.

Some of the language used for these main missions makes them sound a little Hitman-esque in their approach. Assassination’s are being referred to as a “Blackbox” mission, where you can decide exactly how you want to assassinate your target. New kill animations are also said to be visceral and fast. Additionally, there will be new abilities, like one that was shared called Assassin’s Focus, which allows you to slow down time, mark several targets and then achieve multiple stealth kills at once, which will be cool to see. Levels will also be designed with parkour in mind, so a smaller play-area might mean more intricately crafted spaces to do your bidding.

We’re yet to see gameplay of Mirage, but the idea of a scaled-back and focused Assassin’s Creed is certainly appealing. Also appealing is the use of Shohreh Aghdashloo (you’ll know her the second you hear her voice) as one of the main characters, Roshan, who is a mentor to Basim. Aghdashloo mentioned during the event that she is “excited to play a mature woman of Persian origins”, while I’m just excited to hear her voice in this role, as she’s truly iconic and should add a lot of depth to the story just with her presence alone.

We still have some questions about the game, but with a release date set for next year, a full reveal surely won’t be far away.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage launches in 2023 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC.