The world of the video game “Assassin’s Creed” had ties to the Middle East ever since the very first game, and with the announcement that the upcoming entry in the franchise is going to focus on Baghdad, fans were excited to hear about the news.
What’s happening now?
Last week, a leak revealed that the upcoming entry in the famous franchise was going to be called “Assassin’s Creed: Mirage,” with rumors stating that the game’s protagonist is the “Hidden One” Bassim, who appeared in the last game, titled “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.”
A day later, Ubisoft, the company behind the game, confirmed the news and released an official image, confirming the game’s name and the main hero. The Image shows a gateway in ninth-century Baghdad, with Bassim in the air above a crowd with his hidden blade at the ready in the process of assassinating someone, all while a market and a huge mosque fill the background.
We also got a trailer that gives us a better idea of the atmosphere we’re going to experience. The trailer is full of Middle Eastern vibes, including the theme, music, art, world design, characters, and more. It also shows that we’re going to see Basim as a young man trying to get by as best as he can before encountering the Hidden Ones’ order and meeting his mentor Roshan, voiced by actress Shoreh Aghdashloo.
We also see his induction into the order, some scenes of his training, and his eventual rise as a Hidden one.
What will the game be about?
Ubisoft explained that they’d release a trailer along with more details today. However, if the rumors are to be believed, the game will focus on Bassim’s younger years as a street thief, his eventual joining of the Assassins’ order, and their continued fight against the “Order of the Ancients.”
There have also been rumors that there will be some downloadable content that will show how Bassim meets Sigurd Styrbjornsson during the events of “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.”
Who Is Bassim?
We know quite a bit about this Assassin. His full name is Bassim Ibn Ishaq; he was born in Baghdad during the Abbasid Caliphate.
His father was one of the best architects in the land, and the man behind the construction of the Great Mosque of Samarra, which was the largest mosque in the world for some time. However, a politician betrayed Basim’s father, leading to his father’s exile and later death in poverty.
We also know that he frequented the famed “House of Wisdom” where he studied and learned more about the world, it’s also the place where he met astronomer Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, also known as the father of Algebra.
Bassim would later join the Assassins and rise through their ranks, becoming the leader of their Constantinople bureau.
At some point between 860 and 870 AD, he goes through a tragic incident where he loses his family, which changes him significantly. He also meets Sigurd Styrbjornsson at the end of that period, leading him to another adventure as he travels to Norway and befriends Eivor, the main protagonist of “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.”
What can we expect from the game?
Since we know little about when exactly the game will take place, we can speculate, knowing the period and the region’s political landscape.
Historians consider the 800s as the Abbasid Caliphate’s golden age, with several late 700s prominent caliphs doing their best to take their region to new heights. When it came to education, military might, learning, translation, technology, enlightenment, and more, the region was ahead of several others, thanks to the construction of institutions like the House of Wisdom and the encouragement these caliphs introduced during their reign.
From that information, we can expect an impressive storyline about Bassim, during one of the region’s most prosperous periods, all while still unearthing some of the hidden mysteries that plagued it too.
Scientists, scholars, writers, teachers, astronomers, and mentors came from all over the world to learn and share their knowledge, leading to several discoveries and inventions we still use today.
The game will integrate these scholars as people Bassim might meet during his adventure. While the developers didn’t specify who, there are so many to choose from, such as Al-Tabari, a scholar, physician, and psychologist, who produced one of the first encyclopedias of medicine. There’s also Abu Tammam, one of the most famous poets during that period, and historians consider him to have one of the most significant anthologies of Arabic literature ever assembled.
From previous experiences, we’re going to see several well-known people who lived during that era and others who have died mysteriously and integrate them into the story.
Similar to several previous “Assassin’s Creed” games, we can easily assume that the game will take place in several areas. We know that the game will mainly focus on Baghdad, but there are other locations that can be introduced as side missions such as Samarra since they both held the title of capital at different moments in time.
Beyond those two, it will be hard to know since the Abbasid caliphate stretched from Tunisia in the west to Pakistan and parts of India in the east and Armenia in the north to Yemen in the south.
While there have been several events that took place in the region over the years, one stands out significantly. It’s a time period between 861 and 870 AD, also known as the Anarchy of Samarra.
That period was full of strife, instability, and bloodshed, especially when it came to the caliphs and their military allegiances. Marked by the violent succession of four caliphs, all of whom were either murdered, assassinated, or executed in some way, until the cycle was finally broken, but not for long.
Why is this game significant?
This game marks the fourth time the franchise returns to the Middle East, showing how the region is full of fascinating events, which can create impressive stories and lore.
The first game in the franchise took place during the third crusade and featured locations like Jerusalem, Damascus, and Acre, where the game introduced players to “Altaïr Ibn-La Ahad” and the factions which held sway in the region.
“Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” saw its main character “Ezio Auditore” travel to Qustuntunia (Constantinople) as he traveled in search of knowledge about Altaïr.
On the other hand, “Assassin’s Creed: Origins” focused on ancient Egypt during the reign of Cleopatra, with several famous locations, like Luxor, Alexandria, and Memphis all visitable. Players could also visit several landmarks like the Giza Pyramids, the Library of Alexandria, and the famous lighthouse.