To say expectations for Mirage are high is an understatement. Ubisoft’s 2023 entry into the Assassin’s Creed franchise, which serves as a prequel, sequel, and spinoff, is being promised as a ‘return’ to the roots that made the original 2007 game so enthralling. It’s being marketed as a stealth game, reminiscent of Ezio’s era where linearity and quality storytelling were prioritised over player choice; the most recent entries, with their open worlds and role-playing elements, will allegedly share very little with Mirage’s gameplay.
For many fans, this is cause for celebration. Everything from the 2007 original to 2013’s Black Flag is widely acclaimed, and it's no secret why; their characters were detailed, the worlds fleshed out and authentic. Players weren’t expected to create the protagonist from scratch, nor were they gifted flaming hell horses on which to ride. In a single word, this era was grounded; you entered a history that was, for all intents and purposes, rooted in fact.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons
The trend continues with Mirage, which is set during the internal chaos of the Anarchy at Samarra, and follows Valhalla side character Basim Ibn Ishaq, as he evolves from a common street thief into a master assassin. In writing, it sounds appealing – a tighter, well-researched world that a detailed protagonist is at liberty to explore. It is unfortunate then, that the game suffers one glaring issue even before launch, something inevitable regardless of where it was set; the expectation.
Ubisoft are presenting us with a return to the acclaimed DNA of the originals, but what if Mirage fails to stand on its own? What if it’s reliant on replicating this experience, rather than crafting its own? The result could be repetitive, it could be uninspired. It’s critical that Mirage is delivered as a 2023 entry, and not a 2007 one; there needs to be new to balance the old.
And that folks, is where the brilliant new feature of Mirage begins to shine. It’s an addition that’s been done before, but never as a method of immersion entirely: the language.
As revealed on X (you know, Twitter), Mirage marks the very first time in the Assassin’s Creed franchise that a game will be shipped with full Arabic dubbing, and not just as a local version for Middle-Eastern countries. It’s a feature included regardless of the market, so European and American players will also get to experience the authentic linguistics of Basim’s world.
In previous games, the dubbing has been included only when the game meshed with a big enough market; Assassin’s Creed II, for example, was shipped with Italian, but the later sequel Assassin’s Creed Origins featured only scattered words and phrases in the language used during the Ptolemaic Egyptian Empire.
It presented a major setback for authenticity, made significantly worse by some of the voice actors chosen – who can forget, for example, Arno Dorian’s thick British accent in the Parisian-set Assassin’s Creed Unity? Now, Ubisoft hopes to rectify this with Mirage, echoing JRPGs in their decision to offer the language the world was intended to use.
Whether this proves successful is still not entirely clear, but its announcement was met with a warm reception. Alongside authenticity, this allows a large portion of gamers to enjoy Assassin’s Creed in a language they are comfortable in, no matter where they are based. If it works, it should be a required implementation in future Assassin’s Creed games. For now, we simply have to wait and see if Mirage delivers all that’s expected of it.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is scheduled to release for Amazon Luna, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on October 5, 2023.
Edited by Gio Eldred Mitre, Gaming Editor