It’s been a busy week for the Assassin’s Creed franchise. First, there was a major leak concerning the upcoming title, Mirage, and then yesterday during the PlayStation Showcase, we got our first look at gameplay. We rarely talk about rumour or hearsay here at ScreenHub. Half the time, a scoop is false and they tend to brew resentment when they don’t come to fruition. But I’m going to dip a pinky into this pond when it comes to the recent leak concerning the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Mirage and explain how, if true, this report could showcase that this game will be one to keep an eye out on.
So, some context. I’m a pretty big fan of the franchise. I have a ranking of the series here if you’re inclined to see what I like and don’t like about it. But the idea of escaping into history and tackling these situations while weaving through a compelling narrative is just gold for me. Plus, when it takes place in a city, fun parkour mechanics. But I’ve been pretty bitter towards the most recent bloated games, Odyssey and Valhalla. They felt way too long, abandoned a lot of the classic gameplay mechanics like stealth in favour of combat that feels like Witcher 3-lite and had largely uninspired stories and sidequests. I can’t tell you much about Eivor or the Missio but I know Ezio’s story like the back of my hand. So I was feeling pretty down on the franchise. Then Mirage was announced, along with three other upcoming Assassin’s Creed titles. But since it was revealed in 2022, it’s been radio silence up until yesterday. No gameplay, no previews, which has been frustrating for fans. Why announce something so far away without following up on it for so long? So any rumours are leaks are enough to pique the interest, especially leading up to the gameplay trailer.
Set to release later this year, Mirage promises to be a “smaller game” than the previous titles, offering a singular city and a return to stealth-based gameplay, akin to earlier entries in the series. Absent the bloat, the game will also retail at a lower price point and is said to be around 15-20 hours for the story and 25-30 hours for completionists, which is comparable to the original game and its immediate sequels.
The leak, per a French video from user J0nathan, can’t be treated as gospel. But many are looking at the leak as hope for a return to form for the franchise. One criticism that has been levied (rightfully so) against Valhalla and particularly, Odyssey, was that their maps were just too big with little to do in them. I’m all for big maps, but it has to be in service of the game. Red Dead Redemption 2 has a massive map, but I can get lost in that map for hours. In Valhalla, I felt like I was simply passing through from location to location, mission to mission just to keep things moving. I got exhausted playing the game. But per the leak, the map size for Mirage is said to be around the same size as Paris in Unity but it will be a hybrid of city and open desert as opposed to being just a metropolis. For context, Mirage will largely take place in and around Baghdad. Goodness, I hope that’s true. A densely packed city is just what this game needs, head back to the roots. In the gameplay reveal, we can get a good view of the city. It certainly looks large and dense, but it doesn’t feel needlessly large.
Mechanically, the emphasis on stealth really seems to be a focal point of the game. Recent titles have had the main character being super powerful fighting gods basically, able to take down dozens of foes single-handedly in a fight with a huge reserve of health. In Mirage, it’s said that protagonist Basim’s health bar will be so low that two or three hits will be enough to incapacitate him. This will force the player to plan diligently, not rush into any conflict head first. Basim has a slew of weapons and gadgets to help him out, such as smoke bombs and throwing daggers and you must make use of all of his tools in order to survive.
Much like the recent Hitman games, there will be primary targets in the city (one for each of the four zones), and they’ll have their own routines and such. You’ll be able to acquire information on a respective target, via eavesdropping or pickpocketing, and apply it take them out, something that seems very Assassin’s Creed 1. The leak says there are dozens of outcomes per target, which would hopefully allow for mission replayability like the Hitman games. The game will also have a notoriety system, something that was present in the Ezio games but has been absent ever since. The system will be more akin to Grand Theft Auto’s star system, in which each of the three ranks increases the guard presence in the city and how much trouble they’ll give you. To help you, you’ll be able to hire factions (hiding with a group of musicians, for example).
Based on what we’ve seen so far and what’s being said in the rumour mill, Mirage looks like it’ll be a game for old-school Assassin’s Creed fans. Stealth-focused and more problem-solving aspects, as opposed to heavy on the action and RPG elements. I for one, welcome this return to form and hope Mirage can deliver on its promises and wishes.