The first gameplay trailer for Assassin’s Creed Mirage has finally emerged from the shadows, and it shows that Ubisoft’s upcoming historical murder sim is taking the series back to its roots. The trailer may only be just shy of two minutes long, but there’s plenty of details packed in there. Here’s the five major things that you need to know.
Back to Old School
In Mirage you take on the role of Basim, a character who played a pivotal role in the story of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. These events play out two decades before he meets Eivor, though, and so Mirage is something of a prequel. You’ll be working with the original Assassins, the Hidden Ones, under the mentorship of Roshan, voiced by Emmy award-winning actor Shohreh Aghdashloo.
While much of the narrative framing draws on the modern RPG era of Assassin’s Creed, it looks like the gameplay is distinctly old-school AC. Mirage is set in ninth-century Baghdad, and we can see that it provides an urban city map with a design philosophy drawn directly from the original games. Streets, roofs, and towers create a labyrinth of parkour routes, and there’s not a single open field in sight. This is properly classic Assassin’s Creed. Basim has even undergone the original Assassin’s ritual of cutting off his finger to make way for his Hidden Blade.
After six years of RPG combat design, it’s great to see Mirage put a huge emphasis on stealth. In the trailer we can see Basim employ several techniques that we’ve not seen in the series for several years. There’s a sequence in which he silently tails an enemy and pickpockets a key from them, which is then used to unlock a door. We later see Basim sitting and waiting on a bench. Or perhaps he’s eavesdropping? Long-time series fans will remember that tailing, thieving, and eavesdropping formed the core of the first Assassin’s Creed’s preparation missions, and so it’s great to see them returning. Let’s just hope that we don’t have to do them on an ever-repeating loop this time…
Choose Your Own Assassination
It’s not just the original Assassin’s Creed game that Mirage tips its hat to in this trailer, though. Mid-way through, Basim’s accomplice says “We need to find a way to get you inside without being seen, you could bribe the guards to look the other way.” Basim ignores that advice, choosing to stick blades into the guards’ necks instead. But this whole scenario tells us that we’ll have a choice in how we approach our missions, something that was pioneered by Assassin’s Creed Unity.
Unity’s main assassination missions had an almost Hitman-like approach; each one could be completed in a few different ways using a number of different opportunities. The Confession mission, for example, allowed you to bypass a tricky infiltration by stealing the keys to Notre Dame, and when in the cathedral you could kill your target by waiting for him in a confessional booth. This approach was totally abandoned after Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, but it seems like Mirage will return to those ideas and hopefully build upon them.
Methods of Murder
With Mirage seemingly fully embracing Assassin’s Creed’s stealth roots, it’s good to see all the classic kill moves are back in action. Aerial assassinations and ledge kills are present and correct, and Basim can be seen using a throwing knife for ranged kills (it looks like the bow and arrow is being left in the RPG games). But there’s more than just the classics; we also see the new Assassin’s Focus ability in action, which allows you to quickly mark and kill several targets in a row. It’s basically AC’s version of Splinter Cell’s brilliant Mark and Execute system, and is hopefully just as thrilling to use.
While Mirage is definitely looking like a stealth game, it wouldn’t be Assassin’s Creed without some full-blooded combat. We don’t see a huge amount of swordplay in this trailer, but what little we do see is made up of several very cool new animations, including a very slick move where Basim rolls over an enemy’s back, a knee slide, and a lovely sword spin.
Free to Run
Returning to Assassin’s Creed’s roots isn’t all about stealth and swordplay, though. Perhaps the most iconic thing from AC’s early years is the image of a hooded killer free-running across an ancient city, guards in tow. Appropriately for this throw-back game, Mirage promises to serve up plenty of parkour. You can spot plenty of classic moves making their return, including the beam hop, corner swing, and rope lift, as well as the signature eagle dive. But it looks like we’re getting new additions to the environmental toolkit, too, such as tall poles that Basim can ride across gaps that are much wider than he could jump.
Those are the big things we spotted in the new Assassin’s Creed Mirage gameplay trailer. Did you spot any other cool nods to the series past? Let us know in the comments. For more Assassin’s Creed, check out the Mirage cinematic trailer.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Features Editor.